SV: hist-brewing: Eggs in Wine

Cindy Renfrow renfrow at
Wed Mar 3 06:55:53 PST 1999

>Angus MacIomhair,
>There are several recipies calling for the addition of egg white in Cindy
>Renfrow's "A Sip Through Time".  One example is #14 on page 45.  The
>on the recipe dated 1669 are:  4 gallons water, 1 gallon honey, 3 or 4 egg
>whites and ale yeast.  I am not sure I can post the entire recipe due to copy
>write laws.  Incidently I have #32 on the same page which does not call
>for egg
>whites in my fermenter right now.  It is almost complete after 3 weeks of
>fermentation.  I hope it clears in the next few weeks so I can share some with
>my shire.
>Hope this helps.
>Morgan the Vintner

Here is the recipe in question.  As you can see, it adds egg whites before
the boiling to make the scum rise.  It also uses whole eggs just before
boiling as a primitive hydrometer:  "put a good number, (ten or twelve)
New-laid-eggs into it, and as round ones as may be; For long ones will
deceive you in the swiming; and stale ones, being lighter then new, will
emerge out of the Liquor, the breadth of a sixpence, when new ones will not
a groats-breadth."


Take to four Gallons of water, one Gallon of Virgin-honey; let the water be
warm before you put in the honey; and then put in the whites of 3 or 4 Eggs
well beaten, to make the scum rise.  When the honey is throughly melted and
ready to boil, put in an Egge with the shell softly; and when the Egge
riseth above the water, to the bigness of a groat in sight, it is strong
enough of the honey.  The Egge will quickly be hard, and so will not rise;
Therefore you must put in another, if the first do not rise to your sight;
you must put in more water and honey proportionable to the first, because
of wasting away in the boiling.  It must boil near an hour.  You may, if
you please, boil in it, a little bundle of Rosemary, Sweet-marjoram, and
Thyme; and when it tasteth to your liking, take it forth again.  Many do
put Sweet-bryar berries in it, which is held very good.  When your Meath is
boiled enough take it off the fire, and put it into a Kiver; when it is
blood-warm, put in some Ale-barm, to make it work, and cover it close with
a blancket in the working.  The next morning tun it up, and if you please
put in a bag with a little Ginger and a little Nutmeg bruised; and when it
hath done working, stop it up close for a Moneth, and then Bottle it.
(Digby, The Closet ...Opened.)

OTOH, this recipe uses the eggs as yeast food:

MUM - 1723

Take thirty-two gallons of water, boil it till a third part is wasted, brew
it according to Art with three Bushels and a half of Malt, half a Bushel of
ground Beans, and half a Bushel of Oatmeal when you put it into your Cask
do not fill it too full and when it begins to work, put in a pound and a
half of the inner rind of Fir, half a pound of tops of Fir and Birch
instead of the inward Rind.  Our English Mum-makers use Sassafras and
ginger, the Rind of Walnut Tree, Elecampane Root, Water Cresses, and Horse
Radish root rasp'd, Betony, Burnet, Marjoram, Mother of Thyme, Pennyroyal
of each a small handful, Elder-flowers a handful, of Blessed Thistle a
handful, of Barberries bruised half an ounce, of Cardamums bruised an ounce
and a half.  All these ingredients are to be put in when the liquor has
wrought a while and after they are in let it work over the Vessel as little
as may be when it has done working.  Fill up the cask and put into it five
new-laid eggs not broken nor crack'd, stop it close and it will be fit to
drink in two years.
(From The Receipt Book of John Nott, 1723.)


Cindy Renfrow
renfrow at
Author & Publisher of "Take a Thousand Eggs or More, A Collection of 15th
Century Recipes" and "A Sip Through Time, A Collection of Old Brewing

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