hist-brewing: Oak leaf in Viking Mead Recipe?

Beth Ann Snead ladypeyton at yahoo.com
Mon Mar 15 16:01:46 PST 1999


> Does anyone else know about the use of oak leaf in wines and meads?

I've never seen an historic recipe that used oak leaves (or boughs for
ske of the argument) in wine.  Wine barrells were often if not always,
made of Oak, but that's all.

> Subject: 1600's Mead book w/Viking ingred
> 1600's Mead recipe w/old nordic (viking) ingredients.
> 
>         1 gallon dark clover honey
>         4 gallons spring water
>         2 sprigs Pors and about a 3" handful of loose leaves
>         4 tsp acid blend
>         5 tsp yeast nutrient
>         1/2 tsp Irish Moss
> 
> (Pors = "Myrtus Brabantica")
> 
> To make mead do like you would if you were making wine

I guarantee you that this is NOT a recipe from a "1600's Mead book" 
Use of a yeast nutrient DOES date back to de Villanova (1300's)
HOWEVER, this is a modern extrapolation of results from a period
method.  For example, several "cures" for stuck wine or mead cite the
inclusion of the dregs or lees from the bottom of a newly emptied
barrell (can anyone say yeast hulls?) but not once was it referred to
as "yeast nutrient"  The measurements are all wrong (I've never seen
tsp.'s used in a pre 1600 recipe) and although every once in a while
there's an acid adjustment in a recipe by the casual addition of an
acidic fruit to a non-acidic fruit,  it's purely accidental since acid
content was *definitely* a post 1600 concern.  If you're curious as to
what this recipe will result in, go ahead and try it, but don't fool
yourself that it has an historic basis. 

Beth Ann
Lettice, Lady Peyton in the SCA
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