Food and Wine

Make Mead Like a Viking: Traditional Techniques for Brewing Natural, Wild-Fermented, Honey-Based Wines and Beers


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A complete, practical, and entertaining guide to using the best ingredients and minimal equipment to create flavorful brews―including wildcrafted meads, bragots, t’ej, grog, honey beers, and more!  

A great guide . . . full of practical information and fascinating lore.”―Sandor Ellix Katz, author of The Art of Fermentation 

Ancient societies brewed flavorful and healing meads, ales, and wines for millennia using only intuition, storytelling, and knowledge passed down through generations―no fancy, expensive equipment or degrees in chemistry needed. In Make Mead Like a Viking, homesteader, fermentation enthusiast, and self-described “Appalachian Yeti Viking” Jereme Zimmerman summons the bryggjemann of the ancient Norse to demonstrate how homebrewing mead―arguably the world’s oldest fermented alcoholic beverage―can be not only uncomplicated but fun. 

Inside, readers will learn techniques for brewing:

  • Sweet, semi-sweet, and dry meads
  • Melomels (fruit meads)
  • Metheglins (spiced meads)
  • Ethiopian t’ej (honey wine)
  • Flower and herbal meads
  • Bragots
  • Honey beers
  • Country wines
  • Viking grog

And there’s more for aspiring Vikings to explore, including:

  • The importance of local and unpasteurized honey for both flavor and health benefits
  • What modern homebrewing practices, materials, and chemicals work―but aren’t necessary
  • How to grow and harvest herbs and collect wild botanicals for use in healing, nutritious, and magical meads, beers, and wines
  • How to use botanicals other than hops for flavoring and preserving mead, ancient ales, and gruits
  • The rituals, mysticism, and communion with nature that were integral components of ancient brewing

Whether you’ve been intimidated by modern homebrewing’s cost or seeming complexity in the past or are boldly looking to expand your current brewing and fermentation practices, Zimmerman’s welcoming style and spirit will usher you into exciting new territory. Grounded in history and mythology, but―like Odin’s ever-seeking eye―focusing continually on the future of self-sufficient food culture, Make Mead Like a Viking is a practical and entertaining guide for the ages.

Adventurous mead makers or brewers who want to move beyond the basics will find plenty to savor here.”―Library Journal  



From the Publisher

homebrew, organic, mead, honey, gruit, grog, wildcrafted, raw wine, brewing techniques, how-to guidehomebrew, organic, mead, honey, gruit, grog, wildcrafted, raw wine, brewing techniques, how-to guide

Color photographs show techniques and results!

homebrew, organic, mead, honey, gruit, grog, wildcrafted, raw wine, brewing techniques, how-to guide

homebrew, organic, mead, honey, gruit, grog, wildcrafted, raw wine, brewing techniques, how-to guide

homebrew, organic, mead, honey, gruit, grog, wildcrafted, raw wine, brewing techniques, how-to guide

homebrew, organic, mead, honey, gruit, grog, wildcrafted, raw wine, brewing techniques, how-to guide

homebrew, organic, mead, honey, gruit, grog, wildcrafted, raw wine, brewing techniques, how-to guide

homebrew, organic, mead, honey, gruit, grog, wildcrafted, raw wine, brewing techniques, how-to guide

A blow-off tube is a good idea for the early stages of fermentation when brewing bragots, melomels, or any other brew with a vigorous fermentation.

A jar of mead starter resting amid some of the wild botanicals.

A glass of a clear, well-aged mead.

homebrew, organic, mead, honey, gruit, grog, wildcrafted, raw wine, brewing techniques, how-to guidehomebrew, organic, mead, honey, gruit, grog, wildcrafted, raw wine, brewing techniques, how-to guide

The Mad Monk’s Medieval Metheglin (page 128-129)

This is a whole-hive metheglin-style mead, meaning that I made it using both honey and the remnants of the hive (that is, the comb) that came with it.

PROCESS

1. Make a tea out of the herbs and oak bark. It’s best to do this part a day or two before mead-making day; simply steep the herbs in hot (not boiling) water the night before to get the optimal health and flavor benefits.

2. Submerge as much of the hive as you can under water into a gallon jar or other container.

3. Prepare a smoky, low-heat fire, and place all ingredients except the yeast, lemons, and raisins in a pot; set the pot on a rack over the coals of the fire or over some heated, flat rocks.

4. Stir the must and skim off any wax or other scum that floats to the surface.

5. Take the pot off of the fire after 30 to 45 minutes, cover with a lid, and set aside for several hours or overnight.

6. When the mead is “blood warm” (warm to the touch or room temperature), add the yeast, backslop, or barm, or proceed with wild fermentation.

7. Add the lemon juice and raisins.

8. Age, rack, drink, and bottle.

INGREDIENTS FOR 5 GALLONS

1 sprig dried rosemary, 2 teaspoons (10 mL) dried sage

4–5 teaspoons (20–25 mL) dried nettle, red clover, and raspberry leaf

2 teaspoons (10 mL) grated fresh ginger, A bit of oak bark or a couple of oak leaves

4–5 gallons (16–20 L) good, clean water

12–15 pounds (6–7.5 kg) light to medium-amber honey and (if you have it) comb

Wild yeast or barm

Juice of 1–2 small lemons, and additional citric acid upon racking, if needed

20–30 organic raisins

homebrew, organic, mead, honey, gruit, grog, wildcrafted, raw wine, brewing techniques, how-to guide

homebrew, organic, mead, honey, gruit, grog, wildcrafted, raw wine, brewing techniques, how-to guide

homebrew, organic, mead, honey, gruit, grog, wildcrafted, raw wine, brewing techniques, how-to guide

homebrew, organic, mead, honey, gruit, grog, wildcrafted, raw wine, brewing techniques, how-to guide

homebrew, organic, mead, honey, gruit, grog, wildcrafted, raw wine, brewing techniques, how-to guide

homebrew, organic, mead, honey, gruit, grog, wildcrafted, raw wine, brewing techniques, how-to guide

MORE THE FERMENTATION CURIOUS!

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