hist-brewing: Tannin and Meads

Dan McFeeley mcfeeley at keynet.net
Mon Jun 7 07:28:42 PDT 1999


This might be a marginal question of sorts, and probably pushing the envelope
of "period" for this list.  We were having a discussion on another list about
Acton & Duncun's book _Making Mead_, and I happened to note that the authors
mentioned the use of strong tea as an older method of adding tannin to meads.
Acton & Duncan stated that they prefer the use of grape tannin, as well as
other additives, to the older country wine techniques of adding lemon juice,
Marmite, and epsom salts.  Checking another English author, Clara Furness, 
_Honey Wines and Beers_, I saw that tea was again recommended for the same
purpose.  Patty Vargas, a U.S. writer, mentions the use of tea in her book
_Country Wines_, but her mead recipes traditional meads that do not include
tannin additives in any form.  Other U.S. authors such as Papazian do not
mention the use of tea, or even the need to add tannins to meads.

The use of tea is a country wine maker's method of adding tannin, but I was
wondering if I was seeing a preference of English mead makers versus mead 
makers in the U.S.  Is this the case, and if so, does anyone know anything
about the historical roots of the tradition?

Thanks in advance!



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