hist-brewing: Re: Heather Honey Meads

Dan McFeeley mcfeeley at keynet.net
Sat Jan 20 11:40:53 PST 2001

At 12:42 PM 1/20/01 -0500, John Purdy wrote:

>I've had my copy of Papazian's Joy for many a year.  Not only does it have
>only one recipe but he suggested using hops as well.  (As optional,
>though...if I recall properly.)  A recent copy I acquired for a friend who
>purchased a low-end brew kit with a cheesy book had a couple recipes,
>discussed the role of fruit and never mentioned hops.

Wow, that's another old book!  Papazian's _New Complete Joy of Home Brewing_
is dated 1984, 1991.  When did the first _Complete Joy of Home Brewing_
come out, some time in the late 1970's?  Some time back I was asking Dick
Dunn about meadmaking and homebrewers during that period and he told me
that these meads were often "stange brews," low gravity meads with 
sometimes odd adjuncts, such as hops.  That sounds a lot like the stuff
you describe in Papazian's CJHB, probably straight out of the 1970's and
probably not much different from the meadmaking Dick Dunn described.

There doesn't seem to have been much solid information about meadmaking
back then, maybe a lot of old country wine recipes floating around. 
Robert Gayre's book _Wassail!  In Mazers of Mead_ was put out in 1948,
seems to have been well known in England but later lapsed until it was
reprinted in the U.S. by Brewers Publications around 1986.  The Argus
Books reprint of Acton & Duncan's _Making Mead_ is dated 1984, Roger 
Morse's _Making Mead (Honey Wine)_ is dated 1980.  

There's a lot of new information about meadmaking, but it's mostly
something shared amongst knowledgable meadmakers, little if any of
it is in print.  Even Pamela Spence's 1997 _Mad About Mead!_ has 
little new about it and some of the information is questionable, 
such as the high levels of nutrient additives that are recommended.
Dick Dunn gave the book a thorough critique on the Mead Lovers Digest
when it first came out.

There's been rumors that there are folk out there working on new 
texts on meadmaking, and hopefully they'll be in print soon.

Dan McFeeley
mcfeeley at keynet.net
(on digest mode, usually
a step or two behind 
everyone else  :-)

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