Mead Lover’s Digest #111 Thu 08 April 1993

Forum for Discussion of Mead Brewing and Consuming
John Dilley, Digest Coordinator


Kumiss Recipes (Tom Brady)
What fruits are good? (shag)

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Date:         Wed, 07 Apr 93 08:55:35 EDT 
From: Tom Brady <BRADY@VTVM1.CC.VT.EDU>
Subject: Kumiss Recipes

A while back, a request for kumiss recipes was made. I haven’t seen any
public response, so I’ll post what I have (I finally found my notebook).

The following information is taken from "The Compleat Anachronist #5: The
CA Guide to Brewing," which, as far as I can tell, doesn’t have a copyright
date on it. This is a publication of the Society for Creative Anachronism, an
international organization dedicated to the recreation of the arts and sciences
of the middle ages.

First, a definition : Kumiss is a Russian and Mongolian fermented milk

beverage (originally mare’s milk). (sounds appetizing, no?)

Kumiss 1:
12 oz. fresh milk
4 oz. water
150 grains brown sugar
24 grains yeast (about 1.5 grams) [no specific yeast type mentioned – T.]
15 grams lactose (milk sugar)

Dissolve the lactose in the water, add it to the milk, mix the yeast and brown
sugar thoroughly, adding a little of the milk mixture to make it a thin paste,
then add that to the rest of the milk solution and stir well. Bottle this in
very strong bottles (champagne bottles are recommended) and hold at 50 – 60
degrees F. Each day wrap each bottle individually in several layers of cloth
before shaking the bottle gently for about ten minutes to prevent the casein
from coagulating. The cloth is necessary as a safety precaution, as there is
a great deal of CO2 buildup inside the bottle and it might explode. The kumiss
should be ready in three to five days.
Hints: use sweet, cream-free milk. Agitate the bottles at least three times a
day, uncork each bottle once a day to release gasses and then recork it and at
least twice a day set the bottle upright to allow the gasses to gather at the
top. When opening the bottle, take extreme care lest the bottle explode or the
cap take to the skies violently – or into someone’s face – Kumiss is a very
touchy beverage!

Kumiss 2
Fill a quart champagne bottle to the neck with fresh milk, add two tablespoons
of white sugar dissolved in a small quantity of hot water and a quarter of a
compressed yeast cake. Hint: add the yeast to lukewarm sugar-water solution and
then pour that into the champagne bottle. Cork the bottle securely, shake
well and keep it at room temperature for six hours, refrigerate overnight. Keep
each bottle wrapped in a towel (you may want to tape the towel around the
bottle to keep it in place) as a safety precaution. Note that if you see a
thickened part in the kumiss resembling cheese, you have overfermented the
product and it is no longer drinkable.

Kumiss 3
Dilute milk with 1.6th part hot water and while it is still tepid, add 1/8th
part very sour, but otherwise good, buttermilk. Put it into a wide jug and let
it stand at about 75 degrees F for 24 hours. Then stir it well and leave for
another 24 hours. Beat it thoroughly and pour it from one jug to another, back
and forth, until it is perfectly smooth and creamy. This is "still" kumiss
and may be drunk at once. If you wish to have sparkling kumiss, pour into
champagne bottles (do not quite fill), cork securely and lay them down in a
cool cellar. It will keep for 6 to 8 weeks, although it becomes increasingly
acid toward the latter part of this period.
Now, my comments. Best of luck, kiddo. I haven’t tried any of these recipes,
perhaps because I like my brewing to be a little more…sedate ("Open bottles,
but be sure no one else is in the blast radius" ;-). I tried to make a kefir
(buttermilk, sugar, and yeast; much less carbonated though), and it was, well,
rather nasty. I’d try it again, though, just for the hell of it.

As for the Compleat Anachronist: don’t let these recipes scare you off.
It’s actually a sane little publication, covering many aspects of recreation
of historical life. #5 (cited above) has instructions on basic brewing of
a simple beer, mead, ginger and birch beers, as well as kwass, krupnikas,
various herb wines, cider, and cordials. #60 (Alcoholic Drinks of the Middle
Ages) is more concerned with the actual history of brewing, and covers vinegar
and distilled spirits, as well.

These publications, as well as a list of other titles in the Compleat
Anachronist series, are available from:
Stock Clerk, SCA Inc.
P.O. Box 360743
Milpitas, CA 95035-0743
Any questions or flames may be directed to

Date: Wed, 07 Apr 93 07:08:46 PDT 
Subject: What fruits are good?

I’m planning on making a one gallon batch of mead
soon and would like some advice. I was planning
on adding blueberries — does anybody have any
other good recommendations for fruits to add?
I was thinking about kiwi; has anybody ever tried

Also, lately I’ve been using mequite honey, which
gives an interesting character to my mead. My last
batch was a spicy mead, with cinnamon, cardamom (sp?),
cloves, ginger, etc. After six months it was drinkable,
going on a year now it’s pretty tasty. Does anybody
else have any experience with ‘odd’ non-clover-or-
orange honeys?


"She’s as sweet as tupelo honey…"

End of Mead Lover’s Digest