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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Central PA

    Default Hefeweizen Style Braggot

    I'm in that impatient newbie stage of meadmaking where I have a lot of batches in progress, but none finished yet. I followed recipes from either the Wild Wines & Meads, or Ken Schramm books, so I'm assuming they'll come out fine. Anyway...

    I'd like to try making a braggot next. My beer making experience is one batch, from a kit, so I'm not ready to plunge into all-grain brewing yet. My absolute all time favorite style of beer is Hefeweizen, so that's the direction I'd like to go in. There's a good homebrew store nearby, so I have access to wheat malt syrup and various kinds of hops. I'd like to use Hefeweizen yeast, and accent the citrus/banana notes. I read in another thread (thanks, search feature) to keep the fermanting braggot warm to bring out the banana, rather than clove aspect if using Hefeweizen yeast. The honey I'll be using is local late summer wildflower, with a hint of that caramelly, buckwheat taste. Not as strong or bitter as straight buckwheat honey. I may also have access to a late summer goldenrod type that I could use instead.

    So, what's next? I'm thinking along the lines of
    1 can wheat malt syrup
    honey to bring sg to (1.090?)
    water to 5 gallons
    citrussy hops
    maybe a titch of orange peel in secondary fermentation

    Beyond that, I'm just guessing. I'd like recommendations for what variety hops to use, and how much. I don't like a real big bitter hop flavor, but would like to use some hops. Should I use it in the boil, or at the end for finishing? I'm planning to add the honey after boil to keep as much flavor as possible. I have corneluis kegs, so this will be carbonated.

    Any expert ideas are welcome. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Helmetta, New Jersey, USA


    I'm aging a braggot right now. It takes some time to age properly; I brewed mine at the end of June, racked into a carboy after two weeks, then racked again at the end of September, and will pitch new yeast for carbonation and bottle in early January.

    I just posted a honey beer recipe that takes much less time, but for the braggot, I used approximately 5 lbs. of honey and 8.5 lbs. of liquid pale malt. I used about 1.0 oz of Hallertau hops. If you like a hoppy flavor, you can easily use more. You pretty much need to boil the hops to get any of their flavor out. If you plan to add the hops at the end, you'll need a lot more if you don't want the end result to be cloyingly sweet. I suggest adding the honey at the malt stage and boil it; you aren't going to lose the flavor.

    If you age it well, you can always add more yeast for carbonation later.
    Last edited by Moonshae; 10-24-2007 at 06:19 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Lyons, CO


    I'd like to use Hefeweizen yeast, and accent the citrus/banana notes. I read in another thread (thanks, search feature) to keep the fermanting braggot warm to bring out the banana, rather than clove aspect if using Hefeweizen yeast.
    This totally depends on the strain of yeast. Be aware that the true hefeweizen yeasts are VERY temperature sensitive; at 68 F they can give a nice phenolic character and at 74 it can be hard to get past your nose much less drink. It depends on a lot of factors.

    Hops are using in beer brewing in three ways, depending on how long they're boiled. Boiled an hour or more, and you'll get the characteristic bittering quality that balances out the malt's sweetness in varying degrees (think India Pale Ale bitterness). For about 15 mins, and you'll taste the chlorophylly "tea" of the hop, known to brewers as the flavor. The bitterness doesn't have time to convert, and the aromatics all boil off, so you only get that kind of grassy part that's distinct in each hop variety. For a minute or less (to no boil at all in the case of dry hopping), and the essential oils of the hop will remain in the beer, lending aroma only. So even by using Hallertauer hops exclusively for example, you can lend three different qualities to a beer.

    Now in mead it's a little different, in that hops' alpha acids (the main compounds which become bitterness if boiled for extended periods) are "utilized" poorly if not boiled in beer, that is, they don't isomerize into their bittering compounds as readily.

    For me, in a braggot, I'd either make a full-blown wort and boil the beer component for a whole hour, or stick with an aromatic or flavor hop addition. To my taste (and I am one of the most fervent, rabid lovers of beer I know ), I personally don't really dig hop bittering character in braggots. Remember also that much (most actually) of what we "taste" is actually aroma.

    Citrussy hops: the three "C"s are the standard of citrus hop character, Centennial, Chinook and Cascade. Of the three Cascade is used WAY more than the other two combined. It has more of a grapefruity note, and is the only hop (used in all three ways) in Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Chinook is underrated IMO and has a kind of piney aspect to the hop. It is, however, a highly potent hop when used for bittering and a bit goes a LONG ways.

    I also LOVE Northern Brewer hops. They have a little bit of that citrusy character but a kind of woodsy note that I like in braggots, and if the only hop that will ever come within a mash-paddle of my dry Irish stout.

    And lastly, hefeweizens (for traditionalists) are strictly noble hop territory: hallertauer, saaz, tettnanger, hersbrucker (which I think smell like soap). These so-called noble hops have a refined, spicy character that doesn't overwhelm delicate continental pilseners and can add a complexity to the funky wheat beers.

    Go with your nose. One caveat I'll share is that a hefeweizen-fermented braggot will have a LOT going on flavorwise, and adding too much more (in terms of spices or varietal honey character) may make a drink that's so complicated that none of the (individually perhaps wonderful) elements can be noticed for the forest they swim in, so to speak. For reference, hefeweizens are the pinnacle of simplicity beerwise; one part malted wheat, one part malted barley, one bittering hop, and that crazy yeast that makes (and defines) the style. All the other ingredients are almost vehicles to showcase the yeast's character.

    Also the whole point of making your own is to make it the way YOU want. I'm just offering some perspective, I'm not a style maven by any stretch. If you've never had a licorice pumpkin coffee dark cherry lagered stout, you don't know what you've been missing !
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO


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