On the making of an elixir of pain relief
By: George von Einbrauer

 

What we shall look at here is the preparation of ze ancient elixir of pain relief. Trust not the witch their and their roots and barks; believe in the power of the Lord to embody nature with healing powers. Look at the bee, a noble creature, all of its people know their place in society. They produce a viscous fluid known as honey. This honey tastes good with your cakes and lager, but its true purpose is much, much better.

Perhaps your local smith hath outfitted ye with his latest contraption, and you go to war for crown and lord. Or maybe you try your hand at that French thing, the behourd. Either way, Iíll wager you your local smith isnít as great of a master as he claims. Well his contraption be it maille, plate, or that bizarre contrivance the yellow people wear, probably left you hurting. Well of itís self it didnít, it was likely the zweihander in that huge dopplesolders hands that caused the bruise. But, if youíre reading this, heís probably sitting at a far better table than you. Either that or heís learning another use of a pitchfork...

Now onto the elixir. Youíll need a kettle. A big one for a big batch, or a smaller one for a smaller batch. Try and get one that will not rust (1). Youíll need water... clear water not that swill that bubbles up from the county lake. And youíll need 15-lbs. honey. Get a light coloured one from the apiary. Clover is a good start, as is wild flower. Stay away from hempen honey (2) (itís illegal in most kingdoms), as well as any honey that is much darker than a good German bach. Take your pot, and add two gallons and another half of water to it. Bring this to a boil. When it is rolling, begin stirring, and then add the honey. Keep stirring, you donít want it to burn. As it cooks, it will begin to froth... rake some of the coals out from under it, cooling it down (3). For around 30 minutes, keep watching, and as scum rises, dip it off with a spoon. Now some people will argue that you need to add all kinds of things to the brew. The one that comes up most is cloves. I donít like cloves. Hence I donít use them. Really simple to me. Of course I do find that occasionally adding 3 strong cups of mint tea per gallon of water (4) makes for a pleasant taste. You can also, if honey is in dearth, use fruit juices like apple, grape, peach, berry, or even that new cranberry (5). Play around with it, but remember, never more than half of the batch.

Now you will need a glass carboy. You should be able to get it from a brewerís guild, an apothecary, or even from the trash heap at the monastery (I hear they use a really light glass to hold water for the scribes) (6) add a gallon of cool water to the jar. Then pour in the fluid you just boiled. Top off to the 5-gallon mark with more water. Now you must make a choice. You can either slop the wort as itís called, or lambic it. To lambic (7) it, leave the top off for a while, then cork it up. Run a tube from the cork into a glass of water... it should begin bubbling. I would recommend against it (8), as to be honest, Iíve gotten some bad results and odd flavours from this. Your other option is to back slop(9). If youíre starting out your very first batch, youíll need to buy some slop. If youíre in my area, avoid Meister Fleischmannís slop(10), as it often produces bad elixir. Try monsignor Wyeast, or perhaps Yestlab(11). Do not purchase a yeast made for sparkling wine, it too had bad flavour(12). Once youíve gotten this slop, add it to the carboy(13) and cap as above.

Wait... wait until the bubbles have ceased to rise in the cup of water. At this point, siphon off the clear portion(14) into another carboy, and the rest can be used as slop for another batch. Cap the carboy, and let the clear portion settle out. Wait at least a month or so. Pour into bottles, add a teaspoon of honey to each (15), and cork. Affix a retainer for the cork. Let this set. The longer the better. When opened, the elixir should be bubbly(16), and mellow. One quart should relieve most all pain, as well as in inhibitions from the inbiber.

Footnotes:

  1. Stainless steel or enameled is best, although, Iím not too sure of how period the second is.
  2. Iím referring to marijuana honey. It is dark, and, so Iím told, bitter. It also retains the euphoric effects of the drug.
  3. In all actuality, turn down the stove. Again, Iím striving for a period feel
  4. Use 3 tea bags per gallon, in this case 15 bags.
  5. Fruit juices are fun to play with, but occasionally introduce undesirable elements (cloudiness, weird flavours, etc) try your first batch with honey.
  6. Most brewstores sell 5-6 gallon carboys for brewing. You can also make do with the empty jug from a water cooler. Make sure to get a RUBBER stopper, and tube to fit it.
  7. Technically, all period brews were made with wild yeast. They really didnít understand yeast until the time of Pasteur.
  8. Donít do it... just go buy the yeast at the store. You can introduce all kinds of germs this way, and while the alcohol kills most, they usually leave bad flavour.
  9. Back slopping (sick word choice eh?) was, I believe, a period practice. You just poured the dregs (sediment) into the new batch. I used this expression to stand in for normal pitching procedure.
  10. Donít. Just donít. Bread yeast is good for bread, and occasionally good for brewing, but its quality is often poor. And donít listen to the folks who say itís closer to period. People had random yeast strains because they couldnít do any better. Why waste the honey?
  11. Wyyeast, and Yeast lab are 2 of the bigger yeast companies today. They make nice mead yeasts, as well as suitable ale and lager yeasts
  12. Twice Iíve had to make extra work because of champagne yeast. They tend to give you REALLY dry mead. Too dry for me.
  13. Wait till the wort is cooled.
  14. A device called a "RACKING CANE" helps immensely. Itís a piece of rigid tubing roughly shaped like a shepherdís staff. It keeps the bottom of the tube off of the sediment layer.
  15. Technically this is not necessary, as mead is generally not a sparkling beverage. I however am fond of it, and it adds to the "elixir" story.
  16. Or not if you chose not to add the honey






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