hist-brewing: Re: hist-brewing digest, Vol 1 #93 - 4 msgs

Beth Ann Snead ladypeyton at yahoo.com
Tue Jul 2 10:45:07 PDT 2002

--- Jean-Paul Blaquiere <japester at ucc.gu.uwa.edu.au>

> If you want to get pedantic
> about using ingredients and brewing techniques of
> period times, will you
> also drink the products that come out?  Never forget
> that the modern day
> palette is very different from that of 200+ years
> ago.  

Ummmm, yes.

At least in historical winemaking, methods and
materials were just as sanitary and safe in most
periods of history as they are today.  As far as mead
making goes, early mead making (Forme of Curye) is
much more healthy than the mead making of Elizabethan
times when recipes of the time called for using a
sweet iron pot (lead) to boil your honey, but aside
from lead poisoning, there's nothing else I can think
of that would make historical methods unsafe.

Personally I don't use campden tablets or boil my
honey and have only lost 1 batch of mead to bacteria
in all the years I've been vinting and mead making. 
Sulfites leave a noticeable taste (kind of bitter and
heartburny) and for me they ruin wine and mead. 
Period cleaning methods include burning sulfur candles
into a keg.  This is pretty close to methods used
today by modern wineries.

I've run about 150 batches of wine and mead through my
carboys in the past 8 years and in the past 6 I've
used as close to SCA period (100-1600 BCE) methods and
materials as I could and to have lost only one batch
in that 150 is pretty good odds.  Also, to my
knowledge I have never made anyone sick.  Since my
main method of avoiding having to store the results of
150 carboys is to give as much away as possible, I
think I would have heard something.  FWIW, except for
a few cordials made from recipes in Arnald of
Villanova's Boke of Wine (@1347), I've never gotten a
complaint about the taste either.  Even then I was
told that the cordials tasted more like a marinade
than the drinkers idea of a cordial.

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