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Tuck
10-11-2015, 06:08 PM
Hi all, I'm building a recipe in an amateurish attempt to recreate a mead, the make up of which was found by some Norwegian University after analyzing a wine skin found in a Viking grave.

I'm taking those components and adding a twist of my own, using a large amount of lingenberries to make the mead as red as possible. There's a story in the Poetic Edda's about the Odhroerir which was a mead made out of the blood of the first man Kvasir.

Anyway, the wineskin from the grave, showed that amoung other things, Yarrow and Sweet Gale were present.

I've been reading around, and there seems to be some different schools of thought about the quantities, duration and stage that these two herbs should be used.

Thought I'd check in here, and see if anyone has any experience with either, or hopefully both at the same time.

thanks for your time

pokerfacepablo
10-11-2015, 06:25 PM
Check out my thread on Gruits (Beers with no hops). Yarrow heads with give you a lovely flower bouquet but the rest could bitter you mead. Bog myrtle is used as a bittering agent in place of hops but it is said to intensify your intoxication according to one of the books Im reading... Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers by Stephen Buhner. Yeah you could make a wonderful braggot from these two ingredients.

pokerfacepablo
10-11-2015, 06:30 PM
If you're doing a Metheglin, I would skip the bog myrtle and use yarrow. Elderflowers are another fantastic herb used centuries ago. I would definitely recommend the book I mentioned in the previous post. It's chalk full of old recipes and ingredients used from the past.

Tuck
10-11-2015, 06:31 PM
going to be adding lingenberries and cranberries and then aging it with yellow birch staves.

Stuff is expensiiiiive..... it'll be the most expensive thing I've brewed.

Only thing I'm finding available as far as yarrow is concerned is dried leaves. You're saying I should avoid that?

Tuck
10-11-2015, 06:39 PM
I'll look it up. like I mentioned in the OP, I'm trying to make something that has all the ingredients in that wine skin they found in a Viking grave.
Basically, birch, yarrow, gale, honey, lingenberries and cranberries.

My idea is to steep 2 oz of yarrow for 15 min during the 'boil' (more like heating the solution to 80F) and then add another 2 oz post boil
And drop the Gale in the last 10 mins of the 'boil'

pokerfacepablo
10-11-2015, 06:57 PM
going to be adding lingenberries and cranberries and then aging it with yellow birch staves.

Stuff is expensiiiiive..... it'll be the most expensive thing I've brewed.

Only thing I'm finding available as far as yarrow is concerned is dried leaves. You're saying I should avoid that?
Look at local tea shops where you buy it by weight. Mine came with mostly the flower heads in it because they don't want their teas bitter.

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Tuck
10-11-2015, 07:09 PM
Heh, this back water town I live in, has no such luxuries. It's all good, I've found some from a 'pagan apothecary' online, lol.

Hey, as long as it's the real schizznit, no worries.

Does the method I'm thinking of employing sound rational?

pokerfacepablo
10-11-2015, 07:52 PM
I understand. Try tea websites like tea nirvana next time. Say Tuck, I'm going to work but I'll post some links to help you out on your your project. I love doing old recipes but you got to beware that they didn't have the best practices back then. Hell, we were boiling our honey up until 2 decades ago.





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pokerfacepablo
10-11-2015, 07:53 PM
I talk about the boiling in a bit

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Tuck
10-11-2015, 08:46 PM
Thanks, looking forward to it. And take your time, there no mad rush. I use boil very loosely, more like warming the must to pitching temp and holding it there a while.

:)

pokerfacepablo
10-11-2015, 08:50 PM
Got to ask. How long have you been making mead?

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Tuck
10-11-2015, 09:05 PM
Only made 2 batches. This will be #3

pokerfacepablo
10-11-2015, 10:03 PM
Only made 2 batches. This will be #3

Alright, we're going down the rabbit hole. So we're familiar with the basics (Staggered nutrient addition, no boiling the honey, etc..) Now the part about steeping the ingredients... we can do this... there are pro's and con's. I'm going to give you options on how you want to approach. If we are adding the ingredients up front in the primary then a light boil is necessary to get rid of bacteria and wild yeast on the ingredients we're adding into the must (Exception of a few things like our honey and other antiseptic ingredients). I wouldn't steep the flowers longer than 15 minutes otherwise you might lose a lot of the aromatics and taste. Boiling/steeping tends to make the ingredients lose both these qualities... the longer you boil the less you have. Steeping isn't a bad thing because I do use this method to steralize for my braggots/ gruits so I don't infect my brew. Although, bog myrtle does have antiseptic qualities If I do recall. Steeping can also give you a better sense of what the final product may taste like. I like brewing a small batch of tea so I can get a sense of the amount of each ingredient I want to use in my Metheglin.

One last thing about putting everything in the primary is that fermentation can blow off some of the flavors and aromatics.

pokerfacepablo
10-11-2015, 10:25 PM
What are my alternatives? Some people add the non boiled/steeped ingredients at the beginning without any problems but there is a small risk of infection. The other option is adding the ingredients to the secondary. After the fermentation has stopped, we can add the ingredients pretty safely without having to steep the ingredients. Because if we do introduce wild yeast they usually don't have the alcohol tolerance to survive in their new environment. This allows the full potential of the spices and ingredients to absorb into the mead. Be careful when doing the secondary method... taste your mead often to make sure its the right level of spice for you. It's easy to over spice things and sometimes can take a long time to age out (beware of cloves). I place my spices/ ingredients in a muslin bag and use a piece of non flavored dental floss so I can anchor it to the top of my carboy. If I think the spice level is right, then I can pull the muslin bag out of my must with the dental floss. Another positive with adding them to the secondary is that some ingredients like bog myrtle absorb better into the alcohol than in the unfermented must.

pokerfacepablo
10-11-2015, 10:38 PM
Back to the ingredients you mentioned. Yarrow and gale are commonly used in gruits which are unhopped beers/ braggots. Back before Martin Luther and the reformation, church/ state had sanctions on what brewers could use. Hops were not allowed by many. So in place of hops, they used some of these herbs for the bitterness quality. Hops are a relatively new thing. Please check out the site www.gruitale.com which gives a brief summary of the herbs used commonly in the past. Both of Yarrow and Gale are mentioned. Also check out that book I mentioned before on your kindle app.

If you're going to make your mead a Metheglin, I would avoid using too much gale/ bog myrtle as this may bitter your wine like a beer. If you're going to make a braggot (mead/beer), then these are good qualities to have. Scale down your recipe and brew a tea so that you can get a sense of what you want. Then decide what route you want to take.

pokerfacepablo
10-11-2015, 10:44 PM
Another option is making tinctures or extracts but why don't you try one these methods first.

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curgoth
10-13-2015, 12:29 PM
I had some success with my Viking Bog (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/23521-CDB-Batch-9-Viking-Bog) mead.

Tuck
10-15-2015, 07:16 PM
Hey Pablo.

Sorry that it's taken so long to reply, work has had me running around like a mad man.

Thanks so much for the ideas, I think your idea of making small batches at first is great.

I'm going to get some ingredients soon and give it a bash.

I'll keep you updated.

Tuck
10-15-2015, 07:20 PM
Curgoth.

How did you do you additions? All at once, or at various stages of fermentation?

curgoth
10-16-2015, 12:21 PM
All my spice additions were done when I move it to secondary. I put them in a sanitized bag with some marbles to weigh it down, kept it there for I believe two weeks before racking again to wait for clearing.