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1616 Danish Mead Recipe


Registered Member
Sep 18, 2006
Good morrow!

This recipe was passed along to me via another SCA member. The link it came from is:


Printed in Copenhagen, by
Salomone Sartorio, 1616.
XXIX. White mead to make that will be used soon

"Take one measure white honey and eight measures fresh spring water. Let this seethe together 4 hours and scum it well. You must not make it too thick. Let it then stand to cool. Thereafter sieve it through a Lutendrancks bag [straining bag] with herbs, cinnamon, cardamom, cubeb, galingale, grains of paradise, ginger, long pepper and cloves. White mead to make that will keep For one barrel of mead you take 5 Lispund [40Kg] white honey (that taken from bees, but unkilled bees like they do it in Skaane) Fill the brewer’s kettle with water and for each barrel of mead you want put one handful of bog myrtle with seeds, leaves and twigs together, and one handful of hops sewn into a bag, and let seethe until it sinks. The water should simmer or seethe for about 5 hours. Then take the water off and pour into a beer vat. Put the honey therein and let it dilute and break it up with your hands and put each handful of wax in a basket. Which you can do once or thrice until all the sweet is removed from the wax and stays in the water so that it is now a good sweet brew. Then sieve this brew through a hair sieve so that the wax and dregs are removed. Put an egg or two into this lukewarm brew so that there is a layer of egg as big as a 2 shilling over the water [?] then it is sweet and fat enough. Pour then the same brew into the brewer’s kettle again and let it seethe an hour. When it is now lukewarm then put it in barrels and give a spoonful of yeast into each barrel. When th
at is done then fill it and tighten it and let it lie a year and then decant it to other barrels. Another way of [Gualthere Reyff.] For one measure of good well cleared honey, take eight measures of fresh spring water. Put this in a large kettle and slowly let them seethe together on such a fire that there is smoke. Scum it frequently and as long as you see something to take off. Do this until the water becomes clear and clean. The longer you want to keep this mead the longer you should seethe her. When it becomes cold then put it in a barrel but leave the barrel three fingerwidths empty and free so that it can have room to be made. If you want it lively and strong in smell and taste then hang these following herbs well crushed and sewn into a bag into it. Take for one barrel of mead

Pepper 6 Lod (93g)
Ginger 8 Lod (124g)
Grains of paradise 2 Lod (31g)
Cloves 3 Lod (47g)
Galingale 3 Lod (47g)
Cinnamon 10 Lod (156g) If you want less spices take for one barrel Cinnamon 4 Lod (62g)
Ginger 2 Lod (31g)
Galingale 1 Lod (16g)
Cloves 1 Lod (16g)
Grains of Paradise 1 Lod (16g)

When that is done (some fry a Krig apple and dip it in yeast and throw it in the barrel) then let it lie well covered and closed for 3 months before you drink it. Someplace in Lithuania they have the custom to bury the barrel closely tightened in the earth and mound soil above it and let it lie such for some long time. This mead becomes of such strength and potency that it far exceeds the wine when you want to make someone. The mead should be drunk instead of wine in all diseases of the brain such as pigsoot/falling sickness or palsy. Likewise, if someone is prone to cramps, heat, [podangel] or sickness of the loins. Likewise she cleans hte chest well from all coughs and colds. If the mead separates, how it can then be restored and refreshed. Take from the barrel a large potful and put it on the fire. Put in it clarified honey and let it well seethe together. Then pour it, hot as it is, into the barrel again so it can be made then it becomes as good as before."

I am currently in the research phase. Is anyone else familiar with this recipe? I have some macadamia nut honey, but that may not be appropriate for this recipe ( as it is not white). I have only made one other mead so am still very new to this. Advice would be greatly appreciated.




Lifetime Patron
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Mar 16, 2006
Loveland, CO
The egg thing is a way of testing the specific gravity.

The egg would normally sink in just water, I believe. But if it floats in the must with just a bit of the shell above the surface (the 2 shilling sized area), it is the right specific gravity.

Eggs floating are also used in a lot of soap recipes to test the s.g. of the lye.

I am curious about the off hand comment about the unkilled bees. Anyone have any insight into this?

I believe that a lot of these spices are for anticeptic/antifungal/antibiotic reasons as well as yummy taste.

Not sure what "seperated mead" is. Anyone have any thoughts on that?

All the best,

Leonora O.P., O.L.


Lifetime Patron
Lifetime GotMead Patron
In the early days of beekeeping (middle ages), the entire colony was considered "expendable," so often when honey was harvested for mead, they'd just heave the entire hive into a pot of boiling water. This must be an enlightened attempt to use honey that was truly harvested from a living colony -- so no bees were harmed in the making of this mead! :icon_thumright:

I can only guess as to what separated mead is -- maybe it refers to the growth of penicillin mold on the top of mead in the barrel. If you don't get enough alcohol to serve as a fungus deterrent and if there is residual sweetness in the mead, then it is conceivable that you could get mold growth on top. This actually happens with maple syrup that is not properly handled. The cure for the syrup sounds a lot like the mead cure -- pour off the liquid from under the scum, then boil and skim. When cooled, you can use it without further treatment. The resulting clear syrup doesn't suffer too much flavor contamination from the mold.


Registered Member
Aug 4, 2013
I realise how late to the party I am, but for others who may read this late too, I think that separated honey is pure honey, without the wax, as opposed to honey still in the comb. The second recipe (the one that has 40 kg of honey in) talks about 'break(ing) it up with your hands and put(ting) each handful of wax in a basket', until all the sweetness is removed, implying that it was whole combs they were talking about. I wonder if the bodies of the dead bees in non-unkilled bee honey would add a bad flavour (Especially when things are being boiled for so long.)?

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