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ghostbraggot
01-08-2010, 05:20 PM
Yep I'm the latest beer brewer newb crossover wanting help. Name is jason, I知 33 and enjoy making stuff; beer, bread, pastrami, ginger ale and soon mead/braggot. I guess I have the same questions you've been asked a million times before I came round; though, with a bit of searching I've not found the answers. Basically I'd like to jump into the deep end rather than learn to swim the boring way. For now all my questions will relate to a Braggot, I知 going to start in a week or so, then I promise I'll go back and learn proper. Here goes

1. Seems like Sourwood honey is the snake oil of mead making. Thoughts on a touch of Sourwood or maybe Avocado honey for use in an Old Ale style braggot? (I know taste is subjective) 2.5 pounds out of nine total enough to give a noticeable character in a braggot?
2. I'm not completely sure of myself with the honey to water additions. In beer making there aren't a lot of ingredients that add volume. I assume mixing 9-12 pounds of honey with a half-whole gallon of water with double boiler heat (100 deg?) will result in something I can pour into a carboy? I also assume that 9 pounds honey and a half gallon of water will equal roughly 1.25gallons?
3. Fermentation Ph? I've read up on meads but obviously the braggot will differ. In this instance the ale portion will have fermented out and I will continue with a honey and wine yeast addition to a chilled (50ish) racked ale. The acid balance won't be necessary due to a slight hop balance (my apologies to the hop hater, forgot his name).

If you'd like to see the recipe I can post that later; thanks for the help.

Medsen Fey
01-08-2010, 05:44 PM
It would be very helpful for you to spell out the recipe in greater detail. You'll get much better input.

I'm not sure what you mean by the "snake oil of mead making" - sourwood is a delicious honey that makes a fine mead, but the flavor of sourwood is not all that strong and may get lost in a heavy braggot.

9 pounds of honey in a 5 gallon batch will give you a gravity of around 1.065 which will be added to whatever is coming from malt and so this will lead to a relatively high-gravity fermentation. That being the case, doing some reading of the NewBee guide might be a good idea.

Medsen

ghostbraggot
01-08-2010, 06:31 PM
Ok, I will keep this as short as possible. This shouldn't be that heavy of a braggot, at least from my standpoint; I make everything from milds (1.038) to Imp Stouts/Barleywines (1.120). The snake oil comment came from a lot of forum posts that indicated that it wasn't the honey most newbs thought it would be, overpriced, etc. I've noticed that it's called buttery in quite a few posts, not sure if that's desirable buttery or diacetyl like buttery. I had also read that it was a strong tasting honey, not the case? I'm a 13 year homebrewer so fermentation doesn’t bother me, I just haven't used honey or wine yeast before. Let me know if you have any other proceedure questions and thanks for the help, jason

Ale 1.044 SG
5 lb Dark Munich
1.5 lb Pilsner
8 oz Chocolate
6 oz Malted Oats
Mash at 155, usual boil, 40 min addition of hops for about 50 ibu, collect four gallons, full fermentation on ale yeast at 65 with rest and then chill to 50. Rack, then add honey (no boil)

Honey 1.065ish (total volume at 1.25 gal ish)
1/2 gallon Water
9lbs Honey (Alfalfa with 2.5 lbs Avocado or Sourwood.)
K-meta (apparently that's what you guys call it)
Goferm
Fermaid (at mid point)
Cote des Blancs?

akueck
01-09-2010, 01:50 AM
I've never tasted sourwood honey, so I can't help you there. But, what is the K-meta for? K-meta is potassium metabisulfite K2O5S2 and is used as a fungicide. If you plan on fermenting your honey addition, I would recommend strongly to leave that out. If you don't plan on carbonating your braggot with yeast, you can add it after fermentation is complete if you want to kill off whatever yeast is left.

Which ale yeast are you planning on using? Many could probably handle this braggot, so the wine yeast might be unnecessary.

ghostbraggot
01-09-2010, 02:00 PM
UPDATE: I have sourwood honey in hand; it is delicious but does seem very delicate. The spiciness in aroma is awesome. I would think especially at only 2.5# that I would need to revise my ale recipe in order to keep any sourwood character. Anyone have braggot experience using sourwood? Being a newb I just don稚 have experience with how much honey character will come through in the braggot. My initial thought is that, I will likely reduce the chocolate to 3 oz or eliminate it completely. I may back the hops off just a bit as well.

Ok, I use the potassium Metabisulfite to remove chloramines from my water in every beer I make at roughly 1/8 Tsp per 10 gallons of water. For the must I was planning on using 1.25 grams in 9# honey and 1/2 gallon of water, as a must sanitizer. Is this amount going to be a hindrance to honey fermentation?

You're correct the Edinburgh could handle the entire fermentation but with a bit of strain at the end. The two step fermentation shouldn't pose any problems and I would guess that Cote des Blancs as a honey fermenter would be interesting. Let me know if you feel otherwise. Btw, I'll be pitching the Edinburgh from a washed cake and will be using a starter for the Cote des Blancs as well. Anyone have any thoughts on my original questions? Thanks for the help once again, jason

akueck
01-09-2010, 05:06 PM
Honey is roughly 12 lb/gallon.

The sulfite might hinder your yeast, it depends on the ppm level you add, the health of your yeast, and how long you wait to add yeast. When you boil your wort, the SO2 off-gasses so there is no worry about yeast inhibition. Generally if you add the K-meta to a cold must, the rule of thumb is to wait 24 hr before adding the yeast to give the SO2 a chance to dissipate.

The pH will likely be ok, barley wort has more buffers in it than honey must. After fermentation the beer portion will probably be in the mid 4s, which is a perfectly fine place to be. Adding acid at the end is a personal preference thing, so you can decide that when the time comes. If you're adding hops you probably won't need it.

ghostbraggot
01-11-2010, 02:59 PM
Ok thanks for the tips. I'll likely start this one next Tuesday.

Medsen Fey
01-11-2010, 04:22 PM
I wouldn't use the sulfites at that level - 1.25 g in a 20 liter batch works out to be something like 35 ppm SO2. The honey does not need to be sanitized. If you want to use enough K-meta to get rid of some chlorine in the 1/2 gallon of water you are using that's fine, but I'd keep it small. While SO2 at 35 ppm is not a big amount for a wine yeast, in conjunction with an acid environment and 4-5% ABV it could be a problem.

If you want the sourwood honey to come through, make sourwood as much of the 9 pounds as you can. I don't think you'll regret it. The aroma you can see (or smell as it were) for yourself. The flavor I get from sourwood is honey/floral with a hint of caramel and spice - not really buttery. I've not tried it in a braggot, but if the flavors come through, I think it would add something really nice.

I hope it's great!

Medsen

ghostbraggot
01-14-2010, 11:24 PM
Ok sounds like I can get by without boiling, heating or using the k-meta (other than for chloromine removal) and the honey will be just fine.
Unfortunately I only have 2.5 pounds of the sourwood honey but I have revised the recipe to try and hold on to some of the sourwood character.
Thanks again, jason