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Mead FAQ (frequently asked questions)
Here are answers to some of the more frequently asked questions.
- What is Mead? - It is an alcoholic beverage made with honey. It is the same as wine made from grape but instead of grapes, honey is used.
- Is mead hard to make? No, it is very easy to make. The quick process is to add honey, water and yeast together and then let it ferment. I have a quick tutorial video here
- Can you go blind from drinking mead that you make yourself? No! This is not something that can happen. That story about blindness comes from trying to distill spririts like whiskey. It has nothing to do with mead making which is a fermentation process.
- When was Mead first made? Nobody knows! It goes way back into the history of humanity. And there are clues that the ancient egyptians made it.
- What came first Mead or Grape wine? Nobody knows and there are arguments that support both sides.
- What is the alcohol content of mead? This will vary a bit depending on the yeast used and how much honey is used. But typically mead ranges in the 12-14% alcohol range.
- How long does it take before you can drink mead? - Every recipe is different! But typically mead takes 6-9 months before it is considered finished and ready for drinking.
- Is mead expensive to make? Well, that is up to you. To make a one gallon batch you will need a quart of honey and that can be expensive. You will also need about 30-50 dollars worth of equipment I have a selection of kits you can buy right here: Mead making kits and supplies
- Is it ok to use mason jars for bottling mead? - Difficult question for me to answer. I have never done it. But I think yes, it would be ok. As long as you are not making a sparkling mead and you are sure the ferment is done. Any pressure build up in those jars could easily explode them.
- Is it ok to use Grolsch style bottles for mead? Yes, as long as it is not a sparkling mead with a carbonation build up.
- Is the orange for flavor in this recipe? If so, would it hurt to leave it out next time? The orange isn't just for flavor. It is also to balance out the ph of the honey which tends to be in a weak range for the yeast to multiply quickly. But.... it is not mandatory to use the orange.
I recommend you go with orange for your first try. It will increase your odds of success. It won't turn your batch into an orange drink, barely noticeable hint of orange.
- As you can imagine I am ready to start drinking my mead. The directions I ready gave a 3.5 to 6.5 month wait time. In one of your videos, you said 6 months to a year. What is the best? I want to drink now but will wait however long I need to make sure it is done right? Aging the mead is an individual batch thing just like regular wine. Every batch is different. I am finding that the orange and raisins batch tends to mature earlier. So.... 3.5 to 6.5 months is about right. And it will probably peak at two years then start to decline.
- When I bottled my mead, I was going to run it threw a metal coffee filter. After watching one of your videos, that may not be a good idea. I know you rack it a couple times using a siphon but how do you bottle? Siphon it into bottles or just pour it in? I siphon into the bottles one at a time. Always better to siphon but not 100% mandatory.
- Can I use Fermax as a nutrient energize for yeast in mead? If yes then how much should I use? Fermax is good. Quite suitable to use for mead. Typically, it is 1 teaspoon per gallon of mead. (The fermax will come with directions as to how much to use)
- Can you Distill Mead? Technically you could but legally you cannot! It is illegal in the United States to distill any type of spirit for safety reasons, both safety of the process and safety of the drink for people. But... if you want to bump up the alcohol content of mead you can freeze it some and then remove the ice which will be water. This brings up the alcohol content. I might do a tutorial on this.
- I think I killed my yeast? Or didn't realize it was expired. Can I just add more yeast? Yes, you sure can. Wait 48 hours after you pitched that first yeast though. It may catch on. If there is still no airlock activity then you are free to add more yeast.
- Do I have to Rack and if so how often should I rack? Technically you don't have to rack your mead at all. But it is a good idea for clearing up the mead and avoiding off flavors. And racking is a function of need. If there is a sediment you should rack it. Typically every 30 days is good or until no more sediment forms.
- Can I use plastic rather than glass for making mead? The short answer is yes. But.... you should use food grade plastic. They make plastic jugs, carboys and buckets specifically for wine making. These will be good and will not affect your mead.
- Will, in some of your videos you heat the honey for mead and in other videos you don't. Why is this? What is the difference? Great question. I generally advise new mead makers to heat the honey. It makes it easier to work with, helps blend the honey and water and it does some sanitizing. But, heating is optional.
- My mead has a bunch of sediment in the bottom. Is that normal? If yes what should I do? Yes, that sediment in the bottom is normal. It is dead yeast husks. The yeast grows and dies in a life cycle and accumulates on the bottom. You should periodically siphon the mead off all that stuff. This siphoning is called "racking". Typically every 30 days we rack.
- What is a Mazer? In times gone by a mazer was a ceremonial cup used for drinking mead. Nowadays any vessel used to serve mead can be called a mazer.
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