Homemade Blueberry Mead
Well, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival has been canceled for this year - FINALLY. It was really looking like they were going to try to recreate some of the less fun aspects of the period.
What a weird lead in to a post about mead, right?
The thing is, it was the response to the final cancellation of the event that got my mind on mead, and prompted me to write this post!
SO many of my friends back in Minnesota are huge into fest, but all were relieved to see it canceled. I don’t blame them - many are performers and artisans there.
... but there was an interesting theme that carried across so many of the posts and comments about it - mentions of mead, that they were happy to be able to order mead outside of fest - from the fest vendor - etc.
As I mentioned in my Savoury Alligator Pie recipe, fest food was 100% about the alligator sausage, to me. For many of my friends, though, it seems as though that mead was a huge deal.
Anyway, in honour of my friends not being forced to re-live plague rat days... I'm posting my recipe for homemade blueberry mead!
A few things to mention, first:
What is Mead?
Mead is basically a wine, but instead of being made from fruit, it’s made from honey. Technically, this recipe is a melomel - a mead that’s been fermented with the addition of fruit - but “mead” is a much better-known term.
How to Make Blueberry Mead
If you haven't attempted making mead before, don't be intimidated! Check out our primer to home brewing:
Just a small handful of entries, and you'll be good to go!
You can use fresh or frozen blueberries, there are just a few differences in how to use them, and things to keep in mind:
Using fresh, be sure to use ripe blueberries, picking through to remove anything that's not ripe, is moldy, etc. I like to chop the blueberries and let them sit in the honey for a couple hours before starting on the wine making, as it - maceration - draws the juices out of the berries
When using frozen blueberries, you can skip the maceration process. Freezing and thawing blueberries breaks them down in a way that ends up with a result similar to maceration.
Unlike many of my fruit wines, this homemade blueberry mead works well either semi-dry or sweet. As with the rest of my wines, I prefer sweet ... but at least the blueberry flavour comes through a bit, even when dry.
If your fermentation takes it a bit too dry for your liking, you can read my How to Stabilize and Back Sweeten Wine post for information on how to back sweeten it.
Blueberry Mead Variations
As with most wine or mead recipes, feel free to tinker with the flavours on this one, to suit your tastes. A few ideas:
Clementines: My favourite variation on this recipe is to add the juice and peel of a few clementines in the heating step. I just find that they work SO well, not only with blueberries, but with mead in general. It’s a great combo!
Wildflower Honey: While I usually like to use a fairly neutral honey - many of the other honey types compete with the blueberry flavour - wildflower honey works beautifully with the blueberry flavour of this mead.
Ginger: Peel and slice up about 1" of ginger root, and toss it in with the heating step
More Homemade Wine Recipes
While you've got your Blueberry Mead fermenting away, why not consider putting a batch of something else on, to occupy your wait time? Here are a few of my other wine, cider, and mead recipes:
Hard Apple Cider
Home Brew Hard Iced Tea
Homemade Banana Wine Recipe
Homemade Blackberry Wine Recipe
Homemade Blueberry Wine Recipe
Homemade Cherry Recipe
Homemade Clementine Mead Recipe
Homemade Cranberry Clementine Christmas Wine Recipe
Homemade Cranberry Wine
Homemade Faux Lingonberry Wine Recipe
Homemade Mango Wine Recipe
Homemade Mango Strawberry Wine Recipe
Homemade Mint Wine Recipe
Homemade Newfoundland Partridgeberry Wine Recipe
Homemade Peach Wine Recipe
Homemade Strawberry Wine Recipe
Homemade Watermelon Wine Recipe
Homemade Wildflower Mead Recipe
How to Make Pumpkin Mead
Lychee Wine Recipe
Maple Hard Apple Cider Recipe
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Homemade Blueberry Mead
- If using fresh blueberries, rinse and pick through blueberries, removing any that are moldy, etc. Remove stems, chop them up.
- Place in a large pot, along with the honey. Using a potato masher or VERY clean hands, stir and mash blueberries. Let sit for an hour.
- Add vanilla bean and water, stir well. Heat to ALMOST boiling, then simmer gently for 30 minutes.
- Stir in yeast nutrient, pectic enzyme, and acid blend
- Pour mixture into a freshly sanitized fermenting bucket. Cover with sanitized lid and air lock, allow to cool to room temperature (overnight).
- The next morning, give the mixture a quick stir with a long, sanitized spoon, and – using sanitized equipment – take a gravity reading of the liquid (strain out any blueberries). Keep track of the number! (This is an optional step, but will allow you to calculate your final ABV %)
- Sprinkle yeast into fermenter, cover with sanitized cover and air lock. Within 48 hours, you should notice fermentation activity – bubbles in the airlock, carbonation and /or swirling in the mead must. This means you’re good to go!
- After a week or so, use your sanitized siphon setup to rack the must into a freshly sanitized carboy. Put the carboy somewhere cool (not cold!), and leave it alone for a month or so.
- Using sanitized equipment, rack the mead off the sediment, into a clean, freshly sanitized carboy. Cap with sanitized airlock, leave it alone for another 2-3 months.
- Rack one more time, leave it for another 3 months or so.
- When your mead has been racked a few times and shows NO more fermenting activity for a month or so (no bubbles in the airlock, no more sediment being produced, you can move on to bottling. **
- If stabilizing, follow the instructions on your selected type of wine stabilizer to stop fermentation. For potassium sorbate, this needs to be done 2-3 days before bottling.
- Using sanitized equipment, take a gravity reading, then rack the mead into clean, sanitized bottles. Cork.