hist-brewing: Egg whites in mead

Beth Ann Snead ladypeyton at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 3 15:21:27 PST 1999


Anyone
> have any idea what he meant by alum - because I don't think it's
> the same stuff we use in baking today?  

Actually I believe it is.

> I agree - the question is what ills would they have used the 
> egg whites for.  I suggest that what we would call 'cloudy'
> or 'hazy' would have been considered pretty clear in period.
> Descriptions that I've found so far (and I'm still looking)
> call for the egg white treatment for 'muddy' or 'ropey'
> (ewwwww) wines - a far cry from a little chill haze.

Since most, if not all of my wines (and there are more than I can
count, trust me) clear to pretty much crystal clarity in 6 months (an
average time so far as I can tell between when a medieval wine would
have gone from first day of fermentation to "let's start cracking the
barrells I'm thirsty!" I truly believe eggwhites were used for
"seriously cloudy, probably infected but let's not throw it away if we
can salvage it at all" wines.  When judging period wines at SCA events
I look for a glass that I can see through.  Not a glass that I can see
the crystal clear outline of a flame through. As I said,  color was
much more important, but if you have a carboy of muddy milky wine I
suggest the addition of a few eggwhites.

For a late period source which is rich in descriptions of what late
period wines whould have looked and tasted like I recommend William
Turner's _A Book of Wines_ (orig pub 1568). Scholar's Facsimile's and
Reprints. Delmar, NY 1941 (second printing 1980)  I got mine from
Amazon this year.

Beth Ann Snead
Lettice, Lady Peyton in the SCA
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