Mead 2023

It’s been more than 10 years since I’ve made a mead! I messed around with meads when I first started brewing, partly due to how ancient it sounded, but more because it’s so easy. I like sack meads, since they showcase so much of the honey’s character and age nicely.

Mead to me is pretty straightforward. You dilute honey, add the yeast and wait. A long time. One thing to remember though is that honey is very scarce in nutrients (despite what honey salespeople would have you believe). The yeast will struggle without help, so I always add a good amount of yeast nutrient.

Also, I don’t boil the honey as that drives off a lot of delicate aromatics. What about infection? Well, with proper sanitisation and pitching a healthy amount of yeast, the yeast growth should out-compete any nasties.

To make sack mead, the amount of sugars available must be more than what the yeast can consume before they die from the alcohol concentration. This results in residual sweetness without having to mess with stabilisation and back-sweetening.


Volume = 8 Litres

  • 3kg Honey
  • Yeast nutrient
  • Lutra yeast


Compared to beer, mead-making is more like brew-hour than a brewday.

First, I used a 8L carboy – this one was bought from Sheng Siong, but is also commonly seen in regular neighbourhood sundry stores. You know, the ones that sell household plastic things, and other miscellaneous stuff. I don’t even know how to classify those stores. These carboys are meant for pickling limes or making plum wine, but do very nicely for small-ish batches of mead. (I imagine doing a full 20L batch of mead in a fermenter would be incredibly expensive!) Everything that would touch ingredients was first thoroughly sanitised using Star-San. Don’t fear the foam.

It helps to prepare everything in advance, so that you don’t rush around and end up missing ingredients or steps.

Next up – yeast nutrient. I buy this stuff in bulk, but there are many other options too. You could mix up your own, or boil store-bought yeast to break them down, or use more atas alternatives like Fermaid. (I love that stuff, but it gets expensive.) Serious mead-makers actually stagger their nutrient additions. They may put half the amount initially, followed by another half about 1/3 the way through. I’m just lazy about things and dump the full amount (1 teaspoon per 4 litres) right at the start. It is first dissolved in some very hot water though, then poured straight into the fermenter.

I poured most of the honey right into the carboy, and used warm water to dissolve it. 2 camps over here – some say boil to sanitize, but on the other hand boiling also destroys some of the aromatic honey compounds. I never saw the need to boil the honey though. On its own, honey is pretty clean. Add enough healthy yeast to put-compete any nasties, and you should not be seeing any infection. The yeast will acidify the must and create alcohol, both which are inhospitable to bacterial growth. This just needs to happen fast enough before any bacteria can really establish a foothold.

Pitching the yeast

Traditionally, I’ve always used champagne yeast due to its high alcohol tolerance. This time though, I decided to try using a kveik strain – Lutra. It has a pretty decent alcohol tolerance, and ferments well in our local ambient temperature.

Because I started with dry yeast, I did not bother to oxygenate the just – another plus.

The refractometer registered the gravity at 30 Brix, but I’m not going to put too much faith in it – the refractometer I have is meant for beer wort, not high gravity musts. Should’ve used a traditional floating hydrometer instead, but I don’t have those anymore. Just for the sake of projecting however, assuming an apparent attenuation of 80% by the Lutra yeast, I’m expecting a final gravity of 6 Brix which equates to around 13.8% ABV.


Yeast activity – 4 hours after pitching.

Tasting notes

I’ll be updating this page when the time comes for tasting.