Hydromel Recipe – How To Make A Plain, Hopped Or Fruit Hydromel


Enjoying hydromel whether fruit or plain is a plan for every season. But what is the hydromel recipe for a fruit or plain hydromel? Making plain or fruit hydromel (also known as session mead) is a relatively simple process that involves fermenting honey and water, with the option to add fruits for flavor.

Plain, Hopped or Fruit-infused Hydromel Recipe

You may be one of the people who love a hopped hydromel but are not sure of the hopped hydromel recipe. We will explore that too. Here’s a basic recipe for both plain and fruit hydromel:

Hydromel Recipe: Plain or Fruit Hydromel

Ingredients for Plain Hydromel:

  • 3 lbs (1.36 kg) of honey
  • 1 gallon (3.78 liters) of water
  • 1 packet of wine yeast (like Lalvin D-47 or EC-1118)
  • Yeast nutrient (follow package instructions for amount)
  • Campden tablets (optional, for sterilization)

Ingredients for Fruit Hydromel:

  • 3 lbs (1.36 kg) of honey
  • 1 gallon (3.78 liters) of water
  • 1-2 lbs (0.45-0.9 kg) of your chosen fruits (berries, peaches, etc.)
  • 1 packet of wine yeast (like Lalvin D-47 or EC-1118)
  • Yeast nutrient (follow package instructions for amount)
  • Campden tablets (optional, for sterilization)

Equipment:

  • Fermentation vessel (glass or plastic carboy)
  • Airlock and stopper
  • Hydrometer
  • Sanitizer (like Star San)
  • Siphon or auto-siphon
  • Bottles for packaging

Instructions:

For Both Plain and Fruit Hydromel:

  1. Sanitize Everything: Thoroughly sanitize all equipment, including fermentation vessels, airlocks, siphons, and bottles. To sanitize brewing equipment, prepare a sanitizing solution using a no-rinse sanitizer like Star San. Immerse all items, such as fermentation vessels, airlocks, siphons, and bottles, in the solution for the recommended contact time, ensuring all surfaces are thoroughly wet. Allow the sanitized equipment to air dry before use to prevent contamination during the brewing process.
  2. Mix Honey and Water: In a large pot, mix the honey with water. Heat the mixture to dissolve the honey but avoid boiling. Warm it gently and avoid high temperatures. Heat the mixture on the stove over low to medium heat, stirring continuously to aid in the dissolution of the honey. This process usually takes around 5 to 10 minutes, and it’s crucial to avoid bringing the mixture to a boil, as excessive heat can affect the flavor and aroma of the honey and potentially create off-flavors in the final mead. Once the honey is fully dissolved, remove the mixture from heat and allow it to cool to room temperature before proceeding with the fermentation process.
  3. Transfer to Fermentation Vessel: Pour the cooled honey-water mixture into the fermentation vessel.
  4. Pitch Yeast: Sprinkle the wine yeast over the surface of the liquid. If using fruit, you can add it at this point. The popular wine yeast choices include Lalvin D-47 for a balanced ester profile, Lalvin EC-1118 for a clean and dry finish, and 71B-1122 for enhanced fruity aromas and a slightly sweet outcome. Additionally, K1V-1116 is a versatile option with neutral flavors, while Wyeast 1388 Belgian Strong Ale yeast can add complexity to experimental hydromels. Choose based on your desired flavor profile and sweetness level.
  5. Add Nutrients: Add the yeast nutrient as per the package instructions. This helps ensure a healthy fermentation. For Lalvin D-47 yeast in hydromel, it is recommended to use yeast nutrients such as Fermaid K and Diammonium Phosphate (DAP). Follow the specific dosage recommendations provided by the manufacturers to support a healthy fermentation.
  6. Check Specific Gravity: Use a hydrometer to measure the specific gravity of the must. This will help you estimate the alcohol content. Record the reading.
  7. Attach Airlock: Seal the fermentation vessel with an airlock to allow gases to escape during fermentation.
  8. Fermentation: Place the vessel in a cool, dark place and let it ferment. Making hydromel can take a few weeks. Check the airlock for bubbles, which indicate active fermentation.
  9. Rack (Optional): After a few weeks, you can rack (transfer) the mead to a new vessel to remove sediment, although this step is optional for a hydromel.
  10. Bottle: Once fermentation is complete (no more bubbles in the airlock), use a siphon to transfer the mead into sanitized bottles.
  11. Age (Optional): You can age the mead for a few weeks to a few months to enhance flavors, but hydromels are often enjoyed relatively young.
  12. Enjoy: Chill your mead and enjoy your homemade hydromel!

Remember, cleanliness is crucial in brewing, so be sure to sanitize all equipment properly to avoid contamination. Also, experiment with different fruits or honey varieties to create unique flavors.

Hydromel Recipe

Blueberry Hydromel Recipe

Ingredients for Blueberry Hydromel:

  • 3 lbs (1.36 kg) of honey
  • 1 gallon (3.78 liters) of water
  • 2 lbs (0.9 kg) of fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 packet of wine yeast (e.g., Lalvin D-47)
  • Yeast nutrient (follow package instructions for amount)
  • Campden tablets (optional, for sterilization)

Instructions:

  1. Sanitize Everything: Sanitize all equipment, including fermentation vessels, airlocks, siphon, and bottles, using a no-rinse sanitizer.
  2. Mix Honey and Water: In a large pot, mix honey with water. Heat the mixture to dissolve the honey, avoiding boiling. Let it cool to room temperature.
  3. Add Blueberries: Add the blueberries to the cooled honey-water mixture. You can mash or purée them for better flavor extraction.
  4. Transfer to Fermentation Vessel: Pour the mixture into the fermentation vessel, ensuring the blueberries are evenly distributed.
  5. Pitch Yeast: Sprinkle wine yeast (e.g., Lalvin D-47) over the surface of the liquid.
  6. Add Nutrients: Include yeast nutrient per package instructions for a healthy fermentation.
  7. Check Specific Gravity: Measure the specific gravity with a hydrometer.
  8. Attach Airlock: Seal the vessel with an airlock.
  9. Fermentation: Place the vessel in a cool, dark place. Monitor for fermentation activity.
  10. Rack (Optional): After a few weeks, consider racking to a new vessel to remove sediment.
  11. Bottle: Transfer the mead to sanitized bottles when fermentation is complete.
  12. Age (Optional): Age the mead for a few weeks to enhance flavors.
  13. Enjoy: Chill and enjoy the delightful blueberry-infused hydromel!

Differences from Fruit Hydromel:

  • Fruit Choice: Blueberries are specifically used in this recipe, providing a distinct flavor and color. Adjust the quantity based on personal preference.
  • Yeast Variety: Wine yeast (Lalvin D-47) is recommended for the Blueberry Hydromel to complement the fruit’s characteristics, as opposed to ale yeast used in the Hopped Hydromel described below.
  • Bitterness Absence: Unlike the Hopped Hydromel, there is no bitterness component from hops in the Blueberry Hydromel.

Similarities with Fruit Hydromel:

  • Sanitization: Both recipes emphasize the importance of sanitizing equipment for clean and uncontaminated fermentation.
  • Fermentation Process: The general steps of mixing, fermenting, and bottling remain consistent, emphasizing the simplicity of the hydromel-making process.
  • Versatility: Both recipes offer opportunities for experimentation, allowing mead makers to customize the final product based on personal preferences and desired flavors.

Hopped Hydromel Recipe

A Hopped Hydromel is a mead that incorporates hops, borrowing elements from beer brewing to create a unique flavor profile. Here’s a basic Hopped Hydromel recipe, highlighting the differences from a plain or fruit hydromel:

Ingredients for Hopped Hydromel:

  • 3 lbs (1.36 kg) of honey
  • 1 gallon (3.78 liters) of water
  • 0.5 to 1 oz (14 to 28 grams) of hops (depending on desired bitterness and flavor)
  • 1 packet of ale yeast (e.g., Safale US-05 or similar)
  • Yeast nutrient (follow package instructions for amount)
  • Campden tablets (optional, for sterilization)

Instructions:

  1. Sanitize Everything: Sanitize all equipment, including fermentation vessels, airlocks, siphons, and bottles, using a no-rinse sanitizer. Use the sanitization process described while making the plain or fruit hydromel above.
  2. Mix Honey and Water: In a large pot, mix honey with water. Heat the mixture to dissolve the honey, avoiding boiling. Let it cool to room temperature.
  3. Add Hops: Add the hops to the cooled honey-water mixture. You can do this in various ways—steeping, dry hopping, or using a hop tea—to achieve different flavor profiles.
  4. Transfer to Fermentation Vessel: Pour the mixture into the fermentation vessel.
  5. Pitch Yeast: Sprinkle ale yeast over the surface of the liquid.
  6. Add Nutrients: Include yeast nutrient per package instructions for a healthy fermentation.
  7. Check Specific Gravity: Measure the specific gravity with a hydrometer.
  8. Attach Airlock: Seal the vessel with an airlock.
  9. Fermentation: Place the vessel in a cool, dark place. Monitor for fermentation activity.
  10. Rack (Optional): After a few weeks, consider racking to a new vessel to remove sediment.
  11. Bottle: Transfer the mead to sanitized bottles when fermentation is complete.
  12. Age (Optional): Age the mead for a few weeks to enhance flavors.
  13. Enjoy: Chill and enjoy the unique hopped flavors of your hydromel!

Differences from Plain or Fruit Hydromel:

  • Hops Addition: The addition of hops distinguishes Hopped Hydromel, imparting bitterness, aroma, and flavor reminiscent of beer. The choice of hops and the method of adding them provide a wide range of possibilities for crafting unique profiles.
  • Yeast Variety: Ale yeast (e.g., Safale US-05) is typically used in Hopped Hydromel recipes, contributing to the beer-like characteristics. This is different from the wine yeast often used in plain or fruit hydromels.
  • Bitterness Control: The addition of hops allows for control over the bitterness level, offering a broader spectrum of taste compared to the sweetness focus of plain or fruit hydromels.

Conclusion

Crafting a hydromel, whether it’s a traditional, hopped, or fruit-infused variation, offers a delightful and approachable entry into the world of mead-making. The simplicity of the process, typically characterized by lower alcohol content and a quicker turnaround, makes hydromel an ideal choice for those seeking a refreshing and flavorful beverage.

Whether experimenting with hops for unique bitterness or incorporating fruits like blueberries for added complexity, the versatility of hydromel recipes encourages creativity. With careful attention to sanitization, yeast selection, and nutrient additions, aspiring mead makers can embark on a rewarding journey, producing batches that cater to their taste preferences.

3 Comments

  1. Thanks to you Lee for the article on hydromel recipe. It provides a concise and informative guide for novice mead makers, detailing the steps involved in creating plain, hopped, and fruit-infused variations. The inclusion of specific yeast recommendations and the emphasis on proper sanitation practices are commendable, ensuring a solid foundation for successful brewing. However, from the perspective of a regular brewer, the critique lies in the limited exploration of advanced techniques or ingredient nuances that might interest those with more experience. Additionally, insights into troubleshooting common issues, such as stuck fermentations or off-flavors, could enhance the article’s practicality for brewers seeking to refine their craft. Despite this, the article serves as a valuable introduction to hydromel-making, catering well to those at the beginning of their mead-making journey.

    • Happy Sharon to understand that you love the recipe. Are you a beginner or a regular? If by any chance you pass by Boston, we can have a chat on how to make this recipe work for you! But happy that you are enlightened on the process. In case you have any challenges with your brewing process you can reach out directly via our email address on info@hopstersbrew.com

  2. Pretty! I appreciate your hydromel recipe for its thoughtful incorporation of mead brewing principles. The emphasis on proper sanitization aligns with the essence of maintaining a clean and sterile environment crucial for successful fermentation.

    I particularly enjoy the flexibility the recipe offers, allowing for experimentation with different yeast strains and honey varieties, enabling brewers to tailor the flavor profile to their preferences.

    Moreover, the inclusion of staggered nutrient additions demonstrates a commitment to supporting yeast health throughout the fermentation process, ensuring a robust and flavorful end product.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *