How to Make Mead, the Honey Wine

Learn how to make mead with this experimental guide, and prepare to be impressed by full-bodied flavor and mellow sweetness that shines through this honey wine with mellowed tones — it only gets better with time.

  • How to Make Honey Mead
    Sweet, crisp, unspiced honey wine or mead gets tastier and easier over time. Learn how to make mead with the staff of Sunset Magazine.
    Photo By Thomas J. Story (c) 2011
  • Honey Mead
    Most people think of mead as an overly spiced and unbearably sweet beverage found only at Renaissance fairs, but there is a whole world of delicious, easy-to drink mead, both sweet and dry.
    Photo By Thomas J. Story (c) 2011
  • One-Block Feast Cover
    “The One-Block Feast,” by Margo True and the staff of Sunset Magazine, is for readers nationwide who believe that dinner starts with earth, the sea, and a few animals. Take local eating to the next level with this cooking and gardening guide, complete with DIY food projects.
    Cover Courtesy Ten Speed Press

  • How to Make Honey Mead
  • Honey Mead
  • One-Block Feast Cover

Based on the James-Beard-Award-winning One-Block Diet, The One-Block Feast (Ten Speed Press, 2011) is the ultimate guide to eating local. Complete with seasonal garden plans, menus, 100 recipes and 15 food projects, this guide explains how to raise and produce everything needed for totally made-from-scratch meals, all from your own backyard. The following excerpt on how to make mead, the honey wine, is taken from “The Winter Projects.” 

You can purchase this book from the GRIT store: The One-Block Feast.

How to Make Mead

Most people think of mead as an overly spiced and unbearably sweet beverage found only at Renaissance fairs, but there is a whole world of delicious, easy-to drink mead, both sweet and dry. Along with beer and wine, it is one of our most ancient drinks, thought to have been made as early as 7000 BCE. We tend to associate mead with the Vikings and the Celts of northern Europe, but it’s been quaffed in many other places around the globe, including China, India, Greece, and Africa (it is still popular in Ethiopia, where it’s called tej). In places where grapes could not be grown, mead offered a different way to make wine. Dozens of different styles of mead exist, from morat (made with mulberries) to cyser (honey and apple juice fermented together) to metheglin (a traditional Welsh brew involving herbs and spices).

We were inspired to have a crack at it ourselves after accompanying our local beekeepers’ guild to Rabbit’s Foot Meadery, in Sunnyvale, California. We chatted with the owner and acclaimed mead maker, Michael Faul, and realized that basic mead was not hard to make: Honey, water, and yeast are all it takes.

After doing some research, we came up with a streamlined recipe that is easy to re-create. We left out all spices and refrained from boiling the honey to preserve more of its character. This gentle treatment also retains more of the nutritional benefits of the raw honey.

Our mead still needs a few years of aging to mellow fully, but even after eight months, it already tastes better to us than many of the professionally made meads we have tried. The flavor of the honey shines through, undisguised by fruit flavors or excessive spices. Follow Team Mead’s blog to watch our progress as we embark on future batches of dry mead and of melomel, mead flavored with fruit.

4/28/2018 9:23:06 AM

So excited to try. I lovebuilding bee hives and my husband loves caring for them. 2nd year bee keeper with 25 hives. Great thing to do with honey and share with friends. Debbie N. OKC, OK 4/26/18. Thanks

Julie Cunningham Goulart
1/9/2014 9:43:59 PM

1St year BeeKeeper here-this sounds like a yummy(and easy) must try!

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