Mead, a fermented alcoholic beverage made from honey and water, has a wide range of flavor profiles and ABV levels. One common question among mead enthusiasts is whether or not mead can be carbonated.
The answer is that mead can be still or carbonated, depending on the maker’s preference and the style of mead being produced. Mead can be made sparkling (full carbonated), petillant (low carbonation), or still (no carbonation).
Is Mead Carbonated?
Carbonation in mead can occur naturally during the initial fermentation process, as the carbon dioxide is released during aging, which causes the mead to become still. Many mead makers prefer to control the level of carbonation in their mead through a process known as forced carbonation. This method involves adding a measured amount of fermentable sugar to the mead after the initial fermentation process and allowing it to carbonate in bottles or a keg that is capable of holding pressure.
How much sugar for carbonated mead?
The amount of sugar added will determine the level of carbonation in the final product. 1-2 ounces of sugar per gallon of mead are sufficient for moderate carbonation, but 3–4 ounces per gallon will provide a stronger amount of carbonation.
What bottles for carbonated mead?
Typically, carbonated mead is bottled in beer bottles or wine bottles, depending on the mead’s ABV and carbonation level. For example, low ABV carbonated meads are often bottled in 12oz beer bottles, while higher gravity still meads go into wine bottles. High-ABV carbonated meads may be bottled in 375ml or 500ml bottles.
It’s important to note that bottles for carbonated mead need to be strong and sturdy to withstand the high pressure from the carbonation process. Swing-top bottles are also an option for carbonated mead, and they can be secured with a crown cap to hold the carbonation.
How long does it take mead to carbonate?
One way to carbonate mead is to add priming sugar to the bottles, seal them, store them in a warm place, and wait for the carbonation to occur. This process can take several weeks or longer. Another method is to force carbonate the mead using a keg and CO2 tank, which typically takes 3-5 days.
Mead can take a long time to carbonate on its own, making it a good option for new homebrewers.
Before drinking, the mead has to carbonate for a few days after being placed in the keg. Mead carbonates more quickly or more slowly depending on a number of variables, including temperature and sugar content.
It is worth noting that carbonation can affect the overall flavor of the mead. For example, carbonated mead tends to have a crisper, more refreshing taste than still mead. Mead makers often experiment with different levels of carbonation and other factors such as the type of honey, yeast, and additional ingredients such as fruits and spices to create unique flavor profiles in their carbonated meads.
How To Make Sparkling Mead
After fermentation, the mead is bottled and then a small amount of sugar is added to each bottle. The yeast in the mead then eats the added sugar and produces carbon dioxide, which becomes trapped in the bottle and carbonates the mead. After 3 months of secondary fermentation, adding honey or sugar to the bottles will help to make the mead carbonated. A basic rule of thumb is 1-2 tablespoons per 12 oz bottle when determining how much honey or sugar is required.
Also recommends boiling water, honey, and spices in a non-metallic pot or pan, then cooling and transferring to a plastic bucket. After adding yeast nutrients and stirring the liquid for 5 minutes, it is placed into bottles, sealed, and kept heated for a few days to a week to carbonate.
Once the mead has reached the desired level of carbonation, store the bottles or keg in the refrigerator to prevent further fermentation and carbonation.
How to Force Carbonate mead?
To force carbonate mead, there are a few methods you can use. One method involves using a carbon dioxide (CO2) tank and regulator, while another involves using a hand pump or counter-pressure fillers that can also be used for carbonating mead.
Mead can be both still and carbonated, depending on the preference of the maker. Carbonated mead, also known as sparkling mead, offers a refreshing effervescence that can be particularly enjoyable on a hot day. To make carbonated mead, it is necessary to add a measured amount of fermentable sugar to the mead after the initial fermentation process. The amount of sugar added will determine the level of carbonation in the final product.