Braggot Method [Archive] - Beesource Beekeeping Forums

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05-31-2006, 07:05 PM
When making braggot, I brew the wort, blend in the honey then pitch the yeast, typicaly EC-1118 or DV10.

I've started wondering how/if;

A primary and secondry fermentation of the wort with an Ale yeast where allowed to finish before racking the beer into a honey must to ferment dry in a tertiary fermentation using EC-1118 to hit the target ABV prior to priming and bottling, would effect the overall ballance & profile of the braggot I make.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on this.


Ben Brewcat
06-01-2006, 01:12 PM
You'd get a lot more of character from the ale yeast. Depending on the strain you use, that could accuntuate the "malty" notes and certainly provide a more estery braggot. You'd likely get a more complex braggot overall; I think it's a good way to go. No real reason to wait on the honey though unless the OG would be osmotically too high for an ale yeast to get started, but it's have to be a pretty big braggot (over 1.1). No real harm in waiting though either IMO.

Note that some ale strains are very neutral and would't make much difference: Chico (Wyeast 1056/White Labs California Ale) comes to mind.

06-01-2006, 05:59 PM
Thanks for the input Ben.

I'm thinking Wyeast 1098 British Ale, 1099 Whitbread Ale or 1187 Ringwood Ale would likely add the complexity I'm after.

Most braggots I make are high gravity 1.120+, which is the primary reason for stepped fermentation.

The other is to get as much as posible from the ale yeast.

Thank's again,


06-02-2006, 09:21 AM

Ben's suggestion is an excellent one. I would use the Chicho strain (dried Sfale 56 or Wyeast1056). It has a nice neutral flavor and a pleasant ester profile at higher gravities. 1118 is not necessary unless you want tiny bubbles and no esters. the chico strain has done very high gravity meads/braggots for me and will ferment over 12% alcohol.

06-02-2006, 02:45 PM
Thank You Aspera.

Though, the reason I'm looking at a Whitbread type or Ringwood Ale yeast, is to add complexity. I don't feel a neutral strain like Chico, would help that much.

9 of 10 braggots I make finish at 16%+ abv. (2 have finished at 20%), the must would kill an Ale yeast.

Think "BIG" Barleywine style braggot.


06-02-2006, 03:01 PM
These are the qualities I'm looking to brew into an Ale style braggot;

Aroma: Rich, deep and complex, slight malty sweetness with fruity esters, and alcohol. Roasted malt character of caramel, coffee and dark chocolate, but not burnt. Moderately strong and complex, dark fruit esters, like plums, prunes and raisins. No hops aroma. No sourness. Very smooth. Noticeable alcohol character, but not sharp, hot or solventy. little to no diacetyl.

Appearance: Very dark brown (not black). Thick deep tan to brown head, well-formed with moderate to good retention. High alcohol and viscosity visible in "legs" when the mead is swirled in a glass. If not Opaque, it should be clear.

Flavor: Rich, deep and complex, some malt sweetness, fruity esters, perhaps a hint of hop flavor, and alcohol. Medium-low bitterness just to provide balance. Moderate to moderately-high roasted malt flavors, bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate, strong coffee and caramel complexity. A prominent yet smooth roasted flavor that stops short of burnt. Fruity esters like, raisins, plums, or prunes. Alcohol strength which is evident, but not hot, sharp, or solventy. Little or no diacetyl. A palate and finish that are relatively dry to somewhat sweet, with a lingering roastiness and warming character. Possibly developing vinous or port-like qualities with age.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and smooth. Gentle warmth from alcohol that is noticeable. Medium-high carbonation, making it mouth-filling.

Overall: A very complex, intensely flavored, big, dark ale styled braggot. Dark fruit and deep roasty flavors, leaning towards bittersweet, with a noticeable alcohol presence.

O.G. ~ 1.120+ | F.G. ~ 1.030 +/- | IBUs ~ 17 - 20 | SRM ~ 30+ | ABV ~ 16%+

Something which drinks like beer, yet is warming and well suited to sipping by the fire, or drinking in small glasses for the effect.

Any help in formulation would be great.


06-02-2006, 03:34 PM
Understood. If your ever feeling experimental, the Chico strain is worthwhile. I'd be quite surprised if it could ferment over 16% though.


06-02-2006, 04:41 PM
Thanks Hal,

At this point it's all Experimental. A primary & secondary with the Chico strain is all but out of the question.

I'm leaning very heavily towards just making braggot, other then what I need for mead vinegar.

As I've just started using ale strains of yeast looking for more complexity, and I have yet to brew a beer. I will try what ever the brewers suggest I try.

Though for test batches, I think an ABV around 8% might work better since I can brew 6 gallons @ 8% for around &20.00, with 5 lbs of grain and 6 gallons of honey.

where as a 6 gal. batch at the target ABV of 16%+ runs up wards of $60.00 since I must buy the honey I use.

Thanks again for your input,


Ben Brewcat
06-02-2006, 04:42 PM
Well it'd help if you could give us some details ;) .

That sounds really good! The only things to recommend are ingredientwise to help get where you're going; to get that sinuous malt character you'll want some of the complex-malty-character big guns. Are you mashing? I'll take a shot since I can't help myself. I'd suggest a dark Munich based mash with some Belgian Special B, british 60-80L crystal, debittered Weyermann carafa III, some quality chocolate malt, not too high mineral content in the water though. Consider some (a dash) melanoidin malt and/or aromatic malt too. Then perhaps a good boil (couple hours) of the runnings for kettle caramelization. Add the hops for the last hour only so they don't over-isomerize or get coarse.

Note that high alcohol content will necessarily reduce head retention in even the best-designed mash. Keep the ferment temp cool but active. Your yeasts would be good, but Aspera is onto something. I also like chico for big beers; the stress of high gravity greatly increases the ester output of any yeast and chico gets fruity up there. For an example of the difference (and also the difference between American and British style Barleywines), try a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale next to a SN Bigfoot (both use chico). Granted very different beers in other regards, but you'll note what the gravity does. Then try a Anchor Old Foghorn for the British type Barleywine, what you're looking for. Incedible difference.

06-02-2006, 05:25 PM
Okay, here's what I have in mind for,

6lb Belgian Pale
8lb Belgian Munich
1.5lb Belgian CaraMunich
1/2lb Belgian Special B
3/4lb Belgian Chocolate
1/2lb Crystal 60
1/8lb Crystal 80
1/2lb Flaked Barley
1.5lb Flaked Oats

Then enough honey to bring the O.G. to 1.120.

I was thinking about 5oz fuggles for the last 60 minutes of the boil.


Ben Brewcat
06-03-2006, 08:42 AM
Yum. What efficiency do you get from your mashes? If we can calc the gravity of your runoff (and know the volume) we can run the Cgrav to figure out how much hops to use at what AA% to target your IBUs. Unless you're way ahead of me which seems likely! With a wort of that density 5 ounces of a fuggle seems in the ballpark.
I've recently switched milling technique (when I switched shops) and in addition to stuck lauters, my efficiency has jumped. If anything chaps my hide it's my numbers being off! Well, that and diet beer ;) .

06-03-2006, 02:10 PM
Most of the time, I mash, lauter then boil, no sparge, with an efficiency 60%.

The one braggot I batch sparged was the barleymead recipe I posted. I hit 78% efficiency on that one.

This picture was taken about 3 minutes after the braggot was poured.
Oatmeal Porter Braggot (

That one finished at 12% and should have about 3 V-CO2.


06-04-2006, 11:01 AM
Looks like a great recipe to me. I would go with Styrian Goldings for the bittering (5-6 oz, last 20 minutes of boil). I do like that debittered chocholate that Ben mentioned, but the Belgian stuff is also very fine.

06-04-2006, 12:20 PM
Hey Aspera,

This was formulated for a stepped infusion mash, without sparging.

Estimated: efficiency 60%, runoff 1.084, 12lb honey 1.154, FG 1.030, 16% abv before bottle conditioning.

5oz Fuggles @ 60 min. > 20 IBU's

5oz S. Goldings @ 30 min. > 18 IBU's

Everything I've read, indicates longer boiling times reduce the overall flavor and aroma contributions from the hops being used.

Which of these hopping rates will contribute the least amount of hops flavor and aroma?

I hate hops, only considering their use for bittering.


06-04-2006, 12:56 PM
Styrian Goldings and Fuggles are both closely relately, exceptionally aromatic hops. If you just want bittering, then don't waste your money on Fuggles or Styrian Goldings. I would use for a much smaller amount of Perle, East Kent Goldings or Cascade and a very long boil time (like 1 oz with a >60 min boil). Alternatively, a little roast barley in the mash also makes a nice bittering agent that goes well with honey.

06-04-2006, 06:19 PM
Thanks Aspera,

My math may be off but...

I don't see how an ounce of perle @ 9% for 60 min. giving more then 8 IBU's to this must.


06-05-2006, 07:42 PM
It may not be enough for bittering, but you can always adjust it later in the boil, or add a smaller amount of Fuggles. Perle is pretty variable too depending on where its grown. I like the low AA German varieties, but inexpensive American Perle is also a good bittering hop (even for English Ales)

07-05-2006, 11:17 AM
I've made a few braggots this way since posting this and do believe there's a noticable differance.

Also came across a couple historic recipes first printed in "The Closet of Sir Kenelme Digby Knight Opened" 1669 (I copied the title not the recipes). Ale was brewed then blended with honey for a second fermentation to make braggot.

Putting this to the test... I'm going to brew 2 - 6 gallon recipes, devide each in 2.

Batch "A" will be fermented first with ale yeast then blended with honey and fermented again with wine yeast.

Batch "B" will be blended with honey from the start and fermented with wine yeast only.

My hope, is to get enough tasters (like that'll be hard) to compare "A" to "B", without knowing what the differance is or at least not knowing which is which, and right down there thoughts and opinion.


1) Chocolate Cherry Braggot,

Spring water for 6 gallons;
7 lb Pale
3 lb Munich
2 lb Aromatic
8 oz Caramunich
8 oz Medium crystal
4 oz Dark crystal
12 oz Chocolate
4 oz. Galena pellet hops 60 minutes
Wyeast 1187 Ringwood Ale, smack pack
Lalin EC-1118, 5 grams

For each batch;
6 lb. Sage honey
8 oz Philippines Cacao Nibs
1/2 oz Madagascar Vanilla Beans
4 oz Montmorency cherries; tart, dried, sulfite free
4 oz Ranier cherries; sweet, dried, sulfite free
1/2 tsp.Pectic enzyme
Yeast nutrient

4 gallons mash water,

Mash-in, 104°F
Beta Conversion, 140°F 20 minutes
Alpha Conversion, 158°F 40 minutes
Chocolate malt added for last 30 minutes of mash
Boil, 75 minutes
Irish moss, last 20 minutes of boil
Add cherries to wort as soon as boil is finished, cover for an hour before chilling


Grain 59.4 points
Honey 84.0
Cherries 7.2

Estimated: ME 70% ~ OG 1.151 ~ FG 1.030 ~ SRM 33 ~ IBU 19 ~ ABV 16% +/-

2) Sweet Stout Braggot

5 lb. 2-row
9 lb. Pale
1 lb. 4 oz. Roasted barley
12 oz. Chocolate malt
4 oz. Northern Brewer 60 minutes
1 oz. Kent Goldings 45 minutes
2 oz. Kent Goldings 30 minutes
Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale Yeast, smack pack
Lalvin 71B-1122, 5 grams

For each batch
3 lb. Honey
1 lb. Belgian dark candi sugar

4 gallons mash water,

Mash-in, 104°F
Beta Conversion, 140°F 20 minutes
Alpha Conversion, 158°F 40 minutes
Chocolate malt & roast barley added for last 30 minutes of mash
Boil, 75 minutes
Irish moss, last 20 minutes of boil


Grain 67.1 points
Honey 42.0
Belgian candi 15.3

Estimated: ME 70% ~ OG 1.124 ~ FG 1.030 ~ HCU 173 ~ IBU 25 ~ ABV 12% +/-


Ben Brewcat
07-05-2006, 04:04 PM
Be sure to use a triange test or something similar to get more accurate results from your group, and let us know!

07-05-2006, 07:47 PM
Hey Ben,

What's a triange test?


Ben Brewcat
07-06-2006, 08:34 AM
It's been a long time (I should look it up; a web search should get you tons on info. Try on but it's a tool for reducing bias in sampling groups. Obviously use unmarked (ideally double-blind) samples. Then the tasters are each offered three glasses. Two are from one group (say ale ferment) and one from the other (say wine). In successive flights, the twos and the ones should change so the tasters don't catch on. The tasters try to identify, in successive flights, which is the different sample from the other two and in what way. The higher the degree of correctly IDing the adulterated sample (or the ale yeast ferment, in your case) the more accurate a statement of its difference can be inferred. Then look at the taste notes and you'll have a good degree of confidence in the true difference in character. Or if the numbers don't support a strong difference, you'll know the difference was likely less detectable.

07-08-2006, 07:49 AM
Thanks Ben.