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Mead Lovers Digest #0254

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Mead Lovers Digest
 · 9 Apr 2024

Subject: Mead Lover's Digest #254, 11 January 1994 

Mead Lover's Digest #254 11 January 1994

Forum for Discussion of Mead Making and Consuming
Dick Dunn, Digest Coordinator

Kvass/Kwass (
source for Digby book? (Dick Dunn)
Mead mixing quandry (Jacob Galley)

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Subject: Kvass/Kwass
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 94 10:35:28 -0500

Sounds like an interesting experiment - was the product drinkable at all?

For the sake of comparison, here's a recipe for "Kwass" taken from "The
Compleat Anachronist Guide to Brewing" (Compleat Anachronist #6),
published by the Society for Creative Anachronism:
---------begin quote-----------
(Yield: 6 cups)
1 lb. day-old black bread or Danish pumpernickel
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp. dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 tbsp. mint leaves or 1 tbsp. dry mint
2 tbsp. raisins

Dry the bread and then chop it into coarse pieces. The add the bread to six
quarts of boiling water, remove from heat and cover with a towel. Set aside
for eight hours. Then strain the mixture through a fine sieve into another
large pot, extracting as much liquid from the bread as possible. Discard the
bread. Add the yeast and 1/4 tsp. sugar to the lukewarm (110-115 F [43-46 C])
water and stir thoroughly. Set this aside for about ten minutes in a warm
place and then add the yeast mixture, the remaining sugar, and the mint [to
the 6 quarts of bread-water], cover again with a towel, and set aside for
about another 8 hours. Strain the mixture again and bottle in a gallon jug
or several quart-size bottles. Fill the bottles 2/3 full, then divide the
raisins evenly among the bottles. Cover each bottle with plastic wrap
secured with a rubber band. Place in a cool spot for three to five days, or
until the raisins rise to the top and the sediment sinks to the bottom.
Carefully decant the clear amber liquid [picking out the raisins?] and
rebottle in clean bottles. Refrigerate until ready to drink.
----------end quote--------------
Sounds interesting, although I've never tried it. "Dry yeast"? I suppose
bread yeast (yech!) would suffice, but I'd use ale yeast in my own typical
overkill manner. Evidently, this version is not meant to be served
carbonated, but in a second recipe the author directs you to bottle the
mixture as soon as you see gas bubbles rising from the fermentation (of
course, he also complains of the bottles building up so much pressure that
the corks were extruded throught the wire cage - can you say "kwass
grenades"? I knew you could). Further recipes on the making of Kumiss
(fermented milk) <shudder> and Kefir (fermented buttermilk - which I have
tried to make and do not recommend for the weak of stomach). Basic beer,
mead and winemaking information is also included.

The CA Guide to Brewing, Compleat Anachronist series #6 is available
for $3.00 from:
Society for Creative Anachronism
Stock Clerk
P.O. Box 360743
Milpitas, CA 95035-0743 USA

Regards, and happy brewing!
Tom Brady
(known occasionally as Lord Duncan MacKinnon of Tobermory)


Subject: source for Digby book?
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 11 Jan 94 00:38:13 MST (Tue)

(SCA folks? Help?)

People quote this or that recipe from the "closet of Sir Kenelm Digby..."
book (17th century England) now and then. Is there a reasonable source
for a reprint of this book (preferably stateside)?

I've been able to find it in the library in microfilm, but that's just a
tad inconvenient. Pumping dimes into the microfilm-copier is not my idea
of the best way to get hardcopy, especially since the mead and related
recipes go on for the better part of a hundred pages. The best local
bookseller is able to find some indication that it's in print and order-
able from a British publisher, but they estimate "three to six months,
assuming we can actually get it". This is not encouraging.

Surely there's a better source for it...or is everybody who quotes from it
really diligent enough to spend time poking around at the local university
Dick Dunn -or- raven!rcd Boulder, Colorado USA
...Mr Natural says, "Get the right tool for the job!"


Subject: Mead mixing quandry
From: Jacob Galley <>
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 94 15:55:23 CST

Hello. I have a situation that I'm not sure how to deal with:

I tried to make a strong, dry orange blossom mead by adding the honey
in two portions. That is, I made a 5 gallon mead with 7 lbs of honey.
Then, when it had fermented out completely, I removed one gallon (into
a 1 gallon jug) and replaced it with another 8 lbs of honey diluted to
one gallon. Now it appears that the strong mead will not ferment
completely due to the alcohol content. (FG 1.001?)

Here's my question: When I go to bottle this mead, I intend to mix in
the 1 gallon of weak mead into the 5 gallons of strong mead, which
will lower the alcohol content slightly. Will this cause a secondary
fermentation in the bottle? Is there any way to avoid this without
using preservatives?

Gee, if I had a 7 gallon carboy there wouldn't be any problem at all!


Philosophers cannot purely and simply forget what psychology, sociology, ethno-
graphy, history and psychiatry have taught us about the conditioning of human
behavior. It would be a very romantic way of showing one's love for reason to
base its reign on the disavowal of acquired knowledge. <-- Merleau-Ponty


End of Mead Lover's Digest #254

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