How To Make Viking Mead:Just 6 Key Steps

Mead is one of the old alcoholic drink that has been enjoyed across different civilizations. The drink is said to have originated in Asia, most probably China, and later spread through trade and migrations to other regions like Rome, Greece, and eventually the Vikings. From when mead was introduced to the Viking culture, it became a favorite drink, especially during feasts. The use of mead has been mentioned throughout Norse mythology, highlighting its importance to the Viking culture.

As a Viking enthusiast, you are probably wondering, how can you make mead just like the Viking used to? Well, you have come to the right place for the answer. Through this post, we will share with you how the Vikings made their mead. We will also share a simple recipe and a step-by-step guide you can easily follow from the comfort of your home.

viking mead history

How To Make Viking Mead Like A Viking?

If you want to make mead exactly how the Vikings used to make it, then you have to consider the period they were in and the resources available to them. Given that the Viking age was around the 8th century, you can understand that the Vikings did not have highly developed equipment to use while making mead. Everything ingredient they used was also organic and the mead was spontaneously fermented.

To make it simple, the two main ingredients you need are water and honey. The rest were improvised. The Vikings would use raw honey and every part of the beehive, that includes the honeycomb and who knows maybe even the bees. So, feel free to do the same, although it is not necessary, as long as you use raw unpasteurized honey. The reason is, processed honey contains preservatives, artificial flavors, and other additives that will leave you with less satisfying results.

While on the topic of purity, the Viking probably used spring water, so you might want to use the same. As an alternative, you could use distilled or purified water. If you must use tap water, then make sure you boil it and let it cool overnight to ensure all chemical impurities have been removed. Yeast is also another thing to consider. While today we have processed yeast, that was not available during the Viking age. Luckily yeast is readily available in fruits, grains, and other organic matter, so the Vikings would add fruits and spices to the mead to help with the fermenting. This also gave the mead a variation in taste. Speaking of taste, how sweet or mild you want your mead to be will also depend on how much water you add, as you will see later in the post.

Making Viking Mead

A Simple Recipe For Making Viking Mead

Viking mead was different from the conventional mead we all know because of how they made it and the ingredients they used. To begin with, the Vikings were very skilled at beekeeping and this helped them know how to best utilize the various parts of the beehive to get the best mead. From their extensive travels and trades, they also had access to a wide variety of fruits, herbs, and spices that they would add as flavorings to their mead to give it different variations and also to use as wild yeast. The following are the ingredients and equipment you need for a simple recipe you can use to make mead just like the Vikings:

Ingredients.

  • Natural/Wild yeast (can be any organic fresh or dried berries, plums, grapes, or wildflower petals like violets and dandelions.)
  • 2 cups of spring water.
  • ½ a cup of pure raw unprocessed honey.

Equipment.

  • Wooden stick or spoon for stirring
  • Open-mouthed glass or ceramic vessel, about 1-quart.
  • Clean Cheesecloth or t-shirt and a rubber band to seal the vessel.

Once you have everything set, start by mixing your honey and water in the vessel at room temperature. Ensure the honey has fully dissolved by using the stirring stick. At this point, you can add your fruits and wildflowers, then cover the vessel with a cloth securing it with a rubber band. Place the sealed vessel in a warm dark place, preferably 70F. From there every day for the first three days, ensure you stir the mead at least thrice to ensure even and healthy fermentation. After five days you will notice that the mead has developed a foam at the top. This is an indication that the mead is ready, although you can let it age for longer.

what is mead

How To Make Mead Step By Step?

The recipe above is a simple summarized version you can use; the following is a more detailed step-by-step guide where we walk you through every single detail you need to know when making the Viking mead. It is as follows:

Step 1: Wash and Sanitize all your equipment

This is an important step when it comes to any home brewing. It avoids any unwanted bacteria that may end up spoiling your mead. First, start by using soapy water to wash your equipment. This will remove any dirt but won’t kill the bacteria, for that you will need a no-rinse sanitizer. The best ones are Oxipron, Star san, or Chemipro because they have no taste and use oxygen to disinfect. Ensure you follow the instructions provided, although a rough guide would be to fully soak the equipment in the sanitizer for 10 minutes and air dry them to get rid of excess moisture.

Step 2: Warm the water and honey

This step is important in ensuring the honey is as runny as possible and the water is at room temperature. That will make it easier to mix and dissolve the honey in the water completely. To do this, ensure both the honey jar and water bottle are sealed, place them in a bowl and fill the bowl with hot water until it is below the top of the honey jar. Leave them there for about half an hour.

Step 3: Mix the water and honey

First, start by adding half of the water then add the honey into your vessel or fermenter. You can use a stirring spoon to ensure the honey is fully dissolved or you can seal the vessel or fermenter and shake vigorously. Once everything is properly mixed, you can add the rest of the water and shake or stir the mixture again. This last step is optional depending on how sweet you like your mead to be.

Step 4: Add your yeast

This can be a packet of mead yeast you bought from the store, or fruits and wildflowers. Stir or shake the mixture again to ensure everything mixes well and evenly. From there seal the vessel or fermenter.

Step 5: Let the mixture ferment

You’ll know fermentation is taking place when you start noticing tiny bubbles forming in the mixture. This can be as early as a few minutes after adding the yeast. The process will take about 7-10 days. After that, the dead yeast and other particles will settle at the bottom and the mead will be a brown honey color. You can choose to drink the mead at this point, although it would not have a satisfying taste.

Step 6: Bottling

This is an optional step if you would like to age your mead for longer. You can use, wine or beer bottles, transfer the mead, seal and leave in a dark warm place. You can keep them stored for at least another month. The taste would have mellowed down by that time and the taste is less alcoholic. Now the mead should be ready to drink and enjoy.

Conclusion

Making Viking mead means going back to the basics and using the simplest equipment and organic ingredients. By following the simple recipe and step-by-step guide we have offered you, you will be able to enjoy the sweet-tasting alcoholic beverage, just like the Vikings used to.

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