Blogland Lane Logo by our own Tessa Edwards

Saturday, August 29, 2009

making mead...


by Baron Sir Riekin ap Gruagach

Being a simple recipe and observations on that most ancient and civilized of beverages... MEAD!

Herein offered, in hopes of leading un-beknighted and ignorant savages toward the light of true humanity... and brotherhood.


  • 1 - 6 qt or better pot, with cover
  • 1 - 1 gal glass jug, well cleaned
  • 1 square of paper toweling and a rubber band
    or 1 loosely fitting cap, or fermentation lock
  • 3 feet of 5/16" or 3/8" aquarium tubing (plastic)
  • Enough champagne bottles or 2 liter bottles to hold 1 gal.
    (which can be sealed to withstand carbonation)


  • 1 packet all purpose wine yeast (do NOT use brewer's yeast or yeast for baking bread)
  • 2 lbs. clover or orange blossom honey
  • 2 WHOLE cloves (uncrushed)
  • 2 sticks cinnamon, lightly broken
  • 1/4 tsp. sliced ginger root (do not use powdered)
  • 2 long strips of orange peel (approx. 2 tbsp.)
  • 1 gal. of the best water available


Bring 3 qts of water to a boil, along with the spices.

Simmer 15 minutes.


Add honey, stirring vigorously (or you'll have caramel on the bottom of the pot!)

Once the honey has fully dissolved, allow the water to barely simmer.

White scum will form, skim it, and continue skimming until no more rises.

Failure to do this completely will allow the yeast to act on the waxes and form turpines (which tastes like turpentine!) so make sure you get every last bit, no matter how small.

Never allow the mixture to come to a full boil, or the character of the honey will be destroyed.

Take pot off heat, cover, and leave overnight.

Next morning, when the liquid has cooled to room temperature, add the contents of 1 FULL packet of yeast.

(Failure to add the entire packet can lead to the incubation of inferior yeast strains which will ruin the flavor.)

Cover pot again.

12 to 24 hours later - you should have a wildly foaming mixture.

Siphon the mixture into the previously sterilized 1 gal. glass jug.

(Clorox solution is fine for this - rinse well!)

Loosely screw on lid so gasses can escape, or cover with four folded paper towels and rubber band, or fermentation lock.

Allow to ferment for 48 hours more, or until bubbling nearly ceases.

Siphon the liquid off the layer of dead yeast on the bottom of the jug, so none of the bottom layer gets into the mixture.

Clean the jug carefully, replace the liquid back in the jug, top off with clean water, reseal, and place in refrigerator overnight.

Next day -

Siphon into CLEAN, STERILIZED wine bottles or 2 liter soda bottles, and cap tightly.

Leave in refrigerator 3 to 5 days and enjoy!

WARNING: pressure will be forming in the bottles; avoid excessive handling.

Flavor will improve up to ten days, after that, you really need to drink it.

Note: The hangover produced by mead was considered by the Norse to be a punishment too sublime to inflict on the frail frame of a mortal.

This is probably due to insufficient skimming of the "white scum".


These instructions produce a lightly carbonated, mildly alcoholic metheglin (spiced mead) which was originally taught to me by Duke Cariadoc in 1974, (though he doesn't remember it - Good Stuff!)

It is intended to be prepared for revels, and consumed in large quantities (proviso you are over 21 and NOT driving!)

The hangover cure is available... for an exorbitant fee!


Baron Sir Riekin

Mead Menu

Mighty Mead Tasters
(LtoR): THE MIGHTY MEAD TASTERS -- Ben (wine mgr. from 5 Pts.
Bottle Shop, Athens), Serge (president of the Athens Wine Society),
Dean, Kerri, Dallas, Lari, Christian (from Five and Ten Restaurant),
and Mike (owner of Athens' Basil Press and Porterhouse restaurants).
Photo by Owen Ogletree

Owen Ogletree (director of Brewtopia Events) gathered together some of his fellow beer and wine enthusiasts on 30 April 2003 at Athens' Wild Wing Cafe to sample and comment on several mixed styles of Meads from the United States.

This sampling was done as a blind tasting where no one was aware of the names of the Meads being served.

Meads were commented upon, and the tasters attempted to assign 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and HM to the Meads, according to Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) Mead style guidelines.

Drop Owen an email to share your comments and opinions.

For more information on beer and Mead styles and judging, please be sure to visit

The Beer Judge Certification Program has information, study materials, and exams that will enable you to become a better homebrewer, and even a certified beer judge!


Life Force Vandal Gold
Varietal Mead with Wildflower and Buckwheat Honey
Chateau Lorane, Lorane, OR

: Grain, candy, earthy, farm-like aromas.

Slightly sour hint in aroma.

Complex grape/fruit smells.

: Bright, clear, golden in color.

: Buckwheat, rye, earthy/cellar character, oak.

Unusual, but in an interesting way.

Balance of honey and fruit character is nice.

Slight dryness in the finish makes you want another sip.

This is a Mead with a unique, delicious flavor.

1st Place


Chaucer's Mead
Traditional Mead
Bargetto Winery, Soquel, CA

: Apples, honey, perfume, spice, flowers, clean/pure honey.

: Clear and light gold in color.

: Sweet with a nice, honey, floral complexity.

This Mead has sugar-like notes with a lemon hint.

This is a smooth, yet complex Mead with beautiful flavors.

2nd Place


Macadamia Nut Honey Wine
Varietal Mead with Honey from Macadamia Trees
Volcano Winery, Volcano, HI

: Light aroma of flowers, alcohol and nuts.

There is an earthy complexity that is nice.
Solvent hints are there, but do no detract.

: Clear and light in color like water.

: Viscous, alcohol, tannin-cranberry undertones.

This is a very smooth Mead with an elegant character.

3rd Place

Life Force Huckleberry Mead
Varietal Mead with Honey from Huckleberry Plants
Chateau Lorane, Lorane, OR

Aroma: Fruit, berry, and honey.

There is a mild, subtle, cherry-like character.

Very nice.

Appearance: Glowing red -- clear with ruby hints.

Flavor: Sweetness is very nice.

Alcohol and berry flavors are up front.

There are also notes of vanilla.

This is a delicious and elegant Mead.

Raspberry Melomel
Fruit Melomel (Mead with Fruit Added)
Kenco Farms, Sutton, WV
ph: 304-765-7980

Aroma: Sweet raspberries and alcohol.

Solvent hints.

Slightly perfumy with aromas of soda pop.

Appearance: Light pink color with a clear/brilliant appearance.
Flavor: Dry finish.

This Mead is slightly tart with some earthy/cellar notes that are quite interesting.

The berry tartness is pleasant.

Body is perhaps a bit thin -- a touch more fruit and honey would be appealing.

Overall, a very fruity, refreshing, dry Melomel.

Sky River Dry Mead
Traditional Mead
Sky River Meadery, Sultan, WA

Aroma: Nice aroma of citrus and lemon.

Appearance: Very pale with a light straw color and hint of tiny bubbles.

Flavor: Citrus notes up front with honey flavors at the finish.

Apple-like undertones are pleasant with honey flavors being dominant.

Tastes semi-sweet rather than very dry.

Traditional Mead
Kenco Farms, Sutton, WV
ph: 304-765-7980

Aroma: Hints of plastic and phenol.

Smells of something that is a bit burnt.

Vanilla notes.

Appearance: Almost clear and very light in color.

Flavor: Honey flavors impaired somewhat by phenols (band-aid).

There is a nice mouthfeel and a semi-sweet flavor.

This has a good, almost cotton candy/sugar quality to the flavor.

Sky River Sweet Mead
Traditional Mead
Sky River Meadery, Sultan, WA

Aroma: Nice honey with hints of spice.

Hints of herbal/grassy aromas.

Appearance: Light straw color that is very clear.

Flavor: Sweet with an alcohol warmness.

There are also citrus notes.

This is a clean, tasty dessert wine that is very pleasant, but not very complex.

Seyval Mead
Pyment (Seyval Wine with 10% Honey in this case)
Kirkwood Winery, Summerville, WV
ph: 304-872-7332

Aroma: Butter, sherry, cinnamon, muscat grapes, madeira, honey.

Appearance: Clear with a medium/dark gold color.

Flavor: Short flavor of herbal, sherry quality.

There is very little finish.

This could be an old bottle because it also has hints of paper and vermouth.

Peach Melomel
Fruit Melomel (Mead with Fruit Added)
Kenco Farms, Sutton, WV
ph: 304-765-7980

Aroma: Wild grapes with cellar/earthy hints.

Appearance: Clear with a pretty yellow/straw color and nice glow.

Flavor: Very dry with a tart character.

The peach flavors are hidden in the deep background.

This would be a fine Melomel if it had more fresh peach flavor and a bit more body and sweetness.

Life Force Marionberry Mead
Fruit Melomel (Mead with Fruit Added)
Chateau Lorane, Lorane, OR

Aroma: Candy, sugar, and apples.

Smells a bit artificial.

Appearance: Deep red with a dark cranberry/garnet color.

Flavor: Spicy berry with hints of cherry pits, almond, and amaretto.

Not extremely sweet -- a bit light in body and sweetness.

Almost a bit bitter.

A very interesting Mead.

Desi's Wildflower Sparkling Mead
Varietal Honey Mead
Desi's Dew Meadery, Rougemont, NC
ph: 919-732-2808

Aroma: Interesting aromas of anise, honey, carbon dioxide, and bananas.

Appearance: Light golden in color.

Carbonation is perfect.

Very attractive.

Flavor: Very dry with sherry hints.

Interesting flavors of spices.

This has a light, fun flavor and would be a great aperitif.

Not very astringent -- the sparkling character provides a good balance.

A bit dry and bitter.

Mead Harbor Captain's Reserve
Varietal Honey Mead with Tupelo Honey
T & A Vintners, Howell, MI

Aroma: Spicy, apple strudel character.

Smells of fruit, dough, and applesauce.
Appearance: CAUTION -- This bottle was very over-carbonated and gushed with some force when opened.

Clear in color and very fizzy.

This is not supposed to be a sparkling Mead (we thought).

Flavor: Cotton candy, medicinal, toasty, applesauce hints.

Very dry from secondary fermentation in the bottle.

Very over-attenuated.

Life Force Mead
Varietal Mead with Wildflower Honey
Chateau Lorane, Lorane, OR

Aroma: Moderate honey aroma that is nice.

There are hints of phenols, however.

Rubber/plastic notes in aroma.

Appearance: Hint of haze with a nice, light golden color.

Flavor: Nutty with a sweet, big mouthfeel.

Unfortunately there are also undertones of rubber, plastic, and medicine.

Alcohol warmth is good.

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  1. liquor license needed?

  2. nope... it's considered a 'honey beer' :)

  3. Or . . . just run up to the bottlo and by one.

  4. I'm going to make a non bubbly kind-the recipe I found took months though-gonna look a little harder.

  5. easy out, baino ;) lol

    lemme know how it turns out, deb :)

  6. I love mead. Just up the road is a honey maker and they have the most luscious flavors of mead. I like the classic best - perfect for pouring over vanilla ice cream.

  7. Reall, what doesn't taste wonderful over vanilla ice cream?

  8. Laughingwolf, I had to look up the word 'mead', but now I know what it is. It appears to me, that you can make a stone brick taste wonderful with the stuff over it :-)

  9. man, wolfie, this post is longer than the declaration of independence!!!

  10. lol... thx ladies, mead is a winner in many folks' books :)

  11. This was yummy...but you began a free-for-all with your mead. The party began slowly and politely, but before I knew it the mead was all gone, and people were coming into the house looking for more liquor.

    They were wild! They all found KJ's liquor cabinet and emptied it completely. Obviously, she hasn't found the loss yet, but I kind of let the cat out of the bag earlier...

  12. Marion; and here I thought you were well-behaved!

    Wolfie: thanks for the recipe — something without which no self-especting Bear should be!

    Blessings and Bear hugs!