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View Full Version : I may try a braggot as a second mead



fish
12-16-2007, 12:43 PM
I made 2 gallons of JAO and I was really happy with how it came out. I am trying to put together a recipe for the Hobbit Brew at Home Brew talk and I thought a traditional brew would be a mead and a braggot while I don't know how traditional it is at least seems traditional. So the recipe I had was:

4# light DME
5# Honey
1/2 # light grains
1 oz Fuggle (bittering)
1/2 oz Chinook (aroma)
1 oz oak cubes
california ale yeast

Is this a good recipe? I have never had a braggot before but I want to try. Will this be drinkable in 2 months? I may throw some rosemary in just to add something from the garden.

GrantLee63
12-16-2007, 01:10 PM
Do a search for JoeM's Basic Braggot ..... it's a good one. Personally, I would shy away from oaking a braggot, but that's just me. You can certainly drink it after 2 months but I will tell you that it really starts to shine after 6 months, and is outstanding after 12 months and beyond.

- GL63

fish
12-16-2007, 02:28 PM
Do a search for JoeM's Basic Braggot ..... it's a good one. Personally, I would shy away from oaking a braggot, but that's just me. You can certainly drink it after 2 months but I will tell you that it really starts to shine after 6 months, and is outstanding after 12 months and beyond.

- GL63


I looked at Joes and thats what I based this on. See I am afraid of needing to age this too long because I don't have a good aging area. Once it gets warm here everything gets warm.

akueck
12-16-2007, 03:58 PM
Where are you? What temperature range are we talking?

While it's nice to store everything at 55-60 F, that's impractical for many. I don't have any special thermal control on my storage area (other than the general thermostat of the apartment in the winter), so my temps range from 58-78 over the year. (CA weather has its advantages.) So far, no problems. The thing to be more concerned about is rapid temperature changes, which can blow corks, etc.

Assuming you're storing your bottles inside some kind of living space (i.e. not an attic or a storage shed), you should be fine. Fermentation temperature management is more critical than storage temperature, IMO.

fish
12-16-2007, 07:25 PM
I am near Sacramento. I am getting worried about longer aging anything right now. I had a beer ferment into rocket fuel in November and a batch slowly turn fussel that was bottled in March. I have basically resigned myself to winter brewing and I really don't want to age something that then goes bad. Its bad enough when its young or I have at least drank some of it. But I bought my DME today and I think I can try it.

akueck
12-16-2007, 10:19 PM
I could be wrong, but you shouldn't get fusel alcohol production after bottling. Once the sugars are coverted, that's it. The ethanol shouldn't spontaneously polymerize (or whatever the reaction is, ethanol --> propanol, butanol, etc). Unless of course you've got some kind of infection that is slowly messing up your batches.

Do you have an idea of the actual fermentation temperature of your batches? I have those liquid crystal fish-tank style thermometers stuck to the sides of my carboys. If you don't know that, what is the ambient temperature when you ferment and where do you keep the carboy? Is it wrapped in anything? (I have a friend who wraps her carboys with a blanket to keep out the light, as they are sitting on a counter in the kitchen. This is very bad in the summers, less bad in the winters. But still bad all-around.)

Can you run us through your typical sanitation procedures? How long until you notice the off-flavors? Are the bottles over-carbonated? Any other off-flavors besides "rocket fuel"?

I've had beer bottled through 2 (Bay area) summers. The alcohol definitely gave way to esters (fruity) over time, but no fusels. Commercial wine has sat around for up to 3 years so far with no ill effects. I know it gets hotter in Sacramento, but I'm guessing that's not the root cause of your problems.

fish
12-16-2007, 11:01 PM
We keep our house pretty warm in the summer to cut down on PGE costs. I have only had 2 batches go bad and I was pretty sure they were too hot. One batch was good in the bottle at the beginning of summer but by mid summer it had a strong "alcohol" flavor. The other one went bad in the primary and I had thought it was an infection but the LHBS smelled it an said it got too hot. The fermometer was off the charts so I know it was in the 80's and that was in November. Right now its reading 68 and thats in the coldest room in the house the garage. Its not wrapped in anything just a bucket on the slab.
I keep things very sanitary with Star San. The one that went funny in the bottle did gush a little once it was poured.

akueck
12-16-2007, 11:54 PM
80s in November, wow! I guess my recommendation would be to pitch cold (65 or so) and keep things below 70 if you can. Try a big basin full of water to moderate the temperature and add frozen water bottles as needed. If it starts out cool and doesn't get too hot, you shouldn't get any fusels (at least not enough to taste). For storage, just keep it as cool as possible and hope for the best. :-\ I really think that if it's ok going into the bottle, you won't get anything like fusels showing up later on. Keep the bottles close to the ground (heat rises, etc) and away from areas with lots of windows (sun is hot, etc).

The one batch I've tasted with some sort of bottling infection (major gushing upon opening) did have an oily funky bitter taste, maybe a little solventy too. I don't think that one fermented hot, so those could be flavor components attributable to the infection (or the hops, they used some high-alpha variety all the way through).

You can also consider a holiday gift of an old refrigerator. A little temperature controller is all you need and poof! you'll never ferment hot again. ;)

Medsen Fey
12-17-2007, 12:06 AM
Hello Fish,

I feel your pain. Living in Florida, brewing at higher temps is an issue I am confronting. I have a spare fridge, but it can only hold so much. We have been discussing yeast for higher temps in another thread here (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=412&topic=4507.msg50794;topicseen#msg50794). There are several others here that also are dealing with this issue. I am certainly interested in learning any strategies that may help to produce better results when fermenting at higher temperatures, and if the "warm weather brewers" can organize a group brew to develop some data, you are definitely invited.

Medsen

CBBaron
12-18-2007, 10:45 AM
I made 2 gallons of JAO and I was really happy with how it came out. I am trying to put together a recipe for the Hobbit Brew at Home Brew talk and I thought a traditional brew would be a mead and a braggot while I don't know how traditional it is at least seems traditional. So the recipe I had was:

4# light DME
5# Honey
1/2 # light grains
1 oz Fuggle (bittering)
1/2 oz Chinook (aroma)
1 oz oak cubes
california ale yeast

Is this a good recipe? I have never had a braggot before but I want to try. Will this be drinkable in 2 months? I may throw some rosemary in just to add something from the garden.

I have very little experience with mead so far but from my experience with beer I would recommend using the Chinook for bittering and the Fuggle for aroma. Fuggle is usually considered a finishing hop and is best used late in the boil. Chinook is a high alpha hop that works best for bittering.
Over all it looks like a lighter mead which should be drinkable earlier than the higher alcohol versions. Still as I said I am waiting on my first couple of meads to age before I even bottle them. Mead seems to take alot of patience.
Craig

fish
12-18-2007, 05:33 PM
I think a solution may be a large party bucket. I don't know if that is their name but they are the big buckets that you fill with ice and beer cans. Anyway I may try that. The other thing I will have to try is putting the fermenter outside at night and bring it in in the morn. I know it sloshes the yeast but its got to be better than letting it get really hot. I want to build an ice box big enough but that is further down the road.


Now as far as hops go my thought was to keep it pretty light flavor wise but a hint of IPA hoppyness. I was thinking just the smell of the strong hop with a mellow finish. I have never had a braggot so its all guess work.

teljkon
12-18-2007, 07:01 PM
I feel the warm weather pains with you guys Im thinking of starting to just go for it in my room where its stays about 73. My plan has been to build a cooled box if you will with a little window shaker connected to it and a drip hose going out the window some how. I have a fridge but I still need a temperature conroller for that. The Tokaj yeast is in my future for certain.
:happy10:

fish
12-22-2007, 03:38 PM
The problem with Mead seems to be that it tastes awsome right when you pitch it. I tasted the hydrometer (1.050 og) and wow that tasted great as is. A piney sweet taste that I can't stop thinking about.

fish
01-30-2008, 08:57 PM
Update--

The braggot tastes wonderful but it seems to be very dry, no honey taste is left. So how do I back sweeten when I am assuming I am going to carbonate it? It seems to have settled at 1.01

Thanks

ucflumberjack
02-01-2008, 12:55 AM
if your going bottle condition then you really cant sweeten it and do that, if your gonna keg and force carbonate it then you need to sorbate/sulfite, sweeten, clear, bottle.

fish
02-01-2008, 01:13 AM
if your going bottle condition then you really cant sweeten it and do that, if your gonna keg and force carbonate it then you need to sorbate/sulfite, sweeten, clear, bottle.



I am going to bottle. So if I add more honey it will just be eaten/converted?

Thanks for the info.

wayneb
02-01-2008, 01:38 PM
Yes - unless you're up against the ethanol tolerance of your yeast, any additional honey (or other simple sugars) will be converted. You might want to try adding a non-fermentable sugar, such as lactose, in addition to your priming honey. That will add residual sweetness. Just be aware that lactose does not taste nearly as "sweet" as the simpler sugars, so you may need to use a lot to get the flavor you're looking for.

fish
02-01-2008, 02:28 PM
I am kind of bummed because what I started with was a wonderful sappy/piney flavor that I had never had before it was like pine candy which I have never heard of but it was amazing. Now its good but just piney. So I will try some test batches of Splenda which I don't really like but maybe in small amounts it will do.

butterlily5
02-01-2008, 11:06 PM
Oh, fish, you must tell me how it that Splenda works. They say it's a sugar replacement, you can use it anywhere you'd use sugar, but have you tried making hard candy with it?

As for those hot summers, I grew up here in the Greater Sac area, and (To give the rest of you some perspective) 110 degr F is normal. I've seen a few summers hit 115-117, and even 120 once. I lived in Alameda/Oakland for three years..... not even close. Most of those people don't even have air conditioners! :o (but that's East Bay, I'm not entirely sure about the South Bay)

I think your idea of the big party bucket is doable, if you're willing to babysit it. However, I'm not keen on moving it around, unless you could figure out a way to minimize sloshing (in a milk crate using a hand truck that has pneumatic tires, maybe).

Anyone got any ideas on that one? :usa2:

fish
02-02-2008, 11:29 AM
Hey Butterlily yeah I am in the Greater Sac area too. Woodland - I guess thats the lesser Sac area :drunken_smilie:

GrantLee63
02-02-2008, 12:06 PM
I've never used Splenda in mead - or anything else for that matter - but I do know that a lot of cider makers use it to back-sweeten hard cider. Do a search on one of these forums for a TON of info on Splenda as used as a back-sweetener:

http://tinyurl.com/yqnahu
http://tinyurl.com/289pyu
http://tinyurl.com/yq7bvv

Good Luck!

- GL63

ucflumberjack
02-02-2008, 11:01 PM
The braggot tastes wonderful but it seems to be very dry, no honey taste is left. So how do I back sweeten when I am assuming I am going to carbonate it? It seems to have settled at 1.01


I was going back though this post and noticed this comment, I thought I might throw something out there in respons to that.

With beer you dont get that dry taste (generally) because beer has sugars that arent fermentable that hang around afterwards to "sweeten" and add body to the fermented beverage, but honey is fully fermentable. So if something with honey "goes dry" (runs out of fermentable sugar) it really tastes dry because it really is, there are no sugars left to "sweeten" or add body. even if you have a beer with honey added to it (braggot, honey beer), it really adds to that drying out sensation. the higher the alcohol, the stronger the effect. i think the only real solution for the problem is to go heavy on the 'crystal' grains or mash at a temp that doesnt convert everything from the grains to fermentable sugar. especially if you want to bottle condition, you cant kill off your yeast in order to retain sweetness, so you have to let it "go dry" in order to prime and carbonate later. so in order to retain some sweetness (fend off dryness) you have to have unfermentable sugar, ie. crystal grains, lactose, or ........lol..... splenda.