Chemical Free Semi-Sweet Mead ~1 gallon batch


4 lbs orange blossom or other varietal honey
1.5 cups fresh pressed orange juice
1 tablespoon black tea
1 teaspoon yeast nurtient (from brewers supply)
1 package lavlin d-47 or champagne yeast
3/4 gallon spring water


large pot
2 gallon plastic bucket with airtight lid and 1" diameter hole for airlock and cork
small bowl
measuring cup
airlock for 1gallon bottle
cooking thermometer

1.Wash everything in warm water and soap. Rinse in a 1% bleach solution and rinse again. Set on a clean towel.

2. Bring water to a boil in pot. Turn off heat and add honey. Use ladle to add warm water to your honey jar so you get every drop. Stir with whisk until honey is dissolved. Let sit 15 minutes.

3. Add OJ, tea and nutrient to plastic fermenter.

4. Add honey-water mixture to bucket. Cover and let sit until it cools to 105 degrees.

5. Ladle a small amount of mixture into small bowl and add dry yeast. let sit for 10 minutes and then add to must (honey water mixture).

6. Whisk must vigorously for 2-3 minutes. Cover with lid and insert airlock into hole.Set in warm location. It should begin bubbling within 24 hours

7. Leave for 2 weeks or until bubbling slows to less than once every 10 minutes. Transfer to 1 gallon bottle and wait 1 year to drink.



Joe's Ancient Orange (from

Here is a super simple recipe for beginners.
It is so simple to make and you can make it without much equipment and with a multitude of variations. This could be a first Mead for the novice as it is almost fool proof. It is a bit unorthodox but it has never failed me or the friends I have shared it with.

1 gallon batch

3 1/2 lbs Clover or your choice honey or blend (will finish sweet)
1 Large orange (later cut in eights or smaller rind and all)
1 small handful of raisins (25 if you count but more or less ok)
1 stick of cinnamon
1 whole clove ( or 2 if you like - these are potent critters)
optional (a pinch of nutmeg and allspice )( very small )
1 teaspoon of Fleishmann’s bread yeast ( now don't get holy on me--- after all this is an ancient mead and that's all we had back then)
Balance water to one gallon


Use a clean 1 gallon carboy

Dissolve honey in some warm water and put in carboy

Wash orange well to remove any pesticides and slice in eights --add orange (you can push em through opening big boy -- rinds included -- its ok for this mead -- take my word for it -- ignore the experts)

Put in raisins, clove, cinnamon stick, any optional ingredients and fill to 3 inches from the top with cold water. ( need room for some foam -- you can top off with more water after the first few day frenzy)

Shake the heck out of the jug with top on, of course. This is your sophisticated aeration process.

When at room temperature in your kitchen, put in 1 teaspoon of bread yeast. ( No you don't have to rehydrate it first-- the ancients didn't even have that word in their vocabulary-- just put it in and give it a gentle swirl or not)(The yeast can fight for their own territory)

Install water airlock. Put in dark place. It will start working immediately or in an hour. (Don't use grandma's bread yeast she bought years before she passed away in the 90's)( Wait 3 hours before you panic or call me) After major foaming stops in a few days add some water and then keep your hands off of it. (Don't shake it! Don't mess with them yeastees! Let them alone except its okay to open your cabinet to smell every once in a while.

Racking --- Don't you dare
additional feeding --- NO NO
More stirring or shaking -- Your not listening, don't touch

After 2 months and maybe a few days it will slow down to a stop and clear all by itself. (How about that) (You are not so important after all) Then you can put a hose in with a small cloth filter on the end into the clear part and siphon off the golden nectar. If you wait long enough even the oranges will sink to the bottom but I never waited that long. If it is clear it is ready. You don't need a cold basement. It does better in a kitchen in the dark. (Like in a cabinet) likes a little heat (70-80). If it didn't work out... you screwed up and didn't read my instructions (or used grandma's bread yeast she bought years before she passed away) . If it didn't work out then take up another hobby. Mead is not for you. It is too complicated.
If you were successful, which I am 99% certain you will be, then enjoy your mead. When you get ready to make different mead you will probably have to unlearn some of these practices I have taught you, but hey--- This recipe and procedure works with these ingredients so don't knock it. It was your first mead. It was my tenth. Sometimes, even the experts can forget all they know and make good ancient mead.
Enjoy, Joe