A few weeks ago, in April when I had my crazy homesteading weekend, I started my own batch of honey mead. I found the recipe on Pinterest and it was very simple, just honey and water, so I decided to try it out. Last night I decided to finally taste my homemade mead, and it was delicious! Sweet, but not in the “added sugar instant cavity” sense, smelled a bit boozy and yeasty, and had a pleasant finish to it. All in all, I am very happy with the way it turned out, and it was SUPER easy to accomplish.
Original recipe & instructions here.
You begin with a large, widemouth jar. I found myself buying a gallon glass jar of pickles to have a sufficient container for this. Then, pour into the jar 3 cups of honey and 12 cups of water (or 1:4 ratio honey to water if you want to try a smaller batch). That’s it! Make sure you stir multiple times a day with a wooden spoon until you start to see bubbles form. Do NOT wash the spoon, as the yeast and other cultures will thrive on the spoon and aid in the fermentation process. Cover the opening of the large jar with a tea towel/cheese cloth/coffee filter so that it may breathe, but unwanted critters can not get in.
Once you see bubbles, you can transfer to either one large, 1 gallon, small-mouth glass container, or do as I did and transfer into multiple, smaller small-mouth containers (I used old Bragg’s ACV bottles). This process of starting the fermentation, and the actual fermentation itself can be affected by temperature: it takes longer in cooler temps and works quicker in warmer temps. I kept my mead in my spare bathroom where I am currently raising chicks, so their brooder lamp kept the temp quite warm in the bathroom. I do not have an air lock, so I instead covered the bottle mouths with balloons, which I burped every day (allow the accumulated gases to vent). Next batch I will try to keep all of the mead in one larger small mouth container, as I found that my fermentation levels varied between the different bottles.
Once your balloons cease to re-inflate (took mine about 3.5-4 weeks), your mead is ready for consumption. Cap them and store, I am storing mine in the fridge.
When you get the hang of the natural fermentation process, experiment with other recipes. I think I would like to try out some herbed (rosemary and/or lavender) or fruited (strawberries are next on my list) batches next, to experiment with various flavors. I also feel that the mead will be best with local or natural honey, if it is available to you. All together, though, I am very happy with how my mead has turned out and look very forward to future batches to come.