A Braggot recipe at its core is a harmonious blend of beer and mead resulting in a delicious fusion of malt and honey. Many confuse this unique beverage as being either a beer with honey added or a mead with some malt included in the recipe; both interpretations are incorrect as a Braggot is a unique beverage unto its own that is an equal parts amalgamation of the honey and malt.
Braggot is considered one of the world’s original alcoholic beverages believed to have originated thousands of years ago. For more details on the history of this drink, we recommend our post What is a Braggot?
In this article, we are going to explain how to merge a beer and a mead recipe into a braggot, as well as provide you with a recipe and step-by-step instructions on how to brew one for yourself.
The Base Recipe
The first component of a braggot recipe is the beer base. Craft brewery and homebrewed braggot recipes range from having a base of a very light pale ale such as a blonde ale all the way up the color and flavor spectrum to a stout or porter. Traditionally paler malts were used which allows more of the honey flavor to shine through.
English pale ales make for a good base as it is recommended that when designing a braggot recipe to use malts that have noticeable bread, toast, or cracker-like malt profiles, as they provide adequate malt characteristics without overpowering the flavor of the honey.
However, the easiest way to design your own is to start with your favorite non-hoppy beer recipe.
Choosing the Honey
When it comes to picking the right honey for your recipe there are numerous varieties of honey you can choose from, over 300 in fact. Each variety will provide its own unique flavor and color to the recipe depending on the source of nectar from the flower that the bees are harvesting from.
Honey can range in color from pale white to darker amber and also have a wide range of different flavors and aromas. To begin with, strive to locate high-quality, non-processed, and unpasteurized local honey. Next, taste a few varieties and find one that you like the taste of and can envision it merging well with your favorite beer recipe that you are using.
As for the amount of honey required it is recommended to use approximately one pound of honey per gallon of wort.
Lower Alpha Acid Hops
Hops are a relatively new addition to a braggot’s recipe ingredient list. In days gone by, spices and herbs were used instead. When considering which hops and how many to use, keep in mind that a braggot is not defined by its hops like a NEIPA or APA is. You want the hops to have subtle undertones with their primary function being to add a slight amount of bitterness in order to balance out the sweetness from the malts and honey.
If you are using your own beer recipe as the base stick with the hop schedule it presently has as long as it is not an overly hoppy beer. If starting a recipe from scratch build it with lower alpha acid hops such as east kent goldings, willamette, and fuggle. An early bittering addition is required, and a later flavoring and aroma addition can be included as per your preferences.
High Alcohol Tolerant Yeast
Choosing the yeast strain for your braggot recipe takes careful consideration as braggots typically have a higher alcohol by volume percentage as such it is important to choose a yeast strain that has a high alcohol tolerance. If the wrong yeast is chosen it can go dormant and you will end up with a stuck fermentation resulting in a lower alcohol percentage and a sweeter-tasting drink than intended.
In a lot of cases, mead is fermented with wine yeast, whereas beer uses ale or lager yeasts. Wine yeast typically is not well suited to ferment the starches from malts and many of the beer yeasts are not highly alcohol tolerant. We recommend a high alcohol-tolerant English ale yeast as it will not get stressed out and will provide the flavors desired in a braggot.
5 Gallons/19 Liters
Original Gravity: 1.070
Final Gravity: 1.014
- 5 lbs Honey
- 5 lbs Maris Otter
- 2 lbs Munich Malt
- 1 lb Honey Malt
- 1 oz East Kent Goldings (60 mins)
- LalBrew Nottingham High-Performance Ale Yeast.
Brewing a Braggot Beer Recipe
Start by mashing your grains in 152℉ water for 60 minutes. Transfer to your brew kettle and boil for 60 minutes, adding the hops as per the above schedule. Start cooling your wort, when the temperature reaches between 155 – 160℉ add the honey and stir until dissolved.
Continue chilling the wort until you reach the yeast pitching temperature indicated on its packet. Transfer to the fermenter and pitch the yeast. Ferment for 10 – 14 days.
When it comes to carbonating the choice is yours whether to do so or not; some braggots are still and others are carbonated, if you decide to carbonate it, your options are the same as when carbonating beer, either force carbonate with CO2 or natural carbonate with sugar. Braggot also tends to taste better as it ages, if you choose to age it 2 months will be sufficient.
Like both beer and mead, there is lots of room in a braggot recipe for experimentation. Many different malt combinations can be used as can different varieties of honey. Hop combinations and schedule can be adjusted as per the brewer’s taste preferences. Different yeast strains will also provide for significant differences in flavors. Although not included in this recipe, like recipes of old spices and herbs can also be experimented with.
Lastly, it is not a bad idea when making your first batch to consider brewing a smaller batch to make sure you like the flavor profile. You can perfect your braggot recipe before brewing a larger batch.
P.S. If you brew your own beer or would like to start be sure to pick up your gift of Big Robb’s 5 favorite beer recipes from his brewpub. Details are on the side of the blog or at the bottom if you are on your phone. Cheers!