At historical competitions, I provide two sets of documentation, 2-3 copies of each (assuming our usual three judges per category). There is the executive summary, less than one page long: this document is an Executive Summary. Then I will also bring the full documentation, with notes on everything from bottling to ingredients. This particular document and accompanying beverage were part of the set that won me Atlantia Royal Brewer appointment for the year.
Have you tried this? Made it, tasted it? Please let me know what you thought!
Ale With Honey
From The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelme Digby Kt. Opened, 1669, though arguably his recipes pre-date that enough to make his recipes on the edge of plausibly period.
First brewed August 21, 2008
Kingdom of Atlantia
Kingdom Arts and Sciences, 2009
Ale with honey is, for all practical purposes, a braggot. Braggots hold an honored place in poetry and literature. Defined as honeyed ales, a balance of malt and honey, they are sweeter-seeming than most beer, and often unhopped. For a complete discussion of the modern standards for braggots, please see the American Homebrewers definition included in the full documentation.
This is a still, slightly sweet braggot. Digbie’s recipe has this aging six or seven months. This batch has done so, but I find it still immature, and believe it will continue to improve for some months yet.
I had to do an elaborate conversion to take Digbie’s honey-to-malt ration into values I could recognize. The honey I used was very light, not strongly flavored at all, so I decided to make it slightly sweeter than the original recipe – in a five gallon batch, I used ten pounds of honey instead of 7.5 that the recipe called for.
I had a choice to add the honey to either the primary or secondary fermentation. Nearly all the period braggot recipes I’ve found add the honey to the primary, so I did that here. Also, Digbie’s recipe does not call for priming sugar at the final casking, so I did not add it to this batch.
In my personal brewing notebook, I have consistently referred to this batch as a golden braggot, so I have used that term in the header of the main documentation. I trust that will not cause undue confusion.