Mead Lover’s Digest #113 Tue 13 April 1993

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

Kefir, Birch Beer, and Compleat Anachronists (Tom Brady)
Welsh mead (/O=vmspfhou/S=dblewis/DD.SITE=JSCPROFS/)

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Date:         Fri, 09 Apr 93 09:24:24 EDT 
From: Tom Brady <BRADY@VTVM1.CC.VT.EDU>
Subject: Kefir, Birch Beer, and Compleat Anachronists

Greetings to all, once again!
Julie Kangas pointed out that kefir is not only "buttermilk, sugar, and yeast."
I don’t doubt this – indeed, I hope there’s more to it! The recipe I was
referring to was an American approximation of the beverage taken from the
aforementioned Compleat Anachronist. If I would pick any bones with the
authors of that text (or at least the sections on kumiss and kefir), it is
that they have a cheerful disregard for variations in yeast strains. Ah, well,
I’ve always believed recipes are only guidelines, anyway.

As for the birch beer recipe, here are the comments included in the CA:
" Old Fashioned Birch Beer (it is period)
In March, cut off the ends of a black birch and suspend bottles from them.
To every gallon of sap, add 1 pound sugar. Add mace and cinnamon, if desired.
Add yeast [there they go again… -T.], ferment. Supposed to be excellent tonic
for ‘the stone’ and ‘the Ptisick’.

Birch Beer 2
1 gallon Birch sap
2 lemons
2 oranges
3/4 lb. raisins, chopped
2 1/4 lbs. sugar
yeast [aaagh!]
nutrient salts

Peel oranges and lemons (discard white pith) and boil peel in the sap 20
minutes. Add water to restore volume to one gallon, then pour into clean
(sulfited) crock containing raisins and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved;
when [the mixture has reached] 70 degrees F, add juice of lemons and oranges,
yeast, and nutrient salts. Cover crock securely with clean, thick cloth and
keep in warm place until fermentation has subsided. Strain into fermenting
jar (a one-gallon jug), fit with a fermentation lock. Leave for six months.
Siphon, bottle using champagne bottles, ideally crown capped."

(The text is accompanied by a sketch of how to tap a birch tree which I
can’t duplicate – sorry)

As for ordering copies of the Compleat Anachronist, well, they don’t ask for
membership numbers, if that’s what you’re worried about. Besides, a sizable
number of SCAdians are not dues-paying members (nor are such dues required)
so they get orders from nonmembers all the time. Heck, the money all looks
the same… 😉 As for a list of titles, I’ll tell you what: If anyone is
interested, e-mail me at and I’ll send you a copy of
the list.

Hope that answers your questions, Julie. Let me know if I may be of service

Regards, all.
<mundanely> <SCAdianly>
Tom Brady Duncan MacKinnon of Tobermory
Virginia Tech Barony of Black Diamond
Blacksburg, VA Kingdom of Atlantia

Date: Fri, 9 Apr 93 08:23 PDT 
From: /O=vmspfhou/S=dblewis/DD.SITE=JSCPROFS/
Subject: Welsh mead

***************************** PROFS Note *****************************

 From: DBLEWIS --VMSPFHOU            
Date and time 04/09/93 10:24:02 To: POSTMAN --NASAMAIL
FROM: Dennis B. Lewis <>
SUBJECT: Welsh mead

Greetings to all! I’m new to this board and would like to pass on a really
interesting tidbit I found. I took a year’s worth of Welsh language in school.
So when I started to make my own mead, I thought it would be cool to print up
some labels written in Welsh, etc. When I started looking up words, I was
amazed at some of the parallels and references I found.

First, a small Welsh lesson: Welsh is a Celtic language based on Latin some
time way far back, like 2500 years. Welsh has some strange letters and
pronunciations: ‘dd’ is a voiced "th" like "the". The ‘y’ has the several
different sounds depending on the use–could be a short "i", an "uh", or a
long "e". The ‘w’ is an "oo" sound.

Now the interesting part: The word in Welsh for mead is "medd".

A "meddyg" is a doctor. I used to think it meant "medic" but now I think it
probably means "a mead-maker".

"meddw" is to be drunk, ostensibly on mead.

"meddwi" is to think. Evidently, mead helps.

"meddyglyn" means medicine or drug. Metheglin is the English name–mead with
herbs and spices.

"meddyleg" means psychology. Draw your own conclusions.

"meddylddrych" an idea. It’s a combination of ‘mead’ and ‘mirror’. Some
self-introspection aided by that elixir of gods.

Now this is my kind of language!!!

Anybody who wants more Welsh lessons, or a word or phrase looked up, feel free
to drop me a note directly or thru the digest.

Dennis B. Lewis (713) 483-9145 ** NASA/JSC/DH65 Payload Ops
Homebrew, The Final Frontier.

End of Mead Lover’s Digest