This is my basic recipe for lagering mead that I have been over brewing the last couple years. It's easy enough for beginners and extract brewers. It's affordable because it takes a lot less honey than a still mead. You can add what ever you like to it, the same way you would for an extract beer kit. It's hard to beat cold clean crisp mead. I am surprised that recipes like this are not more common. Hopefully this recipe might change that.
6 pounds of Dark Honey
Yeast Nutrient (according to Label)
2 packs Lager yeast.
5 oz priming sugar.
O.G. 1.055 F.G. 1.004 aprox. 6% alc/vol.
Gravities will vary with the honey, but not enough to matter.
Boil 1 Gallon of water. Remove from heat. Add Honey. Pour into 5 gallon fermenter.
Top up to shoulder of fermenter with cold boiled water.
Allow to cool to 70 F.
Add one pack of yeast and yeast nutrient.
Shake or stir for 15 minutes.
Immediately Store at 55 f.
In 24 to 72 hours it should begin bubbling.
In a week to 3 weeks, a day or two after the airlock has slowed to less than a bubble every half hour, store at 70 degrees for 24 hours.
Rack into a clean jug.
Return to 55f for 3 months or until clear.
Add priming sugar and 2nd pack of yeast. Top up to 5 gallons with cold boiled water.
Return to 55 degrees for one month. Longer if not carbonated.
Store at 35f from one month to two years.
The darker the honey, the stronger flavor. Light processed honey might have hardly any flavor at all. Also darker honeys have more solids which increases head retention. Dollar store honey may turn out like soda water and alcohol.
I like saflager w-34 70 yeast. It is very forgiving. I can brew on my basement floor that varies between 47 and 68 degrees depending on the time of year without off flavors. If your making a melomel you might want saflager-s23 for it's fruity esters. A slight banana\berry taste went really well in the cherry melomel.
You should rack into a clean jug just after the diacetal rest (storing at 70f for 24 hours), so that diacetal and off flavors have a chance to escape while racking. I like to bring mine up stairs and let it rest in the spot i will rack it, so everything has a chance to settle for 24 hours.
The second pack of yeast at bottling is necessary because the lager are so clear and the yeast has all fallen to the bottom. At 55f the small amount of yeast left isn't enough to get a good start all the time.
You can add hops and specialty malts as you would for any beer recipe. Follow their recipe for the boil and add the honey at the end of the boil.
It is easy to replace a pound of honey with a few pounds of fruit. Like cherries are approximately 20% sugar. So, 5 pounds of cherries equals one pound of honey. See my cherry melomel recipe, "Fairy Blood."
You are not restricted like you are with beer. What ever goes good with honey, goes good in this.. I have done, blackberries with milk sugar and chanel spices. Peaches, cherries, and cranberry. Most of the recipes I have made are adapted pie filling recipes.
Citrus really comes through nicely. The zest and the juice of a citrus fruit per gallon about 10 minutes before the end of the boil. Large oranges, grapefruits, should count as two.
A teaspoon or two of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves. A quart of mint leaves per gallon. Smoked wood chips. You can add them at the start or end of the boil, or in the secondary (dry hopping), just as for beer.
Hope you enjoy.