Strawberry Mead Recipe — How to Make (and Bottle) Your Own! 21


You may have heard some whispers and rumblings about mead lately, as it’s become somewhat of a hot topic.

By Colleen Codekas, contributing writer

But, what is mead, anyway? In its simplest form, it’s a fermented alcohol drink made with honey and water, also sometimes called “honey wine.” Some historians claim that mead is the oldest form of alcohol created by humans, dating back thousands of years. If people back then could make mead, then we certainly can now, and it doesn’t have to be difficult. The best way to start is on a small scale, and a gallon batch of mead is the perfect size for beginners. Here is my simple one gallon mead recipe.

In its simplest form, mead is a fermented alcohol drink made with honey and water, also sometimes called "honey wine."

Equipment Needed

If you start looking up recipes for mead, you will notice that a lot of them seem complicated with fancy equipment. Maybe after a few tries you will want to expand your mead making skills to that level, but for now we’re just going to stick with the basics.

  • A one gallon jug with a narrow neck for brewing. I prefer to use glass for this, as I don’t care for plastic, but a plastic jug will work in a pinch.
  • An airlock with a rubber stopper. You can alternatively use a balloon with a pinhole that is attached to the top of the jug. The gasses will be able to escape through the pinhole without letting any oxygen in. (You can also get the glass jug with airlock together for a better price).
  • A stainless steel pot
  • A big spoon
  • A funnel, bigger is better
  • A thermometer. Just a regular meat thermometer will do.
  • Sanitizer, I like One Step brand as it is easy to use and nontoxic. It is very important that you sanitize everything that will be used prior to brewing.

In its simplest form, mead is a fermented alcohol drink made with honey and water, also sometimes called "honey wine."Strawberry Mead Recipe

As soon as you add any fruit to mead, it is then called a “melomel,” so that is technically what this recipe is. Feel free to use any fruit you might have on hand, or leave the fruit out completely and just do a straight mead if you’d like. The process is the same either way.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 pounds honey, preferably raw (3 pounds is about 1 quart, and will yield a sweeter mead)
  • Champagne yeast (or other wine making yeast)
  • 1 cup (more or less) organic strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 10 raisins
  • Filtered (non-chlorinated) water

Directions:

  • First and foremost, sanitize everything that will come in contact with the mead.
  • Put approximately 1/2 gallon of filtered water into a large stainless steel pot and heat until warm, but not boiling.
  • Turn off the heat, add the honey, and stir to dissolve. You can put some hot water back into the empty honey container and shake a bit to get all of the honey out.
  • Use a funnel to pour the honey water mixture into the glass jug (it will not fill it completely).
  • Add the strawberries and raisins.
  • Fill the jug with cold filtered water, leaving about 3 inches of space at the top.
  • Cap the jug with its lid and invert once or twice to mix everything together.
  • Check the temperature of the liquid; if it is 90°F or less it’s ok to add the yeast. If it’s higher, wait a bit until it cools.
  • Add the yeast. One yeast package will ferment up to five gallons of liquid, so you don’t need to use it all. I usually use about half of one package when making a gallon.
  • Cap the jug again, and shake it vigorously for a minute or two. This helps to combine and aerate the yeast.
  • Attach the airlock to the rubber stopper, fill it with water to the line, and put it into the top of your jug.

The mead should start bubbling within a few hours and the top will get really foamy. Sometimes it foams too much and comes up out of the airlock, but that’s ok. Just rinse the airlock and put it back on the jar. It will subside by the next morning. You will see millions of tiny bubbles coming up through the liquid – that’s the yeast just doing it’s thing.

Now You Have to Wait

Put the jug in a cool and dark corner and wait. It will take about 6-8 weeks to fully ferment, depending on the outside temperature. It will ferment faster when it’s warmer, slower when it’s cooler. Check it every few days to make sure it is still bubbling. Once it completely stops bubbling, it is ready to be bottled. The mead is ready to drink right away, but will benefit from some amount of aging, as it can be a bit harsh at first.

Go here for instructions on how to bottle your gallon of mead.

Happy mead making!

About Colleen Codekascolleen

Colleen (and her hubby behind the scenes, Joel) run the blog Grow Forage Cook Ferment, a website that teaches about all types of homesteading endeavors, particularly related to food, herbalism, permaculture, health and self sufficiency. She loves growing and foraging for herbs and other plants, making herbal salves, cooking food from scratch, and making mead (honey wine).


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21 thoughts on “Strawberry Mead Recipe — How to Make (and Bottle) Your Own!

  • Mike K

    I’d like to point out that the seeds from the strawberries will cause a bitter flavor. If you can juice fresh strawberries or find juice that does not contain preservatives, then you can avoid the problem.

  • BrewMan

    Why would you use champagne yeast instead of mead yeast? I would think if you are making a mead you should use the proper product. I mean you wouldn’t swap your car engine out with a boat motor and expect the same results.

    • jacque

      champagne yeast is hardier then mead yeast and yields a higher % of alcohol.

    • Ek

      Brewman, wine yeast is mead yeast as mead is a wine. There are many types of yeast that are applicable to mead. Most tend to use yeast that is preferred for white wines.

    • Colleen

      Champagne yeast is only a suggestion, but in my experience it provides consistent results, which is great for beginners. It’s also easy to find. Really, though, any yeast will work 🙂

  • WolfSong

    In my experience, more fruit is needed. A cup of berries isn’t going to give you much strawberry flavour. I do a pound of berries minimum per gallon, and freeze for 24 hours before hand. Helps break down the cell walls and extract the flavour goodness. 🙂
    Also, rack off that fruit and the gross lees around 10-14 days. Once under the airlock in the secondary, it can sit for bulk aging. I leave in the secondary a minimum of 3 months. Sometimes I bottle after that, depending on clarity, but often rack again and let sit another 3 months.
    There are great resources for mead making (including recipes) at gotmead.com and stormthecastle.com.

  • Andrew C. Potts

    At the end of fermentation, do you do any more work on the liquid, like straining it through a charcoal filter? How many bottles will the above recipe yield?

    • Colleen

      No, I don’t filter it through a charcoal filter, I use a siphon to rack it and then bottle it. You can read more about that process at the link for bottling at the bottom of the post, and I will be expanding on that more in a few weeks as well. The yield will depend on the size bottles you use 😉 If we’re talking regular sized (750ml) wine bottles it makes about 4-5 (usually right about 4 1/2).

  • Maija

    Might sound silly.. but, does strawberry mead really taste like strawberries?

  • Paul

    Making this tomorrow. Got all I need including honey from my own hive. So excited.

  • Shirley

    I used this recipe for strawberry mead in the spring of this year and then entered a bottle into my local fair this fall in the amateur wine makers event. I won 2nd prize, which I think is pretty good for a first time maker. And the reason it didn’t win first was because it was not as clear as the winner. So how do I get a clear mead without using filter paper, as both judges stated that they could taste filter paper in other people’s entries?
    All I did was poured off from the undisturbed centre of the jug with a hose and filter cap.

    • Dom

      Use a clarifier(finings). Lots of places to buy from

    • Dave Bowen

      I have heard that gelatin works good for clarification

    • carmela oberliesarmela

      try several thinknesses of cheese cloth

    • Roy Hansen

      Gelatin or crushed (baked) egg shells are good for cleaing

  • Cessil cisar

    Just made ten litres using the recipe, if it turns out I will be very impressed and happy.

  • Shelley Quiners

    So I am wondering what the ancients used as yeast??? They certainly did not have Champagne yeast at hand.. By the way thankyou for this recipe. Sincerely, Shelley

  • Jen

    Do you rack this recipe into seoncdary? I followed the directions but didn’t add fruit and made a straight mead but know things can be different with champagne yeast. What should the SG be before bottling?