The process listed below is how Chip made his two mini-meads (mini meaning small volume here, but also refers to the lower gravity in this case) in Chop & Brew – Episode 64. Shout-out to our good friend Mino Choi for his help and advice. Chip used Bare Honey raw wildflower honey for one mead and Bare Honey lavender blossom honey for the other.
For approximately one gallon of mead (10-12 12-ounce bottles)
- 3 lbs of honey
- Ice Mountain Ice Spring Water (per Mino) – enough to top up to approximately 1.25-1.5 gallons
- 1 packet Lalvin 71B-2211 Narbonne yeast
- Wyeast Wine Yeast Nutrient
- Yeast nutrient
Sanitize all equipment including two-gallon bucket and lid, spoon (or wine wand), airlock, etc.
Mix 3/4 gallon water and honey together in two-gallon bucket with sanitized spoon or wine wand. With 3 lbs of honey into this amount of water, you’ll be looking at an OG of about 1.080 (ish). Use less honey for a lower OG (or more for a higher OG) in your small-batch mead. Once Target OG is achieved, put lid on and airlock in place. Shake bucket to aerate must. Pitch half-packet of Lalvin 71B-2211 for lower gravity must. Also add Wyeast Wine Yeast Nutrient according to packaging.
Primary fermentation. For yeast nutrient addition, Mino suggests adding 1/4 teaspoon the first and second day of fermentation (or add 1/8 teaspoon for first four days). Ferment in low-to-mid 60s for about one month or until SG is static. Rack to secondary fermenter; Mino suggests a sanitized one-gallon glass jug. Let rest for two months. If you plan to backsweeten your mead, stabilize with sulfite and sorbate first, and add the proper amount of honey back to sweeten it to taste. [Note: Chip did not backsweeten his mead; he let it ferment to terminal gravity – about 1.000 – and enjoyed it “dry.”]
Another reason for the two-gal bucket: if want to add a bit of fruit you can use a 8 x 9-inch nylon bag and place fruits or whatever additions in the bucket for easy extraction. Also the long auto siphon won’t work well for transferring out of the 1 gallon jug so pick up a short one from your local homebrew shop. If u have a haze or want to speed up clarity u can easily place the 1 gal jug in the fridge for a few days to cold crash it closer to bottling time. Enjoy!!
Note: Mino says 6 lbs of honey in this same amount of water will give you the gravity you need for a mead that is more in the 16-18% ABV range. But adjust your yeast and nutrients accordingly.