Mead is produced by fermenting honey with water and possibly additional spices, fruits, hops. The production of mead involves several steps.
The first being must preparation. Depending on the desired style, honey is diluted with water or juice, and a nutrient mixture added.
Secondly, the must is subsequently sterilized, boiling being the most commonly used method. After sterilization, yeast are added to initiate fermentation. Yeast used to produce mead is similar to the wine yeast, which are used in production to white wines. Yeasts metabolize sugars, such as glucose and fructose, resulting in the formation of ethanol and carbon dioxide. Fermentation is recommended to occur at ambient temperature of 10–210 C. Mead makers measure specific gravity of the mead before and throughout fermentation and can determine alcohol content that the final product will have.
After primary fermentation mead is racked into second container for the secondary fermentation process. It is possible to use same container for both – primary and secondary fermentation too. Racking is done for two reasons: it lets the mead to sit away from the remains of the yeast cells (lees) as well as it gives time for the mead to clear.
At the completion of fermentation, mead undergoes a period of maturation that includes clarification and filtration.
Aging is important in mead production too, particularly in relation to the development of aroma compounds. Aging of mead usually lasts between 1 and 10 years.