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Fast & Easy Beer Kit Braggot

Braggot is a mead style brewed using honey and malt. To that end, braggot could be looked at as either a honey dark ale (or stout), or as a malted-mead. It was historically served as an intentionally fermented beverage, or poured as a mixture of ale and mead in the mug.

Don’t believe the ‘style advocates’. Braggot can be a lot of things, even though many people think of braggot as a particular style of beer with honey characteristics, or as a style of mead. See, I just hit you with some rules to break. Braggot can be pretty much anything you want within the confines of honey, malt, fermentation & your willingness to take a risk.

The styles and array of beverages produced in this way are as endless as your imagination. Some braggot I’ve made has fermented through to 10% ABV with a clear finish like malt-honey wine that spent three months in a fermenter and self-carbonated in the bottles over a hot summer. I’ve made braggot that brewed, carbonated and tasted like beer without more than a faint suggestion of the flavour of honey. And I’ve made crazy reaper chilli sack braggot with an ABV higher than wine (and where I made certain mistakes that won’t be repeated). It’s nothing like beer if you ferment it to a clear dry finish, or as a thick highly alcoholic portal to oblivion.

Flat, carbonated, short (low ABV) or sack (ABV higher than 14%); these are your choices as a brewer of braggot. Add different yeasts, temperatures, time and additions and you have enough variables to last a lifetime of exploration. Braggot is a Universe that exists between craft beer as you know it & the galaxy of mead you’ve probably barely touched.

For a very first go at making a 20 litre braggot you might try the standard Coopers Dark Ale beer kit with 3KG of dark (non-floral) honey from a local apiarist. Honey is low in available nitrogen, unlike the beer wort itself, so I add a half teaspoon of yeast nutrient and a little energiser into the fermenter after dropping in a dry beer kit yeast and a white wine yeast together.

After about 2 weeks you should add another half teaspoon of yeast nutrient and a little bit more energiser to help it along.

I’m not concerned about Starting Gravity or Final Gravity in this post because it’s rubbish. If you’re making booze for yourself then just do it to get the buzz. Make braggot from your heart. Know your inputs. Know the product you want at the end.

Have a little fun with braggot and keep in mind that honey sugars should be around double the weight of dried malt, if I recall correctly. Three kilograms of honey is roughly the equivalent of your beer kit with 1 and a half kilograms of dried malt. Use high quality dark honey. From an apiarist; not a supermarket.

Further advice from a mead maker: honey is consumed slower than other sugars you might have brewed with due to being low in nitrogen. So give your braggot some space. It could take 4 or 5 weeks in your basement under cover of blankets to become a nice beer style braggot (given the amount of available sugar in that fermenter) … and a few more months to push into what can be described as a more wine style braggot, if that’s your taste.

My next post will discuss what I did to this braggot in the way of a slightly unconventional use of hops. Some brewing pedants will slag me off… I’m not following rules. Styles are like fashion, I’d say. Follow your tongue. Make what you want to drink and can’t buy over the counter, or can’t afford. Let styles go fuck themselves with cucumbers that fit a pre-ordained recipe. I’m not one for adhering to mere social conventions like ‘style’.

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Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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