Category Archives: Recipes

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.

Raspberry Blossom Mead Making and Fermenting

So I made the recipe at big brew. And as some of you may know, notes at big brew can easily be forgotten. Here are the notes I took.

Gravity: 8.7 brix (1.035) – so I hit my gravity, huzzah.
pH: 3.75 – so I was wrong that the pH would be a little low, also huzzah since that’s less work.

Then the real work of brewing mead was upon me. That’s the stirring and addition of nutrients. I stir twice a day. This gives me a chance to take a gravity, as well as to smell for off-flavors developing. I test the gravity to know when to add the rest of the nutrients at the 1/3 sugar break.

During fermentation on day 3 with gravity around 1.017 I noticed a light stench of hydrogen sulfide (H2S). That’s pretty close to 50% sugar break (this will probably go to 0.998 gravity), so I had a decision to make. Do I add organic and inorganic nutrients (since I ran out of Fermaid O) or do I just add yeast hulls. This is on the very edge of where it is OK to add nutrients, especially inorganic nutrients.

I decided to do a little of both, add a touch of nutrients (30ppm) as well as some Reduless (Scott Laboratories, MoreWine) which is yeast hulls infused with copper. Copper being able to help rid your mead of H2S products and some byproducts. And I really dislike the flavor of even a little bit of mercaptan.

So day 3 I added 4g Reduless and 8g of Fermaid K. If you don’t have Reduless, the Fermaid K by itself would probably be fine, and if the H2S didn’t got away then a touch of yeast hulls would probably be enough. I just wanted the copper infusion to hopefully eliminate any mercaptan formation.

Just 10 minutes later after adding and stirring, the H2S aroma was pretty much gone. And a day later all is still smelling fine.

When I do this recipe again I’ll bump the nutrients up to 200 ppm YAN.

Raspberry Blossom Session Mead Recipe

One of my favorite types of meads to make are session meads. I like them for their quick turn around and that I can put them on tap for a nice refreshing drink.

I’ve some Raspbery Blossom honey that I’ve been told has a relatively low pH, so this batch will be a little more work than a normal recipe. I believe I’m going to have to bump up the pH with Potassium Carbonate so that the yeast have a smaller chance of becoming stressed and producing Hydrogen Sulfide and thus getting Mercaptans.


Recipe Formulation
The recipe goal is pretty straightforward. I’ll be making a 10 gallon batch. I’m shooting for around 5% alcohol. I plan on then sweeting it with 0.5lb to 1.0 lb of raspberry blossom honey per 5G and carbonating. For fun I’m going to clarify half the batch with sparkolloid and the other half with no clarifying agents.

So to get 5 alcohol in 10G I can either use prior knowledge to know that I need to shoot for around 1.035 original gravity, or I can use a calculator.  Either way gives me about 10 lbs of honey to get 1.035. Note that since honey is a natural product it can have quite a bit of variance, meaning you might have to use a little less or a little more honey.

Next is to figure out how much nutrients are needed. Now this depends on the yeast. I’m going to use a yeast with ‘medium’ nutrient needs: D21. This is a fun yeast and I’m thinking it will complement the honey well. For a medium nutrient yeast I generally shoot for 175 ppm YAN. I’ve found with lower than that I tend to start getting sulfur compounds. Honey has basically 0 YAN, so it has to be added from other sources. I’m choosing to use a combination of Fermaid O and DAP. Fermaid O is 6.5% N and DAP is 21% N (For reference Fermaid K is 13% N). Here is a decent reference on adding YAN to your wine. I tend to go with a 3:2 ratio of YAN from organic to inorganic (DAP). If I add 1.55g/L of Fermaid O that’ll provide 101ppm YAN, so I’ll add .32g/L of DAP for about 67ppm YAN. You’ll notice that is only 168ppm YAN. We’ll also get some YAN from the GoFerm we’ll use for rehydration, about 9 ppm worth.

Rehydration of yeast with GoFerm is a must. Without rehydration you lose up to 50% of your yeast cells, severely hampering your fermentation.

So, here’s the final recipe.

10lb Raspberry blossom honey (primary)
1-2lbs of Raspberry blossom honey (backsweetening)
10G Filtered water
58.9g Fermaid O (47.1g @Lag, 11.8g @1/3 sugar)
12.2 DAP (6.1g @Lag, 6.1g @1/3 sugar)
10g D21 yeast
12.5g GoFerm

Aiming for 1.035 OG.

That doesn’t look to bad does it? I’ll be brewing it at big brew.