When you mix water and honey together to make mead, it is called Must. The must is what gets transformed into mead by adding yeast to it. The first step in making mead is getting the must made and adding your yeast to the mix and let it sit in a fermenter until complete.
First, place your honey into hot water in order to make the honey more liquified. This will allow the honey to flow easier.
You want to get a large brewing pot usually around 5 gallons. Pour about 2 gallons of water into your pot. Then open your honey and pour about 15 lbs of the honey into the mix.
Bring your pot to a boil, but watch out. Don’t let your pot overflow or you will have a large sticky mess all over your kitchen. Using your stirring spoon constantly stir the mix slowly. I use one of those big spatula spoons, but if you want to be fancy you can grab one of those big brewing mixers. Boil for 15 minutes to allow the mix to be clear of impurities that could affect how the mix gets fermented.
When boiling, a layer of foamy scum will appear at the top. This is called albumen. Skim this layer off as albumen leads to cloudiness in mead.
After your boil, pour the must into your fermentation bucket.
After pouring, I will take my spoon and stir the must for about 5 minutes to aerate the mixture as much as possible. This gives the must more oxygen for the yeast to use during fermentation.
After boiling, your must will be very hot, too hot in fact for your yeast to survive, so you have to get your must down to under 80 degrees fahrenheit. You can go professional and get a ‘wort chiller’ which is basically copper tubing attached to a hose, or you could add cold spring water to the mix or put the bucket in an ice bath. One tactic that you could use is get a couple really big ziploc bags and fill them with water. Seal them up and throw them in the freezer the night before you are going to make your must. When the time comes to cool your must down you bring them out of the freezer and submerge them. This works like a charm.
At this point you should prepare your yeast. This usually means adding your yeast to warm water for 15 minutes. What this does is allow your yeast to come alive first for a bit before throwing it in the must. Throwing the yeast right in the must shocks it a bit and it may cause problems with fermentation. Other people will prepare their yeast much more than this, while others just throw it in right out of the package.
Take your thermometer and make sure you have a must under 80 degrees. Once you have that throw your yeast in the mix along with your yeast nutrient.
Now, place the lid on your bucket and move your bucket to a dark place where the temp is around room temperature. Once you have it there, fill your airlock up with water and place it in the little hole on top of the bucket. This airlock allows co2 to escape, but at the same time not allow any outside air in. Let this bucket sit until fermentation is mostly complete. You will notice it is getting close by the bubble activity in the airlock slowing down, however to be sure you can always take a hydrometer reading. A good time frame is about 2 weeks.
After the two weeks it’s time to transfer your mead to your secondary fermenter for aging.
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