Braggot IV: A New Hope

Braggot the first was an utter success; so say all who have tried it. Braggot III (the “hefty braggot”) is aging in the bottle, but the outlook is good. And today ends my shame at having to dump the 5 gallons of Braggot II (the “burnt” braggot).

Braggot IV is a darker version of Braggot the first, and makes use of a varietal (Tupelo) honey, rather than the no-name honey used in its predecessor. Having a little more experience under my belt with all-grain brewing (brown ale, porter, quadruple…), the whole process went much more smoothly this time. Never again will I burn a braggot! I do still need to make an un-hopped braggot, which is what Braggot II was supposed to be, but that remains for another day.

Braggot IV started with 2.5 gallons of water in the fermentation bucket, placed in the freezer to chill. Once chilling was underway, I started heating water for the mash. I brought 4.5 quarts of water to 170F, in a big pan, which I then removed from the heat. I added the grains, 4 pounds of pale ale malt, 0.5 pounds of crystal malt (120), and 0.5 pounds of chocolate malt. The last was a modification to the recipe in the hopes of a slightly darker brew, and we’ll see how it affects the flavor. I put another gallon of water on the burner, heating to 185F.

Once a thirty minute mash-in was complete, the sparge water was ready, I strained the wort off the grains, then sparged with the additional gallon. The result was ever as dark as I might have hoped. To it I added 2 ounces of Cascade hops (pellets), and put it back on to boil.

After a typical hour boil, I started adding the honey. Following the recipe I added 10 pounds of Tupelo honey, and the heat of the wort quickly dissolved it into solution. Once that was done, I added it to the chilled water set aside earlier. Seeing that the end result was only 4.5 gallons, I added another gallon of tap water to bring the total to 5.5 gallons, accounting for the trub that will be racked off to produce 5 gallons in the end.

Well, something came up, so I left that to cool for a couple hours; chilling the bulk of the water was not enough. Upon returning I had a beautifully dark and fragrant liquid at 86F, with an SG of 1.080. I added 2 tsp. each of yeast nutrient and energizer. And then I pitched 10g of rehydrated Lalvin D47 (2 packets). Cover. Air-lock. So far, so good.

Well, I didn’t get to the Muscadine wine today. I’ll leave something for tomorrow morning. And then for some apple picking in the afternoon!

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