Ottos Another (metheglin) I By Digby
|Full Recipe Name|
|The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby Knight Opened, By Kenelm Digby|
ANOTHER: Take a quart of honey to a Gallon of water; set the Kettle over the fire, and stir it now and then, that the honey may melt; let it boil an hour; you must boil in it, a Sprig or two of Winter-savory, as much of Sweet-marjoram; put it into tubs ready scalded, till the next day towards evening. Then tun it up into your vessel, let it work for three days; after which hang a bag in the barrel with what quantity of Mace and sliced Nutmeg you please. To make it stronger then this, 'tis but adding more hony, to make it bear an Egg the breadth of a six pence, or something more. You may bottle it out after a month, when you please. This is the way, which is used in Sussex by those who are accounted to make it best.
Mix a quart of honey to a gallon of water in a pot over a fire. Stir occasionally to dissolve the honey. Boil it for one hour. Add a sprig or two of winter-savory and sweet-marjoram to the boil. Transfer this to a clean and sanitized brewing bucket and let it cool. Towards evening on the second day, close the bucket and let it ferment for three days; after which hang a sanitized brew sock with as much mace and nutmeg as you like. To make the metheglin stronger, add more honey to a specific gravity of 1.080 or more. Bottle it after a month or longer. This is how they best examples are made in Sussex.
- winter savory
- sweet marjoram
- mace, nutmeg
- Danstar Nottingham ale yeast
Process and Notes
The recipe calls for a quart (roughly 2.5-3 lbs.) of honey per gal. A modern SCA sweet mead typically calls for the same ratio of honey to water. Scaling this to 5 gal. means adding 6 quarts (1 ½ gal. or 15 lbs.) of honey. Dissolve the honey in 1.5 to 2 gal. of water in a pot over the stove. When it comes to a boil, remove any foam and add 5 to 10 sprigs of winter savory and sweet marjoram. Boil the herbs in honey water for 15 minutes or so (*). Transfer to a fermentation bucket. Top off with cold water to 5 gal. Cover and let stand to cool until yeast pitching temperature. Pitch ale yeast (I prefer Nottingham ale yeast) and let ferment to slow bubble (easily a week or more). Transfer to secondary fermentation vessel (carboy) and add crushed mace and nutmeg (hard to shave or “slice” nutmeg). I used about half an ounce of each. Fermentation is still fairly active at one month, so bottling would be a bad idea unless using a flipper top bottle and periodically relieving the pressure. Chill before an event.
- Brewed May 15
- Kegged July 6, 2015
- Approx. ABV 12%.
Digby, Kenelm, 1669. The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby Knight Opened by Kenelm Digby, Project Gutenberg, accessed online at: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/16441/16441-h/16441-h.htm
Sibly, Belinda (Mistress Roheisa le Sarjent) 2014. The Egg Test for Period Brewers and Mead Makers. Accessed online at: http://brewers.lochac.sca.org/files/2014/02/The-Egg-test-for-Period-Brewers2.pdf