Mead Lover's Digest #0336 Tue 9 August 1994


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



Really quick mead (Fliper)
Distilled Mead? (Zhahai Stewart)
Digby herbs'n'such (Dick Dunn)
Re: Digby's Closet Opened (Jacob Galley)


Send ONLY articles for the digest to
Use for subscribe, unsubscribe, and admin

requests. When subscribing, please include your name and a good address
in the message body unless you're sure your mailer generates them.

There is an FTP archive of the digest on in pub/mead.

If you have email access but not ftp, it will accept "listserv" requests.
Send email with message "help" to


Subject: Really quick mead
From: Fliper <>
Date: Mon, 8 Aug 1994 08:07:44 -0400

here is the scoop. I want to make a really quick strawberry mead.
Now i dont tend to follow recipies (i make mead and such lke i cook)
so here is a general outline of what i'm goinf to do.


1 Quart sliced frosen strawberries
5lbs honey (generic….)
water to fill to 5 gals
generic brewers yeast from health food store.


Take the water (well, about 20 quarts or so) and boil it to remove
nasties. Pour boiling water over strainer with strawberries into
glass carboy with honey. pitch yeast in let bubble for about 3-4 days.
switch to secondary for about a week in a varying temp (i'll be
camping) and serve.

Ok, i've never done this, so some suggestions please?
my thoughts:

put berries in cheesecloth and leave them in for the primary
possible addition of spices.
how about tea?
i've seen instructions saying to add whipped egg whites, ( i
assume for nutrient) is this necessary with fruit?


what else can you all think of? here are my time constraints:

this is monday. friday i leave for Pennsic (a medieval fair/party with
about 9000 of my closest friends… even if i don't know them. 🙂

will be there for little over a week. Would like to serve mead friday
next (or sat possibly)

I need quick responce to this obviously, please cc me on everything
you post to the list.

maybe i'll just make a strawberry kvass.
Speaking of which, for those that remember, the kvass i made a while
ago is quite nice. I've been told by russian and ukranian friends
that it almost right, tho mine is quite different. First, its only
meant to be fermented a day or two, and then consumed immediatly.
Mine has been several months aging, and was fermented compleatly out.
its actually quite good. Maybe i should work out a name for it…
Kvold maybe 🙂

looking forward to comments…..


Subject: Distilled Mead?
From: (Zhahai Stewart)
Date: Mon, 8 Aug 94 13:06:03 MDT

A friend asked me to check if there exists a distilled version of mead,
as with sherry and wine – or if anybody had experimented with this. Any

Zhahai Magickal Meme Gardener


Subject: Digby herbs'n'such
From: (Dick Dunn)
Date: 8 Aug 94 23:02:45 MDT (Mon)

Coyote asks (referring to my mention of all the herbs mentioned in Digby's
> SO: Dick- did you ever compile that herb list onto electronic format?
> I'd love to have a look at it. I figure anything I like the taste or
> smell of I'd be willing to try. I'll probably avoid such things as
> Rue and Pennyroyal as their "qualities" are somewhat suspect.
> Wouldn't want to poison myself or others. (anymore than I already do!)

Funny thing about wanting to be careful…I thought it would be nice to
find out anything that's known about bad effects of herbs/spices/roots/
etc.–for example, that relatively recently, sassafras was found not to be
so good–so I tried to get info out of the FDA. (Non-US folks: that's the
US government Food and Drug Administration.) You know–have a list of
herbs to ask about, see if there's any bad news on them. TOTAL black
hole. If you can find your way through the voice-mail-from-hell system,
you might eventually get a person who will allege that there is a person
who could tell you something, but that person is gone until a point on the
wrong side of the diagonal on a Feynman diagram, but she will gladly take
your name and phone number on a slip of paper which she will discard
before you've hung up. But I digress…

As to Joyce's comment about figuring out what the stuff all means…yes,
that's a problem too, although an OED should help, and more than that it
helps to have an English-born spouse…I was grousing about figuring out
obscure stuff like "gilly flowers" and Diane said "oh, THAT's easy…"

OK, Coyote, here's a partial list to get you started. This is hastily
typed from my notes of which a page is missing, with a slight attempt to
transliterate to modern usage. It's nowhere near a complete list of what
Digby mentions. EVERYONE PLEASE NOTE that this list is from a 300+ year
old book–there's almost certainly stuff here that's no longer considered
safe to consume! Research before you use any of it!
agrimony liverwort
angelica root mace
aniseeds maiden-hair
baulme (pr balm) marigold
bay leaves marjoram
bettony mint
blue-button mustard seed
borage nutmeg
bugloss organ (?oregano?)
burnet orris root
caraway parietary
cloves parsley roots
coriander seed pennyroyal
cowslip flowers primrose flowers
dock red nettles
eglantine leaves rosemary
elecampane sage
eringo root saxifrage
eyebright scabious
fennel sorrel
gilly flowers spike
ginger strawberry leaves
harts-tongue sweet-briar leaves
hops thyme
hyssop violet leaves
juniper berries wormwood

Dick Dunn -or- raven!rcd Boulder, Colorado USA

…Simpler is better.


Subject: Re: Digby's Closet Opened
From: Jacob Galley <>
Date: Tue, 9 Aug 94 0:33:14 CDT

The reprint of Digby that I mentioned before is printed by Philip Lee
Warner, London, 1910, and edited by Anne MacDonell.

This is what Robert Gayre has to say about Digby's book in _Wassail! In
Mazers of Mead_ (reprinted as _Brewing Mead_, Brewers Pubns., 1986):


#Sir Kenelm Digby was one of the foremost courtiers of his day, a great
#amateur, who turned his attention from naval raiding to philosophy and
#religion, and from that to emassage and scientific discovery, and who,
#like all great men of learning and culture, did not believe that it
#demeaned his dignitiy to busy himself with mead-house, brewery, still-
#room or kitchen—hence his _Closet Opened_. In this we have 106
#recipes for mead, which he calls indifferently mead, metheglin, and
#hydromel, although strictly speaking they are all metheglins—that is
#spiced meads. By this time it is clear that the influence of brewing
#[beer] had completely obscured the earlier, more difficult, but finer
#methods of meading, and so all of them, including the ciders (with one
#exception) are brewed. Even so these meads were esteemed highly, just
#as certain wines prepared with heat have been.

Apparently, the older, "finer methods" of meading did not boil (or even
heat?) the must, and did not use spices.

I highly recommend this short history of mead by Robert Gayre. It's a
bit on the academic side, and his judgemental treatment of "non-Aryan
honey liquors" is mighty old-fashioned, but he is thorough. There are
no references to recipe books earlier than Digby, however.


Big Brother is you, watching. <– Mark Crispin Miller

One of the Internet's pointed ironies is that boundless
communication creates groups of stunning narrowness. <– The Economist

End of Mead Lover's Digest #336