I’m a proponent of making mead in the most straight forward easy way possible. I like mead with a strong flavor as well. This means I will usually do nothing but honey in the primary fermentation, and then place fruit or whatever I’m flavoring it with in the secondary.
I also don’t heat the honey. I’ve done a bunch of meads and don’t think this is necessary.
With that in mind, here’s my cherry mead recipe.
- Fill a 1 gallon carboy with 3 lbs of clover honey and water up to a little under the top.
- Stir the honey and water until it’s completely dissolved. This could take a good amount of effort as honey is pretty thick.
- Pitch your yeast.
- Let ferment for a month.
- Put in potassium sorbate and potassium metabisulfate into your mead to stop future fermentation.
- Cut up a pound of dark cherries and place it into a 1 gallon carboy.
- Add pectic enzyme to your cherries to break down the cherries.
- Transfer mead on top of cherries in 1 gallon carboy. Fill all the way up to the top.
- Wait about 2 months to bottle.
Take your 1 gallon carboy and fill it about half way with water. I say half way because with 1 gallon batches everything will be smaller. After it’s half way full, take your 3 lbs of clover honey and pour it in.
You’ll notice that it’s extremely thick. You want to make all this honey dissolve into the water. Put the cap back on your carboy and shake the hell out of it until the honey is completely dissolved. After it’s dissolved fill the rest of the carboy up to almost the top with water.
Throw your yeast into the mix. I’ve been using Mangrove Jack Mead yeast as of late and it’s pretty good. I just open up the packet and throw it in. Then I take a spoon and lightly submerge all of the yeast. One of the good things about not heating your mead is that you don’t have to wait to cool it down to pitch your yeast.
Attach an airlock to your carboy and put water into the airlock. Find a dark room temperature spot and let it sit for a month to ferment. Once you’re at a month, check the gravity and make sure it’s where you need it to be.
Put your potassium metabisulfate and potassium sorbate into your mead in order to stabilize it. Leave your mead like this for at least 3 days to ensure it’s taken effect.
Take your cherries and cut them in half. Store them in a bag in the freezer overnight to break down the cell walls of the cherries. Place the cherries in your second carboy. Add some pectic enzyme to help break down the cherries.
Now, rack your mead into the second carboy on top of the cherries. Make sure that it’s filled up to about the top of the second carboy. This should be easy as the cherries help fill up some of the space that was left when you leave the lees from the first carboy.
Place an airlock onto your second carboy and fill it with water. Again, let this sit in a room temperature dark place to ferment for 2 months.
After 2 months go by, it should be good to go for bottling. I would suggest in this case to transfer the mead into another bottling bucket or another carboy to bottle.
You should have 4 750 ml bottles on hand, or whatever you want to bottle your mead. Age your bottles as long as you want, they get better the longer they age.
This will give you an extremely dominant cherry flavored mead. Make sure to break this out for a halloween party with some vampire blood branding to really make a splash.
Following this basic process will allow you to make mead fast, and with any ingredients you want. You could substitute any kind of fruit in for cherries and it would work pretty good.
The biggest thing about this recipe will be getting good cherries and having the patience to cut them up into halves. It’s annoying, but really leads to drawing that cherry flavor out of them.
Another thing is that coming by a good 1 gallon kit is hard. That’s why I created my own. Check it out here if you need a good 1 gallon kit.