Don’t boil your Mead

Some older recipes for Mead suggest boiling the honey and water before fermentation.

This may be appropriate if you are using honey from honeycomb with the odd dead bee in it, but for most of us now making mead with honey bought from commercial suppliers, then this honey can be used unboiled, thus preserving the more subtle honey flavours.

Basic Mead

  • 1 Gallon demijohn, sterilised with 1 campden tablet
  • 5 lbs honey
  • Optional – sprig of rosemary
  • Strong white wine yeast
  • Optional -elderflowers/elderflower cordial
  1. Dissolve the honey in warm water –about 2 pints, (bring to the boil if not using commercial honey), add a sprig of scalded rosemary, take off the heat, leave to infuse overnight.
  2. Remove the rosemary; transfer the dissolved honey to a 1 gallon demijohn.
  3. Sprinkle yeast (strong white wine) onto 1 part honey syrup, 1 part cold water and 1 part boiling water mixed.
  4. Leave to stand for about 10 mins then stir and leave in a warm place for a further 30 mins.
  5. Add to the demijohn and then make up to about 1 inch below the neck with warm water.
  6. Shake well
  7. Add fermentation trap, shake occasionally, ignore until it stops fermenting.

When fermentation has stopped.

  1. Rack off into clean demijohn, leaving the lees in the bottom of the original demijohn.
  2. Stop the fermentation with a campden tablet, add wine finings, leave to settle – then decant into bottles and ignore again for a few months.
  3. If desired you can add a hint of elderflower, either using fresh elderflowers at the same time as adding the rosemary, or by adding a sneaky dose of elderflower cordial before bottling.

NB many cordials have preservative in them so add at the end of fermentation if required, rather than at the start when they may stop the yeast working.