Ian Gourdon's
Brewing and Vintning Page
"Give a man a beer and he wastes an hour...
Teach a man to brew and he wastes a lifetime."
the Marche of Gwyntarian Tunners Guild
Mistress Arwenna of Kelsley is the Steward;
she can be reached at
 Stefan Cauterhaugh is the Butler;
he can be reached at
 " must keep it a longer time before you drink it; and the length of time mellows and tames the taste of the Herbs and Spice. And when it is tunned in the vessel, after working with the barm, you hang in it a bag with bruised Spices...which is to hang in the barrel all the while you draw it." -from Digby

One of the Tunners Guild members, Ld. Nigel FitzMaurice, has done some really interesting research on the history and development of Cordials in the Middle Ages:
A few excerpts follow:
"...a number of recipes are transcribed from various common books dating from the late 14th century.
... all taken from four different manuscripts (Harleian 2378, the Johnstone Manuscript, Sloane 521, and Sloane 2584). Each of these works are privately produced
formularies describing a wide variety of medicinal preparations, presenting several hundred leaves each both in Latin and Middle English.
...They were selected as clear examples of medicines on their way to becoming liquers."
(various cautions follow, on translating Middle English, and the changes in plant names, etc)
from #5: Harl. 2378 p.278
trans after original (which I don't have the ME font for):"A
precious water to clear a mans sight and destroy the pain in
a mans eye. - Take red rose, wood-sage (which some call
capillus vereris), fennel, ivy, vervain, eyebright, endive,
and betony; of each equal amounts, so that you have in all 6
handfulls; and let them rest in wine a day and a night. The
second day still them in a distillator; the first water that
you produce shall be the color of gold, the next of silver,
the 3rd of balm; this precious water may serve to ladies
instead of balm."
further: "Another point which we shall see repeated in all
these recipes is that, for the most part, the part of the
plant to be used is not specified, and we are left to guess
whether the root, the stalk, the seeds, or the flowers are
Another obvious one might be:
#9. Johnstone Ms. P. 258. (probably 1400-1450, as it is the
last entry)
Trans: "For to make aqua vite. - Take sage, and fennel-rotes
and persley-rotes and rosemaryne and tyme and lavender, each
in equal amounts. Wash them and dry them, and then grind
them a little in a mortar and add a little salt. Then put it
in the body of the distillator and pour in wine (red or
white), then place it in a pot of ashes over the furnace and
make a gentle enough fire underneath that when the
distillator begins to drip, look that it drips no faster
than you can say "one-two-three" between the drops. And so
distill it all together, then take the water that is
distilled, and distill again if you like, and take a little
spoonful every day while fasting."
For further entries, contact Bruce Gordon at
 Period wine-French
"The following French vineyards have produced wine since the Middle
Ages with a few dating from 279 C.E. using the grape varieties still grown in and used today: Clos de Beze, Corton-Charlemagne, Le Romanee,
Clos de Vougeot, Merseult, Montrachet.
 These vineyards were controlled by the Church in the Middle Ages.
The wine of these vineyards was much sought after by medieval gourmets
as they are in the current middle ages.  The wines of these houses were
called 'wines of Auxerre,' then later 'wines of Baeume' and finally
in the 1400s the 'wines of Burgundy' by which name they are still referred to.
French grape varieties grown in the Middle Ages included:
Granache, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot,
Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and Gamay.
The last four being some of the most ancient  varieties."
The Gwyntarian Tunners Guild page
is where you want to go for all the details of the way we sparge our worts, and 
The Charter of the Tunners Guild
 both pages kept by Forester Nigel FitzMaurice
And, if you like such, the research
(scadian A&S) I've collected so far on making
such drinks, and their periodicity:
 Ales - Beers
and Wines

Let us pray:
Our Lager, which art in barrels,
Hallowed be thy drink.
Thy Ale House come,
Thy wort be done,
At home as it is in the Brewery.
Give us this day our foamy head,
And forgive us our spillages,
As we forgive those that spill upon us,
And lead us not into incarceration,
But deliver us from hangovers;
For thine is the proof,
The barm, and the
Here's a short story on the creation of a drink we call
Making it is simple enough:
1 bottle of  Mac Gregor's scotch,
1 bottle of DeKuyper's Hazelnut Liquer,
and 1 cup of Honey.
It all started when we ran out of beer, throwing darts one
night, oh, about ten plus years ago... Zurab and I were
content to just drink the other stuff I had, (scotch) but his lady
Ula wasn't having any of that, not neat, anyway. I mixed up something a little sweeter, for her (see above) and after one
glass, she went from kicking our butts to mostly missing the
dartboard. We stood accused .
Obviously, we had been bending her darts!
We've been calling it dartbender, ever since.

"Ale shall now my engage my pen to set at rest the hearts of men. 
First, my friend, your candle light; next of spiced cake take a bite. 
Then steep your barley in a vat, large and broad, take care of that; 
When you shall have steeped your grain and the water let out -drain, 
Take it to an upper floor, if you've swept it clean before; 
There couch and let your barley dwell, till it germinates full well. 
Malt you now shall call the grain, corn it ne'er shall be again 
Stir the malt then with your hand, in heaps or rows now let it stand; 
On a tray then you shall take it to a kiln to dry and bake it. 
The tray and eke a basket light will serve to spread the malt aright. 
When your malt is ground in mill, and of hot water has drunk its fill 
And skill has changed the wort to ale, then to see you shall not fail" 
            - Walter de Biblesworth 13TH century
And now, for something special from
Mistress Arwenna of Kelsley:
Chamomile Cordial: A Medicinal for female monthly concerns; a muscle relaxant which I've found to be good for relieving cramps and backache.

The Recipe:
Steep 16 chamomile teabags in 300 ml of brandy or vodka for four days, remove tea bags and add 250 ml of sugar syrup (1 c. sugar to 1 c. water).
Add enough honey to make it palatable 
(I added 50 ml of honey to lessen the afterbite).
Set it aside to blend for a week turning it once or twice to help blend it, then filter it through fine muslin or coffee filters. I take one shot for one dose,  which lasts about four hours. 
           WARNING: Like most 'medicines', it is possible to overdose on chamomile. Fortunately, it doesn't taste good enough to drink socially!
Brandy vs Aqua Vitae - 17th Century (7-98)
        "Brandy was a result of the taxation of wine over the mountains in France around that time.  It was easier to distill the wine and send it out, since taxes were on the volume of fluids and the smaller amount was easier to move.  The customers liked the drink too, so it sold. Aqua Vitae as a term came in much later than the actual product that was described, as I have mentioned before.  It was the equivalent of a technical term, as there was no term in Latin to describe the stuff, and the speakers of Latin did not like using the local names for the stuff... Hence the date difference."  Arundel
" ... I got curious, and looked up "brandy" in OED....  Interesting  stuff. The original term (dating from the 17th century) is brandwine. The formation is thus:  brandwine > brandewine > brandy-wine > brandee > brandy.
Our familiar form was in use as early as 1657, with the fuller form of brandwine retained for official use through the end of the 17th century.  Therefore, "aqua-vitae" is the older form (dating from the 5-7 centuries), and is originally an alchemical term, only taking on its beverage connotation shortly thereafter. "  Gwydion 

A comment on Alewives:
"Come who so wyll To Elynour on the hyll,
Wyth, "Fyll the cup, fyll," And syt there by styll,
Erly and late: Thyther cometh Kate,
Cysly, and Sare, With theyr legges bare,
And also theyr fete, Hardely, full unswete;
Wyth theyr heles dagged, Theyr kyrtelles all to-jagged,
Theyr smockes all to-ragged,
Wyth titters and tatters, Brynge dysshes and platters,
Wyth all theyr myght runnynge To Elynour Rummynge,
To have of her tunnynge:
She leneth them on the same.
And thus begynneth the game."
---John Skelton : Period Practice
 A short bibliography of Medieval/Renaissance Brewing: HERE

"This is a short annotated bibliography of books and other materials useful for historical brewing. Some of these materials range up into the 1800s." - Webbed by Gregory Blount of Isenfir (

Cindy Renfrow's Links Page
Try the zymurgy Mead Site... Good links!
Knaves of Grain  HERE
A Friend in Mead HERE
The Meadery HERE
Bert Grant's
Anglo-Saxon and Viking Brewing Early Medieval
Index of /brewing HERE
Kingdom of Ansteorra Brewing Information
Sam Adam's World Beer Styles
Barat's Mead Page
Beverages on the Rialto
The London Country Brewer - 1736 AD
Hopunion USA, Inc.
Medieval/Renaissance Brewing Homepage
Beamish Genuine Irish Stout
Wines, beers and spirits of the net
Guinness Brewing
Real Beer Page: Brew Tour,  Games,  Tunnels
Cider Space FAQ
The Real Cider and Perry Page

The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelme Digbie Kt Opened:
Whereby is Discovered Several ways for making of Metheglin, Sider, Cherry-Wine, &c. together with Excellent Directions for Cookery: As also for Preserving, Conserving, Candying, &c. First edition, London, 1669
(This link goes to a web reproduction of the book)
"If  I recall correctly, it was published 3 generations after the close of period, and not before.  Quick research shows that Digby was born after period (1603), died long after period (1665) and the book was published some years later (1669). Not to mention that Digby himself invented a few techniques that revolutionized brewing, and therefore his recipes cannot be considered to have used period technique. " (The strong bottle, cf SCUM, an article by Morgaine ferch Cadwr). "Many folks choose to disagree.  But I'd place Digby so far post period as to be almost inconceivable for period (Medieval) brewing." -Tibor

Gervase Markham
Countrey Contentments or The English Hus-wife (London 1615)
You might be having trouble finding Markham's English Hus-wife in facsimile because the facsimile edition has a different title, to wit: Countrey Contentments (London 1615) re-printed in the series The English Experience, no. 613, by Da Capo Press, 1973. (this volume contains "Husbandman's Recreation" and "English Hus-Wife")
Chapter Nine (partial) : on Brewing...
 " I personally feel that Markham has quite a lot more to teach about brewing as a science than Digby, because the process of English- style infusion mashing is explained in quite clear detail, while Digby just speaks of pouring your boiling water over the malt, which, if followed to the letter, may well not result in anything drinkable. The other charge sometimes made against Markham, generally as an attempt to discredit his value as a nominally period source, is that he was a plagiarist. What many people who repeat this charge fail to take into account is that what he was accused of plagiarizing was his own work, over about the forty years previous...
...In other words, much of what was published in The English Housewife in 1615 had been previously published, by Markham, in the 1570's and '80's." - Adamantius 
"A modern work written by a woman's studies professor gives a mostly woman-centric view of brewing (as the title suggests) but with good balance. It is heavily footnoted with the primary sources that she used. Bennett focuses primarily on England during the period and pulls together a diversity of sources. It is an interesting book to read - more objective than I would have thought. I had the opportunity to talk with Professor Bennett while she was on sabbatical last year. One of the most valuable aspects of this book is that she has created a network of primary document researchers throughout England who helped her sift through massive numbers of records for specific types of information." -

Ale, Beer and Brewsters in England : Women's Work in a Changing World, 1300-1600 by Judith M. Bennett
Hardcover. Published by Oxford Univ Press Publication date: September 1996
ISBN: 0195073908

There are several publications by Sir Hugh Platt that are of value. In 1594 he wrote "A Jewel House of Art and Nature" and in 1577 he published a book on hops and their cultivation.

Ian Gourdon of Glen Awe - cgc, OP