Wine produced in Ancient Egypt or Biblical times

How high would the alcohol content be? Has anyone made wine using their methods?
What about beer made using brewing methods used in the medieval times?

Alcohol content would be roughly comparable to today’s table wines, at about 12-14%ABV. Yeast is yeast. Ditto for beer. There are some Belgian monestaries that are cranking out the same beer today they made 500 years ago. These can range anywhere from 4%ABV to up to 12%ABV. It is only recently, IIRC, that brewer’s yeasts have be tailored to produced higher alcohol levels. Distiller’s yeast is no good for beer, because it produces some really foul-tasting esters that need to be boiled off before the stuff is drinkable.

Fritz Maytag brewed a batch at Anchor Brewing a few years ago using an ancient Sumerian recipe. I’m told the result was…interesting.

Try here.

And here.

And if you want more background, A History Of The World In Six Glasses, by Tom Standage.

A book I heartily second. A good read, and very informative.

There are members of the Society of Creative Anachronism who are very into faithfully recreating old style fermented beverages. I am not into this angle myself but I became aware of this because of my interest in making mead, a beverage which has declined quite a bit in popularity over the last 1000 years or so.

One thing that probably hasn’t changed much since ancient times is alcohol content. As silenus points out, yeast is yeast. I have never heard that there has been a concerted selection over time by brewers or vintners for yeast strains that produce higher alcohol.

silenus what was interesting about the Anchor Sumerian beer? I’ve been tempted to make some using Charlie Papazian’s recipe for homebrewers.

Imagine wet, flat, alcoholic date-bread. You could get drunk on it, but it’s definitely not what modern people think of when you say “beer.” It’s not Optimator by any stretch of the imagination. :smiley:

Hmmm. I’m still tempted to try it though. Since I finally got a 3 gallon carboy I will make a small batch, probably 2-2.5 gallons. I’m a nut for odd recipes and ingredients.

To the OP: I also recently purchased a book called Wines and Beers of Old New England. I haven’t had a chance to try any of the recipes yet but it is a really entertaining read. How to make hard cider, beer, mead, wine from Concord grapes and such things as dandelion, carrot and oak leaf wine just like the early settlers of New England did. I’m sure I’ll start a thread about it if I have anything interesting to report.

Try making a beer with gruit sometime. Very interesting flavor. We made a batch using wild rosemary, yarrow and sweet gale, with a bit of coriander and ginger tossed in for good measure. It was quite a hit at the club Xmas party that year.

LL, I’ll swap you cider recipes sometime.

I’m told that the alcohol content of ancient wine was slightly lower, and that it was very sour. We’ve done a lot of work on the domesticated lineages of grapes in the past 2000 years, most of which involve them being more sweet, adding more sweetness (and more alcohol) to wine.