making is very similar to winemaking. A basic mead recipe is as follows- For 5 US gallons:
For a medium sweet mead-
15 lbs Orange Blossom or Clover Honey, 4 Gallons Water, 2 tsp yeast nutrient or Diammonium Phosphate or Wyeast Nutrient, 1 tsp yeast energizer, 10 grams dried wine yeast or 150 ml liquid, 4 tsp acid blend (optional)
Warm the honey in hot water to make it less viscous. Pour it into the fermenter along with the four gallons of water, yeast nutrient, yeast energizer and acid blend. Check the temperature and when it is between 70-80 deg. F, add the yeast. Ferment until the gravity reaches approximately 1.020. Then, rack to secondary fermenter for an additional 1-3 months. Top up and bulk age. When the mead is clear and stable, it may be bottled.
Fermenting honey can be more difficult than grape must and may require additional techniques as outlined below. This information was derived from an hbd post by Dr. Clayton Cone.
1) Be sure to add a balanced yeast nutrient (such as Wyeast yeast nutrient) and diammonium phosphate. Research has shown that adding the yeast nutrient prior to fermentation and the diammonium phosphate over the first half of the fermentation is best.
2) Adding a small amount of sodium or potassium carbonate before the 12th hour of fermentation can help reduce the drop in pH which can stress the yeast. A pH drop below 3.2 can have detrimental effects and result in a long, drawn out fermentation.
3) There is often a deficiency of oxygen in the must during the growth phase of the yeast. Leave the airlock off the primary fermenter and agitate the must several times for the first 24-36 hours of fermentation. After the first 24-36 hours, attach the airlock for the remainder of fermentation.
4) Add some yeast hulls at the beginning of fermentation. Stir the must vigorously at the beginning of fermentation and as the fermentation comes to a close. This will help insure that the yeast stay in suspension long enough to finish out the fermentation.