The Viking blod mead is a rich-tasting mead that originated from Denmark. As the name suggests (Blod being the old Norse word for blood), it comes in a vibrant blood red color and has a spicy finish, just like how the Vikings would have enjoyed their mead.
This Danish mead uses hibiscus and hops, which give it a citrusy flavor and floral aroma. And like making traditional mead, you will need water, honey, and yeast as the main ingredients. Then, ferment the mixture to your preference to achieve the perfect Viking blod mead recipe.
Here are two Viking blod mead recipes that you can try at home. We’ll also discuss what makes this mead bloody special.
Simple Viking Blod Mead Clone Recipe
If you don’t want any hops in your mead, here is a simple Viking blod mead recipe that you can add to your home-brewing list. The recipe will yield five gallons of dry, semi-sweet mead, but you can always add honey if you prefer your drink sweeter. To keep up with the Viking vibes, you can check out our wild yeast recipe (mead starter) and use it instead of a store-bought yeast.
- 15 lbs. Honey
- 6 lbs. Frozen mixed berries (preferably with tart cherries)
- 12 oz. Dried hibiscus
- 5 gal Water
- 1 tsp. Pectic enzyme (Optional)
- 1 packet of Lalvin D-47 or EC-1118 yeast
Stabilizing and back sweetening ingredients
How to Make
- Put the dried hibiscus into a stockpot. Add 1 ½ gallon of water and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, cut the heat and let the hibiscus steep for 30 minutes to extract as much tannic herbal quality without losing its bitter flavors.
- While waiting for the steep, blend the honey and two gallons of water into the fermentation bucket to create the must.
- Add the mixed berries and stir thoroughly.
- Add the pectic enzyme. It will further help to break down the fruits and get better extraction out of the fruits. This step is optional, and you can skip it if you like.
- Add the hibiscus tea to the must. Make sure to drain and discard the flowers for easy racking.
- Top up with the remaining water and stir vigorously.
- Pitch the yeast and mix.
- Ferment the mixture semi-open by putting a sanitized paper towel over the bung and covering it with an upturned mug in place of an airlock. Leave it for two to three weeks to ferment. Be sure to punch the cap every 24 to 48 hours.
- After three weeks, rack the mixture into a carboy.
- Stabilize the mead by crushing five Campden tablets and potassium sorbate (follow the package instructions for the right amount) using mortar and pestle. Put the crushed chemical stabilizers into the carboy and let them sit for about a week.
- Back sweet the mead by mixing one cup of boiling water and ½ cup of honey. Stir well until the mixture becomes homogeneous, then put it into the bottom of the bottling bucket.
- Rack the Viking blod mead into the bottling bucket.
- Bottle the mead and let it age for about six to eight months.
Fortified Viking Blod Mead Recipe
This Viking blod mead recipe uses the complete ingredients (yes, including hops) and adds some spirits to give your mead a new twist. You can use vodka and other neutral spirits that do not have too much flavor, as it may affect the taste of your mead. This recipe will make more than one gallon of fortified mead with at least 20% alcohol content.
- 3 lbs. Honey
- 75 g Hibiscus flowers steeped in ½ gal hot water
- 3 oz. of Cascade pellet hops or 0.5 oz. Fuggle cone hops
- 1 gal Spring water
- ½ packet of Lalvin EC-1118 yeast
Back Sweetening and Fortifying Ingredients
- 16 oz. vodka
- 1 lb. Honey
How to Make
- Put the hibiscus flowers into half-gallon boiling water to make hibiscus tea. Let it steep for at least 30 minutes.
- Put the honey into a one-gallon carboy.
- Check the temperature of the hibiscus tea to make sure it is not higher than 112 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, pour it into the carboy.
- Give the carboy a shake to mix the honey and hibiscus tea thoroughly.
- Pitch the yeast after hydrating it.
- Do a gravity reading using a hydrometer to get the ABV (should be around 1.105).
- Install the airlock.
- Ferment for one month.
- Rack the mead into a fermentation bucket.
- Pour in 16 ounces of vodka and mix well.
- Back sweeten the mead by adding one pound of honey to the mixture.
- Put three ounces of Cascade pellet hops or 0.5 ounces of Fuggle cone hops into a larger carboy and rack the mead into that carboy. Give it a gentle swirl.
- Put the airlock back on and ferment for another two weeks.
- If you use hop cones, let the hop steep until you achieve the desired flavor. Then, gently pour the mead into a fermentation bucket, filtering the hops using a cheesecloth.
- Bottle the mead.
The Lifeblood of the Viking Blod Mead
The original Viking blod mead recipe used the hibiscus flower to add essential tannins, flavors, and colors to the plain mead. This beautiful flowering shrub creates sweet and tart flavors that are perfectly balanced for the palate. It also offers various health benefits that can help lower high blood pressure and cholesterol or treat heart diseases.
If you cannot find any hibiscus flower near you or maybe looking for a more complex flavor for your Viking blod mead, sour cherry is an excellent alternative. Not only do they provide a significant amount of tannins, acids, and sugars, sour cherries also release a wide range of flavors. The juice produces the right bloody red pigment as well.
Other dark fruits that you can use as a replacement may include cherries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, mulberries, plums, figs, elderberries, and many others.
Hops: The Bittersweet Flavoring
Another essential ingredient of the Viking blod mead is hops. Typically used in brewing beer to act as a bittering, flavoring, or stabilizing agent (or all), hops contain oils and acids (humulones and lupulones) that impart bitterness and fruity flavors to balance the sweetness of the mead. They are also known to prevent bacteria growth during fermentation.
The hop used for brewing is the cone-shaped flower of the female hop plants, also known as Humulus lupulus. There are different hop varieties that you can choose from. Each one of them has distinct effects on the mead. Nowadays, there are also hop pellets that are readily available in the market.
Putting in additives provides an added layer of flavors and complexities to your Viking blod mead. You may use various ingredients such as spices, herbs, fruits, or secondary flowers to improve the taste of the mead you are brewing. Most mead makers commonly use cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, lemon, orange, and ginger as tasty additives to their mead.
How to Enjoy Your Viking Blod Mead
The Viking blod mead can be an excellent aperitif or dessert wine for any occasion. You can serve it chilled or at room temperature over ice. If you don’t like to water down your drink, we suggest using frozen fruits instead. You may also enjoy this type of mead as a winter warmer by heating it without boiling and serving it in a mug.
When it comes to brewing, creating your very own concoctions is always the best way to go. Try following these simple guidelines on mead brewing, and feel free to modify the ingredients or adjust the amount according to your liking. Who knows, you might end up making your very own foolproof Viking blod mead recipe.
Let us know in the comment section which recipe do you think is better. And if you find this article helpful, share it with your friends and fellow mead makers.