Grocery Store Mead

May 17, 2011

Conversations at Convergence always vary widely. Randall and I were talking about brewing at one point and I mentioned I’d been thinking about trying a batch of mead. From what I’d seen, brewing mead was far simpler than beer but thought it took quite a while longer for the fermentation and ageing. He thought it would be nice to try. The idea was still ticking about in the back of my head on Monday so I did some research.

Mead is an interesting drink. I like it on occasion but really didn’t want to start with a five gallon batch. Several sites I read mentioned 1 gallon batches as an easy way to get started along with a variety of recipes. The primary components for a batch of mead are water, honey, and yeast. Yeast varieties vary for beer brewing and mead brewing has several choices as well from what I read. Then I stumbled on’s page: How to make some Mead today -the cheap, fast, and easy way.

I already needed to visit the grocery store. So along with the other necessities, I picked up the water, yeast, honey, balloons, oranges, and raisins. The total additional cost was $14.78, the bulk of which was honey. A Colorado brand was on sale so I chose it over the store brand, which added a minor amount of cost. Also, it turned out one of my beer airlocks fit the water jug nicely so I didn’t need to buy the balloons.

Raw Ingredients

The instructions are pretty clear except for one thing. I wasn’t sure if the orange was sliced with or without the peel. After watching one of his videos, I discovered its peel and all. Mine is missing the peel but the orange is apparently optional. The omission of the peel will likely not add as much acidity but should be fine. I also added a cinnamon stick and a bit of vanilla bean. Spices are crazy expensive but both were on sale. For the amounts I used, the cost elevated by a couple of dollars.

Here are the steps I took:

  1. Prepare a sink or other container with sanitizer liquid. I used StarSan from my beer brewing supplies.
  2. Sanitize every item you are going to be using for the preparation.
  3. Put the honey in a warm water bath to make it pour easier.
  4. Activated the yeast in 100 ° F water in a small mixing bowl.
  5. Bring about 1 cup of spring water to a boil. Remove from heat. Add 1/4 of a vanilla bean to the water. Let steep until at room temperature. I failed to de-seed mine.
  6. Pour half of the gallon container of water into a sanitized pitcher.
  7. Slice the orange.
  8. Drop the oranges and raisins into the water jug.
  9. Add the honey.
  10. Shake vigorously for around 5 minutes.
  11. Toss in a cinnamon stick and the cooled vanilla bean and water.
  12. Shake a bit more for good measure.
  13. Add the activated yeast mixture.
  14. Gently swirl to mix in the yeast.
  15. Add the airlock (or balloon if you are using that method).


I topped off the must with a bit more water after I took the picture but left around 1.5-2 inches of head space since the fermentation should be vigorous. Now I’ll wait. Okay, I’ll probably read more, get some more supplies and start a batch of melomel (mead with fruit). I’m thinking blackberry or raspberries. Then again, I could send someone out to find a mulberry tree….

Update: 5/24/11

1 Week In

Still fermenting along, slowly. As with most fermentation, the top of the fermenter doesn’t look appetizing.

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  • Do not use Orange and Slice in the same sentence.

    Shocking that Randi is finding another drink that contains alcohol. I like the tag, cause
    he made me drink all of that Orange Crush and vodka……Sorry, gotta go heave now.

  • Woops. I forgot about your sensitive orange slice stomach… Did I just say that again? Try to focus on something else.

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