Is It Legal To Make Honey Mead (Viking Mead) at Home?
Honey mead is a fermented beverage that contains up to 20% alcohol. It’s made with honey, yeast, and water and can be sweet or dry depending on the amount of honey used. The simplicity of making it is one thing, but the legality is another.
It is legal to make honey mead (Viking mead) at home in the US, although there are stricter limits in Alaska. There are other countries that allow you to homebrew mead. However, some may limit the amount made each year.
In this article, I will discuss in more detail the legality of making homemade honey mead. I will also explain how to make it, how to store it, and if it’s legal to sell.
Is Making Honey Mead at Home Legal?
In many countries, it’s legal to make honey mead at home as long as it’s done by someone of the legal age of consumption.
However, some countries may have legal limits on the amount of mead you can make at home. Others will have specific provisions on the legality of homemade mead according to how you’ll use it (i.e., whether it’s for personal use or sale). A few, like Ukraine, ban making mead at home outright.
In most of the United States, you can make honey mead at home. One household is allowed to produce 100 gallons (379 liters) each year if only one adult resides in the house. If there are two or more adults in the household, up to 200 gallons (757 liters) each year are permitted.
In the state of Alaska, although home brewing isn’t illegal per se, it is limited. You can make alcoholic beverages for private purposes as long as you don’t exceed legal limits. If you live in The Last Frontier, you may want to double-check the laws in your specific area, as some may ban alcoholic beverages outright.
How To Make Your Own Honey Mead
Making honey mead requires few ingredients and is a pretty straightforward process.
For the equipment, you need:
- 1-gallon (3.79 liters) glass carboy.
- Multi-gallon stainless steel cooking pot.
- Airlock and stopper for your carboy.
- A funnel to fit the carboy.
- A whisk.
As for the ingredients, you need:
- Half a gallon of filtered water (about 1.89 liters).
- Two to three pounds of raw or pure honey (about .90 kg to 1.36 kg).
- Half an envelope of wine or mead yeast (about 2.5 g).
Finally, here are the steps to make honey mead at home.
- Clean your equipment and working station with a 1:1 ratio of alcohol and water. I have an article on how to get your equipment thoroughly cleaned and ready for brewing.
- Heat filtered water in a pot on the stove over medium heat until it goes above room temperature.
- Add honey into the pot with water slowly. Use two pounds (.90 kg) for a dry mead and three pounds (1.36 kg) for a sweet mead.
- Mix with a whisk until the honey is completely dissolved.
- Using the funnel, pour the honey and water mixture into the gallon glass carboy until the pot is completely emptied.
- Open the wine yeast packet and add its contents to the carboy.
- Mix the ingredients in the carboy well.
- Seal the container and shake it up to allow every ingredient to mix with the wine yeast.
- Seal the opening of the carboy by plugging it with an airlock and stopper. This will block out airflow while still allowing gas to escape. If gas cannot escape, your carboy will explode.
- Place your carboy in a dark, room-temperature environment. A cupboard, pantry, or wine cellar works best for this.
- Allow roughly six weeks for the honey mead to ferment. You can tell if it’s ready as follows: If there are bubbles on top, it should sit longer. If there are no bubbles and sediment has gathered at the bottom, it’s safe to open.
- Pour your homemade mead over cheesecloth to strain it.
- Begin bottling your mead.
Mead is like wine in that the longer it sits, the better it tastes. Also, not only does time make mead taste better, but it also makes the alcohol stronger.
Side note: If you’re new to homebrewing and need multiple items from this list, consider buying a homebrew kit and reading this article on the best brew kits for beginners. If you want to get more creative with your mead, I recommend this article for more recipes. Finally, if you want to increase the alcohol content of your homebrew, check out this article.
I also have a helpful video explaining the different tools every home brewer needs.
How To Store Honey Mead
Once you’ve bottled your mead, you may need to store it for future consumption. The best way to store your home-brewed mead is to keep it in a dark, dry place or a temperature-controlled environment with low humidity.
Storing your mead in a place with a temperature between 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) and 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius) is the sweet spot.
If you don’t have much storage space, place the mead on its side. Otherwise, setting it upright is fine too.
Is It Legal To Sell Homemade Honey Mead?
It’s legal to make honey mead at home, but selling it is a bit more complicated.
See, selling alcoholic beverages requires a license. Honey mead is also illegal to barter and trade for goods.
However, it’s perfectly legal to gift your homemade honey mead to your family and friends as there’s no money exchanged.
Homemade honey mead is a fairly easy process that doesn’t require much in the way of equipment or ingredients.
While making honey mead at home may be legal in the United States (except perhaps in certain parts of Alaska), you cannot sell it unless you have a license to do so. It does make a wonderful gift, however, and is a fun way to experiment with different brew recipes.