Brewing for festival with Rurik.

One of the aims of the Lochac Brewers guild is to enhance individuals experience of the SCA through beverages. As such in the lead up to festival I am going to be running two brewing days at Sunday gathering for my local SCA group so that people can learn some basic brewing skills, have a product to take home and ferment it for festival.

The first of these sessions will be on 15th February at the Ainsley Scout Hall and we shall be making HYDROMEL AS I MADE IT WEAK FOR THE QUEEN MOTHER from Digby. This is a small hydromel (a variation of mead) that is about 2% ABV with strong over tones of ginger. It is a refreshing drink that is suitable for festival as a day drink.

The cost for the class is free. However four people (will be able to take home a cube (22.5L or about 25 long necks) of must (unfermented wine) to ferment and bottle/keg at home for the cost of $17. To do this people will need to bring a container suitable for transporting 22.5l of hot must home in.

Who – Rurik farseker
What – Festival brewing session 1
When – Insert date and time
Where – The Ainsley scout hall
Why – For the fun of it.
Cost – $17

The second class I shall be doing an all grain ale which people will also be able to take some home. The cost for this is yet to be worked out & people will also need a cube (you can reuse the one from the meath if is is empty).

Polit brew day meath

Leave a comment

Filed under Class, Class Notes, Medieval Brewing

Steps in interpreting a period recipe for brewing

Commonly called redaction. As we redact, so shall we brew!

This is the method that I use to deconstruct a period recipe and write my interpretation of the ingredients and method.

Method

  1. Obtain a reliable copy of the primary evidence.
  2. Translate the primary source from the original language into English. If translation is out of your skills set, get as many different interpretations of the recipe as possible and look at them in parallel, noting any differences.
  3. Cut out any irrelevant information from the recipe.
  4. Identify the who/what/when of the evidence. This way when you are looking at the contemporary information you will be able to see how the recipe fits into the larger societal picture.
  5. List the ingredients used in the recipe and then research and make notes on them. Using period sources that are contemporary to the recipe will help you to understand how each ingredient was used. IMPORTANT! Use modern herbals AND Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for any ingredients and chemicals that you do not recognise. This way you can make sure that what you are planning on making (and drinking) is safe. The modern sources may also offer a safe substitute. Wikipedia is a useful repository for modern information on food/herb safety as a first step, but follow up the sources to make sure they are legitimate.
  6. Using a conversions table change the ingredient measurements into metric. Where possible turn the volume measurements into weight ones and units of weight into volume. The conversion of liquid measurements into weight and vice versa can highlight differing ratios that may not be apparent otherwise and may negatively impact your brew.
  7. List your newly-metric ingredients in the order you are going to use them.
  8. Break the period instructions down into a series of steps to create a method.
  9. What modern or non-period knowledge do you need to insert to make the pieces fit? An example of this is fermented beverages that make no reference to yeast. We know that without yeast we cannot have alcohol production. So if a recipe makes no reference to yeast we have to assume that we are going to add some. Make a note of this here.
  10. Write your method and enter into your brew log.
  11. Brew.

Now that I’ve given you the theory, here is the method in practice:

Recipe From The Closet Of Sir Kenelm Digby

HYDROMEL AS I MADE IT WEAK FOR THE QUEEN MOTHER

Take 18 quarts of spring-water, and one quart of honey; when the water is warm, put the honey into it. When it boileth up, skim it very well, and continue skimming it, as long as any scum will rise. Then put in one Race of Ginger (sliced in thin slices,) four Cloves, and a little sprig of green Rosemary. Let these boil in the Liquor so long, till in all it have boiled one hour. Then set it to cool, till it be blood-warm; and then put to it a spoonful of Ale-yest. When it is worked up, put it into a vessel of a fit size; and after two or three days, bottle it up. You may drink it after six weeks, or two moneths.

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/16441/16441-h/16441-h.htm

Steps 1-3 Find a reliable copy, translate it, remove irrelevant information

This is a primary source, translation is not needed and there’s no irrelevant information.

Step 4 Who, What and When

Looking back, Sir Kenelm Digby (July 11, 1603 – June 11, 1665) could be considered one of those larger than life characters that history throws up from time to time. Being at different times a physicist, courtier, theologian, philosopher, naval commander and diplomat. One of the curious things that he has contributed to history is a collection of notes on brewing and cooking that was published by his family posthumously, simply titled The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby Knight Opened. These notes provide us a look at what was being consumed by the wealthy English of the late Tudor and the beginnings of the Stuart period.

For more information have a look at:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04792b.htm

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/16441/16441-h/16441-h.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenelm_Digby

Step 5 List the ingredients and make notes

Water

Water covers the majority of the earth’s surface and is foundation to all life. The role that water plays in period can be seen in Physica by Hildegard “Waters springing forth from their source wash away all filth.” In other words what you need to drink is also where you dump your waste. On some level the problems associated with sourcing drinking water from the same place you dump your waste was realised by the people of London.

In the mid-13th century, the city of London acquired the springs near Tyburn and built an underground conduit to bring clean water into the city for consumption by brewers, cooks, fishmonger and those who could afford it. By the time that Digby would have penned this recipe there was a pump installed under London Bridge that helped with a wider spread water supply. Of interest is the fact that access to the water from the conduit was one of the ways that the Brewers Guild of London restricted brewing by non-guild members.

More aquatic information here:

http://www.waterhistory.org/histories/london/

http://users.trytel.com/~tristan/towns/florilegium/community/cmfabr24.html

http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=63149

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_water_supply_infrastructure#Sixteenth_century

http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/medieval_peasants.htm

Honey

Honey is an energy rich food that is produced by bees from pollen and nectar from flowers. It is stored inside their hives and forms their primary food. Honey is also one of the most ready forms of sugar that is available for humans to use as a sweetener.

The religious significance of honey is not to be underestimated in all cultures, but for this recipe we are particularly interested in its role for Jews and Christians. Honey was considered a gift from God that not only represented physical sustenance but was also a linked with their relationship with him. For example, the Book of Exodus says the Promised Land was “…filled with milk and honey” (3:17) and that the manna that God provided to the Jews in their travels tasted like “wafer made with honey” (16:31).

More sweet and sticky information:

http://www.themuslimtimes.org/2013/03/americas/honey-mentioned-in-talmud-bible-quran-hindu-chinese-greece-scriptures

http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/hinduism/ritesrituals/baby.shtml

http://www.honey-health.com/honey-in-india/

http://www.honey-health.com/honey-in-greece/

http://www.chabad.org/kids/article_cdo/aid/114795/jewish/Honey.htm

Ginger

Ginger is the root of the plant Zingiber officinale, it is readily available in most grocery stores in powdered, liquid and fresh forms due to its popularity in Asian cooking. It is grown and cultivated throughout most parts of the world.

Despite its use throughout history I have not been able to find an entry in an herbal or other descriptor other than Hildegard. Hildegard sends mixed messages about ginger first warning her reader off consuming it saying that it is “injurious as food” and it makes people “ignorant, languid, and lewd”. However, she then goes on to prescribe it as a thirst quencher, a cure for eye and stomach irritation, constipation, acne and as a purgative.

An interesting story about ginger which is contemporary to this recipe is that Queen Elizabeth I would have likenesses of dignitaries and those of her court that pleased her made from gingerbread and served to them.

Ginger up your research here:

http://www.foodtimeline.org/christmasfood.html#gingerbread http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/menus/gingerbread-men.htm

http://unitproj.library.ucla.edu/biomed/spice/index.cfm?displayID=15

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-18365/The-gingerbread-man-ages.html

Cloves

Cloves are the dried flower bud of the tree Myrtaceae, (Syzygium aromaticum) and are native to the Maluku Islands in Indonesia. The uses of cloves in cooking are known throughout the world and are used in both savoury and sweet food. They have been known to be used by the Romans since 1 C.E.

When Digby penned this recipe the trade in cloves was controlled by the Portuguese but by the time this recipe was published the trade was controlled by the Dutch.

Faintly spicy links

http://www.oldcook.com/en/medieval-spices#clov

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18551857

Rosemary

Rosemary is a small perennial shrub of the mint family. This compact evergreen, with clusters of small light blue flowers and leaves that yield a fragrant essential oil used in making perfume and to flavour food, is native to the Mediterranean region.

There are records of Rosemary being grown in England from the mid-14th Century, when Queen Phillipa (wife of Edward III) received some cuttings as a gift from her mother and had them planted in the garden at Old Westminster.

By the time that Digby had penned his work it is thought that Rosemary was a common garden plant with many medicinal properties. Culpeper says that among other things, Rosemary will help with head cold, dullness of the mind, dumb palsy, loss of speech and flatulence.

It’s more than something you use with lamb! Check out

http://blog.metmuseum.org/cloistersgardens/2012/02/10/the-virtues-of-rosemary/

Ale-yeast

**NEED TO TALK ABOUT YEAST**

Step 6 Tabulate your ingredients, compare conversions for any inconsistencies

Step 7 List them in order

Ingredient

Original Measure

Metric Volume

Metric Weight.

Water

18 Quarts

20.4574 L

20.4574 Kg

Honey

1 quart

1.134L

1.542 Kg

Ginger

One Race

Qty

Cloves

4 cloves

Qty

Rosemary

1 sprig

Qty

Ale-yeast

1 spoonful

Qty

Step 8 Break the period instructions down into a series of steps to create a method

1.    Take 20.5 of spring-water, and 1.55 kg of honey; when the water is warm, put the honey into it.

2.    When it boileth up, skim it very well, and continue skimming it, as long as any scum will rise.

3.    Then put in one Race of Ginger (sliced in thin slices,) four Cloves, and a little sprig of green Rosemary.

4.    Let these boil in the Liquor so long, till in all it have boiled one hour.

5.    Then set it to cool, till it be blood-warm; and then put to it a spoonful of Ale-yest.

6.    When it is worked up, put it into a vessel of a fit size; and after two or three days, bottle it up.

7.    You may drink it after six weeks, or two moneths.

Step 9 – Not applicable.

Step 10 Write you method (and put in your brew log)

Rurik’s Redacted Mead

Ingredients

  • 21 l of Water
  • 1.5 kg honey Honey
  • A knob of Ginger, sliced
  • 4 Cloves
  • 1 sprig Rosemary
  • Ale-yeast

Method

1.    Place water in pot on heat of stove.

2.    When warm add honey. Temperature is not important: the heat is to help dissolve the honey.

3.    Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer. While it is simmering scrape off the scum that rises to the top. This will help produce a clear mead.

4.    Once the scum stops rising add ginger, rosemary and cloves to the pot.

5.    Simmer for 1 hour.

6.    Remove from heat and cool. This can be done with some sort of cooling device (like a heat exchanger) or if small enough by placing the pot in a sink with cold water.

7.    Clean and sanitise fermenter.

8.    Add must to the fermenter and pitch the yeast.

9.    Rack when the visible signs of fermentation go away.

10.    Bottle and let it age for at least 6 weeks.

Bibliography

Acton, Bryan Making Mead; Heheglin, Hippocras, Melomel, Pyment and Cyser. G.W. Kent Inc, 1984.

Adamson , Melitta Weiss Food in Medieval Times, Food Through History Greenwood Press, 2004.

Bennett, Judith M. Ale, Beer and Brewster in England. Oxford University Press, 1996.

Digby, Kenelm; The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby Knight Opend: Newly edited, with introduction, notes, and glossary. Introduction by MacDonnell, Anne. Published by Philip Lee Warner London, 1910.

Culpeper, Nicholas Culpeper’s Complete Herbal. Arcturus Publishing Limited, 2009.

The Bible New Revised Standard Version. Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. 1989.

von Bingen, Hildegard Physica: The Complete English Translation of Her Classic Work on Health and Healing Translated by Priscilla Throop. Inner Traditions Bear & Company 1998. (Kindle Edition.)

5 Comments

Filed under Class, Class Notes, Medieval Brewing

My Lord Hollis Hydromel

On the Lochac Brewer Facebook group there has been a bit of talk about having a case swap at Festival 2014. This is going to be my contribution to the swap. I chose this recipe for two reasons. The first was timing, as when I brewed it it was about twelve months to Festival and the recipe calls for that amount of ageing. The second was it is a nice simple mead with a few additions of easily accessible spices making it a great starting point for the new mead maker. This recipe also gives a few options to customise it, which I will try at another time.

Recipe From The Closet Of Sir Kenelm Digby

In four parts of Springwater dissolve one part of honey, or so much as the Liquor will bear an Egge to the breadth of a Groat. Then boil it very well, and that all the scum be taken away. He addeth nothing to it but a small proportion of Ginger sliced: of which He putteth half to boil in the Liquor, after all the scum is gone; and the other half He putteth into a bag, and hangeth in the bung, when it is tunned. The Ginger must be very little, not so much as to make the Liquor taste strongly of it, but to quicken it. I should like to adde a little proportion of Rosemary, and a greater of Sweet-bryar leaves, in the boiling. As also, to put into the barrel a tost of white bread with mustard, to make it work. He puts nothing to it; but his own strength in time makes it work of it self. It is good to drink after a year.

My Redaction

Ingredients for a 5l batch.

  • 1 l or 1.3 kg (approx.) honey
  • 4 l of Water
  • 10 g of fresh ginger
  • 2 g of Wyeast yeast nutrient
  • 2 ml of lactic acid
  • 5 g of Vintner’s Harvest VR21

Method

  1. Take 4 l of water and place into pot on the stove.
  2. Add honey and stir through as it comes to the boil.
  3. Once the scum from the honey comes to the top scrape it off. This will help produce clear mead.
  4. After the scum has finished rising add in the ginger.
  5. Cool.
  6. Move into sanitised fermenter.
  7. Pitch yeast.
  8. When the yeast has finished working, rack.
  9. After one month rack again.
  10. Age for ten months then bottle & drink.

The honey I chose was a generic blend, because the only single origin honey that I can find is from Australian native plants (unsurprising on this big island, really) and I felt that any particular flavours they imparted would be out of place in recreation brewing. The water for this mead was sourced from my local water supply (the tap in my kitchen). For the ginger I used Zingiber officinale which is the common ginger that is found in supermarkets. This form of ginger has been known in Western Europe since Roman times and was one of the most commonly traded spices during the middle ages.

In Digby’s notes the bread and mustard are effectively the medium and nutrient for the yeast respectively. Preferring bread and mustard with my ham, rather than in my mead, I replaced them with a single strain English country wine yeast and yeast nutrient because this is more sanitary. Better sanitation will result in a beverage that is palatable to the modern taste – we would described Digby’s mead as ‘off’.

The second last line of  Digby’s notes indicates what we would now call “Wild Fermentation” which meant he wouldn’t have intentionally put yeast into this must: he would have unknowingly let wild yeast find its way in (yeast is everywhere, like air). As two of the most common wild yeast are Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus, it is likely this is what would have landed in his tun of mead. Both of these yeasts have a souring effect on the must by lowering its pH, and much like the bread/mustard combination too much of this in the resulting beverage is not nice to drink. (Think of it like salt – a little makes the food taste good but too much ruins the meal.) A lower pH in the must also means that the yeast will ferment more efficiently.  So, since I haven’t used wild yeast, but I want a lower pH and a little bit of sourness, I included a small amount of lactic acid* which will have the same effect.

It would be an interesting and challenging taste-wise if a person was to ferment this mead with wild fermentation. I have chosen not to in this case because I am hoping to share the product with the brewing community, some of whom may not be ready to try something that far out of the box!  As a future experiment I will try this in summer when there is plenty of wild yeast in the air, as the boiling process will kill any that are in the raw ingredients.

*This is not needed, I used it because I have some for other purposes.

1 Comment

Filed under Medieval Brewing

Hard core Gruit.

At Rowany in 2013 I continued with my experimentation of brewing at events over a fire and using dark-ages equipment. Rowany however offered an opportunity that other events don’t:  to go from brewing through fermentation and then consumption.

So I took this opportunity and  made a Gruit ale from (as best I could) locally sourced ingredients.  The whole experiment from making the wort, fermenting and drinking was done on site using a variety of Dark-ages domestic cooking equipment.

The ingredients

I used a blend of modern malt to approximate what I believe the taste of medieval malt. The malt was built from floor-malted Halcyon and dark Munich malt. Halcyon is one of the oldest varieties of base malt that is still in production and the dark Munich was used to bring the overall colour up. I used a blend of three different smoked malts and roasted malt to try and provide a generic smoked flavour that would be found in malt that was cooked over a fire (as would have occurred in period), rather than a particular ‘flavour’ of smoke (which would have come through if I hadn’t blended them).

The bittering agent was dandelions that were found at the festival site.

The yeast was sourced from the bottom of the fermenter of my previous batch of beer – as yeast was often recycled in period.

Making the ale

I mashed the brew over a fire. This was quite involved!

On the day of the brew I started chopping wood at 6.30 am which got me a few odd comments from those I camp with but this was ok, because it was in the pursuit of beer. With a cart load of wood I stopped to eat breakfast and to prepare everything else I needed for the day.

At about 10 am I lit my fire and waited for it to burn down into a good bed of coals. Once I had sufficient and stable heat I set up the smaller of my cauldrons and dry roasted the dandelions until they took on a bitter taste.  I added the malt and the water to the pot and over the course of 2.5-3 hours (the time was measured by tracking the sun across the sky) and brought it up to a temperature that I could not put my hand into. I compensated for fluctuating temperatures and increased the heat mass by adding rocks that had been heated by the fire into the brew, this was inspired by a video called Billy and Dec’s Bronze Age Beer.

I then took the cauldron off the fire and started to separate the wort from the grain and returned the wort to the fire. I brought the wort to the boil and simmered it for 15-30 mins (sun again) with a little more dandelion by the time this was all done it was about 5 pm .

I then let the wort cool to pitching temperature, added the yeast and fermented it onsite in a spare cauldron. The following morning there was a fine thick Kräusen and it tasted fine.

The enjoyment

We started to drink this seriously after about 48 hours of fermentation until the end of Festival.  I noticed a significant flavor change about every six hours or so and I feel it tasted best at the 72 hour mark.

This brew was well received by those who dared to try it. Comments ranged from “No f****** way” through to “It’s good, not what I was expecting.”

I feel that this brew really challenged those who tried it and changed the perceptions of what can be done at an event. It is also a demonstration of what can be done with primitive equipment and no measurement tools which stands in contrast to a hobby/industry that is driven by technology.

I don’t think I could brew with any less equipment and will continue to do this kind of brewing at events. Come and join me!

1 Comment

Filed under Class, Medieval Brewing

Post Festival Brews!

Well it is all done for another year and I can breathe a sigh of relief. I have to say this year I was really impressed by how many talented brewers are out there in Lochac and how good a time was had by all at Festival. On my way home I had to stop of at my favourite brewing supplies store Marks Home Brew. When I was there one of his staff members was backing some American hops for the ready use hop market.

Well this just got me thinking ‘I have not made an APA for quite a while’ and after a friend’s efforts at R&B I said I was going to do one. Well today I have done two simple brews that are going to let the hops shine through.

Both brews are based off a simple grain bill of 85% Galaxy malt and 15% sugar. Both have been bittered with 30 IBUs of Warrior – a high AA hop that lends itself consummately to the brewing of APAs and other fruity American beers. I am going to ferment both using White Labs WLP 090 Santiago Super yeast. The only difference is the finishing hops: both brews are going to use a proprietary hop blend. The first one I brewed will have the Zythos hop blend and the second is Mark’s own, inspired by the original Little Creatures blend.

I don’t usually use a pre-blended hop mix but these two blends seemed to equal more than the sum of their parts so I went with them. I am looking forward to trying both of these beers.

 

The Stats

Volume – 23.5l + Kettle loss

OG – 1.053

FG – 1.010

ABV – 5.74%

IBU – 37

Boil for 90 Min

Colour – 9 EBC

 

The Mash

Mashed in at 20 deg.

Rest 65 deg for 90 min.

Mashed out at 78 deg.

 

Ingredients

5Kg Galaxy Malt

.5kg White sugar

20g of Warrior

WLP 090

 

Brew 1

2x15g of Zythos

 

Brew 2

2x20g of Little Creatures inspired hop blend.

 

This has been a fun day and I look forward to drinking the brews at coming events.

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Modern Brewing

English Sweet Stout

Last night I brewed myself Stout. This is a style of beer that I have always enjoyed drinking and in my early days of brewing before going to all grain I used to make it quite a bit due to how well it lends itself to extract. While I have made one or two stouts with friends a few years ago and a porter or two, I have never done one from scratch by myself. I enjoyed the ever deepening colour of the wort as it moved through the different parts of the mashing process.

 

The Grain

4.5kg Bairds Marris Otter

.65kg Chocolate Malt UK

.16kg Black Patent Malt

I also added .5kg of lactose to the boil.

The sweet wort was bittered with 30IBU’s of Brewers Gold in a single addition at 90mins.

 

I cubed this beer and hope to ferment it with Wyeast British Ale II and if the smack pack that I have of this does not work I will use White Labs WLP007.

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under Modern Brewing

A look at Hippocras from Le Menagier de Paris.


Introduction

Hippocras is an infused beverage of wine, sugar, spices and sometimes milk. It was known throughout large areas of Western Europe from the time of Roman Empire to the modern-day. Spiced beverages rose to prominence during the time of the Roman Empire and credit for their name is given to the classical Greek physician Hippocrates. Used for administration of different plants for medicinal purposes, they also found a place as digestive aids and recreational drinks. As with so many things to do with medieval beverages, sometimes the lines between when something is done for medicinal, recreational or preservation reasons are not always clear. It would be worth spending the time looking at the relationship of hippocras as the predecessor of Apéritifs.

 

The Recipe

The following recipe comes from Le Menagier de Paris or The Parisian Household Book, a treatise on keeping a household that was written at the end of the 14th century. This work contains many useful bits of practical information for a person of the time (and a historical recreationist today) including menus, what to do as a widow and getting remarried, gardening, shopping, choosing a servant, the keeping of animals and almost four hundred recipes. There are two recipes for Hippocras from Le Menagier in A Sip Through Time. This is the first one. I am keen to give the second one a try if I can find a supplier for spikenard.

 

“To Make powdered hippocras, take a quarter of very fine cinnamon selected by tasting it, and a half quarter of fine flour of cinnamon, an ounce of selected string ginger, fine and white, and an ounce of grain [of Paradise,] a sixth of nutmegs and galingale togeather, and bray them all together. And when you would make your hippocras, take a good half ounce of the powder and two quarter of sugar and mix them with a quart of wine, by paris mesure. And note that the powder and the sugar mixed together is [called] the Dukes powder.”

 

 

Equipment

  • Mortar and pestle
  • Scales
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • 5L Demijohn
  • Funnel
  • Sterilising equipment and chemicals

 

Ingredients

  • 20g Ginger root
  • 20g Grains of paradise
  • 3g Galingale powder
  • 2g cinnamon powder
  • 3g nutmeg
  • 7g cinnamon sticks
  • 100g White sugar
  • 4L of Soft fruity white wine

The ingredients for this recipe have been adjusted for 4L of wine and rounded. The reason for this is that wine is very easy to purchases in this quantity. Also a very good set of scales are needed to weigh out such small quantities.

 

Method

Clean and sanitise demijohn and funnel then set aside. Take the Ginger, Grains of Paradise, Galingale, Nutmeg, Cinnamon Powder and Sticks. Put these into your mortar and pestle and grind them into a fine powder. This makes the Duke’s Powder. Decant wine into the demijohn (clean and keep whatever it comes in if you can), then sugar then the Duke’s Powder. Stopper up the demijohn and let it sit 3 to 5 days, carefully inverting every so often to ensure that the sugar is mixed through. The best way to tell when this is done is to taste it. Do not leave it for too long: you do not want to extract too much of the spice flavour into the beverage and make it undrinkable.

Once the beverage has reached the desired flavour there are two choices on what to do next. The first and easiest is to package the hippocras for consumption. This can be done into number small bottles or into the original packaging. Do not forget to clean and sanitise every piece of equipment.

A slightly more advanced method would be to rack the hippocras from one demijohn to another and let it clear. Then once it is clear put it into your packaging.

The hippocras will be fine for immediate consumption however it will benefit from some time for the flavours to meld together. Allow four to six weeks before the intended time of imbibing, it will however last longer than this. As with all organic products the shelf life is will be affected by how thorough you are in your cleaning and preparation.

If the hippocras contains flavours that are too strong for your liking do not be afraid to mix it with a compatible wine at the time you drink it.

Glossary of Ingredients

Ginger

Ginger or ginger root is the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale, consumed as a delicacy, medicine, or spice. It lends its name to its genus and family (Zingiberaceae).

It is used extensively in Asian cooking and is readily available as an extract, powder and whole root in supermarkets throughout Australia.

 

Grains of paradise

Aframomum melegueta is a species in the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. This spice, commonly known as grains of paradise, melegueta pepper, alligator pepper, Guinea grains, fom wisa, or Guinea pepper, is obtained from the ground seeds; it gives a pungent, peppery flavour with hints of citrus.

Although it is native to West Africa, it is also an important cash crop in the Basketo district (Basketo special woreda) of southern Ethiopia.

For my recipe I sourced my grains of paradise from my specialty homebrew shop. It is currently available through some tea shops and online at http://www.gourmetshopper.com.au

 

Galingale powder

Galangal (galanga, blue ginger, laos) is a rhizome of plants in the ginger family Zingiberaceae, with culinary and medicinal uses originating in Indonesia. The rhizomes are used in various Asian cuisines (for example in Thai and Lao tom yum and tom kha gai soups, Vietnamese Huế cuisine (tre) and throughout Indonesian cuisine, for example, in soto). Though it is related to and resembles ginger, there is little similarity in taste.

I found Galingale powder & the rhizome readily available at my Asian grocer.

 

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is the name for perhaps a dozen species of trees and the commercial spice products that some of them produce. All are members of the genus Cinnamomum in the family Lauraceae. Only a few of them are grown commercially for spice.

Cinnamon has been known from remote antiquity. It was imported to Egypt as early as 2000 BC, but those who report that it had come from China confuse it with cassia. There are also numerous references to it in the Old Testament.

Cinnamon is readily available at well stocked spice shops. I was able to get it from a Turkish spice house local to me. Be careful though as sometimes what is sold is cinnamon is actually cassia bark.

 

Nutmeg

The nutmeg tree is any of several species of trees in genus Myristica. The most important commercial species is Myristica fragrans, an evergreen tree indigenous to the Banda Islands in the Moluccas (or Spice Islands) of Indonesia. The nutmeg tree is important for two spices derived from the fruit: nutmeg and mace.

It is readily available in super markets throughout Australia.

 

Sugar

Sugar is the generalised name for a class of sweet-flavoured substances used as food. They are carbohydrates and as this name implies, are composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. There are various types of sugar derived from different sources. Simple sugars are called monosaccharides and include glucose, fructose and galactose. The table or granulated sugar most customarily used as food is sucrose.

Due its abundance I used white table sugar. Sugar of the quality I used in this recipe would have been a high priced commodity in period and for this reason I feel that it would have been highly unlikely that it would have been used in this way. However, I chose to use it due to its availability. It is readily available in supermarkets throughout Australia.

 

Wine

Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grapes or other fruits. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, water, or other nutrients. Yeast consumes the sugars in the grapes and converts them into alcohol. Different varieties of grapes and strains of yeasts produce different types of wine.

Archaeological evidence suggests that the earliest known production of wine, made by fermenting grapes, took place from the late Neolithic or early Chalcolithic, possibly as early as the sixth millennium BC, between the Caucasus and the Middle East, with clues of winemaking in different sites dated from 6000 BC in Georgia, 5000 BC in Iran, and 4100 BC in Armenia.

2 Comments

Filed under Medieval Brewing