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Moses Cook (1717)Birch Water Mead Recipe

Tannin Boy

NewBee
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Jun 6, 2010
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Webster, NY
Have been reading a book by Mors Kochanski ( Bush Craft )
This is a wilderness survival book from our friends to the north
of our border, my family's origin Canada!

Well, of all things I find an ancient mead recipe dating from 1717 8)

To every Gallon of Birch-Water put a quart of honey well stilled together, then boil it almost an hour with a few cloves, and a little lemon-pel,keeping it well scum'd; when it is sufficiently boil'd and become cold, add to it three or four spoonfuls of good ale, to make it work, which it will do like new ale; and when the yeast begins to settle, bottle it up as you do other winery liquors, it will in a competent time become a most brisk and spirituous drink, which is a very powerful opener - Moses Cook (1717), The Manner of Raising, Ordering and Improving Forest-Trees.

Hope you have enjoyed it,

TB
 

Chevette Girl

All around BAD EXAMPLE
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Apr 27, 2010
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<suppress the temptation to insert nasty comment about american vs canadian beer strengths>

Golddiggie's beer, maybe...
 

TheAlchemist

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Sep 9, 2010
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Did you try this, TB, or are you just teasing us? Is it tasty? Is it scrunchably crunchable?

Have been reading a book by Mors Kochanski ( Bush Craft )
This is a wilderness survival book from our friends to the north
of our border, my family's origin Canada!

Well, of all things I find an ancient mead recipe dating from 1717 8)

To every Gallon of Birch-Water put a quart of honey well stilled together, then boil it almost an hour with a few cloves, and a little lemon-pel,keeping it well scum'd; when it is sufficiently boil'd and become cold, add to it three or four spoonfuls of good ale, to make it work, which it will do like new ale; and when the yeast begins to settle, bottle it up as you do other winery liquors, it will in a competent time become a most brisk and spirituous drink, which is a very powerful opener - Moses Cook (1717), The Manner of Raising, Ordering and Improving Forest-Trees.

Hope you have enjoyed it,

TB
 

Chevette Girl

All around BAD EXAMPLE
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Apr 27, 2010
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Of course if you're thinking of that Bud or Miller swill, we don't consider that to be beer, either! ;D
Well, of course not, you're brewers!

And I know our local microbrew stuff is great, so I can't imagine why yours isn't, even if your high-volume commercially manufactured beer is :icon_puke_r:...

...and honestly I shouldn't joke about weak beers, beer hits me harder than anything for comparable alcohol content... one beer, two glasses of wine or three shots, same effect.

I'd love to try the birch thing (guess that's treacle?) or same deal with maple sap.
 

wayneb

Lifetime Patron
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I'd love to try the birch thing (guess that's treacle?) or same deal with maple sap.
I'd like to try it, too - unfortunately I don't live in a part of the country where there are tappable sugar maples about, any more. However - I think you should give it a try, if you know a place that will sell you the unprocessed maple sap. I'd bet it would produce an acerglyn-type beverage , but with a much more subtle maple phenolic presence. Might make something that is drinkable far quicker than the typical acerglyn.
 

AToE

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Jun 8, 2009
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I'd be surprised if there were any discernable maple character at all honestly - 40 gallons of sap make 1 gallon of syrup, so that's pretty seriously less concentrated! Also I've heard the sap tastes like almost nothing (which is really why I think it might not work, so if that tidbit is incorrect then it all goes out the window!).

I'd still do it for the fun of it though!
 

Tannin Boy

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Webster, NY
TheAlchemist Did you try this, TB, or are you just teasing us? Is it tasty? Is it scrunchably crunchable?

It does sound intriguing doesn't it?
Alas, I have only read of this.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevette Girl View Post

I'd love to try the birch thing (guess that's treacle?) or same deal with maple sap.

CG,
Do you have access to these types of tree's in your area?
If so it would be way cool to have someone try this old recipe!

Wayne B.

I'd bet it would produce an acerglyn-type beverage , but with a much more subtle maple phenolic presence. Might make something that is drinkable far quicker than the typical acerglyn.
__________________
Na zdrowie!

Wayne B.

Should make for an interesting trial for someone.
I have maple trees in this area, yet with the recipe calling for Birch
it would be in keeping with the described method.

TB
 

Chevette Girl

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There are a lot of sugar bushes in my area and we do have birch trees so I'd imagine it's in the realm of possibility but I don't live near birch trees (none that I could tap, anyway, I don't think the City would approve of me molesting their trees) nor do I know how to properly tap a tree, so it's not likely to become reality anytime soon. But it still sounds fun.
 

Tannin Boy

NewBee
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Jun 6, 2010
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Webster, NY
There are a lot of sugar bushes in my area and we do have birch trees so I'd imagine it's in the realm of possibility but I don't live near birch trees (none that I could tap, anyway, I don't think the City would approve of me molesting their trees) nor do I know how to properly tap a tree, so it's not likely to become reality anytime soon. But it still sounds fun.
I think if you tell the City leaders it is in the name of science they may just say go for it? LOL:icon_jokercolor:

I guess Maple would be the closest thing to Birch for just tapping the dam things for their fluid. Maybe I'll ask the syrup folks if they would sell me some for an experiment? My guess is that ale yeast may not take it as high as the method seems to suggest? Whats everyone think?

TB
 

randrick

NewBee
Registered Member
High sugar maple sap (from sugar/black maple trees) is typically in the 3-4% sugar content range and has a hint of both sweet and maple flavor. Maple sap from other types of maples can be as low as 1-2% sugar and nearly tasteless. AFAIK, tapping birch trees was most commonly done when maple trees were not available. Birch trees do not yield the same volume of sap per tree.

Raw sap keeps about as well as unpasteurized milk. When stored in the fridge, it will cloud and spoil in 3 or 4 days. If you do experiment with sap, I would recommend boiling it for at least 10 minutes. Unlike honey, boiling sap for 10 minutes won't drive away fragrance or change its taste.

One thing you could try would be to mix maple syrup 1:40 with water and use that instead. It will save you from tapping trees.

Good luck.
 

Tannin Boy

NewBee
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Jun 6, 2010
332
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Webster, NY
High sugar maple sap (from sugar/black maple trees) is typically in the 3-4% sugar content range and has a hint of both sweet and maple flavor. Maple sap from other types of maples can be as low as 1-2% sugar and nearly tasteless. AFAIK, tapping birch trees was most commonly done when maple trees were not available. Birch trees do not yield the same volume of sap per tree.

Raw sap keeps about as well as unpasteurized milk. When stored in the fridge, it will cloud and spoil in 3 or 4 days. If you do experiment with sap, I would recommend boiling it for at least 10 minutes. Unlike honey, boiling sap for 10 minutes won't drive away fragrance or change its taste.

One thing you could try would be to mix maple syrup 1:40 with water and use that instead. It will save you from tapping trees.

Good luck.
Randick,

WELCOME TO GOTMEAD!!!!!

Thanks for the info and hope to hear you chime in, sounds like you've got quite a bit of experience! I was a bit dissapointed with last years sap run from those that make our Maple syrup... A tough year indeed!!! Thanks for the heads up and wasn't to serious about the maple sap and using it for a test of an old recipe? Better used for syrup, gotta love that stuff on pancakes, Yes?:D

TB
 

TheAlchemist

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A maple needs to be about 10" in diameter to support a spile. Don't know the guidelines for birch, but they don't usually get that big...

TB, I'm anxiously awaiting news of your experiment!
 

Tannin Boy

NewBee
Registered Member
Jun 6, 2010
332
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0
Webster, NY
A maple needs to be about 10" in diameter to support a spile. Don't know the guidelines for birch, but they don't usually get that big...

TB, I'm anxiously awaiting news of your experiment!
My Guess is that the fluid from a maple tree would be somewhat the same to that of a birch? Flavored Water at best? To reproduce what the recipe calls for in the means of Ale that has yeast in it, I'm stumped as to how I could get a hold of it unless beer still has active yeast in it, which I doubt?

I will check if I can get the Maple folks to sell off a gallon.

TB
 

mmclean

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Jul 22, 2010
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To every Gallon of Birch-Water put a quart of honey well stilled together...
Maybe he didn't mean birch sap. ???

Birch Tea.

Birch has the so-called 'oil of birch' that contains betulin and betulinic acid. Betulinic acid is currently being studied for its potentials as an anti-cancer treatment. Birch also contains saponins, flavonoids and tannins, among others.

To make birch tea from its leaves, place 2 to 3 teaspoonfuls in a cup and pour on boiling water. Cover the mix and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Take the tea about three times daily.

Birch tea can also be made using the bark of the tree. Simply place a teaspoon of dried birch bark in a cup of boiling water, then allow it to stand for 15 minutes.
 

Tannin Boy

NewBee
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Jun 6, 2010
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Webster, NY
This Birch Water issue has been nagging at me....:confused:

I had thought about using Maple Sap / Water instead, yet it would not be in keeping with the original recipe! So got myself to googleing around the web and found this passage that really caught my attention:eek:

"Then after dinner Amy pulled out the birch water. When the sap was running in May, she and Aaron tapped some birch trees and collected gallons of the gushing water. They boiled down some of it to make birch syrup (it takes 70 gallons of birch water to make a gallon of syrup, compared with 40 of maple), but they kept a lot of the birch water just to drink .

The taste is so delicate and subtle I can hardly even describe it; all I can say is that birch water is the purest, cleanest, most delicious water I have ever drunk in my life. It tastes clear and alive. Amy declared that she wanted to drink it until she replaced every ounce of water in her body with it. Sign me up!"

Now if that description doesn't get the fermenting juices flowing, I don't know what will!

I asked them if they could source some for this for me?
Hopefully I might have a chance of doing this true to form?
Now comes this Ale with yeast issue, wonder how to go about it with some
high percentage of success? My gut tells me to stick to a good quality yeast.

TB
 

chiguire

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Jan 27, 2010
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Katy, TX
To reproduce what the recipe calls for in the means of Ale that has yeast in it, I'm stumped as to how I could get a hold of it unless beer still has active yeast in it, which I doubt?

I will check if I can get the Maple folks to sell off a gallon.

TB
Many Belgian-style breweries condition their beer with an addition of fresh yeast. Many other microbrewed ales are unfiltered and have some viable yeast too.

Getting a beer with active yeast will be the easiest part of the experiment.
For best results, you may want to stray from the recipe and work up an active starter from the ale you choose to make sure that you have a viable quantity of yeast.

If you want to go the Belgian route, look for Chimay, Duvel, Westerleven etc beers. There are probably more traditional styles in your area with yeast as well.