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Braggot

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Braggot, sometimes called Bracket or brackett, is the traditional term for a fermented beverage made with malt as well as honey; it can be considered as a malt mead or a honey beer, depending on the relative amount of fermentables from each source. A mead may simply get some flavor from steeped specialty grains, or it may get, by some definitions, as much as 80% of its fermentables from malt. Braggot may be hopped or unhopped.

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History of Braggot

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Making Braggot

Just as with beer, the grain component of braggot may be based on an all-grain or extract recipe, and the honey may be added at any point in the process, although it is often added at the beginning of the boil for this style.

Alternatively, a batch of beer and a batch of mead may be brewed separately and then blended, either in the secondary fermenter or in the bottle. Braggot may also be prepared in a traditional style by blending beer and mead just before serving.

Competition Styles

The BJCP defines a style category for braggot in their mead guidelines, but there is no equivalent category in the beer guidelines. A beer brewed with a small amount of honey should be entered either in the category of its underlying style or as a Specialty Beer in BJCP competitions.

The GABF does define a style for honey-flavored beers.

BJCP Style Guidelines

Braggot

26B. Braggot
BJCP Mead Style Guideline Definition (2004)
Aroma: Depending on the sweetness, strength and base style of beer, a subtle to distinctly identifiable honey and beer character (dry and/or hydromel versions will tend to have lower aromatics than sweet and/or sack versions). The honey and beer/malt character should be complementary and balanced, although not always evenly balanced. If a variety of honey is declared, the aroma might have a subtle to very noticeable varietal character reflective of the honey (different varieties have different intensities and characters). If a base style of beer or type of malt is declared, the aroma might have a subtle to very noticeable character reflective of the beer style (different styles and malts have different intensities and characters). A hop aroma (any variety or intensity) is optional; if present, it should blend harmoniously with the other elements. Standard description applies for remainder of characteristics.
Appearance: Standard description does not apply due to beer-like characteristics. Clarity may be good to brilliant, although many braggots are not as clear as other meads. A light to moderate head with some retention is expected. Color may range from light straw to dark brown or black, depending on the variety of malt and honey used. The color should be characteristic of the declared beer style and/or honey used, if a variety is declared. Stronger versions may show signs of body (e.g., legs).
Flavor: Depending on the sweetness, strength and base style of beer, a subtle to distinctly identifiable honey and beer character (dry and/or hydromel versions will tend to have lower aromatics than sweet and/or sack versions). The honey and beer/malt character should be complementary and balanced, although not always evenly balanced. If a variety of honey is declared, the aroma might have a subtle to very noticeable varietal character reflective of the honey (different varieties have different intensities and characters). If a base style of beer or type of malt is declared, the aroma might have a subtle to very noticeable character reflective of the beer style (different styles and malts have different intensities and characters). A hop aroma (any variety or intensity) is optional; if present, it should blend harmoniously with the other elements. Standard description applies for remainder of characteristics.
Mouthfeel: Standard description does not apply due to beer-like characteristics. Smooth mouthfeel without astringency. Body may vary from moderately light to full, depending on sweetness, strength, and the base style of beer. Note that stronger meads will have a fuller body. A very thin or watery body is undesirable, as is a cloying, raw sweetness. A warming sense of well-aged alcohol may be present in stronger examples. Carbonation will vary as described in the standard description. A still braggot will usually have some level of carbonation (like a cask bitter) since a completely flat beer is unappetizing. However, just as an aged barleywine may be still, some braggots can be totally still.
Overall Impression: Depending on the sweetness, strength and base style of beer, a subtle to distinctly identifiable honey and beer character (dry and/or hydromel versions will tend to have lower aromatics than sweet and/or sack versions). The honey and beer/malt character should be complementary and balanced, although not always evenly balanced. If a variety of honey is declared, the aroma might have a subtle to very noticeable varietal character reflective of the honey (different varieties have different intensities and characters). If a base style of beer or type of malt is declared, the aroma might have a subtle to very noticeable character reflective of the beer style (different styles and malts have different intensities and characters). A hop aroma (any variety or intensity) is optional; if present, it should blend harmoniously with the other elements. Standard description applies for remainder of characteristics.
Comments: Sometimes known as "bracket" or "brackett." The fermentable sugars come from a balance of malt or malt extract and honey, although the specific balance is open to creative interpretation by brewers. See standard description for entrance requirements. Entrants MUST specify carbonation level, strength, and sweetness. Entrants MAY specify honey varieties. Entrants MAY specify the base style or beer or types of malt used. Products with a relatively low proportion of honey should be entered in the Specialty Beer category as a Honey Beer.
Ingredients: A braggot is a standard mead made with both honey and malt providing flavor and fermentable extract. Originally, and alternatively, a mixture of mead and ale. A braggot can be made with any type of honey, and any type of base beer style. The malt component may be derived from grain or malt extracts. The beer may be hopped or not. If any other ingredients than honey and beer are contained in the braggot, it should be entered as an Open Category Mead. Smoked braggots may be entered in this category if using smoked malt or a smoked beer as the base style; braggots made using other smoked ingredients (e.g., liquid smoke, chipotles) should be entered in the Open Category Mead style.
Commercial Examples: Magic Hat Braggot, Brother Adams Braggot Barleywine Ale, White Winter Traditional Brackett

GABF Style Listings

Specialty Honey Lager or Ale

9. Specialty Honey Lager or Ale
GABF Style Listing (2007)
These beers are brewed using honey in addition to malted barley. Beers may be brewed to a traditional style or may be experimental. Character of honey should be evident in flavor and aroma and balanced with the other components without overpowering them. The brewer should list the traditional or experimental style of the base beer, to allow for accurate judging. Beer entries not accompanied by this information may be at a disadvantage during judging.
Original Gravity (ºPlato): 1.030-1.110 (7.5-27.5 ºPlato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato): 1.006-1.030 (1.5-7.5 ºPlato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume): 2-9.5% (2.5-12%)
Bitterness (IBU): 0-100
Color SRM (EBC): 1-100 (2-200 EBC)