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Brewing Mead: Wassail! In Mazers of Mead: The Intriguing History of the Beverage of Kings and Easy, Step-by-Step Instructions for Brewing It At Home Paperback – January 26, 1998

4.0 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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About the Author

Robert Gayre
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 199 pages
  • Publisher: Brewers Publications (January 26, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0937381004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0937381007
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #505,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a very authoritative history of mead, stretching from its earliest know use by the peoples of Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley, through the middle ages, and to its decline in these modern times. Included in this foray is a discusion of the origins of spices, and differences between meads and ales. In the last quarter of the book are some common recipes, and a description of how to go about brewing mead. My only complaint is that I wish there was a more complete description of the process.
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Brewing Mead is in reality two books in one. The first part is a treatise by Lt. Col. Robert Gayre on the history and qualities of mead and its various subtypes. The second is by Charlie Papazian (known as St. Papazian in the meadmaking community) and contains a small number of recipes for mead, cyser, braggot, and other fermented honey drinks, as well as instructions on how to prepare and age mead.

Papazian's section takes up about 10% of the book, and is by far the most valuable portion. The recipes are clear and the instructions are easy to follow; mead made from the recipes will turn out well. For this reason I recommend this book to anyone who wishes to learn how to make mead.

Unfortunately, the bulk of the book is not as useful. Gayre is a forceful writer with a gift for language, but his viewpoint seems to be overly influenced by his belief in Aryan racial superiority. Time and again the author refers to the "Aryan" race and culture, claiming, for instance, that good mead is part of the Aryan heritage and that few other cultures were sophisticated enough to produce mead. Much of this is inaccurate; mead has existed wherever the honeybee has flourished, from Japan to Ethiopia. Perhaps this form of spin is to be expected from a Scots aristocrat who wrote numerous treatises on eugenics and racial superiority and whose works are sold to this day by organizations such as Stormfront, but it does raise questions as to the accuracy of other information given by the author.

Gayre also dismisses many forms of mead which he considers "peasant" or "primitive". He reserves his greatest scorn for sweet spiced homemade meads, implying that additives meant to make mead more flavourful are somehow low class.
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By A Customer on December 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is one of those extraordinary books that comes of a lifetime pursuit. Gayre goes way back in history to tell of the evolution of mead and its appreciation, even to when mead was the drink of "gods and men alike." It's not a recipe book, though a few recipes have been attached at the end. Rather it's the book to read for someone who wants to gain a thorough appreciation of mead, while they're going about making it. Though only about 140 pages, this book has about 130 footnotes. "Wassail!" he writes ("Wishing you health!") This book is both informative and, for me, inspiring.
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The first 90% of this book is written by Lt. Colonel Robert Gayre. This part of the book is dedicated to the history of mead and related alcoholic drinks. Naked racism, extreme conservatism, snobbism, awkward language style, low readability and long, boring historic reviews are characteristic for this part of the book. The Lt. Colonel speaks of great English civilization, wonderful Aryan race and superior Anglo-Saxon race, trying to bring enlightenment to the primitive and degenerate other human races. In this part there is not even a trace of any knowledge about mead making necessary for those who would like to do it.

The last 10% of the book - Brewing Mead - is written by Charlie Papazian. This part is too short and too general to make a useful contribution to a beginner. The recipes are not precise and not detailed enough for a real success.

If you are a historian interested in racist theories centered on the English and the Aryan myths, this may be the book for you.
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If you are a real fan of mead and mead making you might want to add this to your collection simply as an interesting read into the history, conjecture and ups and downs of mead over the centuries. Well researched and interesting. Predominantly a scholarly look at the history of mead. The last few pages have some recipes and they are sound. So, if you are fascinated by mead then this is a great book. But if you want to learn how to make mead this wouldn't quite be the right book for you. Should be on any mead makers bookshelf though. You can't get this information about the nectar of the gods anywhere else. First published in 1948 and this is a reprinting.
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A nice book about the history of mead and its sources but not to the newbie who desires to start brewing mead. There many other books about mead brewing in the market with easy instructions. However this is not one of these if you want to start brewing. It is a masterpiece on the history of mead. Enjoyable reading, concise bibliography from reliable sources. A must have.
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Format: Paperback
I'm really interested in mead and have made my own. I like to read about mead and its history, but I found this book somewhat inaccessible. It was an absolute chore to read. I wish the information had been presented in an interesting manner. Nonetheless, the brief section in the back of the book is somewhat helpful to homebrewers interesting in making mead.
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