hist-brewing: Kumiss

Lars Hedbor lhedbor at attbi.com
Fri Aug 30 21:08:41 PDT 2002

I have an article in the current issue of Zymurgy that briefly discusses
koumiss.  In the course of researching that article, I came across little in
the way of specifics about yeast -- likely whatever wild yeasts were present
in the fermentation containers and in the environment of the Asian steppes.

The yeast involved is quite unlikely to be S. cerevisiae, as there is very
little sucrose or glucose present in any (untreated) milk, and most (all?)
standard brewing yeasts lack the ability to consume lactose directly.
Perhaps a dairy yeast, such as Kluyveromyces lactis, from which lactase
drops are derived?

As for mare's milk, I could find no citations for commercial availability on
the Web -- but then, I was not searching in the spring.  Given the science
that's been applied to analyzing mare's milk -- and likely the substitutes,
too -- you should have little trouble scaring up some research that would
give you a good indication of the presence of suitable fermentable sugars.

I have a sense from my research that koumiss is probably quite closely akin
to the Scandinavian filmilk, which is a thin, yogurt-like beverage.  Not
much alcohol, but there may be a low level of carbonation due to a slowly
progressing fermentation.

Best of luck -- do let me know what you come up with.  I have a lingering
intellectual curiosity about the topic...

- Lars D. H. Hedbor

----- Original Message -----
From: <PBLoomis at aol.com>
To: <hist-brewing at pbm.com>; <CALON-BREW at CRCVMS.UNL.EDU>;
<sca_brew at yahoogroups.com>; <SCA-Meridian-Brewers at yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Friday, August 30, 2002 8:13 PM
Subject: hist-brewing: Kumiss

>     Has anybody tried making kumiss?
>     Some non-brewing friends of mine have inquired about brewing kumiss:
> > Scotti, I'm wondering if it might be worthwhile to brew up a batch of
> >  kumiss from the substitute ("foal's milk") anyway, in order to get the
> >  process straight. Since it's unlikely that we'll get our hands on the
> >  thing until next spring (Nature and Nurture- most mares foal in early
> >  spring) it might help us make sure we don't waste what we do get, if
> >  we get some.
> >
>     I told them I had no idea whether the synthetic would ferment the same
> way as the Real Thing, and that further I had no idea what yeast to use.
>     Scotti
>     Knowledge is never wasted, nor is the time to acquire it.
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