We wound up making 10 gallons that day and it took us about a half hour and we were done.
The beauty of mead is that the barrier to create something new is so low because it takes only a few minutes to make a new batch.
The hardest part
What takes the most time of the whole process? Getting materials.
The biggest time waste of getting a new batch started is driving around trying to find some good honey and a good yeast strain for your mead. We of course didn’t plan ahead and wound up driving for about an hour to a home brewing shop.
We could have eliminated this step just by ordering online, but we are a bunch of crumbs and didn’t do that.
The second hardest part
After getting your materials, the next hardest part is the bottling. It’s a pain in the ass to have to sanitize every bottle and if you don’t have a good setup you’ll be bending over all day filling the bottles up with your mead.
This is such a pain to do that I often will put off doing it and just leave the mead in the secondary another week.
How to streamline
I have recently streamlined my process so that I don’t have to deal with this. The way I went about this was as such:
- Build a suitable work station for transferring and bottling
- Order materials ahead of time
- Make more 1 gallon batches
- Have spray bottles of star san already made
Build a suitable work station
This doesn’t have to be anything big. All I did was get a folding table and a stool and I was good to go. This is convenient because you can transport this pretty easily from places like your basement, garage, or outside depending on where you want to brew.
For a folding table think about something you would use for beer pong. It gives a good height so that you can siphon easily from one container to another without having to have stuff spilling.
The stool comes in handy because you want something to sit on, but easy to get up from. When you are bottling it’s a constant up and down process.
This will save you a bunch of time, aggrevation, and back pain. Trust me.
Order materials ahead of time
This is pretty obvious, but often goes overlooked. I have a home brew shop about a half hour away from me that is pretty good, but they don’t have everything.
I also don’t feel like driving a half hour just to pick up yeast that costs a dollar. That’s annoying.
I use Adventures In Homebrewing as they are pretty fast and have a big inventory.
Make more 1 gallon batches
Believe it or not, I’m not a heavy drinker, so having 10 gallons of mead is more of a project to do with a friend than a way to get mass alcohol.
Making 1 gallon batches has a lot of advantages for keeping mead making easy.
For one thing, you can sanitize everything with a spray bottle. Your 1 gallon jug can be sprayed down and shook. Just shoot some star san in and shake it up. Easy Peasy.
Also, you can do the same with all the bottles, siphons, and siphon lines.
Everything is smaller so it’s so much more managable.
Have spray bottles of star san pre made
This was an absolute game changer for me because it always took me a while to make a new batch of star san from the concentrate. I always made half a bucket of the stuff.
I’d manage to take a bunch of time filling up half a bucket and ended up wasting a bunch of the solution.
The answer is to make a bucket of star san solution and put it into spray bottles to use later. Not only does this save time by not having to make a new solution every time, but you can also use the spray bottles to specifically target a spot you need to sanitize.
I can’t recommend this enough. Have a few of these bottles laying around and just spray away when you need to sanitize. Should only take a few seconds compared to minutes when you need to dunk bottles etc.
Putting it all together
When you combine all these tactics together you can make mead in a matter of minutes. This is important when you are trying out new recipes because you don’t want to waste a bunch of time on something that could turn out shitty.
This is why you should start out doing 1 gallon batches. It’s so easy that even an idiot could come out with a winning brew.
You’ll also have about 4 wine bottles of mead which is a good amount. If you have a winning formula you can just increase the ingredients to a 5 gallon batch size and reproduce for a bigger yield.
My plans for the next couple of months are to create a number of summer meads in 1 gallon batches.
If you’re interested in making some 1 gallon batches, check out my 1 gallon kit.