Le Thu 18 September 2014
We were browsing the web at one stage looking for I don't know what, and stumbled across someone who had made a date braggot and had a fairly exciting time about it. Braggot was something we had never heard of before and so when we looked it up, we found that it was an ancient cross between a beer and a mead. I am not a beer drinker but my partner is and brews all of her own beer. She was keen to try her hand at something that would appeal to both of us that had the brewing time of beer. So we embarked on a braggot making adventure.
We looked at the recipes available for braggots and the date braggot and decided that the reason the date braggot we had read about got so enthusiastic was that it was extremely overloaded with sugars and probably quite powerful. We tweaked the recipe in a major way to bring it into our target alcohol level of around 8%..ish.
Our first attempt made use of a dark malt because that was what we had to hand. This malt was also hopped. The end result was a very full flavoured and heavy braggot that my partner quite liked but it was not quite so much to my tastes because of the presence of the hops. Our second attempt was an amazing success that made use of an unhopped light malt extract from a New Zealand company called Black Rock. This time the flavour was full and smooth and had an extremely long finish. It was also reasonably strong in a gentle and deceptive way. We will definitely making more of this and as it is extremely presentable, we'll be introducing our friends to braggot over the next little while.
Here is the recipe for Braggot Number 2. The recipe described below makes 2 x 4.5L demijohns worth.
- 400g of dried dates
- 850g of unhopped light malt extract (half a tin)
- 1 kg of honey
- Ale yeast
- Cover the dried dates with boiling water and leave to soften. Either mash the softened dates with a potato masher or put them through a meat mincer to make a date paste. This allows the yeast good access to the fruit to extract the maximum amount of flavour and sugars.
- Add the malt extract and the honey to the hot date “soup”.
- Allow to cool and add the yeast.
- Distribute the mixture to the demijohns and make up the volume to about the shoulder level of the demijohn. The early stages of the fermentation can be quite lively and so you will need to allow some room for it. Once it settles a bit top up the demijohns to the 4.5L mark.
- When fermentation has ceased and the braggot has cleared, siphon the braggot off the lees into bottles that have been prepared with half a teaspoon of sugar in each (for 500mL bottles).
- Cap them and leave them to do their bit for three weeks.
- After that they're ready to drink.