TIME TRAVEL post: Aug 14

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I have travelled back in time to give you this post from what I should have done on August 14th. Lots of stuff I did:

Racked 5 o’clock mead. Note: I don’t know when this mead was started, because I stopped being diligent with my note-taking around this point. Anyway, it got racked.

Racked (something) onto blackberries and blueberries to get what I call, “Black and Blue”. Don’t know what the original batch was exactly, though it must have been a plain mead of some kind.

Racked plain mead of some kind.

Racked strawberry meads onto MORE HONEY. They were thin and needed some body, so I racked them onto some more honey. Seems to have worked, I think these two will age into something nice and refreshing. Not as strong/sweet/alcoholic as some of my other meads, but that’s okay. Often people find them too strong at first.

And I have one last note that just says “braggot”. Maybe I tried it and it was delicious? At any rate, it IS delicious and I love it now. Not fizzy bubbly like a beer but it does still get some bubbles and tastes exactly like you would imagine a honey/beer to taste.

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Beer/mead?

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So I guess technically this is a batch of beer, and for that definition I rely on the fact that I am using barley, hops, and water–the ingredients included in the famous reinheitsgebot of 1516–and am using a beer yeast (Belgian Trappist Ale, in fact). Who said I couldn’t add a gallon of honey to a batch of beer? Yeah, that’s me. Broke into my 3rd 5-gallon bucket of honey with a beer-mead fusion. Suggestions for names are welcome.

I used the idea/recipe from this wine making blog post which hasn’t been followed up on (I will definitely be emailing the blogger when I get some results). It’s worth checking out the Washington Wine Maker, he (I’m pretty sure it’s a he) does a good job of providing technical descriptions but at the heart of his articles are pretty practical applications.

Anyway, here’s the step-by-step of what I’ve done:

  • Boiled 1.5 gal water, removed from heat and steeped 1lb light crystal malts for 30 minutes (if you want to know more about malts, check this section of the great online resource “How to Brew”…there are some great gems like “If grain with enzyme diastatic potential is steeped, that is mashing.”
  • Added 1/2gal honey, return to a boil. Dumped the other 1/2gal into my brew bucket.
  • After it returns to a boil, reduced temperature to a simmer, added .25oz Golding hops for flavor (another great entry in “How to Brew” about hops)
  • Let it simmer for 25 minutes, added .25oz Golding hops for aroma, simmer for another 5 minutes
  • Poured into bucket (with rest of honey already in it), added 6tsp of Fermax yeast nutrient, filled with cold tap water up to 5.75 gallons (aimed for 6 gallons according to recipe, but wanted to leave some space at the top)
  • Added Wyeast 3787 after it cooled to 100F, sealed the bucket.

It reeks of beer (a good thing!) but has this sweet honey smell to it as well. I am really curious about what this batch will do, I may have tried to do too much at once. I have this thought that the Trappist yeast was probably a bad call, but it’s already in motion. I’m worried I messed up the hops because I don’t know what I’m doing with them, or maybe that the crystal malt flavor will overpower the honey. Time will tell.

Oh! I did some research. Seems a honey/malt/hop combination should be called a “braggot”. Will do more research later, but it’s late. Here‘s a recipe that seems a close approximation of what I’ve done..I only wish I had read it before I tried my batch? Anyway for the most part it supports the decisions I made.