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Recipe Box: Vanilla Bean Chamomile Mead

Amber Shehan March 7, 2015

  When I started making infused honey years ago, the very first and most favorite of my herbal flavors was Vanilla Bean Chamomile Honey. So naturally, when I began to use the infused honey to make gallon batches of mead, that delicious, heart-lifting combination was one of my honey wine experiments. And oh, I’m so…

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When I started making infused honey years ago, the very first and most favorite of my herbal flavors was Vanilla Bean Chamomile Honey. So naturally, when I began to use the infused honey to make gallon batches of mead, that delicious, heart-lifting combination was one of my honey wine experiments. And oh, I’m so glad that I gave it a try…

This recipe assumes that you have basic brewing knowledge and equipment at hand. Need some tips to help get you started? Check out my page for brewing one-gallon batches of wine and mead here!

vanilla bean chamomile mead by

Vanilla Bean Chamomile Mead


  • 1 gallon of water (filtered is best, or anything non-chlorinated)
  • 3-4 lbs local honey (about 4 cups)
  • One heaping handful of Chamomile Flowers (probably about 1/2 cup)
  • One handful of chopped raisins
  • One Vanilla Bean, split
  • 1/2 packet of yeast (champagne yeast for dry, sweet wine or mead yeast for a sweeter result or a pinch of bread yeast will work)


Grab a large stockpot and add about 2/3 of a gallon of water. Allow it to come to a boil.

While the water is heating, use the time to sanitize your gallon carboy, airlocks, bungs, and funnel with a store-bought sanitizer, or a bleach and water mix. Make sure you rinse everything well with clean water before using.

When the water is at a steady, rolling boil, remove it from heat and add in the raisins and chamomile and give it a stir. Cover the pot and let it sit for about ten minutes.

Uncover the pot, pour in the honey and stir it until it is all mixed. Think happy thoughts and enjoy the scent!

Using a funnel, pour the wort (flowers and all) into the sanitized gallon jug. Split the vanilla bean and drop it into the jug.

Pour in the rest of the cold filtered water to bring the liquid up to the neck of the jug to help cool it off a bit.

Once the jug has cooled to room temperature, add the yeast and top it all off with an airlock.

Label the jug with the brew name and date and set it aside somewhere out of direct sunlight, and let it do the fermenting magic until it is done. Check the airlock and watch how often it bubbles. You can tell it is done when the bubbles have stopped and the mead has cleared.

Racking, Backsweetening, Bottling

When the fermentation seems complete, you can taste the mead, or just go ahead and bottle it as is.  To taste the mead, remove the airlock and use a sanitized straw to taste a bit of the mead (don’t backwash into the mead! Ew!)

If your mead is too dry for your tastes and needs more sweetness, make a simple syrup from either honey or sugar. Make sure the syrup is warm, but not hot so that it will blend easily. Add somewhere between a quarter and a half cup of your sweetener into a clean, sanitized carboy and rack the mead over onto it.

Put a clean, sanitized airlock on the newly sweetened mead and let it sit for another week or two, just in case the sugar kick-started any residual yeasts back into gear. Once you are confident that the fermentation is done, prepare to bottle the mead.

You can use all kinds of bottles. For gallon mead batches, I tend to use a combination of Grolsch swing-top bottles and standard beer bottles and caps since I have those around. You’ll get a six-pack or so of regular beer bottles.



Oh. This mead is so, so very good. This combination is one of my favorites! The flavor is rich with the notes of vanilla, the chamomile flowers add a bit of fruity bitterness all their own, and they lend this mead a strong body. This is a mead that is at it’s best on the sweet end of the spectrum. It just rolls over the tongue like a dream…*happy sigh*

I will most definitely make this recipe again, and most likely in a 5-gallon batch!

Amber Shehan

Hi! I'm Amber Pixie, and this is my site. Enjoy the recipes, information, posts, and please feel free to message me if you have questions!


  1. The Mead Mixologist on August 7, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    Beautiful! The only limitation is your own imagination when making mead. Any fruit, spice, or herb, judiciously applied, can be used. Vanilla and chamomile is a great combination.

  2. L on February 11, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    Do you split your vanilla bean before adding it?

    • Amber Shehan on February 12, 2016 at 10:05 am

      Great question! I do split my vanilla beans before adding them in when I brew. I’ll update the post to include that detail. Thank you, L! 🙂

  3. Catherine on February 13, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    I’ve never brewed mead before and would love to try. How long before the mead is fully done fermenting? Thanks!

    • Amber Shehan on February 14, 2016 at 10:37 am

      Catherine, thanks for your question! Fermentation time varies depending on the temperature, the kind of yeast, the amount of sugar and such. Just keep an eyes on it, and watch the bubbles in the airlock blurping away. When they stop bubbling, consider bottling your mead, or if you are afraid that it isn’t done, you can “rack” it into a new jug to get it off of the old yeasts and see if it is still going.

      All that being said, for one gallon batches it can take anywhere from a month to three months, although I’ve been lazy and let some sit for even longer.
      If you want, you can visit my one gallon mead and wine page for more details and a few videos!

      Enjoy brewing! Holler if you have any more questions and I’ll do my best to help!

      • Catherine on February 17, 2016 at 12:04 pm

        Thank you, Amber! I’m very excited. My husband and I brewed this recipe today along with a Scotch “60 Shilling” Ale. The Shilling should be ready for Saint Patrick’s Day. The mead is wedding present for our friends who are getting married in July.

        I will certainly follow your page. Also, I just started a twitter where I’ll be posting my brewing projects as well as beer and mead finds. @craftbeerkitty

        • Amber Shehan on February 17, 2016 at 2:46 pm

          Oooh, enjoy your ale! That sounds nice. I hope all goes well with the Chamomile Mead! What lucky friends you have. 🙂 Following you on twitter now!

  4. L on February 18, 2016 at 9:18 am

    Thanks! Do you have a mead yeast you typically use? I’ve used champagne for a dry mead, but I’d like a bit sweeter result with this one.

    • Amber Shehan on February 19, 2016 at 9:30 am

      Oh, I use all sorts of yeasts! Champagne yeast makes the mead too dry for my tastes, too. Both Wyest and WhiteLabs put out tubes of “sweet mead yeast” that is excellent, but they’re sized for 5 gallon batches. I use a third of the tube in a one gallon batch, and will try to make three different brews at once to use up the whole tube! Bread yeast tends to be very active and makes dry meads, too. Wild yeast is a gamble, unless you work with a specific strain that you’ve isolated.

      Have fun, y’all!

  5. Ron on April 15, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    I’m making a 5 gallon batch. It’s been in about two weeks now. When do you rack to secondary. And when you do, do you transfer the tea leaves and vanilla beans?

    • Amber Shehan on April 15, 2016 at 10:15 pm

      I’ll usually strain out the chunks when I rack it over to aid in the clearing process, but I have left it in before a time or two. It makes for a bit more of a bitter brew to leave in these particular herbs!

      • Ron on April 16, 2016 at 3:46 am

        Thanks! I’m aiming for a sweeter tone batch this time around. I’ll rack now. I’d imagine the bitterness comes from the chamomile. Do you recommend transferring the vanilla beans into the secondary?

        • Amber Shehan on April 18, 2016 at 9:57 am

          I don’t see why not! The chamomile definitely contributes to the bitter…the vanilla pods add their own tannin qualities, though! 🙂 I bet it’ll be delicious, Ron.

  6. Ron on April 15, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    Do you leave the chamomile and vanilla beans in the fermenter the entire 3 months?

  7. Erik on April 8, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    1) what ratios would you use to make larger batches or possibly even smaller ones. (1 part x to 2 parts y) sorta thing.
    2) if you use less honey in a one gallon batch say two lbs would that affect the fermentation time?

    • Amber Shehan on April 16, 2017 at 11:20 am

      I am so sorry for my delay in responding – I didn’t get notification of your comment for some reason!

      As far as smaller batches, I mostly just experiment. I sometimes use wide mouth canning jars with an airlock lid to make small wine batches. I use about a cup of sugar for really sweet stuff, sometimes less based on the herb or fruit I’m using.

      Most of the other sized recipes you’ll see out there are for 5 gallon batches, which is why I started this collection of small one gallon batch recipes. If you use less honey, you’ll end up with less alcohol, and so yes, less fermentation time but also less booze! 🙂

  8. Glenn C on May 31, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    This recipe is great, I tweaked it a little bit and used some lavender flowers, and a little less honey for a one gallon batch, and wow. It leaves a flavor on the tongue a mead drinker is not accustomed to, but not in a bad way! Kudos!

    • Amber Shehan on June 1, 2017 at 1:36 pm

      Oh, lavender sounds like it could be a nice touch, although it is a thing I prefer to smell than to taste, myself! Yay, I’m glad it worked out for you, Glenn! Cheers! 😀

  9. Joselyn on June 16, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    Do you recommend dried chamomile flowers or fresh ones?

    • Amber Shehan on June 16, 2017 at 3:13 pm

      I used dried ones, their oils tend to be more concentrated and strong when they are dry. If you use fresh ones, you have to double the quantity!

  10. Dharma on January 17, 2018 at 10:21 am

    I’ve got two gallons brewing. I poured each gallon in with everything still in it. Flowers raisins and all. Its been a month and i still have a two-inch layer of wort on the top of each batch. Should I expect it to settle to the bottom and some point? or just plan on it staying this way? It’s still actively bubbling.

    • Amber Pixie on January 25, 2018 at 4:51 pm

      Yikes, Dharma! I missed your comment until just now, I’m so sorry!

      I let the meads and wines just do their own thing…once they have calmed down from bubbling, a lot of the flowers and such will settle. If not, just carefully rack it over from the middle of the jug, trying not to suck in the lees or the flowers if possible. Sometimes some of the lighter petals will continue to float, like it or not!

      I hope that helps, and feel free to ask more questions. I’ll try to answer faster next time!

  11. Torben on January 27, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    This will be my next batch.. going to use EC-1118 yeast and a touch more honey.. I’ll let ya know! My wife seems eager to try it!

    • Amber Pixie on January 31, 2018 at 1:10 pm

      Great, Torben! I hope that you both enjoy it very much! 😀

      • Torben on February 5, 2018 at 12:06 pm

        Just got my gallon batch brewed and bottled last evening, it does have an earthy smell but the vanilla comes thru well! Would you think aerating and degassing would be a good thing to do on this? More of a gentle swirl instead of a shake…
        Thanks for this recipe, I’m planning to try another one of yours!

        • Amber Pixie on February 5, 2018 at 4:14 pm

          If you blended the honey well, you shouldn’t HAVE to aerate it…is the fermentation active? 🙂 Cheers, I hope you enjoy!

        • Amber Pixie on February 5, 2018 at 4:52 pm

          Also, what do you mean by degas? Are you using an airlock on your jug? If you are just using a solid closure, you might well have an explosion while that brew ferments!

  12. Gilbert on April 8, 2018 at 11:45 pm

    Giving this recipe a try and I am so excited! My son has been really into Viking lore for years and has been asking If we can do a father-son thing and make mead. He chose a recipe he found and after looking for a recipe I liked, I found this one! I’m a 1st timer at this so here’s hoping it comes out good!

    • Amber Pixie on April 9, 2018 at 9:59 am

      Cheers, or shall I say Skål! I hope you all enjoy the process, and the results, especially! 🙂

  13. […] I got the recipe from an amazing book called Sacred and Healing Herbal Beers. Also, check out this vanilla bean chamomile mead recipe from Pixie’s Pocket. It sounds […]

  14. […] Another useful food and medicinal plant, wild chamomile (aka pineapple weed, Matricaria discoidea) can be found in many urban and disturbed areas. The flowers resemble cultivated chamomile but with very small or absent white petals. The pineapple-scented conical flowers can be eaten fresh or tossed in salads, or made into a calming tea while fresh or dried. Use a tablespoon of the flowers per cup, and sweeten with honey to taste. A delicious and floral honey wine can be made by substituting the wild chamomile in this Vanilla Bean Chamomile Mead recipe. […]

  15. Michelle on November 16, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    Hello! This recipe sounds great! If you were to make a 5 gallon batch, would you multiply the ingredients by 5? Ex 5 vanilla beans, 2 1/2 cups chamomile. Also, best place to get drid chamomile and vanilla beans? Thank you.
    Sorry if you got this mutiple times, I keep trying to send it and have experienced some difficulty.

    • Amber Pixie on November 16, 2018 at 5:22 pm

      Sorry for the difficulty with the commenting!

      If I were doing a five gallon batch, yes, you can just multiply the ingredients up. Instead of 3 pounds of honey, it would be 15 for a 5 gallon batch.

      I hope that helps, Michelle! Enjoy making a big batch of deliciousness! 😀

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