Single Stage Braggot Making

Another method of making a braggot is doing everything in the boil. This has some downsides, namely losing some aromatics from your honey. But the upsides is that it is much simpler to do, and those worried about unpasteurized honey can rest a little easier.

The ideal honey to use for a single stage braggot is a strong honey. Orange blossom honey is a good choice, as is buckwheat or avocado. Some of the same considerations for gravity and body apply as in Two Stage Braggot Recipe Formulation apply. When formulating your recipe make sure that your program isn’t using the additional sugars in the full boil, as that will make it seem like you need to use more bittering hops.  To oversimplify, the more sugar during bittering additions the less effective hop bitter extraction.

I tend to do this style of braggot when I’m feeling lazy, or when the beer is small (under 7% ABV). The time to add honey is 5-15 minutes before the end of the boil. You want to add it slowly, so as not to burn it on the bottom of your kettle (or on the electric element). I find pulling some boiling liquid out of the bottom of the kettle into a heat tolerant container with your honey is helpful. Alternatively you can just slowly drizzle into the boil while stirring.

You’ll also want to add some extra nutrients into the boil. I’m using Wyeast yeast nutrients at the moment.

Here’s a recipe a friend and I did at Big Brew this year. It was his 4th batch of the day using electric systems, and my fourth batch of mead. Our goal was a Citra IPA braggot with orange blossom honey. We used a base recipe we’d used before for IPAs, bumped the mash up to 158F from 151F, dropped the gravity and replaced with honey. We ended up with a 1.056 starting gravity that finished at 1.011, making for a 5.9% ABV beer with about 70 IBUs. Crystal clear with an white head. Perhaps a bit too light for an IPA, but this is an IPA braggot, so all good. The honey characteristics are dominant in the aroma, and blend nicely with the Citra notes. The aftertaste is crisp with a slight honey linger. I used whirfloc, and Wyeast yeast nutrient as per directions. We used a dry yeast because we weren’t sure if we’d actual get to brew the 4th batch at big brew and didn’t want to waste the starter.

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 11.00 gal
Boil Size: 13.25 gal
Estimated OG: 1.056 SG
Estimated Color: 5.0 SRM
Estimated IBU: 80.3 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes
Amount        Item                                      Type         % or IBU
16.50 lb      Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)            Grain        74.39 %
1.00 lb       Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM)              Grain        4.51 %
0.85 lb       Caramel/Crystal Malt – 20L (20.0 SRM)     Grain        3.83 %
0.33 lb       Honey Malt (25.0 SRM)                     Grain        1.49 %
1.50 oz       Citra [12.00 %]  (90 min) (First Wort Hop)Hops         36.9 IBU
2.00 oz       Citra [12.00 %]  (30 min)                 Hops         32.1 IBU
1.50 oz       Citra [12.00 %]  (10 min)                 Hops         11.4 IBU
3.00 oz       Citra [12.00 %]  (0 min)                  Hops          -
3.50 lb       Honey (1.0 SRM)                           Sugar        15.78 %
2 Pkgs        S-05 (chico strain)                       Yeast-Ale
Total Grain Weight: 18.68 lb
Step Time     Name               Description                         Step Temp
40 min        Step               Add 23.35 qt of water at 170.5 F    158.0 F


Note the IBUs in this recipe. Remember how I said it was about 70 IBUs? Well it is if you are at 5000 feet when brewing, where utilization is about 85% of sea level. So adjust as needed.

When I do this again, I’m going to up the body component a touch with a bit more honey malt, and maybe use a different yeast like California V or Dry English. I might also throw in a touch of amarillo as aroma hops.

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