View Full Version : Russian Meads

02-23-2006, 03:08 AM
Here's a link (http://www.mari.su/homepage/nadir/strong_meads.html) to a page of home mead making recipes from Russia. I'm going to quote the whole thing here too, since you never know when a page will vanish from the Internet.


Strong meads

Raspberry mead

Ripen raspberries are put into a barrel, poured over with clean water for a day or two, then water is poured off, the raspberries are squashed, and honey is added 1-2 parts on 3 parts of water, a piece of fried bun or of rye bread, and a little yeasts. After fermenting has begun, the bread is taken away and the honey continues fermenting for five more days. For good taste and fragrance small bags of cinnamon and clove are placed in the honey. After eight days fermentation in a dark place the honey is filtered and barrels are placed in the cold.

Pure Russian mead

One part honey and a part and a half water are mixed and heated until the mixture begins to boil. After this it ferments with the use of selected strains of yeasts.

Country mead

Take three kg of white honey and 400 gr. of sugar per nine litres of water, boil it in the saucepan, then pour it off into the tub and cool the mixture. Then peel lemon rind, remove pips and to squeeze the juice out of a lemon pulp and pour it into the cooled mixture, then add a tablespoonful of yeasts and when the mixture has fermented, clarify it with seven gram of gelatine. After having kept the mead on ice for two weeks, pour it into bottles.

Strong mead of Astrakhan

Dissolve 2,5 kg of honey in 9 litres of water and add a bottle of yeasts into a large earthenware pot, 3 litres of wheat flour and a bottle of honey- and √water solution. Boiled in 60 gram of water, hop is added into the earthenware pot, which is put into a warm place for three-four hours for fermenting. This mixture is poured into honey and water solution and is taken into a cool place, where the liquid ferments three days. Having filtered the mead, pour it into another barrel and let it ferment eight-twelve days, adding sixty gram of raw honey daily, so that the drink doesn't lose sweetness in the result of continuous fermentation.

Pink mead

2,6 kg of dark honey per a litre of water is boiled in an open saucepan, then the mixture is filtered several times through a sack filled with 0,4 kg of dry bilberry. Fermentation begins after you add half a glass of yeasts. The mixture is clarified by 1,5 gr. of gelatin. Rose oil gives a specific bouquet to the wine, a drop per a bucket. Before pouring mead into bottles, it should stay on ice during two months otherwise it would be muddy. It can be stored for a year.

Strong mead


2 kg of honey is dissolved in a bucket of water and boiled, until half of it boils away, scumming it carefully. The cooled mixture pour into a clean barrel, on the sides of which rye leavened dough is spread. Or you can pour 100 gr. of yeasts into the honey, while it is warm, and leave it to ferment. And put there bouquet garni: 5 gr. of cinnamon, 2 gr. of clove, 1 gr. of cardamom, 0,2 gr. of pepper, 1,5 gr. of ginger. When the mead has fermented, firmly cork it and leave it to mature for half a year.

Boil 2,5 kg of the best whit honey dissolved in 2 buckets of water, scumming it continuously, until the mixture thickens and had the consistence of molasses. Then filter through a strainer and. Pour boiled warm honey into the barrel and add selected yeasts used for production of white beer. If fermentation process is too active, add a glass of vodka per a bucket. Vodka will precipitate yeasts and make the mead strong and clear.

English translation Irina Yelsukova

Dan McFeeley
02-23-2006, 06:06 AM
Here's a few more from "The Domostroi: Rules for Russian Households in the Time of Ivan the Terrible":


Several mead recipes from The Dormostroi, transcribed by Crystal of Westermark

Pouncy, Carolyn Johnston ed. and trans. The Domostroi: Rules for Russian Households in the Time of Ivan the Terrible. Published by Cornell University Press. Icatha, New York, 1995. (Ivan IV 1533-1584 Chapter 65 may be a later addition to the text, possible added between 1600-1625. Items in {} are also later additions.)

Page 196-198

65. Recipes for All Sorts of Fermented Honey Drinks: How to Distill Mead; Make Juice, Kvass, and Beer; Brew with hops and Distill Boiled Mead

Boiled Mead. * Take one part honey to seven parts warm water. Strain the honey carefully through a fine sieve, making sure no wax gets through. Put the strained honey into a pot with a half-measure of hops and boil it carefully. While you boil it, skim it with a fine sieve, till the mixture in the caldron is clear. When you have reduced the mixture by half, take it from the cauldron and cool it by adding it to the warm water. Put the honey and warm water in a clean jar, free of wax, and cover it with yeast bread and honey. Warm it on the stove, then place it in another jar to ferment. When it has fermented properly, put it in a cask immediately so it will not spoil.

* [footnote by the editor] Obarnoi med: mead made from scalded honey.

White mead. To distill white mead, choose clear, light-colored honey. Pound it well so there are no bits in the mead. Mix one part honey to four parts warm water. Add one-quarter measure of hops to the brew. Then ferment it with yeast. When the mead as fermented, strain the yeast from the mead with a fine sieve until the mixture is clear. Then pour it into a cask.

Honey mead. To distill honey mead, take five parts honey to one part warm water and strain it until it is clear. Place it in a jar and add three measures of hops. Ferment it with yeast. When it is ready, strain the yeast from the mead with a fine sieve until the mixture is clear. When you are done, pour it into a cask.

Ordinary mead. To distill ordinary mead, add honey to six parts warm water and strain it until it is clear. Place it in a jar with a half-measure of hops. Ferment it with yeast. When the mead is ready, strain the yeast from the mead with a fine sieve until the mixture is clear, then pour it into a cask.

Boyars* mead. To distill boyars* mead, take the wax from six parts honey and mix it with hot water. Add a measure of hops to the brew and ferment it with yeast. Strain it so it is clear of wax and ferment it in the jar for another week. Then place it in a cask and let it stand in the cask for another week. Then strain the mead clear of yeast and place it in a second cask. Fill the cask up with honey.

Mead with spices. To add nutmeg and cloves to brewed mead, pour ordinary mead into small casks and top them off with honey. Lace the spices in small bags and put the bags into the little casks with the mead. Cork the casks tightly so the air from inside will not escape.

Berry mead. To make berry mead, place berries of any type in a caldron with ordinary fermented mead. Cook the mixture slowly and for a long time so the berries will boil but not burn. When the berry mixture boils, let it stand overnight. Separate the berry mead carefully from the dregs and pour it into a cask. You must decide which mead to use as a base and how much to thicken the berry mixture. But when you decide the berry mead is finished, place it in a cask you have not used for mead before so there will be no yeast either in the casks or in the mead.

Ordinary kvass. To brew ordinary kvass, take four parts honey and strain it until it is clear. Put it into a jar and ferment it using an ordinary soft loaf, without additional yeast. When it is done, pour it into a cask.

02-24-2006, 04:33 AM
These recipes are very cool, they really show how they made mead back then. I am tempted to make the simple white mead that Dan posted. Wonder where they got their gelatin for fining. Calve's feet?

I see a recipe calling for flour - the "Strong Mead of Astrakhan." I guess it would have been whole-wheat flour, added to encourage fermentation, or maybe to give the mead a certain taste. Is anyone familiar with the use of flour? It reminds me of the semolina bread that ferments in the must of Tej.