Today I want to talk about a mead type I think has been more prevalent with the Vikings than we might like to think of; The Braggot hybrid of beer and mead.30
A braggot is an ale, a beer, that has been enhanced with honey and fermented as an ale.
There are countless recipes out there for such meads, so today i will not so much present a recipe as i will explain the goodness of the braggot itself.
OK, so im actually not so sure if braggots have, are or should be made with the use of Pilsen brews. I don’t drink the stuff – it reminds me of .. well .. making love in a canoe … its pretty close to water …
So I stick to what I know – dark beer. As always im a stickler for doing it from the ground up – so whenever i make Braggot, i make my own must.
For those who frequently make their own beer, this is pretty straightforward. For those who has never made beer, its an adventure.
Guys and gals – you HAVE to allow yourself the indulgence of a hybrid mead-beer. The dark beer, the sweetness of honey, the mix of aromas enticing your every sense. this magic concoction called Braggot – it’s pure magic.
A good year ago, i started my first braggot. I based this on a darker blend of grains. I wasn’t sure exactly what to go for, so i did what was probably the smartest idea i could cook up. I went to my local beer supply, VESTBRYGG , and told them about my plan. For this braggot mead, they threw together a mix of 3 grains , one dark, flowery type, one special malt, and one for a oak flavor. I wish i paid more attention to the names …
But nevertheless – the point in this part of the story is to always trust your local beer experts. They might not know about braggot, but they will / Should know about the flavors you are trying to bring forth.
I chose a Safale 05 yeast for this brew as i was looking for something that wasn’t too alcohol resistant, yet still was a strong and sturdy strain. Safale-05 is a staple, loved by brewers around the world, and i have good luck with this on many other pure mead brews of mine. A safe choice for a first time
Starter was made on yeast, water and spiced up with must over some 8 hours. A strong and lively starter was all ready to go to war as the must itself was finally ready for pitching. A little sidenote: A properly made must is in itself hard not to drink already. The result, when done properly – oh yes, im starting to realize why so many beer aficionados brew their own stuff.
Moving on – For this test batch i just use a simple 10 liter brewing bucket, nothing fancy. This one came without an airlock hole, so i drilled a 13mm hole through it, put in a rubber stopper, and the airlock into that again. Easy as peas. This braggot mead is off to a good start. The OG started on good 1.084, something that resembles Dobbelbock or Eisbock. It has now fermented nicely for a good 2 weeks, and are all out of sugars. For the sake of this experiment, i will be back sweetening and spraymalting it, to bring SG and body up a bit, as i wasnt nitpickingly satisfied with the final flavor. The SG at the time of writing was a satisfyingly 1.005, meaning the yeast has done their job and then some. The spraymalt and honey backsweetening should bring it up to a comfortable sweetness of 1.020, after which it will be clarified and bottled. The remaining sugar should carbonate it, before i end fermentation by crashing the brew.
Cold crashing to end fermentation is a well known method of stopping fermentation among us mead fanatics. For those brewers that don’t want to use chemical yeast stop, crashing is one of the more preferred methods. This is also what i will do it with the braggot. It will be racked onto plastic bottles ( heresy – i know), then put in a fridge with a comfy 3 Degree Celcius – until 24th of december. Yo ho- and a bottle of Bragott – indeed! I might not be able to keep away from it until 24th ..
Providing this experiment falls the right way, a lot more recipes and articles on this will be coming. Stay tuned.