Author Topic: braggot  (Read 2984 times)

jaybeerman

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braggot
« on: November 06, 2010, 05:40:07 PM »
Here are a couple of braggot thoughts and questions

1. What methods have you employed? - Honey added to end of boil, honey added after cooling wort, wort and must fermented separately, or perhaps honey added to the primary as the beer nears the end of its fermentation.

2. What yeast have you employed? - Ale strains, wine yeast, one of the mead strains, etc.

3. Favorite styles? - Bold stout style, delicate and light, small, huge, etc.

 I've now tried two methods of introducing the must to wort.  The first time, not really knowing any better I followed one of the historical recipes, which meant boiling the honey for the last 5 minutes of the wort boil.  This worked fine but I didn’t think the result had the honey character I was after.  The other method I've tried, and now prefer, was a no-heat addition (sometimes several additions) of honey after the beer fermentation had begun to slow.  This seemed to work pretty well but leaves me with a question.  First my answer to the second question; I've always used ale yeast for my fermentations.  Now though, I'd like to try wine yeast but wonder if the staggered fermentations would produce bad flavor/aroma (non-desired esters) in the finished braggot.  Let’s say that the ale portion of the fermentation peaks during the second or third day; using my preferred method with wine yeast means that the yeast is only consuming grain sugars for three days before seeing the honey.  Since I've not used wine yeast for a braggot I have to rely on what I've read about wine yeast and wort fermentation; mainly that it results in strong and unpleasant esters (rotten fruit).  Has anyone had success with wine yeast fermentation of wort?  I know that I could simply chill the wort and then add the honey but this can present a problem if the gravity is too high.  I suppose I'll quit being a weenie and just experiment.  I'm thinking of making a 1.070 braggot (typically I make them 1.100 or larger) pitching the wine yeast onto wort and must at the same time.  Let me know if you have any thoughts, questions, advice, experience, etc.

Offline corkybstewart

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Re: braggot
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2010, 06:11:13 PM »
I have only made one braggot, a nice dark one made from the second runnings of a robust porter. I also added about 4 pounds of fresh 2 row so I'd have enough malt.  I added the  honey once the wort got down to about 150F.  I racked the braggot onto the yeast cake from a prickly pear mead(I'm pretty sure it was White labs dry mead yeast.  It fermented a couple of weeks, then several months in secondary and finally to a keg.  After a year in the keg I bottled the remaining 2 gallons.  It's a very interesting  brew, not something to slam down every day but a great sipping brew on a hot afternoon.  BTW I took no gravity readings, either FG or OG.
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico

Offline jeffy

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Re: braggot
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2010, 06:42:49 PM »
I've made a few.  I will usually make 10 gallons of wort, ferment a bit more than half of the batch as the base beer and add a gallon of honey to the other, smaller half and pitch a strong culture of beer yeast onto that.  No boil, just put the honey directly onto the 4 gallons of wort left in the kettle, stir and chill.
The braggot I'm currently enjoying is based on a Baltic Porter, so the O.G. was pretty high at 1.136 (four gallons of Baltic Porter wort and a gallon of honey), but it fermented well using a big pitch of lager yeast and fermented down to 1.030.  It's a year old now and tastes pretty darned good.
My previous braggot was the same technique with Bock wort.  Before that I was all about the world's only smoked braggot.
I like to use beer yeast (ale or lager depending on the base style) and I like to force carbonate it after it has aged properly.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995

jaybeerman

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Re: braggot
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2010, 12:06:51 PM »
corkybstewart, what are your thoughts on the dry mead yeast?  Have you made a mead or braggot on ale yeast? What honey did you use for the porter/braggot? 

jeffy, how was the smoked braggot?  I can see that being pretty damn good.  Sounds like your methods aren’t far off from what I do.

Thanks for the responses so far.  Looks like I might have to do the wine yeast experiment and just see what happens. 

Offline corkybstewart

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Re: braggot
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2010, 12:13:10 PM »
I've used ale yeasts for cider, that's good but never the mead or braggot.  I just used the brewing honey from morebeer,com.  If I were more serious about meads and braggots I'd find a local source for some more distinctive flavors but they are just oddities I enjoy brewing and drinking occasionally.
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico

Offline jeffy

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Re: braggot
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2010, 12:28:52 PM »
corkybstewart, what are your thoughts on the dry mead yeast?  Have you made a mead or braggot on ale yeast? What honey did you use for the porter/braggot? 

jeffy, how was the smoked braggot?  I can see that being pretty damn good.  Sounds like your methods aren’t far off from what I do.

Thanks for the responses so far.  Looks like I might have to do the wine yeast experiment and just see what happens. 


That smoke braggot was one of the most memorable beverages I've ever made.  I smoked the malt over citrus wood, made a triple decocted beer (mid amber color), added 12 pounds of some really funky looking caramelized orange blossom honey with pieces of honey comb in it, and fermented it with California Lager yeast.  I think it took a bronze at the final round Nationals a long time ago.  Everybody in the Florida competition "circuit" remembers that braggot even though it's been about 15 years since I made it.
I'll have to make that again some day, but it was a lot of work the way I did it.  I'm sure it could be simplified by using commercial smoked malt and not overdoing the decoction process.
I have one bottle of that left from November, 1995.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995

jaybeerman

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Re: braggot
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2010, 12:46:23 PM »
“just oddities I enjoy brewing and drinking occasionally.”

Corkybstewart, nothing wrong with that. cheers

“ I'm sure it could be simplified by using commercial smoked malt and not overdoing the decoction process.”

Jeffy, that sounds like a seriously ambitious and delicious brew. Personally I think it would be sacrilege to brew it any other way.  I have a couple similarly ambitious brews that I've yet to re-visit mainly because I always wonder if that original experience could be replicated. 

Offline euge

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Re: braggot
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2010, 01:02:40 PM »
I've made beer with honey before, but only one attempt at an actual braggot out of a brown ale. I didn't like the results, but looking back my research was poor, my plan/recipe even worse and it was hopped wrong and too low and way too dry. Still have most of it left after two+ years.

I added the honey at the end of the boil and still didn't get much "character."

Willing to try again but armed with better knowledge this time.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline tumarkin

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Re: braggot
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2010, 01:20:24 PM »

That smoke braggot was one of the most memorable beverages I've ever made.  I smoked the malt over citrus wood, made a triple decocted beer (mid amber color), added 12 pounds of some really funky looking caramelized orange blossom honey with pieces of honey comb in it, and fermented it with California Lager yeast.  I think it took a bronze at the final round Nationals a long time ago.  Everybody in the Florida competition "circuit" remembers that braggot even though it's been about 15 years since I made it.
I'll have to make that again some day, but it was a lot of work the way I did it.  I'm sure it could be simplified by using commercial smoked malt and not overdoing the decoction process.
I have one bottle of that left from November, 1995.


Jeff's smoked braggot was memorable because it was f**king awesome. I remember it well, what I don't remember was that it was brewed that long ago. Didn't realize it was that old. Goes to show what a little age can add to a well made, big beverage. Time to pull out that recipe again, Jeff?
Mark Tumarkin
Hogtown Brewers
Gainesville, FL

jaybeerman

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Re: braggot
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2010, 09:17:19 PM »
but looking back my research was poor, my plan/recipe even worse and it was hopped wrong and too low and way too dry. I added the honey at the end of the boil and still didn't get much "character."


euge, I think the approach to making a good braggot surprises a lot of beer brewers. I can tell you that my first braggot was a joke. I had to read up on meads before I attempted a second braggot.  Basically, mine improved once I did two things. First, I disregarded everything I had read about historic braggot. Second, I went with the no-heat honey method.  At least now, I feel like I can make small tweaks and get where I’d like to be.  Good luck with your second attempt.

Offline jcstudmuffin

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Re: braggot
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2010, 04:46:32 PM »
Can anyone give me some advice on bottling a braggot?  Should I treat it like an ale or a mead?  Seems pretty silly in hindsight, that I got it in the fermenter before I even thought about bottling.

Offline corkybstewart

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Re: braggot
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2010, 06:05:40 PM »
but looking back my research was poor, my plan/recipe even worse and it was hopped wrong and too low and way too dry. I added the honey at the end of the boil and still didn't get much "character."


euge, I think the approach to making a good braggot surprises a lot of beer brewers. I can tell you that my first braggot was a joke.
Mine was certainly an unplanned half inebriated effort.  I had done the robust porter and checked the gravity of the runoff once my kettle was full.  It was still about 1.030 so I decided to top off the mash and make a braggot with honey bought for a mead.  After I brewed it I did a little research.
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico

jaybeerman

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Re: braggot
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2010, 09:06:45 PM »
Can anyone give me some advice on bottling a braggot?  Should I treat it like an ale or a mead?  Seems pretty silly in hindsight, that I got it in the fermenter before I even thought about bottling.

Hey, you'd have to give a lot more info before anyone could answer your questions.  You could go with a lightly carbonated ale-like version or you could serve it "still" (i.e. non-carbonated) that's entirely up to you.  Do you plan to age the batch long term? That could effect your ability to carbonate unless you can force carbonate it or you're familiar with carbonating an aged beverage. If you post more info we can go from there.   

Online tschmidlin

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Re: braggot
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2010, 12:09:32 AM »
Can anyone give me some advice on bottling a braggot?  Should I treat it like an ale or a mead?  Seems pretty silly in hindsight, that I got it in the fermenter before I even thought about bottling.
Like Jay said, treat it however you want - do you want it to be more ale-like or mead-like?  It's your beverage, it's your call.  Depending on the aging and ABV you might need to add more yeast if you want it carbonated, but how carbonated you want it is totally up to you.  If you don't have a clear vision then maybe think about bottling with varying levels of carb and see which you prefer.  I've never used them, but for this I'd be tempted to get those carb drops and use different amounts in bottles to see if you have a clear preference.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline jcstudmuffin

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Re: braggot
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2010, 08:35:31 AM »
Can anyone give me some advice on bottling a braggot?  Should I treat it like an ale or a mead?  Seems pretty silly in hindsight, that I got it in the fermenter before I even thought about bottling.

Hey, you'd have to give a lot more info before anyone could answer your questions.  You could go with a lightly carbonated ale-like version or you could serve it "still" (i.e. non-carbonated) that's entirely up to you.  Do you plan to age the batch long term? That could effect your ability to carbonate unless you can force carbonate it or you're familiar with carbonating an aged beverage. If you post more info we can go from there.   

Sorry, this is my first attempt at a braggot.  I used the recipe out of Schramm's "Compleat Meadmaker."  I used the extract variation and 10 lbs of wildflower honey.  I do my meads still but my ale tends to be on the full body side, mainly an Arrogant Bastard clone, that I bottle using priming sugar.  I figured on it being more like an ale and at least a year to finish.  The SG was 1.120 so I'm figuring 9-10% ABV range when it's done.  I've racked it to a secondary and expecting at least 2 months to clarify.  I was figuring on carbonating like the ale but am worried about the higher alcohol level.  tschmidlin's idea about the card drops sound like a great option, but I'm open to trying just about anything.  If I wasn't willing to experiment, I'd be drinking beer in a can...lol