Make Mead Like a Viking! - Wild Fermented Mead 101

I've been meaning for a while to compile all of the information from the various blogs I've written into a single blog that outlines the basics of wild-fermented mead making. After going through a bit of trial and error, I've hammered out a method that works well more often than not. As with any homebrewing—particularly when you go off the experimental deep end as I tend to do—not every batch turns out perfect, but once you've narrowed down a technique that works for you and your particular situation, you'll nearly always end up with something drinkable, and plenty boozey. 

What follows is a summary of my workshop presentation, and a slimmed down version of my booklet A Treatise on Primitive Mead Making that I've been handing out at workshops. I've also made this booklet available as a free PDF on my Mead Lovers, Anonymous and Wild Fermentation group walls. I would like to thank Earthineer's Stickboy for providing the cover illustration, and for testing my meads and correcting my attempts at understanding Viking mythology. 

Vikings!

Mead, and alcohol in general, was considered sacred by the Vikings and other ancient cultures. Norse mythology speaks of how the dwarves captured the wisest of all gods, Kvaser, the all-knowing, killed him, and mixed his blood with honey, creating the first mead. The dwarves, being dwarves, hoarded it and guarded it jealously. But, alas, a giant named Suttung desired this mead for himself, swiped it and instructed his daughter Gundlad to guard it. An up and coming young god (one of the younger Aesir warrior gods-the mortal enemies of the elder Vanir nature / fertility gods) named Odin heard about all this and decided he wanted this mead for himself. So, he developed a plan to disguise himself, seduce Gundlad, and  steal the mead. After cavorting with Gundlad on her couch for three days, she was so pleased she let him drink from each of the three mead vessels. When Odin realized Suttung had gotten wind of what was going on, he transformed into an eagle and took off toward Asgard. Suttung also turned into an eagle and pursued Odin (apparently the Norse gods were the original Transformers). Upon making it to Asgard,  Odin regurgitated the mead and spewed it into three vessels the other gods had set out in preparation. However, during the chase, he let three drops of it fall to Midgard, where men discovered it, and were pleased.

Note that this is my take on the story. I researched different tellings of it so I could be as accurate as possible. I welcome any clarifications, but if you're one of those "these stories are all true and how dare you mess with holy scripture" people, don't bother. I have no issues with the Asatru religion or any other religions, but my goal in re-telling these stories is to keep it all in good fun. As for the mead-thieving Odin story, in some cases, it seemed Odin didn't swallow the mead, and in other cases it seemed that he swallowed it and regurgitated it. I prefer the latter, as it emulates what bees do in regurgitating pollen to turn it into honey. So, in short, honey is bee vomit and mead is Odin vomit. 

Skalds!

Mead is referenced in Norse texts as a requisite for skalds, who were essentially scribes who wrote poetry and chronicled Norse life while under the influence of mead, AKA Odroerir / Óðrerir, which is a Norse word for “inspirer of wisdom” or the “mead of poetry.” A skald (a poet or scholar) gained his wisdom by drinking mead / Óðrerir. Judging from the amount I've written about mead and Vikings, I can certainly say it inspires loquaciousness. Whether or not my words are considered wise I'll leave up to others to decide. In the meantime, I'll continue referring to myself as a mead skald. 

Full disclosure: I’m not really a Viking—nor am I a time traveler—so I don’t know how they actually made mead, but I have a pretty good idea. There are references to mead and other alcohol substances in historical records and the Icelandic sagas, but I've come across little on how it was actually made. Excavations of Norse homesteads have shown that Viking warriors and priestesses were often buried with brewing equipment or alcohol-serving utensils. According to a January 2014 article in LiveScience by Stephanie Pappas, "Ancient Nordic Grog Intoxicated the Elite," Patrick McGovern, a bimolecular  archaeologist at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, analyzed pottery shards and strainers used for serving mead, and discovered traces of the Scandinavian berry lingonberry, cranberry, honey, barley, wheat, and various herbs and spices. This is the best evidence yet on the types of ingredients they used, but the actual technique is still not entirely clear. The technique I outline below is likely very close to how the Norse would have made their mead, as it is based on methods still practiced in the backwoods of Scandinavia today, using yeast strains that very well may have been passed down from Viking days. For more on this, read Michael Jackson's "Odin's glass of nectar" at this site.  

Mead!

The first thing you’ll need is a good wide-mouthed fermentation vessel. You can use glass, ceramic, food-grade plastic, or anything else that is safe to store food in. Don’t use metal, though. I have stainless steel pots I use for the initial heating process that some recipes require, but never leave anything in one to ferment. Fermentation creates acids that can cause metal to leach into whatever you’re fermenting. I primarily use a ceramic crock that my dad used to use for wine-making. These can be expensive, but I feel more like a Viking when I’m using one. When I was first starting out, I used 3 1/2 gallon glass beverage-serving vessels, which I still sometimes use for smaller experimental batches. The nice thing about them is that they have spigots that you can use to taste your mead as it’s fermenting, and for bottling.

Remember, the Ancients knew nothing of yeast, had no access to chemical sanitizer, and would often brew and ferment in open vats in the same room in which other cooking and household duties were being performed. In ancient Scandinavian cultures, beer and wine were filtered in open troughs lined with juniper branches. Grain for beer-making was sprouted in streams, and mead was often made with liquid leftover from immersing hives—bees and all—in water. Until the invention of the modern Langstroth and top-bar removable-frame methods, this was the safest technique for extracting honey from hives, other than smoking the hives over a fire, which would also kill off most of the bees. If you can procure honeycomb for mead-making, by all means do so, as this adds vital nutrients. If a few bees make it in, don’t worry about it. 

 

 

Get on with it!

  • Clean all equipment. Modern brewing calls for a great deal of sanitization. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the Norse and other ancient cultures didn’t have laboratory-produced chemicals and wouldn’t have tainted their mystical brews with them anyway. In brewing wild mead, don’t fret too much over sanitation, but make sure all of your equipment is well-cleaned.
  • Prepare your water. You will only need enough to dissolve the honey initially, but be sure to use good, clean drinking water. If you use water from the tap, leave it out uncovered overnight to allow any chlorine (which kills wild yeast) to dissipate. It’s perfectly acceptable to use room-temperature water, but warming the water a bit will help the honey to dissolve quicker. If it reaches boiling point, give it time to cool down. Some recipes call for pasteurizing the must (unfermented mead or wine) and skimming off any foam (or “scum”) that rises to the top. This also removes a lot of the nutrients and flavor enhancers in the honey and kills off any wild yeast. Don’t do it.
  • Add honey. Splurge and go for local, raw, unpasteurized honey. There are myriad reasons for this, but to put it simply, it will make for better mead. Start with small batches, as you’ll want to experiment to determine the ratio that works best for you. For a sweet mead, use about one gallon of water and 2-3 pounds of honey. Use less honey or add more water if you want a semi-sweet or dry (higher alcohol) mead. Remember, though, that the sweetness will diminish with ageing. You can prepare your must with room-temperature water directly in a wide-mouthed glass, ceramic or food-grade-plastic fermentation vessel, or in a stockpot if you choose to dissolve your honey in heated water. The key is to use a wide-mouthed vessel since wild fermentation calls for an aerobic (with air) environment.
  • Add flavoring and fermentation-enhancing ingredients. Fresh or dried fruit, herbs and spices will provide additional flavor and introduce wild yeast, nutrients, tannins, and acid. Most importantly, they will increase the chance of a strong fermentation. If nothing else, always add a handful of organic raisins. This is a surefire method for instigating fermentation, and won’t affect the flavor.
  • Stir to dissolve. Ancient cultures often passed down stir sticks through generations that they referred to as “magic sticks” or “totem sticks” due to their mystical fermentation powers. If you use one, clean it lightly, but avoid sanitizing or cleaning it with boiling water, so as to not kill off any yeasts that have attached themselves from past brewing ventures. Many traditional societies had an heirloom yeast strain that was passed down through a “yeast log,” often birch or juniper. I use a wooden Zimmer-stick with which my father made many batches of wine.
  • Pour into a fermentation vessel—If you’ve chosen to heat your water in a stockpot first—and give the must (unfermented mead) a good stir with your totem stick for at least a couple minutes to excite the yeast and get them ready to party with the enzymes. Cover the vessel with a cheesecloth when not stirring to keep flies out. If it’s ant season, place a small container of cornmeal mixed with honey or must to distract them. An additional benefit is that the cornmeal will expand in their stomachs and kill them. You must protect your mead at all costs.
  • Place the vessel in a warm, dark room and stir several times a day. Once the must has collected enough wild yeast from the air (usually in 3-5 days) it will begin to bubble and fizz. You now officially have mead. Feel free to thank the gods, do a little dance or quaff a fermented beverage of your choice. Now that you’ve collected enough wild yeast to initiate fermentation, loosely cover the vessel with a lid or heavy towel to allow gasses to escape but minimize contact with outside air, which is no longer needed.
  • Stir occasionally until fizzing is minimal and partied-out yeast (lees) have settled on the bottom of your fermentation vessel. If your mead tastes good and you don’t have the time, interest or equipment to bottle it, you can stop here and just start drinking. It will only be mildly alcoholic, but will be full of nutritious probiotics from the wild yeast. Most ancient meads were drank young due to the lack of airtight vessels for storage. I like to keep mine in vessel with a spigot so I can take samples to gauge how the flavor changes. Since continued contact with outside air can produce sour flavors, it’s time to rack, or, if you have room, put it in your refrigerator, which will slow fermentation significantly.
  • Rack (transfer) into a secondary fermenter to separate the mead from the lees if you’re going to bottle. This isn’t absolutely necessary for a small mead, but will help clarify your mead for long-term ageing and will provide additional aeration to encourage further fermentation. If you want to age your mead for a more refined flavor and higher alcohol levels, rack to a carboy with an airlock to create an anaerobic (no air) environment. 
  • Be sure to wait 9-12 months before bottling to minimize the chance of bottles bursting or corks popping due to carbonation. Check the must for carbonation bubbles, and watch the airlock closely to determine if it is bubbling more than once a minute. If carbonation is still present, wait a bit longer. Alternatively, you can add a bit of sugar or honey dissolved in a small amount of warm water, stir it in, and bottle in champagne or Grolsch/swing-top bottles for a carbonated mead. Otherwise, use wine bottles with a wine corker or non-screw-top beer bottles with a bottle capper. Place corked bottles on their sides when storing; like wine, this will result in more even aging and will keep the cork moist. You should wait at least six months before enjoying your creation, but I like to sample a bottle or two during this period to see how it is progressing, and to determine whether or not I have bottled too soon. I cannot emphasize enough that mead should be given plenty of time to age. In my early attempts, I was too eager, which resulted in being woken up at four in the morning to corks popping in my kitchen, or walking into my cellar to find it smelling suspiciously delicious.

It may look like there are a lot of steps here, but you can complete the entire preparation process in less than an hour. This recipe is just a starting point—you can try as many variations as you dare. I’ve added herbs, peppers, coffee beans, wild flowers and more to my meads. If it’s edible, give it a try. You can also add bread, wine, ale or champagne yeast at the onset, or if you have a stuck fermentation, but I recommend patience and regular stirring. It's always a treat when you stir what was previously honey water and find that it is suddenly bubbling and fermenting happily. 

I would like to pass along a heilsa (Icelandic/Norse for "good health") to the lovely Jenna Lee, Sadie Lee, and my future as-yet-unnamed yetiling currently practicing sarcasm techniques in her mommy's tummy; Wondering Scribe (aka Stickboy); the mysterious Dave, who lives in a cave; Zach the Chainsaw Juggler; and Dan the Man for all of the inspiration that they have provided in my mead-making endeavors, and for, ahem, putting up with my yeti-ness.

Skál!



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Steve Cole (Stickboy)

May 7th, 2014 at 4:27pm

From now on, I will always think of mead as "Odin vomit." That may be a good name for the reconstructed heather mead you're planning on making for me. I mean...for you. Continue to spread the boozy word.

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

May 7th, 2014 at 4:59pm

Well, now you need to come up with an illustration for when I'm ready to bottle my Odin Vomit.

Kim Knowlton (OldSoul)

May 7th, 2014 at 8:22pm

After my garden planting, I'm ready for a good drink! I think we're a bit too far apart for me to pop in for a drink! Guess I'll have to settle for what's in the fridge...but the mead would be soooo much better!

MarymtbAZ MarymtbAZ (MarymtbAZ)

May 7th, 2014 at 11:06pm

Great article, thanks!

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

May 8th, 2014 at 4:33pm

I'd like to address a common question I get about wild fermentation and the likelihood of unintentional vinegar. Long-time mead-makers who are skeptical about wild fermentation usually list this as the main reason they don't wild ferment. To put it simply, vinegar can happen with prolonged exposure to air *after* active fermentation subsides. As Sandor Katz notes in the troubleshooting section of his meads, wines, and ciders chapter of The Art of Fermentation (pp 92-93), acetobacter, the bacteria that are present everywhere and produce acetic acid, require oxygen to thrive. Provided you follow the steps outline above and stir regularly to initiate active fermentation, and then proceed to either drink or transfer to an air-locked carboy, you won't have a problem. As with any kind of fermentation, there is always room for error, but the key here is to fully cut off contact with outside air if you plan on ageing your mead long-term. I know several mead and wine makers who wild ferment and rarely have problems with accidental vinegar.

Remember, you can always use it for cooking or give it to someone who likes sour flavors. I had a mead turn a bit sour (likely because I left it out for a couple days too long and then didn't fill the carboy all the way) that I was bottling for cooking. Turns out everyone else who tried it enjoyed it, so I suppose I was just being too picky. Some folks think that long-term (10+ years) bottling increases the likelihood of acetobacter entering. I asked Katz about that at a recent workshop and his response was essentially "hogwash." Once you cork a bottle you're cutting off contact with outside air. You may have a minuscule amount of air *exit* through the cork, but this is good for ageing. It's always good to use the longest, highest quality corks you can find if you plan on bottling long-term. Remember, what I'm doing here is brewing as the ancients did. Fully airtight vessels often weren't available (or hadn't yet been invented), and when they were used, they were filled with mead that had either been wild-fermented or backslopped (using a previous batch to start the next batch). Wines and vinegars that are hundreds (maybe even thousands?) of years old have been found and were still quite tasty upon sampling.

You're a Viking-you can do this!

John John (John)

May 25th, 2014 at 2:22pm

Sorry this is vaguely off topic, but a general brewing question that's been boggling me for some time now.

Hello!
I've been reading some of your recipes on earthineer, and it's a pretty awesome resource. I'm really interested in brewing, especially things using things that are freely available (either through foraging or more urban variants of dumpster diving) and hence can be given out nice and freely. But, I'm also just starting out, and I was wondering if you could help out with a few questions I have?

Basically one of the, uh, bottlenecks I've come across involves filtering. I've tried a few recipes that involve either blending things up like grains (e.g. raw beers [like a variation of this one https://sites.google.com/site/yankeeharp/rawbeer]), or tried mushing up things like bananas. I've tried sieving the mixture or running it through cloth but it seems to take ages and when this has been with things that had already been brewing a bit it basically turned to vinegar after a few days from all the air contact; when this was before adding any yeast it looked like it would take several hours. Any chance you have advice on such matters would be very much appreciated?

Many thanks! =)
John
snafupunk [@] gmail.com

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

May 26th, 2014 at 9:44am

That raw beer recipe is a great resource! I've ready of similar recipes and have been meaning to try one, but have mostly only made raw/no-heat meads so far. I'm slowly working on making beer using ancient/wild techniques, but have done it via the modern method for so long that it's been a slow transition.

I can't say I've had the problem you're referencing, but can certainly give you some tips. I'm not sure I see the reason for blending or mushing any ingredients, and have never done so myself. When I made a banana-coffee mead, I simply put the banana in whole, with a small amount of the peel for imparting wild yeasts. After fermentation had commenced, I strained through a cheesecloth, which pretty much caught all of the larger bits. The rest settled to the bottom with the lees, although I did have a bit of cloudiness in the bottle. This could have been eliminated if I added pectic enzyme, which I personally don't find necessary for homebrewing. Remember, its the *essence* of the fruit you want. Fermentation will do its job and pull the majority of the flavor from the fruit even if it's whole or broken up into fairly large chunks.

If you do it this way, it's fairly easy to get the majority of the liquid strained through a cheesecloth. I also use a funnel from a homebrew store sometimes that has a filter that snaps into the bottom of the funnel. I'm not sure why one would want to blend grains as in the recipe above. I would likely just sparge: break them up coarsely by whatever means you wish and tie them all up in a cheesecloth. Then you can just take a wooden or metal cooking spoon and squeeze all the liquid into the wort.

Hopefully this answers your questions. The great thing about homebrewing is that there are a lot of different methods that will work, but the more crazy and experimental you get the more room there is for error. That doesn't mean you should stop experimenting, just be sure you read up on others doing similar experiments and you'll eventually find something that works for you. So, yeah, I don't really see the need to blend in brewing. Seems unnecessary to me, but there are folks who do it and say it works. If you want some simple recipes for gruits or other ancient ales, I highly recommend the book Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers by Stephen Harrod Buhner.

John John (John)

May 29th, 2014 at 5:36am

Awesome, that's really helpful, thanks!

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

May 29th, 2014 at 8:38am

NP!

I actually picked up a couple more tips that may work for you while reading Gene Logsdon's "Good Spirits: A New Look at Ol' Demon Alcohol" (a book I can't recommend enough). One thing he suggests is wrapping what you want filtered in a cheesecloth, muslin or other cloth, hanging it above your fermentation put and letting the liquid seep out. He says you can squeeze it lightly with your hands from time to time, but that, for the good stuff, you don't want to squeeze too hard, as the liquid that naturally leaks out is of the highest quality. He also, like me, recommends being unorthodox about brewing and just squeeze as much as you can out if you want a decent amount of not-bad booze.

He also recounts a story from when he was making elderberry wine on the sly while a seminary student. Since they had to keep an eye out for their "priestly revenoors" and work quickly (also, they knew nothing about how to make wine), they didn't exactly create it by orthodox methods. When they decided squeezing the juice by hand was too slow, they pulled out a mop bucket (which he *thinks* he cleaned), and used the rollers designed to squeeze water from the mop to get the juices out. Since they were doing all of the work on "moonshine time" they worked a bit too fast and bottled the booze after only a couple days, resulting in purple streaks across the recently whitewashed walls of the barn where they stored it in the morning. Even after cleaning it, the smell remained (which was apparently better than the taste), so they purposely neglected to clean out the cows' manure gutter for a couple days to mask the evidence. This is all on page 91 of the book in the "The Backyard Winery" chapter.

Take what you will from that... If you use a mop bucket, perchance purchase a new, unused one?

Rachel Rachel (Rachel)

June 6th, 2014 at 12:16pm

I've never had a desire to make mead...until now! Inspired. I'm sending my husband to the store for some distilled water right now.

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

June 6th, 2014 at 2:41pm

Inspiration is what I do best!

Claude Denn (Claude Denn)

June 9th, 2014 at 10:57am

Yeti, We need to talk, since I had a mess of honey left over from last year I have been a busy little chemist, I would like your opinion on some of my more experimental Meads. I have some I have decided to see how much alcohol content I can obtain with the stronger yeast. I also have some I am waiting for all the solids to fall out of suspension...ideas? Do I wait? I did come across an Onion one I have in batch right now...any comments?

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

June 9th, 2014 at 11:21am

I would need some more detailed questions and info on what you have going to really be able to comment. There are ways you can filter if you're waiting for the solids to fall out. Egg whites can be used for that but I've never done it (http://www.winespectator.com/drvinny/show/id/5452).

I don't worry about clarifying. I either bottle once all of the carbonation has ceased (no more bubbles) or bottle in flip-top or champagne bottles if I want a bit of carbonation.

K Goatee (K Goatee)

November 8th, 2014 at 1:27pm

I may be confused. You wrote "wait 9-12 months before bottling".
Is that correct?

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

November 8th, 2014 at 3:51pm

That's what I recommend. You can bottle sooner if: a) doing a smaller batch than five gallons or b) there is a small amount of honey in ratio to water. There are a couple reasons to leave it in the secondary before bottling. Mind you, this is in a carboy with an airlock to keep outside air out. First, the longer it ages the better it gets, but most importantly, you could get exploding bottles or popping corks if you bottle too soon without taking the proper precautions. You can bottle sooner if you like a sparkling mead, but I recommend doing this in a thick-walled bottle, like a champagne or Belgian beer bottle. Most mead makers age at least a year in a carboy and then at least a year in a bottle. I will sometimes bottle at around six months, but only if I've looked at the carboy closely and seen no small bubbles rising to the top or activity in the airlock (indicating carbonation). Small meads (AKA Lazy Viking meads) are more akin to ales and are designed for quicker bottling and drinking. I'll be blogging about those eventually, and will be writing about them in my book (http://yeti.earthineer.com/).

K Goatee (K Goatee)

November 9th, 2014 at 11:58am

I apologize, I should have looked a little more in depth before asking that question. I see now that the process has differences to beer making.
I have enjoyed making tasty beer in my past (I still have all the equipment) and now I am interested in making Wine and more importantly the Honey Mead Nectar. I have a Union Brother that is a Bee Keeper in the Louisville area that will make me a good deal on large amounts of raw honey.

Do you have any planned workshops in the near future?
My Lovely Mead Making Assistant / Shield Maiden, and I would be thrilled to attend!

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

November 9th, 2014 at 2:13pm

No worries. I came from a beer background myself and have had to exercise patience in getting accustomed to bottling mead. I personally prefer my mead to be a bit sparkling, so I'll often bottle a tad early, or prime some bottles. I did bottle a few too early and learned my lesson, which is why I now tell people to wait at least nine months to be safe. I would love to get a source for large amounts of raw honey in Kentucky...

My workshop circuit starts in April at the Mother Earth News Fair Asheville ( April 11-12). I haven't confirmed all of my dates yet, but if WildFestKY happens again in Somerset, I may do one there. Then there is next year's Whipporwill Festival near Berea, and who knows what else. I'll post my schedule on Earthineer when it's confirmed, but if you sign up to the email list at the link I posted in my previous comment, you can be sure to get regular updates.

Carl Johnson (Carl Johnson)

August 3rd, 2015 at 11:21am

Explain one thing to me - After it's done fermenting, if I want to drink it young, can I bottle it without it exploding? And do I filter out the residues in the bottom? I'm focusing on lazy viking, mostly sweet mead... First timer, too...

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

August 3rd, 2015 at 11:34am

Karl, You can definitely bottle it young, but only if you plan on drinking it young. After it's been fermenting for a couple of weeks (or longer if you've put it in an airlocked container), you can put it in flip-top bottles, leave them overnight and then put them in the fridge to chill them. Take care when opening them, as they'll be heavily carbonated and do NOT forget about them, or you'll have bottle bombs... As for filtering, filter out any solids but don't worry if a bit makes it into the bottle. If you set the bottles upright, any residue will float to the bottom.

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

August 3rd, 2015 at 11:34am

Sorry I spelled your name wrong, Carl. I had a roommate named Karl in college and it's still hard to break the habit of spelling it that way.

Carl Johnson (Carl Johnson)

August 3rd, 2015 at 2:38pm

Hey, no problem, thanks for the fast answer.

Jenni Cyman (Jenni Cyman)

August 4th, 2015 at 8:41pm

LOVE this article! I have a deanelion mead from this spring in the carboy right now (using commercial yeast) & have just come home from the saskatoon berry patch. This will be my first attempt at a wild yeast mead & I am SO excited. Also, I've never done a fruit mead before... How much would you recommend I add to this 1 Gallon recipe of yours?! Thank you in advance!

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

August 5th, 2015 at 10:53am

Jenni, the beauty of fruit is that you can add as much as you want without much worry. Even a small amount (a cup or two) will be stock full of wild yeast. I recommend adding a handful or two and then waiting until the vigorous fermentation you will surely have subsides. You can then strain the fruit (or not) out and add more fruit to the secondary fermentation. Essentially, the first fermentation will ferment the "essence" of the fruit. If you add no more you'll get just a touch of fruity flavor after it's aged (or, drink it young and sweet!). If you add more to the secondary you'll get a much stronger fruit flavor. Once you've put it in a airlock vessel you can leave it on the berries for a month or two and then rack (transfer) into another vessel, being sure to leave behind any sediment.

Jenni Cyman (Jenni Cyman)

August 6th, 2015 at 12:43pm

Jereme! Thank you for the quick response!! So, I used 1.5lbs of raw honey (on tap at our local apiary right now!!) as well as a honeycomb as recommended in your article... mostly because it's FUN to look at... & because I can :), 1lb of saskatoon berry, six stems of raspberry leaf for extra tannins & 12 cups water in (each) gallon jar to bring it up to 1gal. I let it bathe in the sun by the garden for extra healthy yeasty air for the afternoon before putting it in a darker area of the house... on the principal that suntea is ALWAYS better than regular steeped tea :) It's getting a lot more color already (day 2) which surprised me because the berries are whole. So cool. I taste a few drops every few times I stir it & by this 2nd day can taste the saskatoons already! Great idea to add more to the F2... Especially since I'm working with smaller jars until I can use my larger demijohn.
I really like the idea of the totem stick too... sounds like a fun project to eventually hand down! Thanks again for posting this great tutorial... best I've been able to find yet :D

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

August 7th, 2015 at 7:50am

Sounds great, Jenni! Keep us posted!

Diana Fred (MommaDsPorch)

February 5th, 2016 at 9:50am

Thanks for the great article. Do you have any experience with using honey that has already started to ferment? For example pulled off the hive too early with a high water content, resulting in green or ferments honey? Thanks for any thoughts you have!

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

February 5th, 2016 at 10:43am

I don't have any personal experience with that, Diana, but it sounds to me like it's already done some of the work for you! I suggest adding some water and flavoring ingredients and proceeding as I've outlined in the article.

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

February 16th, 2016 at 1:59pm

I figure it's high time to let readers of this article know that it is now available in book form. Among the many places you can get it are: my publisher (http://www.chelseagreen.com/make-mead-like-a-viking), Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Make-Mead-Like-Viking-Wild-Fermented/dp/1603585982), and my personal website: http://www.jereme-zimmerman.com/products-1/make-mead-like-a-viking-paperback-book

Skal!

Erik Olsen (ErikO)

October 3rd, 2016 at 3:54pm

Found my Better Bottle 5 gal carboy when cleaning the garage along with my airlock. Now to get it back into action! Thanks, Jereme, now I have growlers and Grolsh bottles to wash. ;)

Erik Olsen (ErikO)

October 3rd, 2016 at 3:54pm

Found my Better Bottle 5 gal carboy when cleaning the garage along with my airlock. Now to get it back into action! Thanks, Jereme, now I have growlers and Grolsh bottles to wash. ;)

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

October 5th, 2016 at 8:58am

Nice!

Filip Ligocki (Fligii)

November 7th, 2016 at 5:31am

Great post! And very informative. I'll start making some mead the moment I get home. Maybe I will try to add some dried pear and ginger! I Wonder how that will turn out.

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

November 14th, 2016 at 9:13am

I think that will turn out great! I use ginger often. Just be careful not to overdo it. Ginger can be a strong flavor!

Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti)

November 28th, 2016 at 3:40pm

I've finally put together a comprehensive troubleshooting blog on wild mead making. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them here and on my blog to aid in the edification of other wild meadsters!

http://www.jereme-zimmerman.com/news/2016/11/8/wild-yeast-is-your-friend

Stephen Castello (kastneskjiold)

February 22nd, 2017 at 12:26am

Jereme, I thank you for this article which has best explained to me how wild yeast works. Just a bit of FYI, my research found that Mead was usually consumed young, in fact straight from the fermenting container to the horn. I'm looking forward to using your method and recipe.

Stephen Castello (kastneskjiold)

February 22nd, 2017 at 12:27am

Jereme, I thank you for this article which has best explained to me how wild yeast works. Just a bit of FYI, my research found that Mead was usually consumed young, in fact straight from the fermenting container to the horn. I'm looking forward to using your method and recipe.

Matthew Christopher (@SKC4MMC)

March 22nd, 2017 at 2:04pm

Have you ever used one of those sun tea containers to make Mead in? If so how did it go? If not, do you think it would work?

Matthew Christopher (@SKC4MMC)

March 22nd, 2017 at 2:04pm

Have you ever used one of those sun tea containers to make Mead in? If so how did it go? If not, do you think it would work?

Matthew Christopher (@SKC4MMC)

March 22nd, 2017 at 2:05pm

Have you ever used one of those sun tea containers to make Mead in? If so how did it go? If not, do you think it would work?

Matthew Christopher (@SKC4MMC)

March 22nd, 2017 at 2:05pm

Have you ever used one of those sun tea containers to make Mead in? If so how did it go? If not, do you think it would work?

Matthew Christopher (@SKC4MMC)

March 22nd, 2017 at 2:05pm

Have you ever used one of those sun tea containers to make Mead in? If so how did it go? If not, do you think it would work?

Matthew Christopher (@SKC4MMC)

March 22nd, 2017 at 2:05pm

Have you ever used one of those sun tea containers to make Mead in? If so how did it go? If not, do you think it would work?

Matthew Christopher (@SKC4MMC)

March 22nd, 2017 at 2:05pm

Have you ever used one of those sun tea containers to make Mead in? If so how did it go? If not, do you think it would work?

Matthew Christopher (@SKC4MMC)

March 22nd, 2017 at 2:05pm

Have you ever used one of those sun tea containers to make Mead in? If so how did it go? If not, do you think it would work?

Matthew Christopher (@SKC4MMC)

March 22nd, 2017 at 2:05pm

Have you ever used one of those sun tea containers to make Mead in? If so how did it go? If not, do you think it would work?

Matthew Christopher (@SKC4MMC)

March 22nd, 2017 at 2:05pm

Have you ever used one of those sun tea containers to make Mead in? If so how did it go? If not, do you think it would work?

Matthew Christopher (@SKC4MMC)

March 22nd, 2017 at 2:06pm

Have you ever used one of those sun tea containers to make Mead in? If so how did it go? If not, do you think it would work?

Matthew Christopher (@SKC4MMC)

March 22nd, 2017 at 2:07pm

i am so sorry for multiple posts. It kept telling me the post failed and I am doing this from a phone so could not see it posting on the bottom. Again apologies to all.