Mead Beer Recipes

Mead is a type of ancient fermented beverage made from honey, water, yeast and other ingredients. Mead BJCP styles include traditional mead (dry, semi-sweet and sweet ), melomel (cyserm pyment, and other fruit melomel), and other mead (metheglin, braggot and open category mead).

See the mead making section for more information on how to make mead.

Mead

Mead Day 2020 Traditional Mead

Homebrewers Association
Homebrewers Association

The #MeadDay 2020 official recipe comes from American Homebrewers Association Governing Committee member Carvin Wilson. Mead Day 2020 is brought to you by the National Honey Board. The star in a traditional mead is always the honey, any honey is usable with local honey providing lots of options. The honey should be complex with some good choices being meadowfoam, orange blossom, tupelo, leatherwood, fireweed, coffee blossom, passion fruit, sage, buckwheat, complex local wildflower, or heather. For this mead, we are going to use DV10 yeast, a good neutral strain that does not add character and truly gets out of the way of the honey. It also has low nitrogen requirements and can ferment well at elevated temperatures. Read More

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Mead

What a Blend! Mead

Homebrewers Association
Homebrewers Association

This mead recipe is featured in the May/June 2020 issue of Zymurgy magazine. Join the American Homebrewers Association or start your 30-day free trial to access the Zymurgy online archive and other exclusive member benefits!

Recipe courtesy Jason Phelps.

This recipe offers an opportunity to work with several kinds of honey. Feel free to adjust the relative proportions according to your taste preferences.

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Mead

Small Mead after Digbie (Modern Version)

Homebrewers Association
Homebrewers Association

This mead recipe is featured in the May/June 2020 issue of Zymurgy magazine. Join the American Homebrewers Association or start your 30-day free trial to access the Zymurgy online archive and other exclusive member benefits!

Use the citrus peel you prefer: half an orange or lemon, a whole tangerine, a quarter of a grapefruit, etc. Just use the outer colored part; remove the white inner pith, which can be very bitter. Please choose organic citrus. The peel will boil and soak in your beverage for some time, and it’s difficult to completely clean pesticide residues from the peel.

Fear not if you have no “warm fountains” as Digbie suggests—filtered tap or spring water will do just fine.

Variations of this recipe offered below.

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Melomel: Cyser

Primordial Plot Cyser

Homebrewers Association
Homebrewers Association

This cyser recipe is featured in the May/June 2020 issue of Zymurgy magazine. Join the American Homebrewers Association or start your 30-day free trial to access the Zymurgy online archive and other exclusive member benefits!

This dry sparkling cyser recipe is courtesy of Shmuel Naky (Biratenu, Jerusalem, Israel).

Brewed for Rosh Hashana, a Jewish holiday that features a traditional dish of apples and honey.

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Traditional: Semi-Sweet Mead

Desert Gold Mead

Homebrewers Association
Homebrewers Association

This mead recipe is featured in the May/June 2020 issue of Zymurgy magazine. Join the American Homebrewers Association or start your 30-day free trial to access the Zymurgy online archive and other exclusive member benefits!

This semi-sweet traditional mead recipe comes courtesy of Scott Kurtz (Saint Louis, Mo., STL Brewminati, St. Louis Brews, St. Louis Area Homebrewers Guild, Route 66 Outlanders).

I decided to use the Almost Mesquite Honey from Trader Joe’s on a whim years ago. It became a favorite of a woman very special to me and has been my most successful mead to date, with multiple awards:

  • Best in show, Mead/Cider, 8 Seconds of Froth 2019
  • Gold medal, Mead Category, Hammerdown Brew Cup 2019
  • Gold medal, Traditional Mead, Hoppy Halloween 2019
  • Gold medal, Mead Category, Bluff City Brewers Annual Homebrew Competition
  • 1st place, Traditional Mead, National Homebrew Competition First Round 2017
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Mead

Better Yeast Management Mead

Homebrewers Association
Homebrewers Association

This mead recipe is featured in the May/June 2020 issue of Zymurgy magazine. Join the American Homebrewers Association or start your 30-day free trial to access the Zymurgy online archive and other exclusive member benefits!

Recipe courtesy Jason Phelps.

This recipe makes use of a staggered nutrient addition (SNA) protocol to get more out of your yeast.

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Traditional: Sweet Mead

Strong, Sweet, Simple Mead

Homebrewers Association
Homebrewers Association

This mead recipe is featured in the May/June 2020 issue of Zymurgy magazine. Join the American Homebrewers Association or start your 30-day free trial to access the Zymurgy online archive and other exclusive member benefits!

Recipe courtesy Jason Phelps.

This is a bare-bones recipe to create a strong, sweet mead.

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Melomel: Other Fruit

Mr. Anderson’s El Hefe’s El Pogo

Homebrewers Association
Homebrewers Association

This beer recipe is featured in the March/April 2020 issue of Zymurgy magazine. Join the American Homebrewers Association or start your 30-day free trial to access the Zymurgy online archive and other exclusive member benefits!

This homebrew recipe comes courtesy of Jeremy Goehring and Dustin Deisher, both members of the homebrew club the Lincoln Lagers. The duo's recipe earned best of show in the 2019 Michigan Mead Cup. This fruit melomel is an ode to their former club president Jeff Anderson, who bore the name El Hefe on his club shirt.

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Melomel: Other Fruit

Amy Olsen’s Morat

Homebrewers Association
Homebrewers Association

This beer recipe is featured in the March/April 2020 issue of Zymurgy magazine. Join the American Homebrewers Association or start your 30-day free trial to access the Zymurgy online archive and other exclusive member benefits!

This homebrew recipe comes courtesy of Amy Olsen, who won the Michigan-Only Category at the 2019 Michigan Mead Cup. Olsen made her fruit mead with Michigan-grown mulberries and local wild honey. Incoroporate your region's local produce and let us know how it turns out!

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Other Mead: Braggot

Little Red Bird Braggot

Homebrewers Association
Homebrewers Association

This beer recipe is featured in the January/February 2020 issue of Zymurgy magazine. Join the American Homebrewers Association or start your 30-day free trial to access the Zymurgy digital archive and other exclusive member benefits!

Bière de miele with blood orange zest and juice. Recipe courtesy J. K. Bywaters.

Over the years, I’ve made several snowmelt beers. Saisons have been the go-to (including a dark saison d’hiver), but I’ve also made a snowmelt bitter and the braggot detailed below.

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Mead

Jiggly Puff and Stuff

Homebrewers Association
Homebrewers Association

This beer recipe is featured in the January/February 2020 issue of Zymurgy magazine. Join the American Homebrewers Association or start your 30-day free trial to access the Zymurgy digital archive and other exclusive member benefits!

BJCP Category M1C: Sweet Mead

Jeremy Goehring and Dustin Deisher, Lincoln Lagers, 2019 Sower’s Cup Best of Show - Mead

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Christmas/Winter Specialty Spiced Beer

Winter Spiced Mead

Homebrewers Association
Homebrewers Association

This beer recipe is featured in the January/February 2015 issue of Zymurgy magazine. Join the American Homebrewers Association or start your 30-day free trial to access the Zymurgy digital archive and other exclusive member benefits!

Ken Schramm created this deliciously spiced mead recipe and proves that patience really is a virtue, at least when it comes to aging mead!

This is a medium-to-sweet, still metheglin (spiced mead) with several years of aging potential. It will have layers of complexity and will evolve subtly in its character and expression of spices as it matures.

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Melomel: Cyser

Buzzzed Cyser

Homebrewers Association
Homebrewers Association

This beer recipe is featured in the November/December 2019 issue of Zymurgy magazine. Join the American Homebrewers Association or start your 30-day free trial to access the Zymurgy digital archive and other exclusive member benefits!

This cyser recipe won Best of Show for its creator Tom Mendick at the First Farmhand Brewing Company Homebrew Competition.

The simple ingredient list and brewing notes are no mistake; the watermelon honey and apple juice pair perfectly for this cyser without any added adjuncts, giving the English Cider Yeast everything it needs to prosper into delicious apple cyseryness. Brew it yourself and tell us how you like it!

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Melomel: Cyser

Chateau Gates Cyser

Homebrewers Association
Homebrewers Association

This beer recipe is featured in the November/December 2019 issue of Zymurgy magazine. Join the American Homebrewers Association or start your 30-day free trial to access the Zymurgy digital archive and other exclusive member benefits!

Recipe courtesy Scott Aufderheide.

This cyser scored a 45 at the 2019 Mazer Cup when it was 6 months old. My goal was to make a Chardonnay-style cyser. Chardonnays are often dry, oaky, and barrel fermented. You could attempt a malolactic fermentation step after the initial ferment, but that was beyond my scope this time, and I think the touch of lactic acid was good enough.

Since I didn’t have a barrel, I used a lot of oak cubes in primary. The difference between fermenting on oak and using oak later is that during fermentation, the yeast will eat all of the vanillin, leaving only tannic, spicy, and smoky contributions from the oak and less vanilla and sweetness.

This mead ends up being around 11.5% ABV. While this is immediately ready to consume at the 8-week mark and quite pleasant, I found that letting it age for 6 months from pitch brought back a lot of the honey and apple flavors, and it became much more complex.

Pectic enzyme and bentonite cannot be added together because bentonite denatures the enzyme, so wait a day between additions. Bentonite in primary is easily kept in suspension by the turbulence of fermentation, making it very effective. The combination yields a very clear mead almost immediately after fermentation ends. Fermaid O and GoFerm ensure a good, healthy fermentation with all the proper nutrients for the yeast. Sorbate and metabisulfite are stabilizers and an antioxidant to make sure fermentation doesn’t restart after back-sweetening.

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Melomel: Other Fruit

Blueberry Vice Melomel

Homebrewers Association
Homebrewers Association

This beer recipe is featured in the November/December 2019 issue of Zymurgy magazine. Join the American Homebrewers Association or start your 30-day free trial to access the Zymurgy digital archive and other exclusive member benefits!

Recipe courtesy Scott Aufderheide

Session-style meads are notoriously difficult because they often taste weak and watery. Blueberries are a great fruit for this style because they have good natural tannins and some acidity. If you taste this after it ferments to completion but before you back-sweeten, you might be surprised by the lack of blueberry flavor. That’s because some sugar needs to be present for the blueberry flavor to properly assert itself and be recognized.

You may think 20 lb. of blueberries is a lot, but 3 lb. per gallon is actually the standard. I went with 4 lb. per gallon for added flavor and presence. The measured original gravity may be much lower than the true original gravity since the sugar in the berries takes time to release.

A 6.5% ABV mead might not seem very sessionable. But again, because it’s hard to get good flavor in a session mead, enough honey needs to be added to make a good impression. Oak adds structure and flavor and rounds out the edges quickly after fermentation.

Back-sweetening gives general body and added flavor. The target sweetness of 1.015 is a good medium point—it isn’t overly sweet thanks to the balancing effects of berry and oak tannins and carbonation. All the components of this recipe have been targeted and used to make a nicely balanced and flavorful session mead that’s hard to put down (hence “vice” in the name). Make tweaks at your own risk, or at least consider their effect on balance.

Pectic enzyme and bentonite cannot be added together because bentonite denatures the enzyme, so wait a day between additions. Bentonite in primary is easily kept in suspension by the turbulence of fermentation, making it very effective. The combination yields a very clear mead almost immediately after fermentation ends. Fermaid O and GoFerm ensure a good, healthy fermentation with all the proper nutrients for the yeast. Sorbate and metabisulfite are stabilizers and an antioxidant to make sure fermentation doesn’t restart after back-sweetening.

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Other Mead: Braggot

Stone Ship Braggot

Homebrewers Association
Homebrewers Association

This beer recipe is featured in the November/December 2019 issue of Zymurgy magazine. Join the American Homebrewers Association or start your 30-day free trial to access the Zymurgy digital archive and other exclusive member benefits!

Recipe courtesy Four Fathers Brewing Co., Valparaiso, Ind.

This beer-mead hybrid combines the wort from a fairly typical brew session with a honey must that has been caramelized using hot rocks. For more information on working with hot rocks, including safety guidelines, see “Fahrenheit 951” in the Jul/Aug 2019 issue of Zymurgy.

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