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  • Braggot (Mead)

    Good evening

    I would like to pick your brains for ideas on a mead I have been toiling with in my mind. I want to brew a low abv style braggot (mead).
    My question is to hop or not to hop? (The alternative is to smoke the honey)
    My bill is as follows:
    Hops:
    10 g Saaz Flame Out
    30 g Hallertauer 30 min boil

    Starter:
    1 pkg Champagne Yeast
    0.12 kg Molasses
    0.25 l Water

    Fermentables:
    2.5kg Honey
    0.5 kg DME

    Batch Size:
    18 l

    My idea of smoking the honey is as follows:
    The honey will be pre-heated to ~90 oC.
    1 cup smoker chips, soaked in 500 ml of water. After the water is boiled off, the chips will be placed directly on the heat source.
    Smoker temperature will be kept at 90 - 100 oC for the duration of the initial 'smoked' water to boil off.
    Brennen
    Senior Member
    Last edited by Brennen; 19 July 2019, 07:57.
    Primary: Bohemian Lager
    Secondary: Bohemian lager/ Ale fusion - Added US-05 to secondary
    Next up: Bohemian Lager
    Then: Bohemian Lager
    And Then: Bohemian Lager
    Conditioning: Chucked Fruit Ale

    "What he doth, he doth by rule of Thumb, and not by Art."
    "What's the use of having a mind when you can't change it?"

  • #2
    Batch size? You need to keep in mind that at 90C, chances are good that you're going to caramelise the honey. That will reduce your fermentable sugar, make your mead darker and result in more bitterness. I'm personally not entirely sure I'll want to smoke the honey. Besides the caramelisation, you also destroy a lot of the honey flavour. Why not consider something like SmokedFlavours Liquid Smoke? Add a drop or two, see where the flavour takes you? https://smokedflavours.co.za/shop/?cat=liquid-smoke

    Also, a Braggot is a mead made with honey and malt. I see no malt in your mead :P

    Comment


    • #3
      Batch size can be 20l. But I am aiming for an abv of 4 - 6%. Honey caramelisation is not too bad, I think.

      Originally posted by Toxxyc View Post
      Also, a Braggot is a mead made with honey and malt. I see no malt in your mead :P
      I will add DME to the bill. Thank you for noticing. The DME will then make up for lost fermentable sugars and bring my braggot into style.

      In terms of the smoke flavour, I will by some flavour addition and try it out on a small batch.
      Primary: Bohemian Lager
      Secondary: Bohemian lager/ Ale fusion - Added US-05 to secondary
      Next up: Bohemian Lager
      Then: Bohemian Lager
      And Then: Bohemian Lager
      Conditioning: Chucked Fruit Ale

      "What he doth, he doth by rule of Thumb, and not by Art."
      "What's the use of having a mind when you can't change it?"

      Comment


      • #4
        Or, instead of light DME I should do a partial mash.
        Which grain goes well with honey?
        Primary: Bohemian Lager
        Secondary: Bohemian lager/ Ale fusion - Added US-05 to secondary
        Next up: Bohemian Lager
        Then: Bohemian Lager
        And Then: Bohemian Lager
        Conditioning: Chucked Fruit Ale

        "What he doth, he doth by rule of Thumb, and not by Art."
        "What's the use of having a mind when you can't change it?"

        Comment


        • #5
          I would go all out and do a proper partial mash, yes. I don't know if you've done a mead before, but mead is a very, very sensitive drink. Nowhere near as robust and rough and tough as a beer. Think of a cider, but more sensitive. Even the slightest flavour can be picked up and therefore requires good planning. In the end, 6~8% ABV isn't a lot, and I think you'll be well off slightly caramelising the honey to ensure the flavour gets through. Otherwise, even a 10% ABV mead is actually pretty light in flavour, specially if the honey varietal isn't very strong on flavour (think of it like brewing a beer with nothing other than bare minimum hops and plan pale malt).

          I actually think a grain bill with a little bit of colour and some sweeter notes, without overpowering the honey, would be great. If you want to enjoy it carbonated, I would recommend at least a small percentage of a grain that'll allow some head to develop - like wheat. For the rest, a sweeter malt like pilsner is a great choice. For colour, maybe a small dash of vienna or caramunich (the light one)? I would honestly mash to get a light wort, measure the gravity and then add the honey after the wort is ready to match up to the desired gravity.

          PS: If you add honey, you might want to consider feeding your yeast. I'm not sure what yeast you've considered, but since it's a braggot I'd really recommend an ale yeast, not a typical wine yeast. You'll get a more drinkable braggot quicker. I've used Lallemand's Abbaye yeast with great success in a mead before. My next batch will be my first attempt with a true wine yeast (71B). Wish me luck...

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Toxxyc View Post
            I would... ...Wish me luck...
            And with that, back to the studio...

            But seriously, there are more questions then answers right now.
            Like,
            How can the daintiest of drinks be the drink of the Viking warrior?
            What malt goes well with honey?
            Will I be aiming for a low SG cream ale base and adjust the SG with the honey addition?

            As for the yeast, I have always done a starter.
            I take care of the yeast, and they take care of my beer. Symbiotic relationship even
            I have got a beer in the secondary fermenter at the moment which I brewed with a Champagne yeast. The flavour is very good. The head retention was weak, but a little brew enhancer boosted the head retention, and my abv.
            Primary: Bohemian Lager
            Secondary: Bohemian lager/ Ale fusion - Added US-05 to secondary
            Next up: Bohemian Lager
            Then: Bohemian Lager
            And Then: Bohemian Lager
            Conditioning: Chucked Fruit Ale

            "What he doth, he doth by rule of Thumb, and not by Art."
            "What's the use of having a mind when you can't change it?"

            Comment


            • #7
              LOL it's not that mead is "sensitive" as in "it's a girly drink". At all. In fact, if you make it roughly, it'll let you know. Badly. It's when it's made well that it stands up to modern drinks, though, which is why we're so careful with it. Remember that just like our beers from today is nothing like the beers from yesteryear, and our wines from today is nothing like the wines from a 100 years back, just the same our mead isn't the same as it was "back then". You can make it like that, if you wish (just Google the JAOM), but it doesn't have to be. You have a choice to make it better, just like we have a choice to make a great lager if we want to.

              Anyway, I think Pilsner malt will go great with honey. It's sweeter, which is what you'll need if you plan on fermenting to dry or you want to enjoy it sparkling. Have you ever had a dry mead? Sparkling or still? To give you an idea, when it's fresh, it tastes A LOT like a brut white sparkling wine. A lot. It's plenty sour and the honey is "at the back". You want to bring that honey forward by letting it age, or by backsweetening it after stabilizing with ksorbate and kmeta.

              On the yeast, I would pick a yeast with a flavour profile that'll match your outcome. You want it fruitier? 71B. You want it spicy? Belgian Ale yeast. You want a dry sparkling champagne-like mead? 1118. For example.

              Mead is more prone to flavours and you can't really hide much. That's why a good traditional show mead is so damn hard to make. The honey is difficult to source correctly, your water profile is important and even your yeast's treatment can be spotted from a mile. So yeah, maybe you want to call it "dainty", if you wish, but I prefer to call it more along the lines of "sophisticated" and "classy". Brewing a good beer is pretty easy. Brewing a good mead takes some work. On the plus side, if your mead goes to shit, you can just bottle it and store it in a cupboard for a couple of years, and chances are it'll be good then

              Comment


              • #8
                I will settle on Pilsner malt. But I still haven't received my honey as a 'favour'. Will revisit the drawing board , so to speak, once the honey arrives. I do not know what I'll end up getting.
                Primary: Bohemian Lager
                Secondary: Bohemian lager/ Ale fusion - Added US-05 to secondary
                Next up: Bohemian Lager
                Then: Bohemian Lager
                And Then: Bohemian Lager
                Conditioning: Chucked Fruit Ale

                "What he doth, he doth by rule of Thumb, and not by Art."
                "What's the use of having a mind when you can't change it?"

                Comment


                • #9
                  You placed a specific order or are you just waiting for whatever pops up? It's a terrible time for beekeepers now since it's just after winter. They won't be too keep to harvest now, since the bees need the honey to survive should they not get the required food from nectar from blossoms.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Toxxyc View Post
                    You placed a specific order or are you just waiting for whatever pops up? It's a terrible time for beekeepers now since it's just after winter. They won't be too keep to harvest now, since the bees need the honey to survive should they not get the required food from nectar from blossoms.
                    The supplier of this honey is a bee keeper by night and relocates hives in his spare time. I asked for 3 kg of honey from the previous 'batch' of honey he got in.
                    Primary: Bohemian Lager
                    Secondary: Bohemian lager/ Ale fusion - Added US-05 to secondary
                    Next up: Bohemian Lager
                    Then: Bohemian Lager
                    And Then: Bohemian Lager
                    Conditioning: Chucked Fruit Ale

                    "What he doth, he doth by rule of Thumb, and not by Art."
                    "What's the use of having a mind when you can't change it?"

                    Comment

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