Rhubarb has a sweet-tart flavor that comes through beautifully in homemade rhubarb mead. Though it’s technically a vegetable, the stalks contain both sugar and acid, which gives them a fruit-like flavor. That acidic sweetness makes them a good candidate for brewing.
This recipe is for a single quart of rhubarb mead using my small batch mead method. With just a cup of rhubarb and a cup of honey, you can have your own bottle of homemade rhubarb mead. This works out well if you’re not sure you’ll like it, or you just have a small rhubarb patch.
If you have a lot of rhubarb on hand, try a gallon batch of rhubarb wine. My rhubarb wine recipe uses sugar to extract the juice from the rhubarb, meaning that you’re using fresh rhubarb juice for your wine instead of water. That process takes a lot more than a handful of rhubarb and is best suited to gardeners with a bumper crop of rhubarb.
The first time we made rhubarb mead, we went with a traditional 5 gallon batch. I just pulled the last bottle of rhubarb mead out of the basement…7 years later. We love brewing, but who needs 20 bottles of any single mead? That’s one of the reasons to make small batches. You can brew as many batches in a year as your heart desires, and you don’t have to kill your liver in the process. It allows for experimentation without the risk of huge amounts of waste.
Start with a one-quart mason jar and add 1 cup of honey. Toss in 1 cup of chopped rhubarb and a teaspoon of lemon juice for a bit of extra acid. With a full cup of honey, this is going to be a sweet mead. If you’re hoping for a dry rhubarb mead, reduce the honey to as low as 2/3 cup for a one-quart batch.
I think rhubarb has a bit of tannic bite in the flavor, so I didn’t add a black tea bag to this batch. The tannins in black tea help to round out a mead, but I’ve found it unnecessary with rhubarb mead. If you’d like, add a few tablespoons of strongly brewed black tea.
With the fruit in this mead, it’s technically a melomel. For melomel, I don’t add any yeast nutrient or raisins to a batch because the fruit helps provide extra micronutrients for the yeast. I haven’t had any issues with this technique for melomels, but if yours don’t ferment well, try adding just a pinch of yeast nutrient or a few raisins.
I’d suggest using wine yeast rather than baking yeast for this recipe, as baking yeast can cause off flavors.
Since this is such a small batch recipe, there’s no need to get a siphon for bottling. Simply pour the rhubarb mead through a fine mesh strainer to remove any chunks of rhubarb. Be careful to pour slowly, and leave the yeast sediment at the bottom of the fermentation jar.
Once the rhubarb mead has been filtered, it’s time for bottling. If you weren’t careful during the filtering phase and you kicked up a good bit of yeast sediment into the brew, attach the airlock again and allow it to ferment for another 1-3 days so that the yeast sediment can settle out. Then try again, pouring the mead off slowly so that the yeast sediment stays behind.
To bottle, simply use a funnel to pour the mead into a flip top Grolsch bottle. They’re much simpler to use than a full wine corking setup, especially for small batches that will be consumed quickly.
Allow the rhubarb mead to mature in the bottle for at least 2 weeks before drinking, but preferably at least 2 months. Enjoy!
Rhubarb Mead (Honey Wine)
This sweet summer honey wine captures the flavor of rhubarb in a bottle. Since it's a small batch, you can make this recipe with just a few handfuls of chopped rhubarb.
- 1 cup Rhubarb chopped
- 1 cup honey
- 3 cups water
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 packet wine yeast
Add the honey and rhubarb into a quart mason jar. If you'd like, allow the honey to draw the juices out of the chopped rhubarb for 24 hours, but that's optional.
Add the lemon juice and water to the mason jar and stir to incorporate and dissolve the honey.
Dissolve 1/4 packet of wine yeast in a small amount of water. Allow it to bloom for at least 5 minutes before adding it into the mason jar. Top the jar with water if necessary to bring it to within an inch of the top.
Seal the quart mason jar with a mason jar fermentation kit and allow to ferment at room temperature for about 6 weeks.
Once fermentation has stopped, gently pour the mead into another container, leaving behind any sediment in the jar. Pour it through a fine mesh strainer to remove any rhubarb hunks.
Bottle in a flip top Grolsch bottle and let it age for at least 2 more weeks before drinking.
To make a standard 1-gallon batch, simply multiply the quantities by 4.
Looking for more mead recipes? Try any of these:
- Wild Foraged Linden Flower Mead
- Small Batch Raspberry Mead
- Blackcurrant Mead
- Small Batch Elderberry Mead