How Long Does it Take to Brew Mead?

When it comes to homebrewing any drink, patience along with access to the best home brewing kit is key.

The truth is, it’s rather simple and easy to make mead, but the challenge is to patiently bear with the long timelines needed before mead is ready for consumption. In this post, we will explore how long it takes to brew mead.

The Mead Making Process

Every stage of making mead requires minimum processing time to move to the next step. The parts that require input from you aren’t time-intensive. The parts of the process where you have to wait patiently for preparation take much longer.

The process of making mead goes like this:

1. Preparing the Must

The “Must” is a mixture of honey and water. The first step involves adding yeast to the must, a process known as pitching; you have to mix the ingredients based on the recipe. After this, the yeast slowly turns the liquid into gold over the course of several weeks.

Prepping the must takes around an hour only.

2. Pitching the Yeast for Fermentation

This is the process where the yeast consumes the sugar in the yeast to make alcohol. The first phase of the fermentation involves adding yeast that consumes all the available sugar.

This activity takes around 2 to 3 weeks.

3. Conditioning and Maturing

By now, all the sugar available to the yeast will have been consumed and you should reach your target for the level of alcohol. The mead will now take require aging to properly condition. The mead is transferred to a new vessel where any harsh flavors are allowed to clear or be further processed by the yeast.

This phase, known as clearing and aging, takes anywhere from 2 to 6 months. The final timeline depends on the strength of mead you want.

4. Bottling

Once the mead is ready, it has to be bottled. The bottles should be stored for a period before they are opened, experts suggest adding another 6 months or more to the process.

What is the Timeline of Brewing Traditional Mead?

Mead comes in a range of shapes and sizes from higher ABV versions to lighter versions that take just a few months to process. It will take longer to make higher ABV meads because of the level of fermentation required.

Traditionally mean, though, has the same strength as wine at about 12 to 16% ABV. This means the mead requires a certain amount of time for conditioning.

Traditional mead at strengths of 12 to 16% tastes best after around 6 to 8 months.

How Long Does it Take to Make a Light Mead?

If you don’t want to wait this long to make mead, you can make Hydromels or meads with lower ABV (usually in the range of 4 to 7 percent). They require less time for conditioning although it will place a lot of stress on the yeast and create less undesirable products that must be cleaned up during the conditioning phase.

This process takes just a couple of months.

Like most projects related to homebrewing, the best results depend on how long you allow them to process. It takes investment and a little time to ensure your meads are ready for consumption. But the wait is definitely well worth the effort.

Additional Reading

Written by Clark Thanh on

Clark is a freelance writer with several years of experience in beer brewing and fermentation. For as long as he can remember, Clark has always found great pleasure in brewing, fermentation and bottling beer.