Figuring out the mead honey to water ratio is the first thing to learn for anyone brewing mead at home. Whether you saw it in medieval books and movies or you want to try something new, making mead is easy as soon as you figure out how much water and honey you need.
Since there are different types of mead, it also helps to know the ratio of the specific kind you’re making or follow a basic mead recipe to the letter. In this complete guide, we will cover all you need to know about the mead honey-to-water ratio for your next mead-making endeavor.
What Is the Mead Honey To Water Ratio?
The mead honey to water ratio ranges from 1 pound to 5 pounds of honey per gallon of water. There is no fixed ratio for all kinds of mead, but it depends on the alcohol’s strength and sweetness. Sweet meads have more honey than water, while dry meads have less.
The more honey you use in mead, the sweeter it will be and the higher the ABV percentage will be too. If you add too much honey to mead, this sweetness can be reduced by leaving it to ferment for a long time. If you use the most amount of honey in mead, you can get up to 18 percent in alcohol.
Your honey-to-water ratio will also affect the fermentation time. If you’re using one pound of honey, the yeast doesn’t have much to do, so you can bottle your mead quickly. But five pounds of honey will take a longer time. Keep in mind that the yeast you are using also makes a difference.
What Is the Honey To Water Ratio for Standard Mead?
The honey-to-water ratio for standard mead is two to three pounds of honey for every gallon of water. If you’re unsure, you can also measure it as one part of honey to five parts of water. Traditional mead usually has an ABV of 8 to 13 percent.
What Is the Honey To Water Ratio for Hydromel?
The honey-to-water ratio for hydromel is one pound of honey for one gallon of water. It is made with a low honey and high water ratio and generally features an ABV of less than 10 percent. It has a quick fermentation time, which can take up to seven days.
Hydromel is often called a session-strength mead. It is in the drier range of sweetness, so it has less honey flavor. The mead is also considered watered down, but this makes it a refreshing choice. If you want less sweetness in your mead, use this ratio.
What Is the Honey To Water Ratio of Sack Mead?
The honey-to-water ratio of sack mead is five pounds for one gallon of water. Sack mead is made by adding extra honey during the mead-making process, so it has a very high honey ratio. It usually tastes thick and sugary sweet.
Due to the high honey ratio, sack mead can have an ABV of up to 18 percent. It is a sweet, strong mead that will remind you of dessert wine. Because of all the honey, it can take up to four months to make this mead, including the fermentation time.
What Are the Flavors of Mead?
The flavors of mead include braggot, capsicumel, cyser, melomel, metheglin, morat, omphacomel, oxymel, payment, rhodomel, tej, traditional, and hippocras. It’s important to know the type of mead you’re making to determine the honey-to-water ratio. Sweet and metheglin meads usually use a lot of honey along with spices.
On the other hand, a melomel or dry mead uses milder or less honey.
How Much Honey Do You Need for One Gallon of Mead?
You will need two to three pounds of honey for one gallon of mead, depending on how sweet or dry you want it to be at the end. You can use two pounds for a dry mead and three pounds for a sweet mead.
There are different mead recipes online, but if you’re a beginner, it’s better to stick to a single gallon batch. You also need to purchase the equipment you need or simply buy a mead-making kit that will give you everything you need.
– Recipe for One Gallon of Mead
To make one gallon of mead, you need the following equipment. You should also sanitize your tools before making mead.
- Large pot
- Large funnel
- Long-handled spoon
- Bottling wand
- 1-gallon glass jug with airlock
- Flip top bottles
- Auto siphon with tubing
These are the ingredients that you need to make a gallon of mead:
- Filtered or non-chlorinated water
- 2-3 pounds of honey
- One orange
- Fresh or frozen berries
- 10 raisins
- ½ pack of wine yeast
Now, you can follow the steps below to make your one-gallon mead.
- Sanitize all your brewing equipment (You can check more on PBW and Oxiclean cleaning brewing equipment products).
- Heat up half a gallon of water on medium heat. Add the honey when it is warm and stir it until it dissolves.
- Put the fruits into the glass jug.
- Pour the honey and water mix into the glass jug with a funnel.
- Top it up with cold water, but leave head space on top.
- Close the lid and gently mix what is inside.
- Set the temperature below 90 degrees Fahrenheit and add the yeast.
- Close it again and shake the jug for about a minute.
- Pour a bit of water into the airlock and close it with a rubber stopper.
- Leave the jug in a dark place. By 24 hours, it should be bubbling, and after 6 weeks, it should have been fermented.
After this, you can bottle and age your mead. Make sure you do this when there are no more bubbles rising in the jug.
How Much Honey Should You Put in 5 Gallons of Mead?
You should put 12-15 pounds of honey in five gallons of mead. The amount of honey you put depends on how sweet or dry you want the mead to be. You can use the standard ratio of one part of honey with five parts of water for a standard mead.
What Type of Honey Is Best for Making Mead?
The best type of honey for making mead is local honey. The honey should be free from heating or pasteurization but should be filtered. With raw honey, the delicate flavor of honey remains intact. It is also good for allergy sufferers that can’t consume other kinds of mead.
Other types of honey that you should use in brewing mead include orange blossom honey, dark honey, and clover honey. Orange blossom honey is good for mead-making because it imparts a citrus flavor to the mead. Clover honey is easy to purchase as one of the most common types of honey. As for dark honey, it gives you a dark brown mead with a lot of nutrition.
How Does Honey Ferment to Alcohol in Mead?
Honey ferments to alcohol in mead with yeast. Mead is made by mixing water and honey together to dilute the thick honey and then fermenting it with yeast. The sugars in the honey are converted to alcohol by the yeast.
Honey is made with 70 percent sugar, which is more than enough to make alcohol in mead. This is why the amount of honey in your mead will determine the alcohol level. You can always change the flavor of mead with other adjuncts like hops, fruits, spices, and grains. Or you can boost your hops’ flavor by using the biotransformation hops method.
1. How Long Should You Age Honey Mead?
You should age honey mead between six months and three years, depending on the type of mead. After fermentation, you can bottle and age your mead. Lighter meads will ferment in a short time, but darker meads take a longer time.
2. What Is the Difference Between Dry and Sweet Mead?
The difference between dry and sweet mead is that dry mead has no residual sugar, while sweet meads have noticeable sweetness. Dry mead has a lower honey-to-water ratio than sweet mead. They also have a lower alcohol level because of the small honey content.
In the middle of dry and sweet meads is semi-sweet. This usually comes with a balanced sweetness – a bit sweet and a bit dry. For a semi-dry and semi-sweet mead, you should use a ratio of 2 pounds of honey to one gallon of water.
Once you know what the mead honey to water ratio is, you can easily make a perfectly balanced mead.
Let’s sum up this article on mead making before you go:
- The honey-to-water ratio in mead is one to five pounds of honey to one gallon of water.
- Standard, hydromel, and sack meads need three, one, and five pounds of honey per gallon of water, respectively.
- You need two to three pounds of honey for a one gallon batch of mead, depending on the sweetness.
- Local, raw honey is the best option for mead.
With this guide, you have what you need to start brewing mead with a good balance of honey and water. Get your mead-making kit ready and start brewing today!