The alcohol they REALLY drank in Europe in the Middle Ages (class handout)

 Posted by on June 12, 2015
From Li Livres dou Santé by Aldobrandino of Siena (France, late 13th century).

What they REALLY drank 2015

Medieval Brewing: The alcohol they REALLY drank in Europe in the Middle Ages

Class handout

Mistress Sorcha Crowe

Mka Elspeth Payne




 Wine (assumed grape)

  • pyment

‘Country’ wine (other fruit)

Beer vs. Ale

  • Braggot
  • Mulled ale
  • Butterbeer
  • Gruit

Scandinavian beers

Estonia: Sahti

Estonia: Koduõlu (home beer)

Lithuania: Kaimiskas alus

Lithuania: šviesus/tamsus/juodas/fitruotas/nefitruotas

Norway: maltøl, bayer, juleøl, bokkøl (bockbier), pilsner (Plzeň)

Sweden: lättӧl, stankӧl, folkӧl (by strength)


  • Cyser
  • Pery or perry



  • Honey jack
  • Apple jack
  • Kvass (period??)


  • Acerglyn (maple)
  • Black mead (currants)
  • Bochet
  • Bochetomel (bochet with fruit)
  • Chouchenn (Brittany)
  • Czwórniak (Poland)
  • Dwójniak (Poland)
  • Gverc (Croatia)
  • Hydromel
  • Medica (Slovenia)
  • Medovina (Croatia)
  • Medovukha (East Slavic)
  • Melomel (fruit)
  • Metheglin (herbs and spices)
  • Midus (Lithuania)
  • Mӧdu (Estonia)
  • Morat (blackberries or mulberries)
  • Mulsum (technically not a true mead; strong wine with honey added)
  • Myod (Russian)
  • Omphacomel (verjuice)
  • Oxymel (wine vinegar)
  • Półtorak (Poland)
  • Quick mead
  • Rhodamel(i) (roses)
  • Sack (very sweet)
  • Sima (Finland)
  • Trójniak (Poland)
  • White mead


Atlantia and SCA Websites and Lists on brewing

Atlantia Brewers Guild:

Atlantia brewers Yahoo group:

SCA brewers list:

Interkingdom Brewers Guild:

Guide to other kingdom guilds:

Everyone’s first secondary source: A Sip Through Time, by Cindy Renfrow, 1997.

Society Publications

  • Coming soon, in Tournaments Illuminated Issue #195, Third Quarter 2015: Book review on Quinte Essence, or Man’s Heaven
  • Brewing Medieval Beer Tournaments Illuminated, Issue #194, Second Quarter 2015, by Brian Burnham
  • Casks Kegs, and Other Brewing Measurements in Medieval England Compleat Anachronist #164, Second Quarter 2014
  • Intoxicating Beverages in the Middle East Compleat Anachronist #157, Third Quarter 2012
  • Origins of Mead Compleat Anachronist #141, Fourth Quarter 2008
  • Making Medieval Mead or, Mead Before Digby Compleat Anachronist #120, Summer 2003, by Cynthia Krupp and Bill Gillen
  • Alcoholic Drinks of the Middle Ages Compleat Anachronist #60, March 1992, by Marc Shapiro
  • The CA Guide to Brewing Compleat Anachronist #5, March 1983, by Lady Arwen Evaine fert Rhys ap Gwynedd
  • “Anglica Brewtannica Vol.2: “Carboy to Kegging” Tournaments Illuminated #183, Third Quarter 2012
  • “Anglica Brewtannica Vol 1: Strike to Carboy”

Tournaments Illuminated #182, Second Quarter 2012

  • “Cordially Yours: Researching and Making Cordials” Tournaments Illuminated #179, Third Quarter 2011
  • “Things That Go Boom in the Night” Tournaments Illuminated #175, Third Quarter 2010
  • “An Arab Mead”, by Bruce R. Gordon Tournaments Illuminated #140, Fall 2001
  • For an index of issues, visit or .

 Shameless self-promotion: Useful bibliographies on my website, Beauty In Beer  search on “Books for Brewers”

Primary Sources:

Secondary Sources:

Modern Books on brewing:

Books on bees and honey:

 Facebook groups

Medieval Brewing

Several groups in Atlantia, and various Kingdom Guilds are on FB – for list see:

Plenty of others…


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