This was the third in my series of two and a half gallon small batches, following Smokey and Grim’s Chin. It was also brewed a couple days before Ancient Orange Mead. Small batches and honey were all the rage in early 2012.
Braggot is the term for a fermented beverage made from a combination of honey and malt. The proportion of the two can swing either way, but there is usually a significant portion of both. Adding a little bit of honey to a Summer ale and most people will not think of it as a braggot. A braggot can be considered a mead or a beer, though they don’t need to contain hops, in which case they aren’t, by the current popular definition, a beer. The BJCP files them under their Mead category, though I’ve seen them entered in the Specialty Beer category in competitions.
For my first stab, I wanted to lean more towards beer than mead, but I got a lot more fermentables from honey. I used a ton of honey and only a small amount of dry malt extract, but I loaded up on tons of sweet, characterful steeping malts. I steeped a full pound each of Honey Malt and Crystal 10L. Remembering that this a two and a half gallon batch, that is a ton. I had never used Honey malt before, but I fell in love with it after this batch.
Most descriptions of the malting process used to make Honey Malt are very vague. There are a lot of descriptions of its contributions to beer, though and I guess that is more important. It can be compared to Melanoidin Malt, but it is a bit sweeter. It’s often described as toasted, nutty, malty, sweet and, of course, honey-like. These are all accurate, but I get much more of the sweeter notes than the nutty ones.
For this beer (or mead), that was welcome. All that honey fermented out and there was not much extract, so the specialty grains were really carrying the mouthfeel and a lot of the flavor. I would never think to use so much Crystal and Honey Malts together now, but it really worked this time. I love this stuff. It reminds me of a barley wine and, in fact, I made my first barley wine around the same time and was supremely disappointed that it wasn’t more like Braggart Braggot.
I still have a few bottles of this left. It was tough but I’ve purposely been aging it as long as I can to see how it progresses. I’d definitely tweak the recipe if I was making this again, but it was a strong, hearty and delicious drink.
Brew Date: February 25, 2012
Serve Date: June, 2012
1 lb Wheat DME
7 lb Clover Honey (from the grocery store)
1 lb Crystal 10L
1 lb Honey Malt
1 oz Hallertauer @ 40 min
Danstar Windsor English Dry Yeast