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HunnyBunz
12-31-2011, 08:43 PM
Hi Everyone,

Not only am I yet another newbee, but I am also new to this forum and still learning to navigate things here so I apologize if any of my questions have already been answered.

My very first batch, started Nov. 11, is similar to JAO. Racked after 4 weeks with an SG 1.040 (I didn't have a hydrometer when I began.)
I sampled it today and the SG is now at 1.032. It's still fermenting slowly and seems to be doing OK. It tastes quite sweet but still pretty strong alcohol and orange flavor.

My main concern is the 5 Gal. Braggot I started on 12/11/11:
5 lbs "spring nectar" honey (I think it's a wildflower varietal, and I accidentally used about 7.5 lbs)
3.3 lbs Light LME
1 packet Danstar Windsor yeast
Filtered tap water to 5 gal.

OG - 1.074, Active fermentation within 6 hours & good, strong fermentation for about a week.
Racked to a 5 gal. carboy onto 1 cup medium toast French oak chips after 12 days. SG at 1.010.
Sampled today - SG still 1.010 and flavor has already improved.
I plan to bottle next weekend and I would like to prime with about 3/4 cup of honey to get some carbonation.

I have two questions:
1) How do I add the priming honey without oxygenating the batch?
2) I'm a little concerned about oxygen and/or contamination after taking samples because I carefully added most of the samples back into the batches.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated, but I mostly just wanted to introduce myself. :D

Lawpaw
12-31-2011, 09:23 PM
To prime you can draw out a couple of cups of the braggot and mix the honey into that then return to the batch and carefully mix it in making sure that the action is happening below the surface. It may help to heat up the drawn out braggot.

For beer, most people dispose of samples. With how high your gravity is, you should be fine if you have sanitized correctly.

AToE
01-01-2012, 04:02 AM
Definitely don't stress about returning the samples - plus think of it this way, whatever is done is done!

Lawpaw outlined how to prime pretty well, I'll add that how I do it is mix the priming sugar with some water or must/mead/etc, then when I'm racking the product into the bottling bucket (priming sugar and water already added to bottom) I position the end of the racking hose so that the must flows in a circle as it enters the bucket, ensuring decent mixing.

HunnyBunz
01-01-2012, 04:46 PM
Thanks for the advice.

So, I should rack out of the carboy, into the bucket to mix the priming sugar, then bottle from the bucket?

Another thing I was wondering - Will a braggot clear like other meads? It's so dark in the carboy from the malt that I can barely see through it, but the sample looked pretty clear.

akueck
01-01-2012, 04:50 PM
I do the circulating hose in the bottle bucket too, but I've taken to giving it a gentle stir after racking is complete, just in case. If you stir slowly, you won't oxidize it any more than having it just sitting in the bucket.

JimSar
01-02-2012, 02:15 PM
So, I should rack out of the carboy, into the bucket to mix the priming sugar, then bottle from the bucket?


I use a bucket with a spigot, so another advantage to this method is you don't have to rely on siphon to fill your bottles. And you can tilt the bucket to get to the last drop. Do you have a bottle filler? That two buck gadget makes all the difference to a spill free bottling session.

Chevette Girl
01-02-2012, 07:19 PM
Do you have a bottle filler? That two buck gadget makes all the difference to a spill free bottling session.

Oh, seconded!! Worth its weight in gold, best three buck winemaking purchase ever. Of course I still end up with a sticky floor but that's the operator's fault, not the equipment. :rolleyes:

Sadie Lady
03-23-2012, 09:26 PM
HunnyBunz, Thanks for link to this. Did you heat the malt?

TAKeyser
03-23-2012, 09:39 PM
HunnyBunz, Thanks for link to this. Did you heat the malt?

Liquid Malt Extract (LME) was boiled in the process so it technically (from everything I've read) does not need to be heated again, but it does make it a lot easier as the stuff is pretty thick. I'll usually heat the LME for about 15 minutes, be careful because it does expand (Dry Malt extract expands even more).

Now if you are using HOPS in your Braggot most Brewers will put about 1/4 of the LME for the full hour boil that the bittering hops are in for and will add the last 3/4 in for about the last 10 minutes. This helps reduce the LME from darkening. I end up using extract a lot for my beers and Braggots for the simplicity.

HunnyBunz
03-23-2012, 11:04 PM
HunnyBunz, Thanks for link to this. Did you heat the malt?

First I let the container of malt extract sit in hot water so it would pour easier, then the recipe I was using called for 2 gal. of water brought to a boil, add LME and boil for 30 minutes. After that I let it cool down to about 140F before adding the honey. then add that to the rest of the cool water in the fermenter and pitch re-hydrated yeast at 80F.

TAKeyser:
Thanks for the info as I plan on making more braggots (being a beer lover) and also adding hops. I was surprised at how well I liked this batch without hops because I usually favor IPAs and other beers strong on hop flavor. I think the oak addition added a lot to the flavor profile.

TAKeyser
03-23-2012, 11:14 PM
First I let the container of malt extract sit in hot water so it would pour easier, then the recipe I was using called for 2 gal. of water brought to a boil, add LME and boil for 30 minutes. After that I let it cool down to about 140F before adding the honey. then add that to the rest of the cool water in the fermenter and pitch re-hydrated yeast at 80F.

TAKeyser:
Thanks for the info as I plan on making more braggots (being a beer lover) and also adding hops. I was surprised at how well I liked this batch without hops because I usually favor IPAs and other beers strong on hop flavor. I think the oak addition added a lot to the flavor profile.

Most recipes will say to boil the extract, beer recipes say the same thing, but since it has already been boiled the long boil is unnecessary. If I'm not adding hops I do 10 minutes.

Have you made Beers before?

HunnyBunz
03-23-2012, 11:30 PM
Most recipes will say to boil the extract, beer recipes say the same thing, but since it has already been boiled the long boil is unnecessary. If I'm not adding hops I do 10 minutes.

Have you made Beers before?

No, I've never brewed anything until I started making mead in November. I thought about getting into making beer a few years ago, but I figured with so many great microbrews and imports available why go to the trouble of making my own when I can just go buy what I want, with a huge variety of different beers to try, and have instant gratification. ;D

The reason I got into mead was because I've always loved the middle ages, I didn't really know exactly what mead was (or tasted like) and mead is hard to find in a lot of places.

TAKeyser
03-23-2012, 11:38 PM
No, I've never brewed anything until I started making mead in November. I thought about getting into making beer a few years ago, but I figured with so many great microbrews and imports available why go to the trouble of making my own when I can just go buy what I want, with a huge variety of different beers to try, and have instant gratification. ;D

The reason I got into mead was because I've always loved the middle ages, I didn't really know exactly what mead was (or tasted like) and mead is hard to find in a lot of places.

I like a 50/50 extract/honey mix when I make my Braggots. And since you like IPA's you can add 1/4 of your extract and add your hops and boil for 60 minutes, these will be your Bittering Hops that IPA's are known for. 15 minutes before the boil is over you'll add more hops and these will be your flavor hops, you can add the rest of the extract at this time . When you turn the flame off you'll add even more hops and these will be your aroma hops. You can also get another Hop blast of flavor and aroma by dry hopping in the secondary.

Splitting the extract addition up will prevent the sugars in the extract from caramelizing. Don't know how big of a batch you are planning but boil as much water as you can (keep in mind that the extract and honey will increase the volume.

HunnyBunz
03-23-2012, 11:47 PM
Thanks for the advice! I'll definitely be putting that to good use in the not-to-distant future.
Is there any particular honey or yeast that you prefer for braggots?

TAKeyser
03-24-2012, 12:02 AM
Thanks for the advice! I'll definitely be putting that to good use in the not-to-distant future.
Is there any particular honey or yeast that you prefer for braggots?

It'll all depend on the type of Braggot that I'm making. If making something like an IPA style Braggot I wouldn't use a strong honey I would probably choose mainly Clover (maybe add a little tupelo or buckwheat to give it an additional layer of flavor).

As for Yeast if you can find Rogue Pacman Ale Yeast (Wyeast 1764) I'd grab that in a heartbeat. If you can't find that I would pick a strong American Ale Yeast or a neutral wine yeast like D47

mccann51
03-25-2012, 02:36 AM
I was surprised at how well I liked this batch without hops because I usually favor IPAs and other beers strong on hop flavor. I think the oak addition added a lot to the flavor profile.

This makes sense. At first, it sounded like it might be a little out of balance without hops, and then I saw you added oak and thought "hmm, now that sounds good."

Btw, if you like hops, I've had moderate success with hoppy braggots made with orange blossom honey.

Sadie Lady
03-25-2012, 05:44 AM
First I let the container of malt extract sit in hot water so it would pour easier, then the recipe I was using called for 2 gal. of water brought to a boil, add LME and boil for 30 minutes....I think the oak addition added a lot to the flavor profile.

I have DME, searched around and found 6 ounces of water per 1/2 pound of DME, boil for an hour. Does that sound about right? Don't have any hops but do have some oak, so going to make it like yours.

TAKeyser
03-25-2012, 10:54 AM
I have DME, searched around and found 6 ounces of water per 1/2 pound of DME, boil for an hour. Does that sound about right? Don't have any hops but do have some oak, so going to make it like yours.

If you are not adding hops you don't need to boil for that long 10-15 minutes will be enough. The longer you boil extract the darker it will become.

That doesn't seem like nearly enough water. My last Braggot was 2.5 Gallons and I used 3lbs DME boiled in 2 Gallons of water when it cooled down to 90-100 degrees I added 3lbs of honey and it gave me a Gravity of 1.096

Sadie Lady
03-25-2012, 09:11 PM
Thanks, gives me an idea where to start. Have you ever used mesquite honey for braggot. I have about 3 pounds of that. Seems like might be good

TAKeyser
03-25-2012, 09:30 PM
Thanks, gives me an idea where to start. Have you ever used mesquite honey for braggot. I have about 3 pounds of that. Seems like might be good

I haven't used Mesquite yet in a Braggot. I was going to do a Stout style Braggot with Mesquite Honey but I haven't gotten around to it yet. That damn to-do list just never seems to get any shorter.

Legitapotimous
03-25-2012, 09:42 PM
Whats a good rule of thumb to figure out your honey weight for a braggot? Since for 5 gal sweet mead is 13-15 or so lbs of honey... mostly depend on the malt used? Extract or not effect it? Been planing one my self to use oak in as well with citrusy aroma hops.

HunnyBunz
03-25-2012, 10:00 PM
Whats a good rule of thumb to figure out your honey weight for a braggot? Since for 5 gal sweet mead is 13-15 or so lbs of honey... mostly depend on the malt used? Extract or not effect it? Been planing one my self to use oak in as well with citrusy aroma hops.

I've recently learned that it's better to shoot for a target original gravity rather than using a preset amount of honey (unless you're following a tried & true recipe.)
That way you can roughly control what the ABV will end up at. Mine ended up at about 9% with 3 lbs of LME and 7+ lbs honey in a 5 gal batch.

Incidentally, at least 50% of the fermentable sugar must come from honey for it to be called a braggot.
And I'll let someone else answer your question about using extract vs. regular malt.

mccann51
03-25-2012, 10:41 PM
Incidentally, at least 50% of the fermentable sugar must come from honey for it to be called a braggot.
And I'll let someone else answer your question about using extract vs. regular malt.

I think official BJCP guidelines indicate at least 1/3 honey (or at least 1/3 malt) for it to be considered a braggot. I could be incorrect about this, but I'm pretty confident I'm not.

TAKeyser
03-25-2012, 11:11 PM
I think official BJCP guidelines indicate at least 1/3 honey (or at least 1/3 malt) for it to be considered a braggot. I could be incorrect about this, but I'm pretty confident I'm not.

The BJCP style guideline for category 26B does not state the amount of honey vs malt. Generally you will see between 1/2 and 2/3 of the fermentable sugars will come from honey and it all really depends on what flavors you are trying to achieve. If you state a beer style (ie Sweet Stout Braggot, IPA Braggot, Wheat Braggot, etc) the Braggot should show that style. You can read the guideline here http://www.bjcp.org/2008styles/style26.php

As for the question of extract vs full grain, it is all a matter of personal preference. I usually use extract because of the ease of it, but I've also been known to pull the second running of a full grain batch of beer to be used as my malt component in a braggot.

HunnyBunz
03-26-2012, 12:34 PM
I got that info about what constitutes a braggot from another website, so I probably should have verified before making that statement.
It just made sense to me that more malt than honey would classify it as a "honey beer" rather than a braggot.

browncoats
03-26-2012, 12:41 PM
I'm with you Hunnybunz, if there are more malt fermentables than honey, it should be a honey beer. More honey than malt, braggot.

TAKeyser
03-26-2012, 12:52 PM
I'm with you Hunnybunz, if there are more malt fermentables than honey, it should be a honey beer. More honey than malt, braggot.

That's usually how it works, you usually will see AT LEAST 50% of the fermentables coming from Honey (except in some commercial examples due to laws. Most Braggots made by Commercial Brewers will only contain 49% or less fermentables coming from Honey, because of the differences in licensing for a Winery vs Brewery)

mccann51
03-26-2012, 03:53 PM
I'm with you Hunnybunz, if there are more malt fermentables than honey, it should be a honey beer. More honey than malt, braggot.

Even as low as 1/3 fermentables from honey (usually from a more robust honey) can still give a very solid honey presence, giving a strong impression of mead.

I personally feel if it tastes like beer+mead then it's a braggot.

browncoats
03-26-2012, 07:13 PM
Even as low as 1/3 fermentables from honey (usually from a more robust honey) can still give a very solid honey presence, giving a strong impression of mead.

I personally feel if it tastes like beer+mead then it's a braggot.

The problem there is taste is subjective as opposed to objective. If I add an herb or spice to a melomel, it's not technically a melomel anymore, even if you can't taste it or pick it out. If I toss some honey in a beer, that doesn't make it a braggot, that probably makes it a honey beer. There needs to be an objective line, at least for competitions.

TAKeyser
03-26-2012, 08:38 PM
The problem there is taste is subjective as opposed to objective. If I add an herb or spice to a melomel, it's not technically a melomel anymore, even if you can't taste it or pick it out. If I toss some honey in a beer, that doesn't make it a braggot, that probably makes it a honey beer. There needs to be an objective line, at least for competitions.

Agreed. The BJCP rules aren't set in stone so a defined objective could eventually come into play. The question for many of us is what does the MCI look for when judging our Braggots.

Sadie Lady
03-26-2012, 08:52 PM
I haven't used Mesquite yet in a Braggot. I was going to do a Stout style Braggot with Mesquite Honey but I haven't gotten around to it yet. That damn to-do list just never seems to get any shorter.

No kidding. I don't know which one to do next and before long all the nice fruit will be coming in complicating it further... choices...choices...choices

TAKeyser
03-26-2012, 08:55 PM
No kidding. I don't know which one to do next and before long all the nice fruit will be coming in complicating it further... choices...choices...choices

Well the fact that the fruit isn't in yet does limit what I can pick off of the to-do list. I have narrowed it down to Soyala's Lemon Ginger or Wayne B's Christmas Spice Methligen (I think it's down to only those 2).

Sadie Lady
03-26-2012, 09:39 PM
I have 1 one gallon carboy left after I rack the peach cider, so it is between the Bouchet and the Braggot. I have to buy some more, don't really have anything ready to bottle. I think I saw that Christmas Spice when I was searching for something. Lemon ginger sounds good also.

TAKeyser
03-26-2012, 09:42 PM
I have 1 one gallon carboy left after I rack the peach cider, so it is between the Bouchet and the Braggot. I have to buy some more, don't really have anything ready to bottle. I think I saw that Christmas Spice when I was searching for something. Lemon ginger sounds good also.

and the list gets longer lol

Soyala_Amaya
03-26-2012, 10:43 PM
Hey my name was there :eek:. I'm going to redo the lemon-ginger sometime this April myself. If nothing else so Jamie and Gunnar don't get into a fist fight over the last 4 beer bottles of it...though that could be really funny. Jamie is about 5'2" and a fierce valkyrie. Gunnar is 6'3" and could probably bench press a hybrid car. Just for the visual reference for everyone else.

TAKeyser
03-26-2012, 10:44 PM
Hey my name was there :eek:. I'm going to redo the lemon-ginger sometime this April myself. If nothing else so Jamie and Gunnar don't get into a fist fight over the last 4 beer bottles of it...though that could be really funny. Jamie is about 5'2" and a fierce valkyrie. Gunnar is 6'3" and could probably bench press a hybrid car. Just for the visual reference for everyone else.

Going to NFG or LATP or both?

Soyala_Amaya
03-26-2012, 10:51 PM
Don't have the time off for NFG this year, but I'm sending some stuff up with Jotun's Bane Kindred. Nothing in the world could keep me away from LATP, it's organized and run by my family kindred! (Super secret note on that one, I've been working with Mark trying to get a mead competition at LATP this year. Any thing mentioned on their pages showing interest might help me make it happen!)

TAKeyser
03-26-2012, 10:58 PM
Hopefully I'll have the time for LATP this year since plans got all messed up at the last minute in 2011 (laid off). I talk to Mark pretty regularly so I'll mention how great it would be if there was a Mead competition (how can you have an event without a Mead competition?) ;)

Sadie Lady
04-13-2012, 03:42 AM
My main concern is the 5 Gal. Braggot I started on 12/11/11:
5 lbs "spring nectar" honey (I think it's a wildflower varietal, and I accidentally used about 7.5 lbs)
3.3 lbs Light LME
1 packet Danstar Windsor yeast
Filtered tap water to 5 gal.



How did your braggot turn out?

HunnyBunz
04-13-2012, 02:59 PM
How did your braggot turn out?

I really like it, and so did many of my friends - everyone from beer lovers to someone who doesn't really like beer. I only have one bottle left of the 22 large flip-tops. :rolleyes: I wanted to keep a little more for aging but I couldn't keep out of it.

I plan on trying some more complex braggots in the future, but this was a good one to get my feet wet with. It was before I even knew about adding nutrients or aeration, but beers don't need those things anyway.

Did you start a batch of your own? If you do, let me know how it turns out. And if you do follow this recipe, I really recommend you use the oak in secondary to give it some body & balance to make up for no hops.
I used 1 cup of medium toast french oak chips for about 12 days. Someone said that it was too much oak (for chips anyway) but it turned out fine. Maybe a smaller amount like 2 oz or so, left in for a little longer would work better.

Sadie Lady
04-14-2012, 07:40 AM
No, I haven't got to do anything for weeks! Had two different groups of company and then went out of town. So maybe this weekend if I can get everything else caught up.

Here's a recipe I found for a Braggot with hops. (http://mead.bravehost.com/index.html). I was searching on Danstar Windsor when I found it. I think it's the same place you got your recipe, just a different version of it.

Start date: May. 31, 2004
Bottle date: July. 02, 2004
5 gallon batch
Ingredients:

3 lb. light DME (Dry Malt Extract)
4.5 lb. wild flower honey
1 lb. 20L crystal malt
1 oz. cascade hops
1 tsp. irish moss
1 packet ale yeast (Danstar Windsor)


Heat one gallon water to 160F and steep crushed crystal malt at 160 - 165 for 20
minuets. Remove grain bag, heat to boiling and add DME and hops, boil 1 hour.
Remove from heat, cool to about 150F and add honey. Rack too a six gallon carboy
with 2 gallons of cool water, top up too 5 gallons, add active yeast starter when
temperature is 85F or below. Rack after 2 weeks. Keep in secondary for 2 weeks,
when clear prime with 2/3 cup corn sugar or honey boiled in a little water and
bottle.

Starting sg. 1.054

June 14, 2004 - Rack
July 02, 2004 - Prime and bottle.

TAKeyser
04-14-2012, 07:49 AM
Remove grain bag, heat to boiling and add DME and hops, boil 1 hour.


I would suggest adding only 1 to 1 1/2 lbs of the DME for the whole boil and than add the rest in the last 10-15 minutes. DME has a tendency to Darken while it boils and this looks like it should be a light colored Braggot.

Also use the largest pot you can and after steeping the Crystal Malt add the DME and at least another gallon of water (more if possible but be sure to leave room for the DME foaming, or get fermcap from your LHBS), this will give you better Hop utilization.

Sadie Lady
04-14-2012, 08:06 AM
I would suggest adding only 1 to 1 1/2 lbs of the DME for the whole boil and than add the rest in the last 10-15 minutes...

Thanks for the tip! I know nothing about brewing beer, but the instructions seem pretty easy. My son and son-in-law are going to be here in mid June and both love micro brewery beers, so really want to have one of these ready by then. I found this one also. I'd give you the website, but I don't know where I got it. I don't know that I'd boil the honey, but add it after everything else is done:

Rocky Raccoon's Honey Lager

This is the original and internationally acclaimed Rocky Raccoon's Honey Lager with only improved modifications. Use the lightest malt extract available, the freshest hops and light honey. It is a clean, crisp, exceptionally light beer with a mellow, aromatic hop flavor. The use of honey encourages a very complete fermentation and subsequently high alcohol content.
The lightness of flavor really can do justice to your finest hops. This recipe should be your foundation for a wide variety of experimenting with toasted malts, hops, other grains and unusual ingredients. It is a real delight and hundreds of homebrewers have won first-place awards at state fairs
around the United States with this or a variation of this recipe.

This beer will change its character with age; most who have appreciated Rocky's consider age with respect and happily raised eyebrows of disbelief.

Rocky's has a slight resemblance to the character of some stronger types of very light Belgian Ales.

Ingredients for 5 gallons (19 l):

3 1/2 lbs. (1.6 kg) plain extra light dried malt extract
2 1/2 lbs. (1.1 kg) light clover honey
1 1/2 oz. (42 gm) Cascade hops (boiling) 7.5 HBU (210 MBU) or try 2 oz. (56 gm) Saaz for a pilsener-like character
1/2 oz. (14 gm) Cascade hops (finishing)
American lager or Pilsener type yeast
3/4 c. (175 ml) corn sugar or 11/4 c. (300 ml) dried malt extract (for bottling)

O.G.: 1.048-1.052 (12-13)
F.G.: 1.004-1.008 (1-2)
Bitterness: 23; Color: 4 SRM (8 EBC)

Add the malt extract, honey and boiling hops to 1 1/2 gallons (5.7 l) of water and boil for 60 minutes. Add the finishing hops during the final 2-4 minutes of boiling. Strain, sparge and transfer immediately to 2 gallons (7.5 l) cold water and fermenter. Top off with additional water to make 5 gallons (19 l). Add the yeast when cool and ferment to completion. Bottle when fermentation is complete.

TAKeyser
04-14-2012, 08:17 AM
I've made the Rocky Raccoon's before, it comes from Charlie Papazian's book "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing". It's a nice basic Braggot (probably more of a Honey Beer than a Braggot, but that's semantics). My suggestion on the DME and using as much water for the boil as you can still apply

The recipe calls for the lightest DME you can get which is probably Pilsen Extra Light which any LHBS should have.

HunnyBunz
04-15-2012, 03:41 AM
Here's a recipe I found for a Braggot with hops. (http://mead.bravehost.com/index.html). I was searching on Danstar Windsor when I found it. I think it's the same place you got your recipe, just a different version of it.

Yup. That's where I got my recipe. That was before I discovered Gotmead and didn't quite know what I was doing. I followed the "Easy Braggot" recipe and altered it a little - both intentionally and unintentionally. :rolleyes:

hepcat
04-15-2012, 09:50 PM
This makes sense. At first, it sounded like it might be a little out of balance without hops, and then I saw you added oak and thought "hmm, now that sounds good."

Btw, if you like hops, I've had moderate success with hoppy braggots made with orange blossom honey.

I wanna try that.:cool: