How many packets of yeast for 5 gallons of mead?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

When it comes to making mead, the amount of yeast you need depends on various factors such as the specific recipe, desired fermentation time, and the starting gravity of your must (the mixture of honey, water, and any additional ingredients). While it’s important to have enough yeast to ensure a healthy fermentation, pitching too much yeast can also have its drawbacks.

In general, a single packet of yeast is sufficient for a 5-gallon batch of mead. These packets typically contain around 5 grams (0.18 ounces) of yeast, which is enough to ferment a 5-gallon batch with an average starting gravity.

However, if you’re working with a high starting gravity mead (above 1.120 SG), or you want to speed up the fermentation process, you may consider pitching more yeast. In such cases, you can use two packets (10 grams) or even three packets (15 grams) of yeast. This will provide a higher yeast cell count and help ensure a strong and healthy fermentation.

I remember a time when I made a particularly high gravity mead, around 1.140 SG, and I decided to pitch two packets of yeast. The fermentation was slow to start, and it took longer than usual for the yeast to consume all the sugars. While the end result was still delicious, it taught me that pitching additional yeast doesn’t always guarantee a faster or better fermentation.

It’s important to note that pitching excessive amounts of yeast can also lead to off-flavors in your mead. When there is an abundance of yeast cells, they can quickly consume the available nutrients and produce byproducts that may negatively impact the taste and aroma of your final product.

If you’re uncertain about the appropriate amount of yeast to use for your specific recipe, it’s always a good idea to consult the instructions provided by the yeast manufacturer or seek advice from experienced meadmakers. They can provide guidance based on the specific yeast strain you’re using and the characteristics you want to achieve in your mead.

To summarize, a single packet of yeast is typically sufficient for a 5-gallon batch of mead. However, if you’re working with a high gravity mead or want to speed up fermentation, you can consider pitching two or three packets. Just be mindful that pitching excessive yeast can have drawbacks, so it’s always best to follow recommended guidelines or seek expert advice.