How To Make Mead With James Randolph
Updated: Apr 23
Making Mead And Its Popularity
Mead may seem like a thing of the past. But it's coming back like never before! While many people connect mead with the Vikings and ren faires, this is just not the case.
Mead is having a resurgence like never before. Like micro-breweries of the 2010s, meadery shops are popping up like zits on a teenager in the 2020s.
Why is mead becoming the next big thing? I like to believe it's because we started brewing it. But it might just be because it's a fun and social hobby that anyone can master. It is a delicious drink that is easy to make. Making mead only requires 4 simple ingredients, honey, yeast, water, and time. However, once you get brewing you realize there are endless possibilities in the mead-making universe.
You can add fruit, spices, or even herbs to your mead to give it a little extra something. In the end, mean allows us all to live in the romanticism of the Vikings without any of the actual hardships and horrors of that time. So if you are looking for a great summer project, a new hobby, and something flashy to share with your friends this just may be a hobby for you.
Microbiology in Mead Making
And as an added bonus, mead-making gives you a little insight into the microbial world! Without our microbe friends, mead would be nothing but very sweet and sugary water. By starting this hobby yourself you'll learn vital microbiology concepts like how to cultivate microbes and the importance of sterile/aseptic technique!
As we've mentioned, mead making is a 4 ingredient recipe. One of those ingredients is completely passive, time! And believe me, this can be the hardest one to find. Now I'm not saying that mead making takes a lot of active time but it does take a lot of passive time. Once you set up the brew you have to wait for it to ferment which can take over a month. Many people will then enter into a secondary fermentation step which can take months as well. It might be a few seasons before you get to taste your creation. So keep that in mind when you are thinking about flavors!
Time is important in microbiology. Many bacteria for instance can multiply in just 20 minutes. For fungi, like yeast, this process is usually a little slower. As the yeast grows in the population they will eat the sugar and produce alcohol. Once the sugar content is too low to sustain the population of yeast they will begin to die and your brew becomes a yeast graveyard.
Another microbiology concept found within mead making is the aseptic or sterile technique. Microbes are everywhere! While yeast is absolutely necessary for your mead-making excursions, other microbes can be harmful to your results. It is thus very important to not contaminate, or allow other microbes to disrupt the yeast feast you are creating. To do so master brewers will buy a sterilant that can help them sterilize their equipment and ensure there are no freeloading microbes hitching a ride to the sugar fest. This is the most important concept within microbiology!
Making mead requires growing or cultivating a yeast strain, the second most important concept within microbiology. We sometimes talk about yeast as if it is one thing, one species but there are hundreds or even thousands of strains of yeast you can use on your mead. Each strain will have its own optimal growth conditions. Some like it hot, others prefer cooler temperatures, some will give a more floral taste, and others a more bitter taste. Some can withstand large ranges of pH and temperature changes while others are pickier. So no matter which yeast strain you go with for your brew you need to learn how to grow and take care of your yeast so that your little microbe friends will perform the job!
Mead Making With Mead Brewer James Randolph
Mead making is something you can do at home, it's relatively easy, and lets you play with microbes! So if you are convinced mead making might be good for you or you are interested in hearing from a real brewer click the link below. Join us as we discuss how to make mead and learn about the microbes within. As always, remember to drink responsibly! And if this is not enough mead for you check out our most recent blog post: I've Been Meading to Tell You.