Saturday, October 9, 2010

Honey project update #1

I have started to finalize the plans for this project. I purchased some of the ingredients today.

The malt base will be
15# Belgian pale malt
3# Vienna malt
2# Honey malt
1# Special B

Braggot specifics

I want to produce something that Chaucer might have quaffed while writing Canterbury Tales. I will use herbs for flavoring and bitterness that were used back in those times. I am also going to ferment using a special Old Ale Blend (w/ Brettanomyces) This blend will bring the characteristic sourness that was inherit in brewing beers in wood and aging them in wooden casks. This will be aged for at least 12 months in order to bring out those characteristics.

Chamomile - Mainly used for tea these days. This flower has a history in brewing. It is fragrant with a sweet aroma that is reminiscent of juicy fruit chewing gum and will add fruitiness.

Meadowsweet - An aromatic herb that has a traditional association with honey, and widely used in bronze age beers. This is considered a bittering herb and does have some preservative properties, but not as effective as hops.

Hops - So hops were not really used during this time, but I will use some anyway. It will be a low alpha hop used for it's preservative properties and not for flavoring.


  1. I'd suggest doing an addition of honey (~1 lb.?) in the brett fermented beer at 6 months in. fermenting this in glass/better bottle?

  2. Hi JC,

    Yes, I am fermenting w/brett in a glass carboy.

    What is the reasoning for the late honey addition?

  3. after ~6 months, the sacch population will have long gone dormant, while the brett will still be chugging along. you will get more brett character and preserve the delicate aromatics of the honey with a late addition. just wanted to be sure you were going w/ 12 months in glass/better bottle, as 12 months in plastic bucket would likely render the beer an acetic failure. I suspect that you won't get a huge sourness from the old ale blend alone, as I have read it is only sacch + brett, no lacto or pedio. but that's not really a problem, I think a more prominent pie cherry brett character will be quite good for this beer. will you add oak as well?

  4. Thanks for the info. I really appreciate the advice. I was planning on adding oak at some point as it should help in the authenticity.

    I have another question for you. Do you think I should go down to a 3 gallon carboy when I transfer to a secondary? I have seen some people suggesting that leaving it in a half full 5 gallon carboy is a recipe for disaster.

  5. yes, go with a 3 gallon better bottle for ~2.5gallons of beer. too much headspace isn't good for any long term aging project, even with a brett aged beer that will grow an oxygen protecting pellicle. do yourself a favor and use oak cubes vs. chips, and use restraint in the oaking. put them in after primary ferment, as it takes quite a bit of time for the full, rounded flavors to emerge from the depth of the wood.

    Look forward to reading how this turns out.