Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

Dampened Spirits is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in which the Dragonborn must shut down Honningbrew Meadery, a business competing with Black-Briar Meadery, for Maven Black-Briar.


I've been sent to speak to Maven Blackbriar, head of the wealthiest most influential family in Riften. According to Brynjolf, she has a job of utmost importance for me and I need to follow her directions to the letter.


  1. Speak to Maven Black-Briar
  2. Speak to Mallus Maccius
  3. Speak to Sabjorn
  4. Poison the nest
  5. Poison the Honningbrew vat
  6. Attend the tasting ceremony
  7. Identify Sabjorn's silent partner
  8. Return to Maven Black-Briar
  9. Return to Brynjolf


"Honningbrew's owner, Sabjorn, is about to hold a tasting for Whiterun's Captain of the Guard and we're going to poison the mead."
Mallus Maccius[src]

The first step in the quest is to speak with Maven Black-Briar. She will be waiting upstairs in The Bee and Barb, wandering around town during daylight, or in the Black-Briar Meadery in Riften. She asks the Dragonborn to shut down a competitor, the newly opened Honningbrew Meadery, and to find out how its owner Sabjorn has managed so quickly to fund its opening.

"So, you're the one. Hmm. You don't look so impressive." (If the Dragonborn burned fewer than four beehives during "Loud and Clear") or
"So you're the one that burned down Golenglow Estate. Do you have any idea what that little stunt you pulled is going to cost me?" (If the Dragonborn burned more than three beehives during "Loud and Clear")

My apologies, Lady Maven. (If the Dragonborn burned more than three beehives during "Loud and Clear") "The only reason we're having this conversation is due to Brynjolf's assurance you won't botch another assignment. He claims you possess some sort of uncanny aptitude for your line of work. Quite frankly I find that hard to believe."
I'm the best at what I do. "Is that confidence I hear... or is it arrogance? Strange how often they're confused. You have to understand, it's been a long time since Brynjolf's sent me anyone I can rely on."
Sorry you're disappointed. "This is exactly what I'm talking about. Once again Brynjolf sends me someone with no backbone, no determination."
How about we skip the conversation? "You're a firebrand, aren't you? It's about time Brynjolf sent me someone with business sense. I was beginning to think he was running some sort of beggar's guild over there."
You have no faith in the Guild? "Faith? I don't have faith in anyone. All I care about is cause and effect. Did the job get done and was it done correctly. There's no gray area."
You won't have that problem with me. "I hope not. This is an important job. I have a competitor called Honningbrew Meadery that I want to put out of business. I also want to know how they managed to get the place up and running so quickly."
Where do I begin? "Head to the Bannered Mare in Whiterun and look for Mallus Maccius. He'll fill you in on all the details."

"One more time in case I wasn't clear. You butcher this job and you'll be sorry."

How did you become allied with the Thieves Guild? "The Black-Briar family has always been allied with the Guild. Our connections with the Empire and within Skyrim make for a perfect fit. I dare say the Guild owes its survival as much to my family as it does to its own people."
Who runs the show at Honningbrew Meadery? "Some layabout called Sabjorn. Been a thorn in my side for the last few years now."
Sabjorn sounds like more than just friendly competition. "Not a day goes by that I don't regret letting Sabjorn get as far as he did. In only a few short years, he's taken that bile he calls mead to market and a chunk of my profits with it! I can't imagine where he found the gold to take it to market so quickly."
So get rid of him and he's no longer a threat. "Exactly. With Sabjorn in prison, his meadery will be forced to close. Then I swoop in and take over the place. No more competition."
Why strike now? "The Goldenglow Estate job was undoubtedly interrupted the supply of honey I need to make my mead. Sabjorn could use this interruption to his advantage and collect a larger share of the market. I can't have that."

"Shouldn't you be on your way to Whiterun?"

Next, it is necessary to find and speak with Mallus Maccius. He will be waiting in The Bannered Mare in Whiterun. He tells the Dragonborn to ask Sabjorn for work clearing out pests that Mallus has lured into the meadery. The Dragonborn is to fulfill this job, poisoning the meadery vat in the process.

"Can't a man drink in peace?"

Maven said you're expecting me. "I'm going to keep this short 'cause we've got a lot to do. Honningbrew's owner, Sabjorn, is about to hold a tasting for Whiterun's Captain of the Guard and we're going to poison the mead."
You have the poison? "No, no. That's the beauty of the whole plan. We're going to get Sabjorn to give it to us. The meadery has quite a pest problem and the whole city knows about it. Pest poison and mead don't mix well, you know what I mean?"
How do I fit in? "You're going to happen by and lend poor old Sabjorn a helping hand. He's going to give you the poison to use on the pests, but you're also going to dump it into the brewing vat."
Clever. "Maven and I spent weeks planning this. All we need is someone like you to get in there and get it done. Now get going before Sabjorn grows a brain and hires someone else to do the dirty work."
How do I get to the brewing vats? "Both of the buildings are connected by tunnels made by the pests infesting the meadery. There's an entrance to it in the basement storeroom of the warehouse that used to be boarded over. I've already removed the boards so the meadery would get infested. That's where you should start."
What about just going in through the brewery? "Sabjorn keeps that locked up tight. If you can get through that way, go right ahead."
Why are you doing all this? "I made the mistake of borrowing coin from Sabjorn. He's allowing me to pay it back, but he's working my fingers to the bone! He treats me like a slave... I have to do every nasty, dirty job in the meadery."
There's more to this than a debt, isn't there? "If this plan works, not only is my debt gone, but I'll be set up for life. Maven and I worked out a little deal. If Sabjorn ends up in jail, she's going to take over his meadery. And guess who gets to run the Black-Briar Meadery in Whiterun? You're looking at him."
Why bother poisoning the nest for Sabjorn? "Once Sabjorn is out of the way, Maven has plans for this place. One way or another, we don't want the pests coming back. Consider it just more of the dirty work. I did my part getting them in there, now you need to clear them out."

"Remember, Sabjorn will be needing a helping hand. Make it look good."

Sabjorn will give the Dragonborn a key to the meadery's basement with instructions to kill all the pests and to poison their nest. This presents the opportunity to poison the vats as well.

"What are you gawking at? Can't you see I have problems here?"

Is something wrong? "Are you kidding me? Look at this place. I'm supposed to be holding a tasting of the new Honningbrew Reserve for the Captain of the Guard. If he sees the meadery in this state, I'll be ruined."
I might be able to help. "Oh really? And I don't suppose you'd just do it out of the kindness of your heart, would you? I hope you're not expecting to get paid until the job's done."
That's the only way I operate. (Persuade) "Oh, very well. Here's half. You get the rest when the job's done. My only demand is that these vermin are permanently eliminated before my reputation is completely destroyed." (Success – Gives 500 Gold) or
"Well that's not how I operate, so forget it." (Fail)
You'd better, or I yell "skeever." (Intimidate) "Okay, okay. No need to make rash decisions. Here's half. You get the rest when the job's done. My only demand is that these vermin are permanently eliminated before my reputation is completely destroyed." (Success – Gives 500 Gold) or
"Yell all you want. It's not going to change my mind." (Fail)
Just pay me when the job's done. "My only demand is that these vermin are permanently eliminated before my reputation is completely destroyed."
How do I "permanently" clear the vermin? "I bought some poison. I was going to have my lazy, good-for-nothing assistant Mallus handle it, but he seems to have vanished. If you plant this in the vermin's nest, it should stop them from ever coming back."
You've got a deal. "Don't come back until every one of those things are dead."
I haven't finished the job yet. "Why are you standing here then? I've told the captain of the guard we'll have the meadery cleared for the tasting and he could be here any minute."
You mentioned someone named Mallus? "Mallus is the best deal I've ever made. Lent him a bit of gold some time ago I knew he'd never be able to pay back. Nothing like free labor to make operating costs cheaper."

"Now I've got to clean up this mess."

Getting to the nest is straightforward, but there are quite a few skeevers, venomfang skeevers, and some frostbite spiders along the way. However, the real challenge is dealing with Hamelyn; a mage living next to the nest. He uses a fairly powerful magic attack (which appears to be random, but may vary depending on the Dragonborn's level). If the Dragonborn is a werewolf, transforming may be a good option: roaring will cause him to enter a state of Fear, offering an excellent chance to kill him. One can also paralyze him (via the Ice Form Dragon shout, the Paralyze spell, or paralysis-enchanted weapons) to prevent him from attacking, then retaliating or sneaking past. He can also be killed with a sneak attack from behind if one's Sneak and One or Two-Handed skill is high enough. Another option is to use Frenzy on him and the skeevers, then repeatedly sneak attack after using Calm on him.

After Hamelyn is dealt with, the nest can be poisoned, and then the Dragonborn can then enter the tunnel. The area to poison the nest is the pile of hay to the right of the alchemy lab. The area where poison can be used is fairly small. Going through the tunnel to the Honningbrew Boilery, it is possible to go up the stairs and pour the poison into the vat. The door's key hangs right next to it. Afterwards, Sabjorn needs to be told that the job is done.

"Was something we discussed unclear?"

Job's finished. "Well it's about time! I had to stall the captain until you were finished."
What about my pay? "You'll just have to wait until after the captain's finished. I suppose you can wait around if you must."

Now it is time to attend the tasting ceremony. Commander Caius or Sinmir tastes the mead (Sinmir will only be present in place of Caius if the Battle for Whiterun has been completed for the Stormcloak) and is unhappy with it. He puts Mallus in charge and drags Sabjorn off to Dragonsreach Dungeon.

Commander Caius: "Well, Sabjorn. Now that you've taken care of your little pest problem, how about I get a taste of some of your mead?"
Sabjorn: "Help yourself, milord. It's my finest brew yet... I call it Honningbrew Reserve. I think you'll find it quite pleasing to your palate."
Commander Caius: "Oh come now, this is mead... not some wine to be sipped and savored."
Commander Caius: "By the Eight?! What... what's in this?"
Sabjorn: "I... I don't know. What's wrong?"
Commander Caius: "You assured me this place was clean! I'll see... see to it that you remain in irons for the rest of your days!"
Sabjorn: "No, please! I don't understand..."
Commander Caius: "Silence, idiot! I should have known better... to trust this place after it's been riddled with filth."
Sabjorn: "I beg you... please. This is not what it seems!"
Commander Caius: "You... you're in charge here until I can sort this all out."
Mallus Maccius: "It will be my pleasure."
Commander Caius: "And you... you're coming with me to Dragonsreach. We'll see how quickly your memory clears in the city's prisons. Now move."
Sabjorn: "Look, I assure you, this is all just a huge misunderstanding!"
Commander Caius: "I said move!"
Mallus Maccius: "Farewell, Sabjorn."

At this point, Mallus will help locate the books that identify Sabjorn's "silent partner."

"I don't think that could have gone any better. Anything else you need before you head back to Riften?"

I need to get a look at Sabjorn's books. "So, Maven wants to hunt down Sabjorn's private partner, huh? You're welcome to take a look around Sabjorn's office. He keeps most of his papers stashed in his desk. Here, this should help."
What are you going to do with this place? "Start changing it over to the Black-Briar Meadery West as soon as possible. That was Maven's part of the deal. She's put me in charge of keeping the mead flowing, so that's exactly what I'm going to do. If you're in the area and you ever need anything fenced, you just let me know."
You never mentioned that lunatic living in the tunnels. "I thought it would be better to leave some of the details out of our previous discussion. Didn't want to risk you walking away from the job. Besides, you've done Maven a favor getting rid of him and saved me from wasting coin hiring someone else to do it later."

"Remember to put in a good word with Maven for me."

Upstairs, a promissory note is in Sabjorn's dresser. Behind the door to the right of the dresser is the Honningbrew Decanter (a larceny target), which can be sold to Delvin Mallory.

Upon returning to Riften, Maven Black-Briar can be given the note. She tells the Dragonborn to take the information to Brynjolf, who acknowledges the findings and sends the Dragonborn to Mercer Frey (who he feels will be able to identify the symbol on the note and shed some light on the Thieves Guild's anonymous adversary). The quest "Scoundrel's Folly" then begins.

"I trust you have good news for me."

Job's finished. Here's the information you requested. "This doesn't tell me much. The only thing that could identify Sabjorn's partner is this odd little symbol."
Yes. I've seen that symbol before. "Well, whoever this mysterious marking represents, they'll regret starting a war with me. You should bring this information to the Thieves Guild immediately. There's also the matter of your payment. I believe you'll find this more than adequate for your services."

"Out of my way."


Upon returning to Maven Black-Briar, the Dragonborn is given either a leveled enchanted dagger, sword, or mace and Mallus will become available as a fence.


Dampened Spirits – TG03
ID Journal Entry
10 I've been sent to speak to Maven Black-Briar, head of the wealthiest most influential family in Riften. According to Brynjolf, she has a job of utmost importance for me and I need to follow her directions to the letter.
  • Objective 10: Speak to Maven Black-Briar
20 Maven Black-Briar has sent me to Whiterun where I am to meet with someone named Mallus Maccius. Together, our goal is to bring down one of Maven's competitors, Honningbrew Meadery and discover where he obtained the financing to take her on.
  • Objective 20: Speak to Mallus Maccius
30 I've become a key component in a cunning plan to frame Honningbrew Meadery's owner, Sabjorn, and have him imprisoned. The first part of the scheme is to approach Sabjorn under the guise of assistance with a pest problem he's having thanks to Mallus's tinkering.
  • Objective 30: Speak to Sabjorn
40 Sabjorn has provided me with poison I'm to apply to the nests deep within the tunnels under Honningbrew Meadery. As Mallus predicted, I should be able to use the very same poison to taint Sabjorn's mead as well.
  • Objective 45: Poison the Nest
  • Objective 50: Poison the Honningbrew Vat
  • Objective 60: Return to Sabjorn
  • Objective 70: Attend the tasting ceremony
80 The plan worked perfectly and Whiterun's Captain of the Guard was stricken with illness when he drank the poisoned mead. Sabjorn's been carted off to jail and Honningbrew Meadery is now closed.
  • Objective 80: Speak to Mallus Maccius
90 Now that Mallus's position as the owner of Honningbrew Meadery has been secured, I need to find any information explaining how Sabjorn was able to fund this costly operation.
  • Objective 90: Identify Sabjorn's silent partner
  • Objective 100: Return to Maven Black-Briar
  • Objective 110: Return to Brynjolf
200 The information I obtained from Honningbrew Meadery points to the same anonymous buyer of Goldenglow Estate. If successful, this individual would have completely estranged Maven Black-Briar from the Guild and destroyed it economically. It's becoming painfully obvious that it's time to shed some light on our mysterious adversary before they have a chance to strike again.
  • Quest complete


  • When going to Sabjorn's room in his office to collect his notes, under his bed in a bedpan, one will find a bottle of Black-Briar Mead.
  • On Sabjorn's desk, there is a note from Maven Black-Briar regarding his meadery. It can be assumed from the note that Maven has repeatedly tried to buy Honningbrew from Sabjorn without success.
  • If Serana is brought into the meadery after completing the quest, she will occasionally approach the barrel Caius drank from, pour and drink an invisible goblet of mead from it. She may also do so during the quest, stalling the quest indefinitely until the player moves away or tells her to do something.
  • Caius will always appear for the tasting, even if the quest "Battle for Whiterun" is completed for the Stormcloaks and Sinmir replaces him as head of the guard.
  • Within the brewery and boilery the Dragonborn can steal and take up to 406 (possibly more) bottles of Honningbrew Mead.
  • If the Dragonborn captures Riften for the Empire in the Civil War before completing this quest, Maven Black-Briar will not be seen in Mistveil Keep until it is complete.
  • If the Honningbrew Mead is stolen from the barrels in the back of the meadery before the quest is finished and you return after the quest is finished, the barrels will be refilled with Black-Briar Mead, allowing you to steal the mead again and make even more gold.


This section contains bugs related to Dampened Spirits. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  /  XB1  ,  PS3  /  PS4  ,  PC  /  MAC  ,  NX  /  PS5  ,  XS  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
Click to show
  •  PC   360   PS3   PS4   NX   Breaking into Honningbrew Meadery at any point before the quest is assigned will prevent Brynjolf from giving it to you after completing "Loud and Clear".
  •  PC   360   PS3   If Maven Black-Briar is not spoken to shortly after being given the quest, the quest may bug out and the Thieves Guild quest line cannot be continued.
    •  PC (Fix)   An inelegant but effective solution is to open the console and enter the command setstage TG04 1. That will allow the bugged quest to be entirely skipped and the Thieves Guild questline to continue.
    •  PC (Fix)   Alternatively, if Eimar is killed before he is deemed essential for the quest, after resurrecting Eimar via commands, then typing startquest tg03 and setstage tg03 10 in the console, it should give the Dragonborn the option to talk to Maven Black-Briar.
  •  PC   360   PS3   PS4   NX   To complete the Thieves guild quest "Loud And Clear," the Dragonborn must talk to Brynjolf. However, Brynjolf may not assign "Dampened Spirits" despite providing the necessary dialogue and task. Speaking to Maven as Brynjolf asks will not trigger any new dialogue on her part.
    • This may be worked around by saving before talking to Brynjolf, then talking to him.
    •  PS3 (Fix)   Patch 1.4 fixes this bug. If the quest is bugged, downloading the patch and letting it run for 20 minutes will allow the quest to automatically start.
  •  360   PS3   When going through the caverns, near some bear traps, there is an un-activated tripwire. If the Dragonborn dies sometime after tripping it, and respawns, the wire will appear broken as if already tripped, however it is indeed un-activated.
  • After completing the quest correctly and continuing on with the Thieves Guild storyline, in some cases Mallus will never operate correctly as a fence. He has dialogue options that correspond with the quest being completed correctly, and other dialogue that indicates he will buy things, but he never opens up a merchant window.
  • After Commander Caius escorts Sabjorn out, Commander Caius may not spawn in Whiterun anymore.
  • Commander Caius will be Commander of the Whiterun Guards even if the Stormcloaks take control of Whiterun and exile him with Balgruuf the Greater.
  • If there is a bounty for Whiterun, the game may freeze when doing part of the quest.
  •  360   Sometimes Maven will not give a leveled weapon, instead giving an extremely low level weapon, such as an iron dagger.
  •  PS3   After sneaking past Hamelyn, he will re-appear in the boilery and continue attacking.
  • Sometimes after the quest is finished, when taking to Mallus the quest log will not reflect that he has been spoken to, making it impossible to progress.
    • This can be fixed by reloading a save from before the quest.
  •  360   The Honningbrew Decanter may not appear.