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Make Mead Like a Viking: Traditional Techniques for Brewing Natural, Wild-Fermented, Honey-Based Wines and Beers Paperback – November 4, 2015
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"Zimmerman originally documented his brewing experiments on his blog, jereme-zimmerman.com. After enthusiastic feedback from participants in the author’s mead workshops, he decided to publish a handbook on making mead with wild yeast, a practice at which the Vikings excelled. His recipes are straightforward and easy to follow, frequently including a story or tips to improve it. They often call for not only standard mead but also an unusual ingredient such as mushrooms, garlic, horehound, or marshmallow plant. Zimmerman packs this slim tome with honey-based brewing recipes, Viking mythology, Viking cultural history (as it applies to mead), a history of beekeeping, a guide to picking honey, how to drink mead, and equipment advice. While there are many mead-making titles on the market, the emphasis on wild yeast along with Zimmerman’s philosophy of experimentation and self-sufficiency make this a unique offering. VERDICT: Adventurous mead makers or brewers who want to move beyond the basics will find plenty to savor here.”
"After an exhausting day raiding coastlines and terrorizing natives, Vikings loved to relax with a nice quaff of mead. Over the centuries, mead retreated to merely a historical curiosity. But thanks to creative and adventuresome home brewers such as Zimmerman, mead has roared back to life. Zimmerman promotes natural fermentation from airborne yeasts, but for those lacking bold Viking genes, he offers advice on fermentation from commercial yeasts. Text is clear and very encouraging, and he makes mead accessible to both tyros and experienced brewers. Summarizing relevant equipment and ingredients, Zimmerman emphasizes that his disciples will produce their best meads if they don’t go overboard on sterilizing their equipment nor take all the joy out of mead making. Recipes go beyond basic mead to include Ethiopian t’ej, fruit-enhanced melomel, and metheglin, which scents mead with herbs and spices. A valuable addition to any collection that seeks to satisfy the creativity of home brewers.”
“A great guide to mead making, full of practical information and fascinating lore.”--Sandor Ellix Katz, author of The Art of Fermentation and Wild Fermentation
“This is a fun book―and fortunately, it doesn’t stop there. Coupled with the fun parts is a book that is informative and detailed in everything from choosing honey all the way to what kinds of corks to use. As a beekeeper who has always had lots of good raw honey on hand, I have made mead before but only in the kind of sterile environment that Jereme Zimmerman eschews. His book opened my eyes to the possibility of returning to the much more natural and time-honored ways of brewing this fascinating beverage.”--Jeffrey Hamelman, director, King Arthur Flour Bakery; author of Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes
“Tradition meets modernity in this marvelous look at the ancient brewing of honey-based beverages.”--Mike Faul, owner and brewmaster, Rabbit’s Foot Meadery
“I really delighted in this inspired and informative read. Throw caution into the mead-making wind and relish the challenge of some of the more unusual flavorings and ingredients. I now feel more like being a Viking mead maker than ever, and coming from a Celt and fourth-generation mead maker that is something! Enjoy mead and make merry men and maidens.”--Sophia Fenton, director, Cornish Mead Co. Ltd.
“Jereme Zimmerman has captured the wild spirit of mead quite literally―as the quintessential naturally fermented beverage of humankind from the beginning, which reached its apotheosis with the Vikings. Without compromising its mysterious allure, he brings it down to earth for all to make and enjoy.”--Patrick E. McGovern, author of Ancient Wine and Uncorking the Past
“Make Mead Like a Viking puts the ME back in mead: my Scandinavian heritage simply sang when reliving the history, reading the recipes, and playing the drinking games he includes. And best yet . . . Zimmerman encourages mead makers to keep their own bees! There’s no better way to get the best honey there is than when you, and the bees you care for, make it happen together. For me, this is the perfect marriage.”--Kim Flottum, editor-in-chief, Bee Culture: The Magazine of American Beekeeping
About the Author
Jereme Zimmerman grew up on his parents’ northern Kentucky goat farm, Twin Meadows, where he was also homeschooled. After graduating from Berea College in Berea, Kentucky, he moved to the Pacific Northwest, where he immersed himself in the world of homebrewing. As the world’s only peace-loving, green-living Appalachian Yeti Viking, Zimmerman writes, blogs, and speaks regularly on fermentation, mead-making, homesteading, and good eating. He is a regular contributor to various publications and websites, including New Pioneer and Backwoods Home magazines. He writes for Earthineer.com as “RedHeadedYeti.” He currently lives in Berea with his wife, Jenna, and daughters, Sadie and Maisie, where he practices urban homesteading and cavorts with farmers, authors, and fellow sustainable-living enthusiasts.
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Top customer reviews
In addition to his playfulness, Zimmerman's passion for all things Viking shines through in this book. He gives a good grounding in Norse mythology and culture, the history of and changes in mead making, and information on a wealth of variants that fall broadly under the "mead" category (even some on beers). Also, he's included recipes he's used and developed--although perhaps it would be better to call them guidelines, since he freely recommends departing from them at your whim.
The concept and information on wild fermenting is, I think, worth the cost of the book all by itself. It had never occurred to me (why, I do not know) that yeasts abounded all around me and would be happy to leap into my primary fermenter and start having bubble-making parties. Nor had it occurred to me that the pellicle (a barrier layer) formed by top-fermenting yeasts had a protective function; I always thought it meant "batch spoiled; throw it out" (but then, I was making wine, not beer, and top-fermenting yeasts are important in beer). It's eminently sensible; nobody in neolithic times had packets of yeast, for pity's sake, but they certainly had fermented beverages.
I suspect this will become a favorite gateway book for those wanting to try out mead making or take a less intimidating pathway into the world of home brewing. It's an easy, enjoyable, and absorbing read, one that takes frugality, sustainability, and responsibility seriously, and one with enough depth that you'll keep going back to it.