Mead, using a 13th/14th century English manuscript
Updated 13 Sep 04
1 Gallon Water 3 lbs Honey (1 quart) 1 Lemon 12 Cloves 1 cup strong tea Epernay II yeast
Add the honey to one gallon of boiling water. Turn off the heat and stir well. Slice or juice the lemons and add along with the clove and tea. Let stand covered until cool. Pour into a gallon jug and add the yeast. Epernay II yeast works very well, but champagne yeast or ale yeast are also fine.
Let it ferment for 18 days, and then siphon into bottles. Seal or cap the bottles and let sit at room temperature for two weeks, then put in the refrigerator. You can drink it at any. time now.
|1 Gallon Water||2 1/2 lbs Honey|
|1 Lemon||1/2 tsp Nutmeg|
|1 pkg Ale or Champagne yeast|
Syr Michael of York, raised in the East Kingdom, wrote the original article in the Knowne World Handbook on brewing. He has won East Kingdom brewing competitons several times with this recipe.
Boil the water and honey. Add the juice of the lemon and the nutmeg. Boil, skimming the foam that rises to the surface, until it stops foaming. Let cool to blood temperature, actually under 90 degrees F, then pitch the yeast.
Let it work two and a half weeks, bottle it and let it age two weeks.
PUT IT IF THE REFRIGERATOR, AS IT CAN BECOME EXPLOSIVE IF LEFT OUT AFTER THIS.
Drink at your leisure!
This mead was made from an original recipe I developed when I was staring into my larder one day. Looking for some breakfast and staring at a bottle of pure maple syrup, I realized that syrup would ferment with honey, just like fruit. Drawing upon (at that time) 3 years of brewing experience, I came up with the following recipe for 1 gallon:
|3 lbs Honey||3 TBS lemon juice|
|1/4 cup brown sugar||4 oz very strong tea|
|3 fluid oz of Pure maple syrup||yeast according to preference|
Boil some water and pour about 4 oz into a cup with a single teabag. Let this sit for a couple of hours. Boil honey with 7 cups of water until it stops foaming, then add maple, brown sugar, lemon, and tea. Turn of the heat and let cool. Pitch yeast when approximately 70 degrees F.
I tried hard to stick to 'period' ingredients like lemon juice and tea (instead of using chemicals). The lemon juice adds acidity and the tea adds tannin.
Let it ferment for a month, and then rack into a secondary. After about 2 more months, rack again and taste. If you like it, bottle it. If not, let it sit another couple of months and then bottle. If you don't like sweet meads, you can cut the honey down to either 2 or 2 1/2 lbs. Drink at your leisure!
This pyment was made when I first started brewing, and was focused on success rather than period techniques. It is from a recipe in Acton and Duncan's Brewing Mead, in the section on Melomels, Hippocras, Pyment, and Cyser. Although mead is called melomel when fruit has been added, when the fruit is grapes it is called pyment. This is white pyment because white grape juice is used (as opposed to red). I used for following for 5 gallons:
|9 lbs honey||Four 12oz cans white grape juice concentrate|
|5 tsp yeast nutrient||1/3 oz grap tannin|
|2 1/2 oz malic acid||Sauternes yeast|
Boil honey and water until it stops foaming, then add remainder of ingredients except yeast, and turn off the heat. Let cool and pitch yeast when approx 70-80 degrees F.
Rack into a secondary after one month. After 2 more months, rack again and taste. At this point, I found it dry and so added 1 lb of honey to the 5 gallon batch. After 2 more months, rack again, and taste. if you like, bottle it, otherwise let it sit some more.
Drinks of fermented honey and water are some of the earliest known to man. This weak honey drink is based on a recipe from Sir Kenelme Digbie's Closet, although Robyyan has modified it.
Original recipe (Digbie, p. 124):
Take nine pints of warm fountain water, and dissolve in it one point of pure white honey, by laving it therein , till it be dissolved. Then boil it gently , skimming it all the while, till all the scum be perfectly scummed off; and after that boil it a little longer, peradventure a quarter of ah hour. In all it will require two or three hours boiling, so at least one third part may be consumed. About a quarter of an hour before you cease boiling, and take it from the fire, put to it a little spoonful of cleansed and sliced Ginger; and almost half as much of the thin yellow rind of Orange, when you are even ready t take it from the fire, so as the Orange boil only one walm in it. Then pour it into a well glassed strong deep great Gally-pot, and let it stand so, till it be almost cold, that it be scarce Luke-warm. Then put into it a little silver spoonful of pure Ale-yeast and work it together with a Ladle to make it ferment: as soon as it beginneth to do so, cover it close with a fit cover, and put a thick dubbled woollen cloth about it. Cast all things so that this may be done when you are going to bed.
Next morning when you rise, you will find the barm gathered all together in the middle; scum it clen off with a silver spoon and a feather, and bottle up the Liquor, stopping it very close. It will be ready to drink in two or three days, but is will keep well a month or two. It will from the first, very quick and pleasant.
Master Robyyan's recipe:
Add one. pound of honey to 5 quarts of water, bring the mixture to a simmer and skim the foam as it rises, until there is no more foam, approximately 30 minutes. Add approx. 2 tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh ginger, the juice of one lemon, and 8 cloves, stuck into the lemon peel for easy removal. Boil for 15 minutes, then remove from the heat and cool to lukewarm. Place the wort in a jug, straining the ginger and lemon pieces out. Add 1/4 tsp. ale yeast, and fit a fermentation lock.
After 48 hours, bottle and store at room temperature. After 48 hours in the bottle, refrigerate.
|2 quarts honey||5 gal water|
|2 cups strong tea||1 teaspoon ginger|
|1 teaspoon nutmeg||2 teaspoons cinnamon|
|3-5 lemons||Mead yeast|
|A plastic sieve||wooden spoon|
|big pot||5 gallon jug or carboy|
|thermometer||all yours and everyone else's
used coke or beer bottles
What follows is a step by step explanation from Duke Sir Gyrth Oldcastle of Ravenspur on exactly how he makes mead:
First, boil water. I make two batches at a time with a three gallon pot. Add honey on a one part honey to nine parts water basis. (Honey weighs 12 lb. to the gallon.) I use a quart per 2 1/2 gallon batch. Stir it about to dissolve the honey in the water. 7he honey will sink to the bottom of the pot and burn unless stirred at first. When the mixture is bubbling happily, a whitish scum will riser to the surface. Spoon it away.
Scum removal is a topic of controversy among brewers. Some maintain that complete removal is the only way to go,- others like myself skim until there's only a very little left. Suit yourself.
Remove from heat and add one cup of very strong tea (2 cups per 5 gallons) (From herein on I assume that the measurements are for 5 gallons of mead)), 1 teaspoon of ginger, 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Then take 3-5 lemons, Slice them thin, and throw them in. Let the lemons steep in the must (must is what you call incipient mead) for 30 minutes; then remove the slices. The tea and lemon move the pH of the must towards one comfortable for the yeast.
Let the whole caboodle cool to about 80-85 degrees F. Then introduce your yeast to it, cap it with an airlock, and stand back. Afier 5 days taste it. If too sweet, let it continue; if too alcoholic (unlikely) add more boiled honey and water. Keep tasting daily until sweetness and alcohol balance each other out. Syphon it off into bottles and refrigerate. If not refrigerated, it will get progressively less sweet and slide irrevocably into undrinkability. Let stand 2-5 weeks. Drink and enjoy. it ties up refrigerator space, but tends to be worth it.
NOTE - When refrigerated the mead tends to settle, and at this point I find it advantageous to siphon again into clean bottles, seal tightly, and re-refrigcrate. It makes for a sweeter, more sparkling mead.
|2 quarts honey (preferrably wildflower)||1 gallon water|
|1 cup white raisins||1 egg|
To one gallon of water add two quarts of honey and the white of one, egg, mixing WELL. Cook the mixture at medium heat on the stove, stirring continuously. When the mix comes to a boil all the scum rises to the top to be skimmed, assisted by the egg white, just like you clear stock. When no more scum rises add the raisin, turn off the heat, and cover overnight. In the morning crush and strain out the raisins, add the yeast, and transfer the liquid (called 'must') to a glass jug with a fermentation lock. Keep any excess to top off the mead after racking.
The first racking should be done after one month and the next when fermentation stops. Rack again about three, months later. It is important to keep the mead topped off to keep the airspace in the bottle to a minimum. When you can read newsprint through the jug of mead, bottle and cork. Don't touch for at least a year.
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