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View Full Version : Explain Braggot Please



Phog Allen
06-21-2009, 02:59 PM
Good afternoon gents. And a happy father's day to you as well. I have fiddled in a small way with beer, wine, and now hopefully mead as well. I have been registered for awhile and made a few postings a couple of years ago. Mostly about sparkling mead and apples. I am also attracted to the idea of braggot. One thing I completely overlooked when I started thinking of sparkling mead is the fact that like wine, it really does not have any head to it or at the very least, no head retention. This is not a flaw, just the reality of sparkling mead. Even though there is plenty of talk about braggot here, can someone tell me whether a braggot is mead with barley malt or beer with honey added? Sorry for the probably silly question but searching does not really turn up an answer.

Alright, lets add malt to the mead. This really opens up a HUGE pandoras box because of the enormous variety of malts. Lets say you want to keep the focus on the honey. Would adding malted wheat be a good answer? Many times brewers suggest adding this for head retention. Yet this also makes me wonder if you need a base malt that already has good head building properties and the wheat just bucks it up a bit? I am probably over analyzing this but would really like some opinions. BTW, the intended purpose of this effort would be more like a session beer. A small mead, 5-7% ABV, light to medium carbonation, and some head retention. Sound reasonable?

Regards, Todd

akueck
06-21-2009, 05:57 PM
Braggot is a pretty wide category. As you point out, there are millions of possible combinations of honey and malted grains. Hops vs. no hops, other spices, etc etc and there is no simple definition. A "honey beer" from one person and a "braggot" from another might have the same honey/malt ratios but different names. Really it just boils down to how you want to present it. Something that is more honey-centered is probably better off being called a braggot. More malt-focused, and you can call it a honey beer. %ABV can play a role here too, with braggots usually closer to wine strength and beers lower. You can just call it "Bob's Brew" too if you want.

Any malted grain will have head-forming proteins, so there is no need to add wheat specifically unless you want to. I heard a talk from John Palmer yesterday who said the idea of "wheat is for head" is misguided. He said you could add barley instead and get the same effect. :)

FWIW, here are some things to do for better head, from the talk:
Hops--iso-acids are stabilizers
Dark malt--melanoidins are stabilizers
Low alcohol--alcohol destabilizes foam
Well-modified malts (but not overmodified) or undermodified malts with a protein rest--"modification" determines amount of soluble proteins
Don't overdose the nutrients--FAN destabilizes foam
The boil--longer and/or more vigorous boils denature more protein, which removes head-forming capabilities

Phog Allen
06-22-2009, 07:48 AM
Thank you akueck. Indeed, this style of drink would open up huge possibilities and is certainly worth investigation. I guess I never really thought about hops being a foam stabiliser but what the heck, I am game.

Regards, Todd

STLBrewer
06-22-2009, 01:49 PM
In a recent (to me) Podcast, the folks at Rabbit's Foot were interviewed and they kind of hinted that their Braggots are about 25% honey (if memory serves me).

Now, that being said...I have heard MANY different explanations of it and I think this works out best for me:

25% = Honey Beer
50% = Braggot
75% = Mead with Malt (like a Metheglin or some other beast)

Now again, this is not perfect...but it gives me a "guideline" to sort of follow. I am of the thought that the total pounds of honey should just outweigh the total pounds of grain (or extract) that is used...meaning I go just over 50% (probably 55 - 60%).

Medsen Fey
06-22-2009, 04:38 PM
Being an official representative of the braggot police, I can tell you with certainty whether you have a braggot. You need only send me samples - preferably 2 bottles (12 oz or larger). They will be subjected to rigorous organoleptic assessment, and will be officially certified as braggots if they pass the test.

As a service to the community, we offer the service at no charge for GotMead members! ;)

Medsen

wildoates
06-22-2009, 05:56 PM
Snort.

I'm tossin' around the idea of putting up a braggot for my son when he finishes his master's. I don't like beer but he does. It ought to be ready in 2 years, right?

Phog Allen
06-22-2009, 06:11 PM
Being an official representative of the braggot police, I can tell you with certainty whether you have a braggot. You need only send me samples - preferably 2 bottles (12 oz or larger). They will be subjected to rigorous organoleptic assessment, and will be officially certified as braggots if they pass the test.

As a service to the community, we offer the service an no charge for GotMead members! ;)

Medsen

This is good to know. You can never bee too careful about having untested braggot floating around. Fooling people into thinking it is beer and causing general mayhem. I will keep your services in mind and act accordingly...someday.

Regards, Todd

wildoates
06-22-2009, 06:39 PM
I'm pretty sure "general mayhem" is a feature, not a bug.
;D

wayneb
06-22-2009, 06:58 PM
I'm pretty sure "general mayhem" is a feature, not a bug.
;D

And we provide that service at no extra charge! ;)

BTW - Braggots can be ready in a matter of months rather than years. But the best ones do improve with some extended aging time. ;D

skunkboy
06-22-2009, 07:48 PM
One of the local guys showed me that you can also mix a nice semisweet mead with a good scotch ale, repressurize and end up with a braggot...

wayneb
06-22-2009, 11:20 PM
Actually most "traditional" braggots were mixtures of beer and mead, rather than a concoction where all the ingredients were fermented together. At least that's true of things called braggot or brackett in English tradition. Exactly how barley and honey were first introduced to each other in western Europe is probably lost to the mists of antiquity!! :)

But we do know that honey was used with grain and fruit (hawthorn and rice) at least 9,000 years ago to make a fermented beverage.

STLBrewer
06-23-2009, 07:55 AM
Exactly how barley and honey were first introduced to each other in western Europe is probably lost to the mists of antiquity!!

I think it was something like:

"Hey! (hic) Don't throw those out! Jus...(hic)...givem' 'ere and I'll take care of 'em..."

Mixes the two half glasses together...

"Hey! (hic) This isn...(hic)...so bad! You's shou-really try it...(hic)"

Or something like that... ;D