Apple Pie Mead: Your Ultimate Guide to Crafting This Delicious Beverage

Apple pie mead, also called cyser, has become an increasingly popular homemade beverage among mead enthusiasts and brewing novices. The blending of warm spices, reminiscent of freshly baked apple pies, with mead’s smooth and subtly sweet characteristics creates an ideal beverage for sipping during the cool months or indulging in on festive occasions.

Originating from centuries-old brewing techniques, apple pie mead is an innovative twist on the drink of choice for Vikings and royalty.

The process of creating apple pie mead begins with the foundational ingredients found in traditional mead-making, such as honey, water, and yeast, but adds the robust flavors of apples, cinnamon, and other spices that give it its apple pie characteristics.

Careful attention to ingredient selection and skillful handling during fermentation can yield an ideal balance of honey sweetness and tart spiciness. Whether served chilled in a wine glass or warm and mulled in a mug, apple pie mead entices both novices and connoisseurs with its aroma and rich taste.

In this article, we will explain the origins of this delicious drink, as well as provide you with an apple pie mead recipe you can use to make your own at home and give you instructions on how to make your own recipe or modify the one we provide…

History of Apple Pie Mead

Mead is an ancient alcoholic beverage made from the fermentation of honey, water, and sometimes various fruits, spices, and herbs. Apple pie mead is a modern adaptation that combines the flavors of apples, spices, and mead to create a delectable, dessert-like drink.

In the 15th century, Dutch bakers first created the lattice-style pastry synonymous with the apple pie we know today. A century later, the popularity of Dutch pies spread across Europe. European colonists then introduced apple pie to America, where it became a widely cherished dish.

There is no exact record of when apple pie and mead were first combined, but the inspiration likely arose from combining the sweet flavors and rich history of apple pie with the ancient art of mead-making. Additionally, creating innovative mead flavors is now a growing trend among craft brewers, and apple pie mead is one example of this movement.

One notable example of apple pie mead comes from Moonlight Meadery, a world-renowned, award-winning mead producer founded in the early 21st century. They offer enticing mead varieties, including an apple pie-inspired option.

Additionally, homebrewers often experiment with unique apple pie mead recipes; some contain caramel, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg flavors, enhancing the apple pie elements.

As more mead-makers continue to explore unconventional flavors, the popularity of apple pie mead will likely continue to grow.

Apple Pie Mead Recipe

Yield: Approximately 1 gallon (3.8 liters) of mead.


– 3 lbs (1.4 kg) honey (preferably raw and unpasteurized)
– 4-5 medium-sized apples, cored and diced (you can mix varieties for a more complex flavor)
– 1 cinnamon stick
– 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 clove (optional)
– 1 gallon (3.8 liters) spring or distilled water
– 1 packet wine yeast (e.g., Lalvin EC-1118 or D-47)
– 1 teaspoon yeast nutrient
– 1 airlock and bung
– 1 campden tablet (optional for stabilization before bottling)


– 1-gallon glass carboy or fermenting vessel
– Sanitizer (e.g., Star San)
– Funnel
– Large pot
– Measuring spoons and cups
– Hydrometer and test jar (optional but recommended to measure alcohol content)
– Thermometer
– Siphon
– Bottles and caps or corks for storing


1) Sanitizing: Begin by sanitizing all of the equipment that will come into contact with the mead using your preferred sanitizer.

2) Creating Must:

Pour about half a gallon (1.9 liters) of water into a large pot and heat until warm but not boiling.

Add the honey to the warm water, stirring constantly until it’s fully dissolved.

Add the diced apples, cinnamon stick, vanilla, and clove to the mixture. Heat the mixture on a low flame, ensuring it doesn’t boil. You want it warm enough to allow the flavors to meld.

Allow this mixture to simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

3) Cooling and Pitching Yeast:

Remove the pot from heat and allow it to cool to around 70°F (21°C).

Once cooled, pour the mixture (must) into the sanitized fermenting vessel using a funnel.

If needed, top up with the remaining water, leaving about 2-3 inches of headspace.

Sprinkle the yeast on top and then add the yeast nutrient.

Seal the fermenting vessel with the airlock and bung.

4) Fermentation:

Store the fermenting vessel in a cool, dark place. The ideal fermentation temperature is between 60°F-70°F (15°C-21°C).

You should notice bubbling in the airlock within 24-48 hours, indicating that fermentation has started.

Allow the mead to ferment for about 3-4 weeks, or until the bubbling in the airlock has significantly slowed or stopped.

5) Racking:

After fermentation is complete, use a siphon to transfer the mead into a clean, sanitized carboy, leaving the sediment (lees) behind.

Seal the new carboy with the airlock and bung.

Let the mead clear for another 3-4 weeks. You can rack the mead again if more sediment forms at the bottom.

6) Bottling:

If you choose to stabilize the mead, crush and dissolve a Campden tablet and add to the mead 24 hours before bottling.

Siphon the clear mead into sanitized bottles, leaving about an inch of headspace.

Cap or cork the bottles.

7) Aging and Enjoying:

While you can drink your mead immediately, it often benefits from aging. Store the bottles upright in a cool, dark place for anywhere from 3 months to a year or more.

Chill before serving and enjoy your homemade apple pie mead!

Note: As with all homebrew recipes, feel free to adjust based on personal preferences and available ingredients.

Ingredients Required to Make Apple Pie Mead

The following instructions are if you want to make your own recipe or modify the one in this article.

Types of Apples

When making apple pie mead, the choice of apples plays a key role in determining the flavor profile. Consider using a combination of tart and sweet apples for a well-rounded taste. Some popular tart apples include Granny Smith and Northern Spy, while sweeter varieties include Honeycrisp and Golden Delicious. You can use either apple cider or apple juice as the base. However, choosing fresh-pressed, unpasteurized cider will yield a more authentic flavor.

Choice of Honey

Honey is an essential ingredient in making mead, and the type of honey used can greatly impact the final product’s taste. For apple pie mead, consider using lighter honey, like clover or wildflower honey, to complement the apple flavor. If you prefer a more robust flavor, darker kinds of honey, such as buckwheat honey, can be used. Remember that the amount of honey added will also affect the alcohol content and sweetness of the mead.

Types of Yeast

Selecting the best yeast for your mead is essential for a successful fermentation, which ultimately adds character to the mead. Wine yeast is often recommended because it can handle higher alcohol concentrations and promote a cleaner fermentation. Some popular wine yeast strains for mead include Lalvin D47, Lalvin EC-1118, and Red Star Premier Blanc.


To create an apple pie mead, it is crucial to include the right spices and flavorings that closely resemble the taste of a warm apple pie. Here is a list of spices and additives that can be incorporated into the recipe:

– Cinnamon: Add ground cinnamon or cinnamon sticks for a warming, spicy flavor.

– Nutmeg: Just a pinch of ground nutmeg will contribute an earthy, aromatic note.

– Clove: A minimal amount of ground cloves or whole cloves can add depth to the mead’s flavor.

– Vanilla: Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans or pure vanilla extract can add a rich, smooth essence.

When crafting your apple pie mead, remember that the choice of apples, honey, and yeast will significantly influence the final taste. Additionally, incorporating spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and vanilla will give your mead the desired apple pie flavor profile. Finally, remember that both the fermentation process and aging can affect the flavor development, so be patient and monitor your mead’s progress along the way.

Preparing the Must

Before making apple pie mead, it is important to prepare the must properly. The must will serve as the foundation for fermentation, and following thorough procedures will help achieve the desired flavors and profiles. This section will cover the following subsections: Adding Nutrients, Heating, and Mixing Ingredients.

Adding Nutrients

When crafting apple pie mead, proper nutrients are crucial for healthy fermentation. A combination of yeast nutrients, such as Fermaid or energizer, is recommended. Additionally, using diammonium phosphate (DAP) can also be beneficial for yeast health.

The recommended nutrient additions can be roughly divided into:

– 1 teaspoon yeast nutrient (Fermaid or energizer)

– 1/2 teaspoon diammonium phosphate (DAP)

Remember to stagger these nutrient additions during fermentation to support consistent yeast growth and activity.

Heating and Mixing Ingredients

Before combining the ingredients, it is essential to gently heat the honey to facilitate blending. Warm the honey in a large pot over low heat until it becomes less viscous. Avoid overheating the honey, as excessive heat can compromise its aromatic properties and result in off-flavors.

During the heating process, prepare the other ingredients in specified proportions:

– 10-15 lbs honey (lighter honey is recommended for apple pie mead)

– 6-8 tsp. super ferment (or 12 tsp. regular “nutrient”)

– 6-8 tbsp. acid blend

– 6 tsp. grape tannin

– 1 campden tablet (if using pasteurized honey and bottled apple juice)

Once the honey reaches the desired consistency, slowly incorporate the additional ingredients. Ensure that each is fully dissolved and mixed evenly into the must. Finally, transfer the mixture into a sanitized glass carboy or food-grade gallon container for fermentation to begin.

Fermentation Process

Primary Fermentation

The primary fermentation process begins by combining apple juice, honey, and yeast in a fermentation vessel. Apple juice from brands such as Oceanspray can work well. Consider using wine yeast like Premier Cuvee, Champagne, or Cote des Blancs for yeast. This mixture initiates fermentation, in which yeast converts sugars in honey and apple juice into alcohol and gas.

Ensure that the fermentation vessel has a sanitized airlock to prevent oxygen exposure and allow gases produced during fermentation to escape. The primary fermentation should last around 2-4 weeks until bubbling in the airlock decreases significantly.

Secondary Fermentation

Once primary fermentation is completed, transfer the apple pie mead to a secondary fermentation vessel, typically a carboy. The transferring process should be done carefully to avoid introducing oxygen and leaving behind most of the yeast sediment.

In secondary fermentation, the mead will continue fermenting and clarifying. During this period, which can last around 1-3 months, the mead will develop its flavors and aroma. Throughout this stage, monitor the airlock’s activity to ensure proper fermentation and keep the secondary vessel in a cool, dark place.

Bottling and Aging

Before bottling, it is important to stabilize the mead to cease any further fermentation. Add potassium sorbate to the mead for stabilization. Then, transfer the mead into sanitized wine bottles after ensuring that it has reached the desired clarity and taste.

Bottling requires capping or corking the wine bottles to create an airtight seal, preserving the mead and ensuring its maturation. Once bottled, store the mead in a cool, dark place for aging.

Aging the mead allows the flavors to meld and develop further, enhancing the apple pie characteristics. Depending on personal taste preferences, the aging process can range from a few months to over a year. Patience during aging will result in a more refined and flavorful apple pie mead, ultimately rewarding you with an enjoyable homemade beverage.

Tasting Notes and Pairings

Apple pie mead has a delightful combination of flavors that closely resemble a classic apple pie. Its sweetness comes from the honey in the mead, which balances the natural tartness of the apples. The cooked apple flavor consistently shines throughout, accompanied by earthy and grainy notes that evoke the pie crust.

The spices are subtle, with cinnamon being the most prominent, while delicate hints of clove and vanilla can also be detected. The mead typically contains around 14 – 16% alcohol, but the other flavors subtly mask its presence.

When it comes to pairings, apple pie mead excels as a dessert accompaniment or even as a dessert in itself. Combining the mead with rich, creamy desserts like vanilla ice cream or cheesecake creates a harmonious, scrumptious medley of flavors. The mead’s sweetness and spiced apple flavor can also help to cut through the richness of dishes like bread pudding or cinnamon rolls, making it a versatile partner in the world of sweets.

For those interested in wine pairings, a Dry Marsala wine complements the apple pie mead exceptionally well. Dry Marsala, commonly used in cooking and creating rich, caramelized sauces, brings a variety of flavors to the table, including foraged nuts, vanilla, and citrus rind. This Sicilian dessert wine synergizes well with the mead’s inherent apple and spice notes, providing a unique and enjoyable experience for the palate.

Apple Pie Mead FAQs

What are the best apples for making apple pie mead?

There are various apples suitable for making apple pie mead. Some popular choices include tart and sweet apples like Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, and Gala. These apples provide a balanced flavor profile, contributing both tartness and sweetness to the mead.

What fruits can be combined with apple pie mead?

You can combine several fruits with apple pie mead to add depth of flavor to the beverage. Among the popular options are pear, cranberry, and various berries, such as blackberries, strawberries, or raspberries. When adding secondary fruits, ensure they complement and don’t overwhelm the primary apple flavor.

How does apple mead differ from traditional mead?

There are many types of mead; apple mead, or cyser, is a type of mead made by fermenting honey with apple juice or cider. This differs from traditional mead, which is made by fermenting honey with water. The addition of apples in the apple mead gives it a distinct apple flavor and aroma, creating a unique and delicious alternative to classic mead.

What is the ideal amount of apple pie spice in mead?

The ideal amount of apple pie spice in mead may vary according to personal preferences. A general rule of thumb is to start with a small amount, such as 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, and a pinch of cloves per gallon of apple mead. Adjust the spices based on taste, but keep in mind that their flavors tend to intensify as the mead ages.

How much honey do I need for a gallon of apple pie mead?

You’ll generally need between 2 to 3 pounds of honey for a gallon of apple pie mead. Using a lighter honey is preferable, as it complements the apple and spice flavors. The exact amount of honey will depend on the desired sweetness and alcohol content of your mead, so adjust the quantity as needed.

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