hist-brewing: braggot recipe

Cindy M. Renfrow cindy at thousandeggs.com
Thu Apr 6 07:18:02 PDT 2000


>Take xiiii galouns of good fyn ale that the grout
 >therof by twies meischid, & put it into a stonen vessel. & lete it stonde
 >iii daies or iiii, til it be stale.

The word 'stale' in conjunction with the word 'ale' had two meanings.  It
could mean stale or flat, but it could also mean clear (settled and
clarified).  In this case I think it means the latter because we're also
settling and clarifying the spicing mixture.

As I read it, you take 14 gallons of 'good fyn' ale made from  the first
and second runnings, and let it sit for 3 or 4 days in a crock to clarify.

 >Afterward take a quart of fyn wort, half
 >a quart of lyf hony; & sette it ouer the fier, & lete it sethe, & skyme it
 >wel til it be cleer. & thut therto a penywoth of poudir of peper & I
 >penyworth of poudir of clowis, & sethe hem wel togethere til it boile.

 >Take it doun & lete it kele, & poure out the clere therof into the forseid
 >vessel, & the groundis theof put in into a bagge, into the forseid pot, &
 >stoppe it wel with a lynnen clooth that noon eir come out; & put therto newe
 >berm, & stoppe it iii dayes or iiii eer thou drinke therof.
 >Put aqua ardente it among.

Then we're to take a quart of fine wort, probably from a new batch, heat it
with 1/2 quart of honey and the powdered pepper & powdered cloves.  After
this mixture has cooled and settled, we're to 'poure out the clere therof
into the forseid vessel'; that is, we put the clear liquid, not the dregs,
into the stoneware jug with fresh barm to get it working again.  We put the
dregs of the spices in a little bag so that they won't cloud the liquid,
and put them in the crock, too; and then we stopper the jug, and let it
work for 3 or 4 days.

 Note that it didn't say to 'give it a vent' to let the gas escape; it
specifically says  'stoppe it wel with a lynnen clooth that noon eir come
out'. If the 14 gallons were previously unfermented when they were placed
in the jug, wouldn't the jug need to purge? I think we're adding a little
sweetened wort & barm for 3 or 4 days just to give the ale some fizz.

When it's done we add some burning water (distilled alcohol) to add to the
warming medicinal properties of the brew.

The Honey of dry open Countries, where there is much Wild-thyme, Rosemary,
and Flowers, is best.  It is of three sorts, Virgin-honey, Life-honey, and
Stock-honey.  The first is the best.  The Life-honey next.  The
Virgin-honey is of Bees, that swarmed the Spring before, and are taken up
in Autumn; and is made best by chusing the Whitest combs of the Hive, and
then letting the Honey run out of them lying upon a Sieve without pressing
it, or breaking of the Combs.  The Life-honey is of the same Combs broken
after the Virgin-honey is run from it; The Merchants of Honey do use to
mingle all the sorts together.  The first of a swarm is called
Virgin-honey.  That of the next year, after the Swarm was hatched, is
Life-honey.  And ever after, it is Honey of Old-stocks.  Honey that is
forced out of the Combs, will always taste of Wax.  Hampshire Honey is most
esteemed at London.  About Bisleter  there is excellent good.  Some account
Norfolk honey the best. (From Digby's The Closet ...Opened, 1669.)

Just my .02 worth,

Cindy Renfrow
cindy at thousandeggs.com
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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