How to Make a Gallon of Mead: A Simple Mead Recipe (2024)

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You may have heard of mead before or maybe you haven’t, but one image that always seems to come to mind when mead is mentioned is Vikings drinking their grog. I don’t know a whole lot about Vikings, but I do know a bit about mead! Mead is a fermented honey and water mixture, some call it honey wine, and it is quite possibly the first fermented drink that humans purposefully made. Luckily for us, it’s quite easy to make your own mead! I’m going to show you how to make one gallon of mead with this simple blueberry orange mead recipe.

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Simple Mead Making eBook

Want to learn more about making mead? I have a Simple Mead Making for Beginners eBook just for you!

It has ingredient and equipment checklists, detailed instructions for brewing and bottling your mead, and simple mead recipe ideas! Be sure to check it out if you’re new to the mead making process and want a step by step guide.

One Gallon Mead Recipe

Here is my simple method for making one gallon of mead!

What is Mead?

Mead is a fermented alcoholic beverage that is traditionally made with just honey and water, and maybe some yeast (wild yeast is often used).

Whenever you add fruit to mead it’s technically called a melomel rather than mead. I still usually default to calling it mead, though.

You could also use apple cider instead of water and then you’d have what’s called a cyser. If you add herbs and spices or other flavorings it’s called a metheglin.

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Mead Equipment and Ingredients

There is some special equipment and ingredients that you will need to make this mead.

Rather than list it all here, I’ve created a page that has links to all of my favorite mead ingredients and equipment: .

There you will find links to the sanitizer, brewing jugs and buckets, airlocks, yeast, tubing, bottles, and honey and I recommend!

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How to Make Mead: One Gallon Mead Recipe

Alright, let’s get started on making this mead!

This is a recipe for one gallon of mead, but I’m always of the mind that if you’re making one you might as well make two.

You can split a package of brewing yeast up between two jugs (one package can make up to 5 gallons of mead).

Sanitize Everything

The first thing to do is sanitize everything that will be used in the brewing process: the jug, airlock, big pot, spoon and funnel.

Simply follow the directions on the sanitizer and don’t throw it out until you’re totally done (just in case your dog licks the funnel or you drop your spoon).

Make the Mead Must

Once everything is sanitized, put about 1/2 gallon of non-chlorinated (filtered) water in a large pot on medium heat. When it’s warm, but not boiling, add the honey and stir until it dissolves.

Using two pounds of honey will make a very “dry” mead (not sweet), while three pounds will create a sweeter mead.

The type of yeast you use will also affect how dry or sweet the mead is.

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Turn the heat off. It may be a little foamy, but that’s ok.

In the meantime, put the berries (or any fruit of your liking), orange slices (skin and all), and raisins into the one gallon jug.

Raisins are added as a natural nutrient for the yeast. You will not notice any flavor from them in the finished mead.

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Then, using the funnel, carefully pour the honey water mixture (technically called “must”) into the jug.

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Top off the jug with cool non-chlorinated (filtered) water, leaving at least 2 inches of head space on top.

Then put the lid on the jug and gently mix everything around a bit. If you bought a jug that came with an airlock it may not come with a lid, so you’ll have to find a lid that fits or improvise a bit here. A solid cork (without a hole for the airlock) would work.

Pitch the Yeast

The next step is to add the yeast, but you need to make sure that it isn’t too hot, which will make your yeast inactive. It should feel lukewarm, no more than 90° F (32° C). I recommend using a thermometer before adding the yeast to be sure.

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Once it is less then 90° F you can pitch the yeast into the jug.

You don’t need to use the whole package of yeast for one gallon, 1/2 package is enough (it doesn’t have to be an exact measurement). Store the opened yeast package with the remaining yeast in an airtight zip top bag in the refrigerator for later use.

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Now the fermentation fun can begin!

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Once you’ve pitched the yeast, put the lid back on tightly and this time you’re really going to shake it up for several minutes.

It’s a good workout for your arm muscles, so you can skip the gym on days when you make mead!

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Add the Airlock

Put a little water in the airlock to the line, then put the rubber stopper into the jug.

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In a few hours you should start to see bubbles forming in the jug and in the airlock.

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After several hours or overnight, you may see a lot of bubbles rising up the neck of the bottle! The whole top might get a little foamy at first, but things will settle down.

Don’t worry if the bubbles rise up into the airlock for the first couple of days, that just means that you have a very active (and happy) batch of mead! You can periodically remove the airlock to rinse it out, then replace it back into the jug.

I love watching all the little bubbles! Fermentation is so cool.

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Set Aside to Ferment

Keep the jug in a cool (not cold) dark place out of direct sunlight to ferment.

Mead can take longer to ferment than hard cider or beer, depending on the ambient temperature it will take anywhere from 3-6 weeks.

I usually give it 5-6 weeks before bottling to be on the safe side, as you don’t want any broken bottle explosions! I’ve definitely had some very champagne like mead before.

You want to wait until you don’t see any bubbles in the jug and your airlock is still before bottling.

Bottle the Mead

Bottling one or two gallons of mead is the same process as bottling hard cider. Follow my tutorial there to get a detailed process.

You may want to wait a while to drink your mead as it definitely gets better with age.

I often drink it “green” (young) as I enjoy it either way. It is fun to save a couple of bottles for several months, or even a year, just to see how the taste changes with age.

More Mead Recipes

Now that I’ve shown you how to make this simple one gallon of mead recipe, chances are you will want to make more soon!

I have written posts on How to Make 5 Gallons of Mead and How to Bottle 5 Gallons of Mead if you want to try making a larger batch.

I have one gallon mead recipes for Wildflower Mead, Dandelion Mead, Blackberry Mead, Elderberry Mead, Elderflower Sparkling Mead, and Maple Orange Mead that are all delicious and follow this same basic mead recipe.

See my post on 15 Easy Mead Recipes for Beginners for even more!

If hard cider is your thing, see my posts on brewing hard cider and making hard cider with wild yeast.

Be sure to check out my Simple Mead Making: A Beginner’s Guide to One Gallon Batches eBook for more detailed information on brewing, bottling, and recipe ideas!

Cheers and happy mead making!

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4.53 from 189 votes

Simple One Gallon Mead Recipe

This is a simple mead recipe that is very easy to put together. Learn how to make mead using this beginner's recipe!

Course Drinks

Cuisine American, European

Prep Time 10 minutes minutes

Cook Time 20 minutes minutes

Fermenting Time 28 days days

Total Time 30 minutes minutes

Servings 32

Calories 156kcal

Author Colleen @ Grow Forage Cook Ferment


US Customary - Metric

  • water non-chlorinated or filtered
  • 2-3 pounds honey depending on how sweet you want to end product to be.
  • berries or fruit of any kind fresh or frozen, about a cup
  • 1 orange
  • 10 raisins
  • 1/2 package champagne yeast or other wine yeast


  • Sanitize everything that will be used in the brewing process.

  • Heat about 1/2 gallon of non chlorinated water in the pot on medium heat. Once it's warm, but not boiling, add the honey and stir it so it all dissolves. Turn off the heat.

  • Put the berries or other fruit, orange slices (skin and all), and raisins into the one gallon jug.

  • Use the funnel and carefully pour the honey water mixture into the jug.

  • Top off the jug with cold (preferably filtered) water, leaving at least 2 inches of head space on top. Put the lid on the jug and gently mix everything around a bit.

  • Make sure that the temperature of the must is below 90°F, then add 1/2 packet of champagne yeast. Put the lid back on tightly and this time shake the jug for a minute or two to distribute the yeast.

  • Put a little water in the airlock to the line, then put the rubber stopper end into the jug. Put the jug in a dark place. It should start bubbling within 12-24 hours.

  • After about 4-6 weeks of fermenting, once all bubbles have stopped rising in the jug and airlock, the mead can be bottled and aged.


  • Please see my Mead Equipment and Ingredients page for a detailed list of what you need to get started.
  • Use my tutorial on Bottling Hard Cider to bottle the mead - the process is the same. The flavor of homemade mead will improve after bottling and aging.
  • My Simple Mead Making eBook is a helpful resource if you are just getting started with making your own mead.


Serving: 4ounces | Calories: 156kcal

How to Make a Gallon of Mead: A Simple Mead Recipe (2024)


How much honey do I need for 1 gallon of mead? ›

We'll go over it in further detail later, but we recommend using between two and three pounds of honey per gallon of mead — 2 pounds if you want it on the dryer side, and 3 pounds if you'd like it to be sweeter.

How many teaspoons of yeast for 1 gallon of mead? ›

Dosing Instructions. Generally, you will dose yeast nutrient at 1 tsp per gallon of must and yeast energizer at 1/2 tsp per gallon of must. I will address yeast rehydration later in the Basic Recipe section.

What is the best mead ratio? ›

The ratio ranges from 1 lb. honey per gallon of water for a very light "soft-drink" to 5 lbs. per gallon for a sweet dessert wine. The less honey, the lighter the mead, and the quicker it can be made.

What happens if I add too much honey to mead? ›

Especially if you are making traditional mead, if you simply dump a bunch of honey and water together and throw in some yeast, the yeast may get stressed and not fully ferment.

Should I boil my honey for mead? ›

(Some recipes call for boiling the honey, which makes for a cleaner, quicker ferment. However, many of the aromatic oils that are characteristic of the different flower honeys are boiled off as well in this process. Either method will make you mead.)

How long should you let mead ferment? ›

Keep fermentation temps up to around 70° or 75° F. Fermentation should last between 10 to 20 days. Rack into a conditioning vessel and bulk age for 3 to 6 months. Bottle, then enjoy now and again to see how it's progressing.

Why does no one drink mead anymore? ›

Why did it fall out of favor? There were some new tax laws, as well as an increased availability of West Indian sugar in the 17th century that made honey harder and less necessary to obtain. But it was also the rise of other alcohols—namely beer and wine—that really did it in.

How to make mead at home safely? ›

Mead Making Instructions - How to Make Mead
  1. Sanitize your equipment. ...
  2. Heat the water. ...
  3. Add the honey. ...
  4. Add Sulfites. ...
  5. Take a temperature reading. ...
  6. Add 3 gallons of cool water to your sanitized plastic fermenter. ...
  7. It is time to add certain additives. ...
  8. My favorite meads are made with fruit and honey.

What kind of yeast is best for mead? ›

Lalvin D-47

This white wine yeast is the primary choice for many mead makers. It ferments at a moderate to fast pace with little foaming and is good for medium to dry meads. It tends to accentuate the honey characteristics so it is a good choice for traditional varietal mead.

What happens if you don't add enough yeast to mead? ›

Stuck fermentation: If the pitching rate is too low, the yeast may not be able to overcome the stress of the fermentation environment and may go dormant. This can result in a stuck fermentation, where the fermentation stops before all of the sugars have been converted.

Do you stir in the yeast when making mead? ›

Heat your water to 111 F and mix in the GoFerm gradually. Let cool to 104 F and add your yeast gradually stirring so as not to allow clumps to form.

How long should mead age before drinking? ›

Traditional meads usually require six months to 2 years for the flavors to mellow and smooth and any off flavors to diminish. Melomels or fruit meads can take six months to 5 years for the flavors to fully integrate and the tannins and acids to mellow. Metheglin or spiced meads are quicker, six months to a year.

Why add tea to mead? ›

Tannin- This will give you a counter point to the mead's sweetness. I use black tea for mine. 5 bags of any black tea will do. You're using the black tea for the tannins not the flavor of the tea.

Does more honey make mead stronger? ›

Potentially, using the most amount of honey can lead to up 18% ABV which makes it a strong beverage. Using one pound, or 1.3 cups, of honey tends to result in a very light drink in terms of both flavor and alcohol content. That is expected since the yeast will not have much to eat.

What is the ratio of honey to mead? ›

For a dry mead, the ratio is 4 parts water to 1 part honey; a sweet mead is 2 to 1.

Is 4 pounds of honey too much for a gallon of mead? ›

The average mead recipe calls for 3 to 3.5 pounds of honey per gallon of finished mead, depending on the sugar content of the honey. This makes strong mead in the range of 14 percent alcohol.

How many pounds of honey per gallon? ›

Honey is typically sold by weight rather than volume and is heavier than water (the standard for “fluid ounces”). That is why one cup of water is considered eight fluid ounces, but one cup of honey will actually weigh 12 ounces. A gallon of honey weighs approximately 12 pounds.


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