Looking for a delicious, quick and easy mead recipe? Well you have come to the right place. In this article, I will go through my one gallon cranberry spiced mead recipe.
I wanted this mead to have moderate strength, along with a good blend of holiday spices and cranberry flavors. However, I needed it to be ready by Thanksgiving of last year. The mead made using this recipe will be drinkable much earlier than other meads, giving it a huge advantage when you’re short on time!
How to Add Cranberry to Mead
There are multiple ways that you can add cranberry to mead. You can add the cranberries to the must prior to fermentation, or you can add the fruit or juice later on!
As I wanted to keep this mead recipe as quick and simple as I could, I chose to add pure cranberry juice after fermentation.
Fruit juice will add fermentable sugars to your mead. To keep the sweetness from the juice, you will want to perform a process known as backsweetening. I will go into detail about backsweetening at the end of the recipe!
Now let’s get to the recipe!
Cranberry Spiced Mead Recipe
Original Gravity 1.090
Final Gravity: 1.000
Clover Honey- 3lb. (I used Local Hive Clover)
Spices and Juice:
Cinnamon – 1/2tsp
Nutmeg – 1/4 tsp
Cranberry Juice – 1.3 cups ( I used RW Knudson Just Cranberry)
1 Gallon Local Tap Water (or favorite bottled water)
Clean and sanitize fermentor. Add about 2 quarts of warm (120F-130F) water to fermentor. Warm jar(s) of honey. Add honey to warm water in fermentor. Top off fermentor with cold water to the one gallon mark. Cool must to ~70F. Carefully shake fermentor to oxygenate must. Add spices. Rehydrate yeast per instructions on packet. Pitch yeast and yeast nutrient. Put on airlock or blow-off tube. Add Fermaid O throughout active fermentation (ie. days 2, 4, and 6). Transfer to secondary fermentor after ~2 weeks, leaving yeast cake behind. Add 1/2 tablet Campden, 1/8tsp Potassium Sorbate, and 1mL Biofine Clear at transfer. Potassium sorbate will stop further fermentation. Add 1.3 cups of cranberry juice to ‘backsweeten’ the mead at least 24 hours after transfer. Transfer again as necessary for clarity. Once mead is sufficiently clear, bottle and age.
How to Backsweeten Mead:
Backsweetening is a process used to add additional sugar (sometimes from fruit juice) to a mead without that sugar simply being fermented out by the yeast.
When backsweetening, you will want to transfer the mead, leaving as much yeast as you can in the primary fermentor. After or while transferring, you will want to add Potassium Sorbate. Potassium Sorbate will not kill the yeast. However, it will keep the yeast from restarting an active fermentation. This will keep the sugars you are about to add, intact. Make sure to wait at least 24 hours after Potassium Sorbate has been added to add your fruit juice or sugar.
It is important to keep in mind, since potassium sorbate has been added, this will make bottle conditioning tough. If you are shooting for a still (non-carbonated) mead, this is no problem at all. However, if you want to carbonate the mead, it would be best to use a keg to force carbonate it.
Keep it Simple:
This recipe can be simplified further if you would like! The cranberry juice can be added along with the honey before fermentation. You can substitute raisins for your yeast nutrient. After fermentation has completed, you can simply bottle the mead without transferring to a secondary fermentor.
If you went this route, you would not have to worry about staggered yeast nutrient additions, clarifiers, transferring, or backsweetening.
As stated in my other articles, clarifying agents are not absolutely necessary. However, who doesn’t love a brilliantly clear mead? I think first impressions go along way with any homebrewed beverage, and putting out a crystal clear mead goes a long way.
The clarifying agent that I used for this mead was Biofine Clear.
Biofine Clear is a product that helps to clear yeast and other haze-forming molecules. This is best added later on in the fermentation process. I generally add it when transferring the mead to secondary or tertiary fermentors.
For a more detailed look at clarifying mead/beer, click here!
This is another part of mead making that is not absolutely necessary. However, when you want to take the next step in making the best mead you can, acid additions are huge!
There are three acids that are generally used in mead making: citric acid, tartaric acid, and malic acid. Most of us are familiar with citric acid. Tartaric acid comes from grapes and lends wine-like notes to mead. Malic acid comes from apples and gives that same flavor to mead.
There are also acid blends that contain the three of these acids together.
Unfortunately, there is not an easy answer as to how much acid you should add to your mead. This should be done to taste.
I highly recommend setting up a tasting sampler for yourself with your mead. Add different amounts of the acid to the mead to see what plays best. Most people find that adding either tartaric acid or an acid blend is the ticket to success.
Thank you so much for stopping by!
For a comprehensive how-to for mead making, please click here!
If a rhubarb mead might be more to your liking, check out this recipe!
If you do have any questions, I am active on Facebook and Instagram. Feel free to contact me there!