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From:
Geheym der Wynen ontdekt
of
Kunst om alle Blaauwe, Rosse, Lange Verwaayde
en andere onzuyvere Wynen, binnen korten tyd,
zonder mangel schoon te maaken.

Printed by Reynier van Kessel,
in ‘s GraavenHaag
1730

RECEPT
Om MEE te maaken

Neemt 90. stoop Regenwater, en 10. stoop Honing, die
schoon en wit is, doch, indien gy geen witte kondt bekomen, neemt
Roode die goed is, dat zaamen in de Ketel over het vuur gedaan,
en laat het 20. stoop inkooken, schuymt het wel, doet daar dan
in een ons gestoote Yrias en een paar handen vol Hop, dat moogt
gy alles met vier pond gesneeden lange Rozynen, in een zakje, in
de ketel hangen, beproeft dan met een Ey, zoo het daar op
dryft is het genoeg, laat het dan bynaa koud worden, doet het
dan in een Vat daar eerst Spaansche Wyn in geweest is, of ten
minste met een pint van dezelve het Vat toegemaakt, laat het
zakje met Rozynen mede zoo lang in de Wyn kooken tot dezelve
genoeg is, wringt dan dezelve zak schoon uyt, zoo bekomt
de Mee daar van een smaak als of het goede Spaansche Wyn
was, doet dan wat gist in het Vat, en laat het op een warme
plaats staan, dat hy wel uytgewerkt is: dit moet ten minste
een half jaar leggen

Translation/interpretation:

Recipe to make mead.

Take 90 stoop (1 stoop equals about half an imperial galon) rainwater
and 10 stoop clean and white honey. If you could not get any white
honey take good red honey instead. Put that together in a kettle over
the fire and let it boil down 20 stoop. When (or if, I’m not quite sure)
it’s foaming a lot add one ounce crushed Yrias (dunno really what that
is) and a few handsfull of hops that you put in a little bag with 4 pounds
of cut long raisins and hang in the kettle. Test with an egg, if it floats
it is enough (else you should boil longer). Let it get almost cold. Put
it in a barrel that had spanish wine in it before, or at least add a pint
of spanish wine. Let the bag with raisins cook in the wine as well untill
it is enough and squize the last liquid from the bag. Like this the
mead will get a taste as if it was a good spanish wine.
Then add yeast to the barrel and let it stand in a warm place untill it
has stopped working: this should lie at least half a year.

Remarks:
-White honey implies crystallized honey. I think the red honey
means liquid.
-Boil a long time.
-The egg-test (tried it at home) gives a SG of 1.100 or higher,
260 gram sugar per liter. After complete fermentation this
would give about 14% alcohol (by volume) or higher. Assuming
that the yeasts of those days were not as alcohol resistant
as they are now and the fact that we’re dealing with honey with
just a bit of raisins as nutrients, my guess is that the alcohol
percentage would be around 11 or 12% with a sweet taste.
-Let it mature for at least half a year (!)
-The book I quoted from was printed in 1730. I have however seen
recipes in a book from 1520 that are in name identical to other
recipes from the 1730 book. In 1730 there are however quite a few
extra ingredients to make the (in this case distilled) beverage
look and taste better. So I think the original mead recipe could
easily be from before 1500, possibly without the hops and yrias,
but the technique of making it is most likely identical, passed
on from master to apprentice over those two centuries.

Vicky Rowe
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Vicky Rowe

Vicky Rowe has been active as a promoter and supporter of the mead industry since the mid-90's with Gotmead.com, and is totally serious about seeing the mead industry take its rightful place as a popular craft beverage on the world recreational drinking stage.

She is also an experienced marketing coach and consultant who has recently decided to focus her marketing expertise exclusively on the craft beverage market to help meaderies, cideries, breweries and distilleries expand their business and get more customers while doing what they love.
Vicky Rowe
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