Category:Mead making process

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The Mead Making Process
1. Preparing Mead Ingredients
2. Cleaning and Sanitation
3. Making a Must from Honey
4. Racking and Aerating Mead
5. Yeast Pitching and Nutrition
6. Mead Fermentation
7. Balancing and Flavoring Mead
8. Conditioning and Aging Mead
9. Mead Bottling and Carbonation
10. Serving Mead

Making mead is technically known as Mazing, and a mead maker is known as a Mazer. Other terms used for the process include brewing and vintning, but to avoid confusion, this article simply refers to Mead making.

Making mead at home takes longer than brewing beer, but the process itself is generally simpler. Because honey is composed mostly of sugar, there is no need for a mash. Because of honey's own natural preservative properties and the absence of hops, there is no need for a boil (although one is sometimes done). Mead is also less subject to oxidation, and since it is immune to skunking (unless hops are used), it can be stored, fermented and bottled in clear containers and in light conditions.

While the process may be easier, it is also slower; mead requires considerably more time for fermentation than most beers, and often requires significant aging before it is ready to drink.

Great mead can be made with just honey, water and yeast, but the variety of ingredients that can be added to mead, including fruit, herbs and spices, offer an outlet for brewers or vintners who enjoy experimentation.


[edit] Overview of the Mead Making Process

[edit] Mead Making in a Nutshell

Beer, wine, cider, and mead are all made by the same fundamental process: fermentation. In fermentation, yeast is added to a sugar solution. The yeast eats the sugar and produces carbon dioxide and alcohol. The brewer's only jobs are to make the sugary solution and create the best possible conditions for the yeast to do their work.

In mead making, the sugar solution is called must, and the sugars come primarily from honey mixed with water. Yeast is added to this solution and allowed to ferment.

That doesn't sound so hard, does it?

[edit] Mead Making for Beginners

Mead making can be as complicated or as simple as you want it to be. Don't be scared off by obscure mead terminology; while mead geeks like to talk about pyment, metheglin, and cyser, the basics of mead making is really pretty simple.

The articles below are organized in ten steps. For each step, the accompanying article contains a section "For Beginners", which explains the basic procedures recommended for beginning mead makers. These procedures assume that you will be starting with a simple mead made with just honey, which you will be fermenting in a plastic bucket fermenter. The "beginners" section will also note differences between the beer and mead making processes that will help experienced brewers get up to speed quickly.

[edit] The Ten Steps of Mead Making

The mead making process can be summarized in ten easy steps:

  1. Preparing Mead Ingredients can be as simple as smacking a smack pack, or it can involve complicated questions of water chemistry.
  2. Cleaning and Sanitation are surprisingly important, which can intimidate beginners, but modern cleaning and sanitizing products make it easy.
  3. Making a Must from Honey can be as simple as mixing honey and water to form the unfermented mead or must.
  4. Racking and Aerating Mead are the steps needed to prepare the must for fermentation.
  5. Yeast Pitching and Nutrition is brewing jargon for adding the properly prepared yeast to the must.
  6. Mead Fermentation is when the yeast changes the must into mead.
  7. Balancing and Flavoring Mead involves adding additional ingredients to the fermenting or fermented mead
  8. Conditioning and Aging Mead involves optional extra steps to finish the fermentation and add character to your brew.
  9. Mead Bottling and Carbonation are the final steps; carbonation is optional.
  10. Finally, Serving Mead is what mead making is really all about.

Each step is explained briefly below, or follow the links to the main article on each subject for detailed information.

[edit] Mead Making Equipment

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Mead requires much less in the way of equipment than beer. If you have a basic beer or wine making system, you have everything you need to make mead as well. The most important things you will need are:

Specialized equipment needed for certain techniques or procedures will be described in the text, or you can visit the Mead equipment page for a more in-depth discussion.

[edit] Mead Making Step By Step

[edit] Preparing the Ingredients

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[edit] Cleaning and Sanitation

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As with all fermented beverages, sanitation is the key to good fermentation. The cleaning and sanitation section of this Wiki explains the basics.

[edit] Making a Must from Honey

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There are two schools of thought on whether or not to pasteurize the mead, as opponents say this drives off flavors and aromas, and proponents cite the lack of wild bacteria and yeasts that are able to ruin a good mead if appropriate measures aren't taken. It is, as always, left up to the reader, and ultimately engineer of the beverage which route to take.

If one should choose not to pasteurize the mead, simply add water and honey together at room temperatures until consistent throughout. It is frequently wise to add yeast nutrients, as unlike wort, honey lacks all the necessary nutrients for the aerobic cycle of yeast. Oxygenation would be a good idea as well, as the already stressed yeast need all the help they can get.

If pasteurizing, heat some of the water (I recommend 75% of the estimated need) up to 150 °F (65 °C) and add the amount of honey desired. Hold at 150 °F for 15 minutes. Use this time to add the yeast nutrient and any spices desired. Be aware that bringing the honey past 160 °F will drive off aromas, but 140 °F or less is rather ineffective at killing bacteria.

At this point, the mixture can be cooled down, racked to the fermentation vessel, and water added to bring the temperature to a reasonable pitching level. If cooling tools aren't available, the mixture can be racked, and chilled water / ice can be added to bring the temperature down.

It is worth noting that honeys aren't consistent like LME, OG will vary from one honey maker's product to another's, even within a producers line. However, you can usually expect that honey will weigh in at roughly 12 lb / gallon, helping you estimate the water needed for the pasteurization process.

[edit] Racking and Aerating Mead

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[edit] Yeast Pitching and Nutrition

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[edit] Mead Fermentation

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[edit] Balancing and Flavoring Mead

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[edit] Conditioning and Aging Mead

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[edit] Mead Bottling and Carbonation

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Traditionally, mead, like wine, was generally served still, but it can also be carbonated as well, just as wine can be. Because it is often cellared for long periods, mead is usually bottled rather than kegged. The Mead Bottling and Carbonation article discusses these steps in the process.

[edit] Serving Mead

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[edit] Related Links:

You've waited long enough! Visit the Serving Mead page for information on the best way to pour from a bottle-conditioned bottle and information on tasting mead like a pro.

Pages in category "Mead making process"

The following 5 pages are in this category, out of 5 total.