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The Hirshon Icelandic Herbal Mead - Mjǫðr

The Hirshon Norse Herbal Mead – Mjǫðr

  • Author: The Generalissimo


Units Scale
  • 1 gallon spring water – TFD prefers Mountain Valley brand
  • 2 3/4 lbs. honey
  • 1/4 cup lingonberry juice or 100% cranberry juice
  • 1 Tbsp. culinary-grade dried lavender
  • 1 Honeycrisp apple
  • 1” section of ginger, peeled and julienned
  • 1/2 pack Voss Kveik Norwegian farmhouse yeast
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly-ground juniper
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly-ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. dried chamomile
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly-ground grains of paradise


  1. Sterilize all of your tools, measuring cups, funnels, and carboy with the Star San cleaner. Allow those to dry for at least 10 minutes. You won’t need to rinse them after 10 minutes. The sanitizer will have done its work and become inert.
  2. Put around ⅔ of your gallon of water in a pot on the stove to slowly heat – add in the lingonberry or cranberry juice at this time. Should you boil it, let it cool down to around 110 or 120 F before using. If you mix honey with boiling water, you’ll kill all of the beneficial nutrients in the mead. You want to keep your drink healthy!
  3. Once your water is around 110F or so, add that to your carboy then add around 2.5 lbs. of honey in the carboy next. Mixing honey with warm water in the carboy will help you incorporate the mixture better. Cap the bottle off and shake vigorously for a minute or so until the honey is completely mixed.
  4. Core and chop up your apple into small enough bits that they’ll fit into the carboy. You can add the fruits, herbs and spices at this point. I julienne the ginger after peeling it and add it as well. If you are taking fussy initial gravity measurements as you build your must (what mead is called before it’s fermented) you’ll want to leave your fruit, herbs and spices for last.
  5. In your clean measuring cup, add about 1⁄2 cup of warm bottled water (95F to 105F is optimal). Also drop in about 1 tsp. of honey and mix it all up. This step is called “pitching” your yeast. Like pitching yeast for bread and dough, we want to give the kveik something to snack on for a while before adding the rest to our must.
  6. Now you can add 1⁄2 pack of Kveik and stir it in. After about 20-30 minutes you should notice the yeast has become active and foamy in your measuring cup. If not, continue to wait. It’ll wake up.
  7. Add almost all of the rest of the water to your carboy. You want to leave some space at the top and not overfill. After this, pour in your pitched yeast and give the whole thing another vigorous shake.
  8. After about an hour, you should notice the kveik has gone well to work, and your whole mixture of mead should be boiling. In a few hours, this will be come even more aggressive with strong bubbling continuing through the first 24 to 48 hours.
  9. During this next period, continue to watch your mead and the bubbling activity. This is the fermentation stage that will produce alcohol in your drink. The longer it sits, the more alcohol content you’ll get. Up to around 12% or so. As with all things, there are tradeoffs.

    The longer it ferments, the more sugar is being consumed. This part becomes a matter of taste and how sweet you want your mead to be. I prefer meads at around 6-8% ABV with a bit of effervescence. Much like beer. Meads of old were likely quaffed “by the pint” as opposed to the smaller wine glasses many enjoy mead from today.

    Many meads on the market are around 12-16% ABV, and have a lot of wine-like characteristics. Some are even heavier up to around 19% and are more like fortified wines, liqueurs, and port.

    This of course is all a matter of preference, and you should feel free to experiment.

  10. Having a 1 gallon keg chiller is nice for enjoying mead on tap. If you bottle your mead, I’d suggest using the heavy glass bottles with the flip top lid as opposed to regular wine bottles. Of course, be sure to strain all the solids out of your mead before you bottle it!

    Sometimes the kveik can reactivate and build enormous CO2 pressure inside the bottle. When this happens in regular beer and wine bottles they’ll explode sending glass and mead everywhere. Not a fun cleanup job for certain.

    Skál í botn!