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WikdWaze
08-01-2004, 02:54 PM
I'm wanting my first mead to be a braggot. My question is, is there a "proper" technique involved? I mean, do you brew up the malt like a beer and then throw in the honey and yeast, or do you make the mead and the beer seperate and then mix them, or does it make any kind of difference? I really want something that has just enough "beer" to give it a grainy taste while letting the sweetness and flavor of the honey remain the main focus, kind of like buckwheat pancakes with honey instead of maple syrup. Mmmmmmmm, buckwheat pancakes :P Which reminds me, does any of the buckwheat flavor come through in the honey? Dangit, now I'm hungry.

JoeM
08-02-2004, 07:01 AM
i usually cook the malt and small amount of hops that i use as you would any beer, then remove the liquid from the heat and add the honey. in this way you can break down the sugars and proteins in the malt properly without cooking the delicate flavors and aromas out of the honey.

WikdWaze
08-02-2004, 12:37 PM
Thanks, that's option "A". Make up the beer, let it cool, add the honey and yeast. I'm thinking this has an added advantage of providing more nutrients for the yeast as well.

Anybody else use option "B", make them both seperate then mix them just before bottling? I'm curious about this because I want a sparkling product and I was thinking this method could work well for that. If I let the mead finish at about 15% ABV then mix in the beer and some water so that the ABV drops to like 12% then bottle it and let the yeast work to carbonate it as they build back to 15%, will that work?

JoeM
08-02-2004, 02:36 PM
I carbonate my braggot in the same manner one would carbonate most beers, with the addition of priming sugar at bottling. this gives you very precise control over the amount of bubbles in the product. the "option B" you're talking about may work, but it sounds like its less controlled and would produce an unpredictable amount of carbonation. you could end up with a flat product, or worse, bottle bombs! I've never heard of making a braggot this way, but asside from the concerns about carbonation, it sounds interesteing and i'd like to hear of the results. what type of beer and mead recipes would you start with?

WikdWaze
08-03-2004, 03:08 AM
I'm starting to think I'll have to make two batches with identical ingredients and try both methods simultaneously. that way I could see firsthand if the method itself had any effect on the taste.

As for the recipes I plan to use, I'm undecided so far. I had intended to use buckwheat honey since it's supposed to be the darkest, richest varietal, but I don't have a local source. I don't feel like paying to ship 30# of honey from California or Minnesota. I can get a five-gallon bucket locally for about $100, that's less than $2 per pound which seems a decent price. I'm thinking 3# per gallon since I want a sweet product and the malt should counter some of the sweetness. If I have to use a lighter honey I'l probably use a darker malt to get the color and body I want. I want the finished product to be noticeably thicker than beer. I may go with a malt extract for now just to save me some hassle while I experiment to find the exact recipe I want. Yeast is another decision I have yet to make. I'm shooting for about 15% ABV, nothing too excessive, and I have absolutely no idea how the different yeasts effect the flavor of the mead. Seems I don't really have a clue what I plan to use yet ::) Really it all depends on the honey I find. Like I said in my original post, I want a sweet mead with strong wheat undertones. I'm sure there's only about 35,000 different ways to get that result.

After I experiment and find the right recipe I'm going to try and convince the local German restauraunt to carry it and start my own little craft meadery.

Jmattioli
08-05-2004, 06:03 AM
(snip)
As for the recipes I plan to use, I'm undecided so far. I had intended to use buckwheat honey since it's supposed to be the darkest, richest varietal, but I don't have a local source. (snip) I'm shooting for about 15% ABV (snip)
Just a comment on Buckwheat... It is a very strong honey. I use some in every batch but usually only 15% as a general rule since I like the flavor it imparts but like to drink it within a few months. I have not used it exclusively (100%). The reason being is it does have somewhat of a barnyard smell and is so overpowering that it is reported to require a long aging time to be drinkable. From one of your comments concerning clarifying I understand that you want to drink your mead as soon as possible. That being said, from my experience with as much as 50% buckwhweat in a batch, and your desire to hit 15% ABV, I would say you will be in for a long wait before it reaches anywhere near pleasureable drinkability unless you are already intoxicated. You can research more on buckwheat by searching through the MLD's on the home page for other comments on it.
Joe

dogglebe
08-05-2004, 07:56 AM
Buckwheat honey has a barnyard smell? I use a little honey in my lambics. Maybe I'll use some buckwheat next time.

Phil

WikdWaze
08-05-2004, 04:03 PM
Just a comment on Buckwheat... It is a very strong honey. I use some in every batch but usually only 15% as a general rule since I like the flavor it imparts but like to drink it within a few months. I have not used it exclusively (100%). The reason being is it does have somewhat of a barnyard smell and is so overpowering that it is reported to require a long aging time to be drinkable. From one of your comments concerning clarifying I understand that you want to drink your mead as soon as possible. That being said, from my experience with as much as 50% buckwhweat in a batch, and your desire to hit 15% ABV, I would say you will be in for a long wait before it reaches anywhere near pleasureable drinkability unless you are already intoxicated. You can research more on buckwheat by searching through the MLD's on the home page for other comments on it.
Joe

This is where all the experimentation comes in, and why I'm glad I found this forum. I've read dozens of mead sites looking for bits and pieces of useful information, but nothing I could find really covered the differences in the honeys. I would prefer to use a varietal or blend of varietals since they would be more consistent and predictable than a wildflower honey, but there is still a lot of variation to deal with. Any honey can make a sweet mead, but which one will have the right aroma and balance of tastes? I'm not sure I'd want to think of a barnyard every time I tipped my glass. Another reason I wanted buckwheat was the color. I want a darker, richer looking mead. Of course, there are dark honeys with mild flavor and I could always use the malt to get the color and just go with a light honey. Seems I could have 10 different recipes with very similar tastes.

Even though my patience is far from excessive, I can wait for something that NEEDS to happen. If I make a batch that simply has to age for 6 months, so be it. Of course, I'd have to test a bottle periodically just to make sure ;D

Talon
08-05-2004, 06:08 PM
Here's a link that will help you find a different honey and can possibly describe the differences in taste, smell and texture.

http://www.honeylocator.com/

I've used it to find myself some decent honeys from around the state and have them shipped to me.

WikdWaze
08-06-2004, 01:07 AM
Yeah, I've used that locator before. It's a bit weak on information about the honey though. I have a variety available to me that isn't even listed, kudzu. I hear good things about sourwood honey. I'll just have to ride over and see the guy, check out some flavors.

Saw a recipe for a braggot that used buckwheat. It looked interesting, but it called for six different types of malt! I find it hard to believe that anybody would notice any difference with six malts as opposed to two or three. I'm sure some aren't meant to contribute flavor, just body, color, and head retention. That's still a lot of extra malt.