Considered the oldest alcoholic beverage in the world, people have long mastered the art of making mead. Using additives such as spices, herbs, and fruits, we even learned and developed a wide variety of this ancient drink, including how to make blueberry mead.
Like other variations of mead, creating blueberry mead is easy. Just ferment honey, yeast, and water with blueberry for 3 to 6 weeks. But fermenting can be intimidating for beginners, so we suggest that you start small.
In this article, we will share with you a simple step-by-step guide on how to make blueberry mead at home so that you can jumpstart your fermentation journey.
How to Make Blueberry Mead
- 1-gallon Water (non-chlorinated or filtered)
- 2-3 lbs. Honey (depending on how sweet you want your mead)
- 1 to 2 lbs. Blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- ½ packet Champagne yeast or other wine yeast
- 1/8 cup Raisins or yeast nutrient
- 1 Vanilla bean sliced lengthwise (optional)
- 1 Cinnamon stick (optional)
Mead Making Materials
- Large stockpot
- 1-gallon glass carboy with a lid or fermenting bucket
- Large funnel
- Long-handled wooden spoon or ladle
- Hydrometer (optional)
- Fermentation airlock
- Straining bag (optional)
- Masher (optional)
Mead Bottling Equipment
- Hot water
- Unscented dishwashing soap
- Bottle cleaning brush
- Mixing bowl
Step 1: Sanitize everything
The first thing to do is sanitize all tools and equipment that you will use to make the mead. It is of utmost importance to ensure that everything is squeaky clean to prevent the growth of bacteria.
- Using hot water and unscented dishwashing soap, brush the stockpot, carboy, bottles, and utensils to be used. Then, rinse thoroughly.
- Mix the sanitizer and water in a bowl, following the directions on its label.
- Use the sanitizing solution to sanitize everything.
Step 2: Make the must
The mixture of honey and water is called the must. The general proportion is three pounds of wildflower honey for every one gallon of water, but you can always adjust it to your preference. Keep in mind that using a lesser amount of honey will make your mead dry.
- Heat ½ gallon of non-chlorinated or filtered water in the large stockpot. Once warm enough but not boiling, turn the heat off.
- Add the honey and stir with the long-handled wooden spoon. If you are having difficulty pouring the honey, you may try to loosen it by submerging its sealed container in hot water (different hot water) or place it in the oven (at 100 degrees Fahrenheit). It will also allow the honey to dissolve quickly.
- As soon as the honey dissolves, let it sit for 10 minutes or so to cool.
Step 3: Add the fruit and yeast nutrient
This part is where you can add the fruits and raisins (or yeast nutrient) to make the blueberry mead. You may use a glass carboy or fermenting bucket for the mixture.
If you are using a one-gallon glass carboy:
- Put the blueberries into the carboy. Make sure to choose the ripe blueberries and discard low quality and moldy ones. As a general rule of thumb, don’t put it in your mead if you would not eat it. Remove all stems and leafy parts, then clean the fruits.
You may use the blueberries for your mead, fresh or frozen. They both work beautifully, but there are a few differences in the process of preparing them.
Fresh Blueberries. Using fresh blueberries requires an extra step to extract their juices. Before you start the wine-making process, chop the blueberries and let them rest on the honey for a couple of hours to bring out their flavors.
Frozen Blueberries. Most mead makers prefer frozen blueberries for their mead, maybe because it is easier to use. Just putting them in the fridge will yield the same result as when you follow the instructions above. Freezing and thawing blueberries will help them break down their wall cells and draw out their flavorful juices.
- Put the cinnamon and vanilla into the glass carboy for added flavors (optional)
- Then, add the raisins. Homebrewers use raisins as a natural yeast nutrient. They provide the yeast’s additional nutrient requirement without leaving any flavor.
You can also use yeast nutrients if you prefer. They come in packs and are readily available in the market.
- Using the funnel, carefully pour the warm honey-and-water mixture into the glass jug.
- Pour the remaining ½ gallon of the non-chlorinated or filtered water into the jug. Make sure to leave extra headspace of at least two inches to make room for degassing.
- Then, put the lid on the jug and lightly mix everything around.
If you prefer using a fermenting bucket, you may directly put the fruits into the bucket or use a straining bag.
- Put the blueberries directly into the fermenting bucket. Or, if you prefer, put the berries inside a straining bag and place the bag in the bucket. Use a masher or spoon to mash the fruits gently and release their juices.
- Add the flavorings (optional) and raisins, or if you prefer, yeast nutrient.
- Carefully pour the warm must over the fruits in the bucket.
- Add the remaining ½ gallon of non-chlorinated or filtered water into the fermenting bottle.
- Stir the mixture gently.
- To help you determine the mead’s alcohol percentage, take a gravity reading using the hydrometer and a sample from the bucket. This step is optional, so it is fine even if you do not have a hydrometer.
Step 4: Pitch the yeast
This step is where the fermentation begins. A vital component of the mead, brewers use yeast to ferment the mixtures they concoct and turn them into their favorite alcoholic beverage. Yeast is the one responsible for converting the sugar in honey into alcohol.
Choosing the right yeast can make or break the mead. To help you decide on which yeast to use, consider its alcohol tolerance and preferred temperature range. Some of the most popular choices for mead makers include champagne yeast (Lalvin EC-1118) and white wine yeast (Lalvin D-47).
- Prepare the yeast by rehydrating it according to the package instructions.
- When adding yeast, the temperature of the must is crucial. Using a thermometer, check the temperature of your must, and make sure that it is within the temperature range of your chosen yeast. Typically, the temperature should range from 60 up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Once you have achieved the desired temperature, put half of the packet’s contents into the must and shake (or stir if you are using a fermenting bucket) to distribute the yeast evenly.
Step 5: Put the airlock
- Put the lid back on, add the airlock, and let the fermentation begin. Usually, it takes 12 to 24 hours for the bubbles to appear, meaning the fermentation is a success.
- Set the mixture aside to ferment. Keep the jug in a cool, dark place without direct sunlight.
- Periodically remove the airlock and rinse it out to keep it clean.
Step 6: Bottling the mead
Typically, it takes three to six weeks for the mead to ferment completely. You’ll know that you should start bottling when there are no more bubbles in the airlock and once the mead has cleared.
- Make sure to sanitize the bottling tools first.
- Attach one end of the tubing to the auto-siphon and the other to the bottle. We recommend bottles with built-in flip-top lids as they are easy to cap and are reusable.
- Without disturbing the sediments at the bottom, transfer the mead from the fermenting jug to the bottle using the auto-siphon. The main reason for bottling is to get rid of these deposits, so make sure not to include them.
- Drink your mead from the bottle or let it age some more. Mead is one of those drinks that get better with age. Even after bottling, it can continue to ferment and improve its flavor and taste.
Try Brewing Now!
There are many different ways on how to make blueberry mead, and you’ve got to start somewhere. So why not try at the comforts of your home with this homemade blueberry mead recipe. Unlike other mead recipes, it is simple and comes in a small batch, making it less intimidating for first-time brewers.
You can also try your hand at making homemade alcohol if you’re feeling adventurous.
Did you find this guide helpful? Let us know what you think in the comment section below. And feel free to share it with your fellow mead lovers.