Ok, I admit I’m not the most scheduled blogger

So I try to get stuff posted here before events happen and up until Panteria I was doing pretty well.  Unfortunately, life got in the way and now I find it’s the beginning of July and I still didn’t post anything about my Panteria experience.  Please forgive me.

So within the East Kingdom Brewer’s Guilde we have ranks: Member /Brewer /Journeyman / Craftsman /Master/ Grand Master.  After the East Kingdom Brewer’s Collegium  I was only 1 entry away from Master level when a couple of things happened.  At the EK Brewer’s Collegium, Magnus and I took some time to look at my scores and came to the conclusion I only needed one more beer recipe to qualify for Master Level.

Shoot forward about 2 weeks and I am having a terrible time trying to find a new beer recipe because all my leads end up getting dead ended or turn into an out of period source.  Suddenly, I get an email from Magnus stating that the format has changed.  The skinny of it is that for those individuals who are constantly doing “Master” level scoring, the points will now count towards levels.  Also, instead of a 70 for Master level, you now need a minimum of 75.    In example: Bob the Brewer is currently Member level (meaning he showed up to a meeting, bang, member).  He starts brewing and he may work himself up to Brewer normally because he only is required to create a couple of beverages with a 50 or better.  However, his beverages are outstanding and he manages to get himself a 75 and a 77.  If he continues to brew and manages to create beverages with Master level scores (more than 75) he could essentially pop over Journeyman and get himself into Craftsman or possibly even Master automatically.

Being that I was on the cusp; one of my beverages scored a 74 at EKBC and I was concerned that would count against me, now needing 2 beverages instead of 1 to move up a level.  I was assured this would not be the case since the change came after EKBC and all previous scores would hold.  It actually ended up benefiting me because of previous beverages now were counted toward my level.  Congradulations! without lifting a finger I was now “Master Brewer”.

I was concerned because I didn’t want a technicality to be the fulcrum point on my achieving Master.  Plus, my Laurel had some concerns about my presentations.  In one case I had done my research from a procedure standpoint, on another I had done my research doing individual researches of each phase and coming to the final product conclusion.  In the last I had done straight research of finding a period beverage, producing it and presenting it for paneling.  She felt I was a little too scattered in the way I was approaching my research.  I explained I felt it showed I had an understanding of not just copy/paste you sometimes see with straight research, but using the same techniques and patterns of how the beverage would be created in period.  My Laurel felt I needed a good solid piece of work to show that I had the ability and knowledge to document a recipe fully so there was little wiggle room for research argument.  Granted there are always questions but the multiple resources would help quell any questions of technique or research tactics.  So with that I found a recipe:

 

Dr Stephens Water

by Kryslaw “Kythe” Szubielka

Original Recipes

TAke a galon of good Gascoyne wine, then take Ginger, Galingale, Canel, Cinamom, Nutmegs, greyns, cloves, mace, annis seeds, fenel seeds, caraway-seeds, of every of them a dram. Then take Sage, Mint, red Roses, Time, Pellitory of the wall, wilde Maierom, Rosemary, wild Time, Camamel, Lavander, Avens, of every of them one handfull, beat the spices small, and bruse the herbs, and put all into the wine, and let it stand 12. houres, stirring it divers times, then still it in a Limbecke, and keepe the first pinte of the water, for it is the best: then will come a second water, which is not so good as the first.

The sundry vertues and operations of the same many times proved.

THe vertues of this water be these. It comforteth the spirits, and preserveth greatly the youth of man, & helpeth inward diseases comming of cold against sha∣king of the palsey, it cureth the contraction of sinewes and helpeth the conception of women that be barren, it killeth wormes in the belly, it helpeth the cold gout, it helpeth the tooth ach, it comforteth the stomacke very much, it cureth the cold dropsie, it helpeth the stone in the bladder and reynes of the backe, it cureth the canker, it helpeth shortly a stinking breath, and who so useth this water now & then, but not too of∣ten, it preserveth him in good liking, & shal make one seeme young very long. You must take but one spoon∣full of this water fasting but once in seven dayes, for it is very hot in operation. It preserved Doctor Stevens that he lived 98 yeare, whereof twenty he lived bed∣ridde.

Redaction

Take a gallon (1) of good Gascony(2) Wine. Add Ginger, Galingale, Canel, Cinnamon, Nutmegs, Greyns, cloves, mace, annise seeds, fennel seeds, caraway seeds about a dram(3) each. Then take sage, mint, red roses, thyme, Pellitory of the wall (4), rosemary, wild thyme, chamomile, lavender, avens (5) and of each of them about one handful. Beat the spices small and bruse the herbs and put all into the wine and let stand 12 hrs, while stiring it divers times(6), then still it in a Limbecke/Alembic (7), and keep the first pint of the water, for it is the best. Then will come the second water, whis is not so good as the first.

The virtues of the beverage are many times proved. The virtues being it comforts the spirit, it preserves youth of man and helps inward diseases coming of cold against the shaking of the palsey. It ccures the contraction of sinew and helps the conception of women that be barren. It kills worms in the bell and it helps the cold gout. It helps the tooth ach it comforts the stomach very much and it cures the cold dropsie. It helps the stone of the bladder and it cures the canker , it helps shortly of stinking breath and who uses this water now and then but not too often it preserves him in good liking making one seem young very long. You must take but one spoonful of this water fasting but once in seven days for it very hot in operation (flavor). It preserved Doctor Stevens that he lived 98 years where the last twenty he lived bed ridden.

Tools

Mortar and Pestle Glass Jar

Wooden Spoon.

Process

I felt that although Gascony wine was readily available, this would end up being seen as a Cordial category item so I instead used the Roman wine I had created for my previous paneling as the base for this beverage. It qualified as a rose wine and would easily substitute for a Gascony Rose’ or red table wine.

The following spices were obtained from my own garden with help from a fellow scadians:

  • Mint Sage
  • Thyme
  • Lavender

The following could not be obtained for this recipe

Pellitory of the Wall used hops instead as they are part of the same family (4)

Avens- flavor similair to cloves which was already an ingredient(5)

Greyns- no clear definition could be found so I guessed they mean “Grains” so a dram barley grains were ground up and used in place.  (** I later found out they were referring directly to “Grains of Paradise”)

The beverage was put into a glass container and then stirred together at various times according to the original recipe. As we were not able to use the Alembic aspect to distill, it was felt that running the mixture through a cloth to clarify it and then adding roughly 4 oz of vodka to emulate the effects of distillation would be a legally prescribed alternative. 

Bibliography

(1) Definition of a Gallon by medieval standards was 156.4 oz English system gallons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallon#English_system_gallons )

There were more than a few systems of liquid measurements in the pre-1884 United Kingdom.[2]

(2) Gascony is a region of Southwest France which was part of Aquetaine during the middle ages (13th century) ruled by the English for about 300 years. https://winefolly.com/review/wines-of-southwest-france/

  1. Dram- the word dram itself. It is derived from the Greek drachm, an ancient weight of ca. 4.37 grams https://www.dramming.com and http://home.clara.net/brianp/weights.html

  2. Pellitory of the Wall – https://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/p/pelwal22.html

  3. Avens- Tastes like cloves so I used extra cloves https://en.heilkraeuter.net/herbs/avens.htm

  4. Divers times- divers times or in various ways; — used to qualify nouns in the singular number.

  5. Limbecke or Alembic is the pot still version of distillation https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/alembic

  6. Original recipe found in The Haven of Health 1594 by Thomas Cogan. Later Hugh Platt plagerized the recipe in his 16th century book Delights for Lady’s

**This beverage shows concepts the same as either a Maywine, Claree or Hypocras where in most cases a low grade wine is spiced with intent to improve the flavor. The biggest difference is that it specifically calls for a better grade of wine specifically of Gascony. This may be because the English had control of this region up until the 16th century and considered it better than French region wine.

Presented in a glass bottle:

20190413_195807.jpg

This picture featured is not the concoction I made.  Strangely enough, I was so busy I didn’t even think to take pictures of the process I followed as I normally do.  I apologize for the lack of pics.  The beverage was submitted at Panteria to my panel of judges and ended up with a 77 score (Master level/ even by the new rules).   Along with myself, we also saw Brother Robert aka Baron William Graham achieve Master level.  Here’s a picture of both of us and our judges:

William_N_Kythe

(Left to right) Me, Master Otto, Baron William, Marieka and Cenwulf pointing to the Master level scores.  Picture by Duchess Marieka

We were both very proud of our accomplishments and figured that was the end but we were both told to be in court that evening.  So I and William both ended up in court where Mistress Marieka presented us formally to the populace as Master Brewers.  Here is the link provided with thanks to Yona Carmichael:

There was a little SNAFU with having enough Medallions but it was all in good fun that we made a little schtick about it.  So now I’m a Master Brewer.  It’s humbling because I know enough to know I don’t know a damn thing about brewing.  Or maybe it’s better to say the more I learn, the more I realize how much more about brewing there is out there.

So Grand Master is the next step.  It’s a whole different set of rules for that one so this may take some time.  The question I’m left with:  What do I brew next? How do I top what I’ve done already?

48dff7fe-3b68-4784-b0ec-e684246d1fcd.gif

Somehow.

Cold Season not quite done

As i find myself with some free time on my hands away from home and hearth, I suddenly remembered I still had one more panel entry to write about.  For my third and final trick, I present to you, the Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook’s Cheering (Cough) Syrup:

 

Original Recipe-

The Great Cheering Syrup: Way of Making It  (1)
Take half a ratl each of borage, mint, and citron leaves, cook them in water to cover until their strength comes out, then take the clean part and add it to a ratl of sugar. Then put in the bag: a spoonful each of aloe stems, Chinese rhubarb, Chinese cinnamon, cinnamon and clove flowers; pound all these coarsely, place them in a cloth, tie it well, and place it in the kettle, macerate it again and again until its substance passes out, and cook until [the liquid] takes the consistency of syrups. Take one û qiya with three of hot water. Benefits: It profits [preceding two words apparently supplied; in parentheses in printed Arabic text] weak stomachs, fortifies the liver and cheers the heart, digests foods, and lightens the constitution gently, God willing.

Redaction:

Take 15.5oz(2) each of Borage, Spearmint and Citron Leaves, cover them in water and steep like tea until their oil/essence comes out, then strain and add 15.5 oz of sugar.  Then in a bag put a spoonfull each of aloe stems, chinese rhubarb, chinese cinnamon, cinnamon and clove flowers; pound all these coursely.  Tie the bag together and hang it in the kettle (much like a bouquet-garne) and pound it continously until the substance passed through the cloth.  Cook until the liquid thicket to syrup.  Once finished, take 1 1/3oz  of the syrup with 4oz of hot water.

Benefits: it benefits weak stomachs, fortifies the liver and cheers the heard, digests foods and lightens the constitution, God willing.

Tools:

  • 1 Stainless Steel Pot
  • 1 Wooden Spoon
  • 1 Mortar and Pestle
  • 1 Muslin Bag

Process:

The original Arabic was hard but searching for ingredients was far harder.  I had a friend that went to the Caribbean and posted pictures of herself in front of Citron Trees.  Had I known, I would have had her smuggle some back in her luggage but my timing was off.  Then I searched at over 7 grocery stores and thought I had found Citron, only to discover they had sold out the week before.  Then I had to try to find borage which you’d think would be pretty easy to find but only if you want it in pill or oil based form.   So we had to settle;  I started by mixing French Citron (a bastardized combination of lemon and mandarin orange) peel, with lemon leaves.  Then I found Borage online and ordered a 2 oz package, and finally, the one thing I had was the spearmint which I had grown in my own garden the year before and dried and stored.

As you can see in the picture Lemon leaves (far left), Borage (close left) French Citron (close right) and the whole mix was put into a pot (far right).  The mix was covered with water and I drowned the whole mix to make sure it was covered and applied heat.  The smell was amazing.  It had a menthol effect and between the lemon leaves, mint and the borage the whole house had clear sinuses in a matter of minutes.

Then we took Aloe stems, Chinese Cinnamon, regular Cinnamon, Rhubarb, cloves, and wrapped them up in a muslin bag before dropping it into the mixture.

The mixture in the pot took on this purplish brown color.  It was so beautiful, the pictures here don’t do it justice.  Strangely, along with the color change, I also noticed something about pounding the muslin bag.  As I took it out and crushed it more and more, the liquid it exhuded had a whitish color and the consistency of phlegm or some other viscous liquid.  This mixture was blended into the borage/citron/mint wash and over a slow simmer I reduced the mixture to a slightly thick syrup.  I didn’t make it like molasses but it was probably about maple syrup consistency by the time it was done.

By the time the mixture was done I probably only had about 4-5 oz of actualy Cheering Syrup.   One of my judges luckily seemed to be having a tickle in her throat so this particular recipe was fortuitous.  I poured them about 1 1/3 oz in their cups and mixed it with 4 oz of warm/hot water.  They both felt the beverage had been successful and the viscous texture along with the menthol effect earned me a score of 77 (Master’s Score).

Findings:

Still wishing I had real citron leaves (4).  I’d be curious how it would change the flavor of the syrup itself.  Otherwise I’m pretty impressed.  I even managed to find a bottle to present it in that was similair to the blue one in this Islamic Pharmacopia picture:

doctors.jpg

 

Bibliography:

(1) 14th Century Andalusian Cook Book (http://italophiles.com/andalusian_cookbook.pdf)

(2) a Ratl is a Middleastern unit of measurement that changed with reigns.  I went with the last one.  The most significant ranges were :

  • 8th Century /1 Ratl = 300g  Marcinkowski, Measures, 41.
  • 10-12th Century/ 1 Ratl = 437.5 g – ibid.
  • Later 12th Century/ 1 Ratl (also known as ‘ratl fulfuli’ used for spices and finer commodities = 450g (15.5oz) -ibid

(3) û qiya= 1/12 ratl (1 1/3 oz) / http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/Cookbooks/Andalusian/andalusian10.htm

(4) Origins of Citron- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citron

 

 

 

 

14th C Faux French Wine

See what I did there? Anyway, my second entry to the Panels at EKBC was a wine that was a bit of a time traveler. In Oct I was given a list of recipes from the Folger’s Manual (which strangely enough turned out not to be a treatise on making bad coffee). This Manual was actually a collection of Recipes from the Folger’s Shakespeare Library over in England and taught me a valuable lesson in doing “complete” research before engaging in a project.

Original Recipe

Redaction

Something was incredibly suspicious about this recipe. They specifically state the recipe is from 1560 but it names Ale Yeast in the recipe. The fact that they were mentioning yeast in this time period was suspicious. Further, the fact that they were using Ale yeast in a wine was a 2nd strike but it didn’t dawn on me right from the beginning.

Tools:

  1. Steel Pot 3. Knife
  2. Wooden Spoon 4. Strainer

Process:

I started by chopping the raisins and combining them together with water and bringing the temperature up to boiling. At that point we added the sugar and gave it some mighty stirs using my grape pounding stick. The mixture was boiled for an hour and we put it in the container to sit and cool overnight. I then went to the local herb shop and picked up the next ingredient, the elder flower petals (dried was all they had available)

This was when we discovered the flaw in our plan. You see, I would have to stuff all those flowers into the carboy with the raisins and sugar which was already at capacity (5 gallons). It was quickly decided that the mixture would go back into the pot and the elder flower was stirred into the mixture until thoroughly immersed. It created a sort of “raft” on the top of the wine so I mixed in the lemon syrup (half lemon juice/half sugar) and the ale yeast. The whole batch was let sit 2 months.

And now we get to the troubling part of the recipe. I had not read through the entire article that I obtained. Instead of a simple recipe with source listed but to my shock, discovered it was merely the collection of recipes from multiple sources. I soon started to hunt down the recipe and the results were going the wrong direction.

The additional research started this way:

1) Chamber’s Cyclopædia of English Literature: A History, Critical

2) Excerpt from The Familiar Letters of James Howell (10th Edition from 1737) Published by James Nutt in the Strand, Edited by Joseph Jacobs; Balantine,Hanson and Co., Life 1594-1666 Copyright wrote of Frontiniac Wine in his account of the wine countries: pg 456

3) Excerpt from The works of Mary Russell Mitford: prose and verse, viz Our village, Belford 1850:

He made wine this year of his white muscadine and white frontiniac, better I thought than any French white wine. He keeps a shop of seeds, and plants in pots- next the street. Jan. 26, 1691. J. Gibson

Ok, so we now have a reference for the original wine which is made with GRAPES. Not sugar and Raisins, let’s see what else we can find.

4) Recipe shown in Warner’s Antiquitates Culinarie 1791 which drew the recipe from Eliza Smith’s “Compleat Housewife” Or, Accomplished Gentlewoman’s Companion of 1736 or 1739.

5) Definition: FRONTINIAC, Subst. (a luscious kind of rich wine made at Frontiniac, near Montpelier, in France )- The Royal Dictionary, French and English, and English and French By Abel Boyer, 1699, / just a bit outside period.

6) The Works of John Locke, Volume 10/ 1780. Describes a sweet wine- Musquat blanc, or white muscat ; this is usually planted and pressed alone, and makes the wine we usually call Frontiniac, from Frontignan, a town on the Mediterranean, near two or three leagues from Montpelier,

7) Excerpt from Sir Joseph Banks: (1743-1820) / wrong way in time

2 walnuts; 2 Spanish chestnuts; 2 oaks; 4 pomegranites; 2 plaintains; some mint; and of the grapes, Tokay, White Frontiniac, Black Frontiniac, Constantia for wine making, and only the White Muscadine and Muscat of Alexandria for eating.

8) On Alcohol: A Course of Six Cantor Lectures Delivered Before the Society of Arts 1878 mentions Wines of Spain and Portugal “Frontiniac” is among the listings. / still not headed the way we want to go

It isn’t until we finally get to this point the truth comes clear. This is a recovery wine. Somewhere along the way. Grape harvests of this Frontenac Grape become either scarce or there’s a plague that kills the grapes off slowly. So slow that they are trying to get what few grapes they can and they are using them the best way they know how. Preserve them by drying and re-hydrating them with additional sugar and flavoring:

9) The final link of the false Fronteniac Wine with the real wine is the recipe for when the wine grapes yield a poor harvest: The Whole Duty of a Woman: Or, an Infallible Guide to the Fair Sex

10) To Make Stepony: A Sip Through Time. Cindy Renfrow, Originally from Martha Washington’s Boke of Cookery, 1550-1625) / the corresponding similair recipe which shows the technique itself was period. Although obtained from a Tertiary source. If you’re ever forced to go with a choice between Martha Washington’s Recipe Book and Digby’s Closet Opened, go with Digby.

The final correlation ends up being through a Tertiary source which is where my points cost me. The recipe is period (sort of) but is not the direct Fronteniac Grape Wine recipe we hoped for.

Coincidentally, the end of the 2 months happened about 2 weeks before the EKBC which was just enough time needed to drain the mixture out, let it settle and then bottle it for display. The scent was probably it’s greatest aspect. One sniff and you’re hit with a bouquet of flowers right in the snoot. The taste is both sweet and floral (as expected) and the alcohol is pleasant. I suspect it probably could ferment further but the recipe said 2 months so that’s where we stop. If you do bottle this, I’d recommend champagne bottles so any additional fermentation doesn’t create a hand grenade. The final grade ended up being a 74 (Master level).

Incidently, the reason I was so hot to trot on making this recipe was because of the name which correlates with the location that the East Kingdom Brewers’ Collegium happens. It’s called Frontenac Lodge

I presented a large bottle to the owners in appreciation of all the years they’ve had us. I do hope they enjoyed it.