Homebrewing with Honey

Missy and I brewed up our first Mead the other day.  I have been using The Complete MeadMaker by Ken Schramm and Making Wild Wines & Meads by Pattie Vargas & Rich Gulling as my resources.

We decided to make a braggot instead of a straight up mead.  That is a very honey heavy beer.  Mead with malt, carbonation and sometimes hops.

Normally a beer with honey contains about 1lb of honey… this braggot contains 15 lbs.  We are calling it the “+1 Braggot of Drunkening”.

Leafing through these two books brought question to how I have always brewed with honey.

On page 41 of The Complete Meadmaker I read:

“Dr. Johnathan White of United States Department of Agriculture (retired) did a tremendous amount of research on honey and concluded that the amount of heat exposure needed to kill off the wild yeast in honey is as little as fine minutes at 150 F (66 C), or about 22 minutes at 140 F (60 C).”

In making previous batches of beer we added the honey at the beginning of the boil so the honey is exposed to 60-90 minutes of boiling temperatures.  According to this research that will kill a great deal of the aroma and flavor that honey contributes.

Brewing with honey, according to this research can be difficult.  We heated the honey in a seperate brew kettle (140 F for 22 minutes) and timed it so that its cook time ended about 10 minutes after the wort boil.

I have a brewmometer on my kettle so I waited till my wort chiller brought the wort to 140 F and then added the honey.

Our braggot is about 1-2 days from being transfered to the secondary.  I will let everyone know how it turns out.  If you know me, maybe you will be lucky enough to score a bottle or two. 🙂