hist-brewing: The Birch Tree...Burning it and Drinking it (and faucets for cornies)

Thu Feb 22 10:34:35 PST 2001

I have a couple questions concerning the birch tree.  First off, I have
seen references to smoking malt and meats using birch.  Some references
refer to the bark, some to the sawdust, some to the spray (twigs), and
some just to chips.  I recently obtained a bunch of birch bark sheets
from a paper birch in Missouri and was thinking of laying some on top of
some alder chips to smoke some grain for a Gotland drinka.  Is the bark
what is used to smoke grain for traditional Gotland drinkas?  The bark
is very oily and has a pleasant smell when burned, it produces a VERY
black smoke.  The bark I have is the outer bark that comes of easy, not
the thicker inner bark.

My other question was about birch sap wine/mead.  Does any one have a
reliable reference to birch sap being used for wine or mead
historically, with wine I am referring to just the birch sap being
fermented, or being fermented with added sugar.  I have found several
secondary sources that refer to birch wine being drank in Britain,
colonial America, and eastern Europe, but a primary source reference
would be great.  I dont have access to the sap, but I am thinking of
adding some syrup to a mead flavored with some herbs and birch bark (not
the paper birch bark, but some from an herb shop).

Also, it was mentioned that Williams Brewing (by the way, they are a
great company with a cool catalog) sells faucets to attach directly to
cornies for about $40.  Just wanted to mention I have a friend that does
the same with those plastic picnic faucets and a short (a few inches)
piece of stiff tubing.  If you are on a tight budget this can be done
for $10-15 and works great when serving under low pressure, like you
would with the small CO2 cartridges.


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