Basic Semi-Sweet Mead

mug of wild mead

5 from 3 reviews

A lightly sweet, naturally fermented mead, perfect for the beginning home brewer.


  • 23 pounds (about one quart or .9 to 1.3 kg) raw, unfiltered local honey
  • 1 gallon (3.8 liters) of clean, non-chlorinated water
  • 810 raisins
  • A couple of squeezes of a lemon or orange


  1. Mix water and honey in your wide-mouthed fermenting vessel. Stir until dissolved.
  2. Stir in raisins and citrus juice.
  3. Cover your fermenting vessel and set it in a warm (60-80F, 15-27C) location, out of direct sunlight.
  4. Stir the brew vigorously for a few minutes, several times per day.
  5. Within three to five days, you should see signs of fermentation. The mead will be bubbly and fizz slightly after stirring.
  6. Continue regular stirring for a couple more days, then strain and transfer the brew into a carboy with airlock.
  7.  Drink the mead in a week or two if you like it young and sweet with less alcohol (5-6%).
  8. For a stronger mead (10-12%), rack the mead after a month, and then one or two more times over the next six months. Consume at six months, or bottle and age the mead for a year or more.
  9. To age, place bottles on their side in a cool location, such as a cellar.


To test mead to see if it’s safe to bottle, add a half teaspoon of sugar or a bit of honey and swirl the carboy. If it causes a strong reaction, the mead is not ready to bottle. Meads bottled a bit young in a thick bottle will be carbonated, but if not done with care, you risk popped corks or bottle bombs.