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Metal Fireworks
07-24-2010, 03:34 AM
We all agree that Mead is a very old beverage. Mankind has enjoyed adult beverages made with honey for some time now. But from my experiences with brewing, I don't feel that it was the first ingredient to be turned into alcohol. Honey has been an essential sweetener for many cultures for awhile now, much longer than cultivated cane or malted grains but honey and water isn't the most hospitable environment for our little yeast friends to get to business in the most efficient and comfortable process. I know with my first mead, I under fed my beasties and couldn't get a fermentation going until I dosed them with the proper nutrients. But right now, I have a an apfelwein going that has been the easiest brew ever. No nutrients, aerating, or any sort of special attention has been needed. Plus I know that raw honey has antibacterial properties and needs yeasts to be introduced to the must to start a proper fermentation. Apples and other fruits on the other hand carry wild yeasts on their skins which almost unpreventably will get that juice a churnin' when left alone to swim undisturbed. Seems much more possible to me for a simple human to leave an old piece of fruit in their water bag rather than a half eaten honey comb. Hey, I've seen tape of animals getting drunk off of old fruit that has fallen on the ground. Never seen them act that way eating honey....

DaleP
07-24-2010, 05:00 AM
I agree, tho I'm thinking fruit juice was made first, rather than a piece of fruit left in a water bag. Couldn't stop the fruit juice from fermenting, a natural. Guessing that mead possibly started as a melomel (ick this apple juice is too sour, let me sweeten with a little honey, ferments (dang, that always happens) then he's singing "How dry I am" much sooner).
Hopefully this thread will keep going till I get back from vacation.

wayneb
07-24-2010, 09:17 AM
Don;t worry, Dale! This thread, or ones like it, have been around since before the inception of Gotmead!! If you folks search on the term "prehistoric" you'll come up with a few interesting hits, including one that argues for honey/water as among the first fermented beverages, using early human migration patterns - started by none other than Ken Schramm.

Most of us agree that whatever was "first" is not something we'll ever be able to know with certainty, but it really doesn't matter. As one who has dabbled in primitive and proto-historic meadmaking from time to time, all I need to know is that meadmaking was definitely possible in the times before written human records, and based on my results, the products not only provided the desired alcohol content, but they tasted pretty good! ;)

Gardenmead
07-24-2010, 08:12 PM
I want to try growing some bottle gourds next summer and brewing mead in them! (Well it is one of those brew ideas that is in my lineup with 5 dozen other things....)

I don;t have any animal bladders, or skin bottles, and I think those vessels might contribute some serious off flavors so I think I will steer away from them. Prehistoric humans cultivated gourds for vessels, so it is feasible.

fatbloke
07-25-2010, 04:17 AM
I want to try growing some bottle gourds next summer and brewing mead in them! (Well it is one of those brew ideas that is in my lineup with 5 dozen other things....)

I don;t have any animal bladders, or skin bottles, and I think those vessels might contribute some serious off flavors so I think I will steer away from them. Prehistoric humans cultivated gourds for vessels, so it is feasible.
Well, me ? I'd have thought that "bottle gourds" might be a bit of a jump too quickly for brewing meads.....

Would it not be better if your interest in old/ancient methods is piqued, that you try to track down an old barrel and then try a historic recipe and make it the same way i.e. mineral water not chlorinated tap water and if they used the "mouldy bread" technique, try that as it does seem that a lot of those "pre-wine making techniques" recipes were done like that and similar ways.

That way, your skill level at such methods would be higher. Apart from that, it'd give you enough time to cultivate/manage the gourd plants so that they'll produce gourds of a large enough size to have a try at that, as well as finding ways of treating them in such a way that they don't cause your efforts to fail.......

After all, there's not a great deal of info about brewing in such ways as there's virtually nothing written down and as such, apart from anecdotal references in historic documentation, it's gonna be very "hit and miss" isn't it.....

Of course, it's entirely up to you and my reply is just my thoughts about how I'd go about trying something like that (not that we could grow the gourds anyway, and barrels would be easier to get hold of.......).

Good luck with trying and I'd hope that if you did have a go at this, you'd post your methods/technique and pictures of the various stages....

regards

fatbloke

Medsen Fey
07-25-2010, 01:22 PM
It is a shame that we'll probably never know the first instance when a proto-human first discovered (and then repeated) fermentation. Like Dale, I would guess that some fruit juice probably fermented spontaneously, and one of our ancestors was too cheap to throw it away and put some honey in to cover up the taste (who among us hasn't tried that?). The rest is pre-history. :)

Xixist
08-16-2010, 01:58 AM
I watched a video where an african fruit tree had dropped it's bounty into a depression and a rain followed. Yeasts began their work and a cap formed across the small pond. A heard of elephants wandered by and partook of the necter. It was not only funny to see these wild animals naturally drunk but I realized the first drinks of alcohol were God given.
Xixist