With craft breweries becoming all the rage, a handful of ancient drinks have resurfaced in recent years. Among these is Braggot, a drink that’ll give you the best of both mead and beer in one go. Mead is the oldest drink in the world and is made from fermented honey, instead of barley malt like beer. It is perfect for those looking for a drink sweeter than beer, but not as sweet as mead.
Braggot is a mixed beer, made from the fermented sugars of barley malt and honey. Braggot is traditionally made as an equal mix of barley malt and honey, but there is no set recipe, allowing brewers to decide what taste they would like to produce. The honey can either be mixed into the beer during fermentation or added at the end of the boiling process. Braggot is commonly regarded as a type of malted mead but can also be made as a sweetened and spiced ale.
How Do You Pronounce Braggot?
Although braggot may be spelt with an “o”, it is pronounced with an “a,” and sounds rather like “bragg-awt”.
What Are The Other Spellings Of Braggot?
Just as there is no hard and fast rule to making braggot, there are various ways to spell braggot. These include bragget, bracket and braket.
What Is The History Of Braggot?
While the origin of braggot is somewhat disputed, it is generally accepted that it was a popular and distinctive drink across Europe during the medieval and post-Renaissance periods. There are records of recipes for braggot from the 1500s, in Arnold’s Chronicle and The Haven of Health by Thomas Coghan. The author Geoffrey Chaucer also references braggot in his writing from the 15th-century. But other historic references suggest that it is a Celtic drink originating in the 12th-century and it is often referenced as a Viking drink.
Who Drinks Braggot?
Despite the ambiguity of its origin, braggot is considered the traditional drink of Wales.
Does Braggot Have Hops?
Braggot was traditionally made without hops and relied on various spices and herbs to amplify the flavour. Hops have become a more popular addition to the braggot brewing process over time, especially for those who desire an added bitterness in their braggot.
How Is Braggot Made?
Making braggot is very similar to making any high-gravity beer, with a few additional, but very simple, steps. Braggot is made in various stages, beginning with creating the beer and then fermenting it with honey. A more detailed look at this process reveals the following:
First, the barley grains are milled and mashed together at 65ºC for 75 minutes. Once it has been mashed it is lautered and the wort collected before bringing it to the boil.
It is then boiled for another 75 minutes, with the option of hops being added during the last 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, the wort is cooled, aerated and transferred to a fermenter with added yeast. After seven days of fermenting, honey is added. This mixture is then fermented until there are no visible signs in the airlocked container for at least three days.
The yeast is then racked off and the liquid is stored in bottles or a key where it must age for at least two months.
Tips To Keep In Mind When Making Braggot
- Honey shouldn’t be added during the boiling process as this will drive off the delicate honey flavour braggot is known for.
- Wildflower honey is recommended for Braggot as it has a more balanced profile, but orange-blossom honey also yields delicious results. If the honey you use has a particularly assertive taste, it may be best to use less honey to balance your flavours correctly. Whatever honey you do use, ensure that it is unpasteurized and unflavoured.
- If you decide to add hops to your braggot, it is best to add modest amounts of mild hops late in the boiling process.
- Consider how the yeast you use will affect the flavour profile of your braggot.
What Does Braggot Taste Like?
Braggot has a warm, rich taste and the bitterness of beer is balanced by the sweetness of the honey. Both ingredients should be smelt and tasted in equal measure, separating them from honey-flavoured beer. If you’ve never had mead before and are unsure how Braggot will taste, it can be compared to a dessert wine and is the perfect drink for cold winter nights.
Because braggot requires a lot of honey for its flavour, it has a decently high alcohol content of about 8% to 14%.
How To Serve Braggot?
Just like mead, braggot can be served hot or cold, depending on your preference and the type of braggot you have made. A spiced braggot makes a splendid warm drink, while a more citrusy, tangy braggot makes a refreshing cold drink, best served at 12ºC-16ºC.
Which Breweries Make The Best Baggot?
- Rogue Ales & Spirits make a rich and earthy flavoured braggot called the Marionberry Braggot.
- The Atlantic Brewing Co makes a slightly carbonated, dry braggot called the Brother Adam’s Bragget Honey Ale.
- The Boston Beer Co makes a gorgeous braggot of chamomile and 3 different types of honey, to create their fresh, citrusy Samuel Adams Honey Queen.
What Foods Can You Pair With Braggot?
Braggot is paired well with foods typically paired with mead, such as rich and flavourful foods that will either complement the flavours in your drink or mirror them. For the most part, this means strong-flavoured grilled red meat, dark chocolate desserts and wholesome, buttered bread.
Trying out craft beers or visiting breweries is a delightful way to spend a Saturday or holiday afternoon. Although they have been resurfaced in the wave of craft breweries, braggots are still quite difficult to find. So, if you visit a brewery that offers braggot, you should not only order one to drink, but one to take home too. It may be a while before you get a chance to taste this beautifully rich honey beer again.
Jake has been a craft beer and homebrew enthusiast since his college days. He loves scouring Europe for unique and unusual hops to add to his beers.
Founder of Jake’s Brew Haven – he currently hosts beer-tasting sessions at select local pubs in Baltimore.
Jump To a Section Below
- How Do You Pronounce Braggot?
- What Are The Other Spellings Of Braggot?
- What Is The History Of Braggot?
- Who Drinks Braggot?
- Does Braggot Have Hops?
- How Is Braggot Made?
- Tips To Keep In Mind When Making Braggot
- What Does Braggot Taste Like?
- How To Serve Braggot?
- Which Breweries Make The Best Baggot?
- What Foods Can You Pair With Braggot?