Fearful Symmetries

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29 April, 2016

The Honeymoon Is Over: HoneyMoon Brackett by Viking Brewing Company



Has anyone out there ever tried aging brackett, a.k.a. - braggot? I have, and let me tell you, it was an utter failure.

Brackett/braggot is a beverage that is reputed to have originated in medieval times and is either mead made with malt or beer made with honey. Either way you're getting fermentable sugars from a mix of honey and malt. But I suppose you can just add finished mead to finished ale and have brackett too. How much beer should you taste in a brackett? How much mead? Everything I've found to read on the subject leans towards bracket being an art rather than a science. Does it taste like mead and beer simultaneously? If so, then you've got a brackett.

I recently opened a bottle of HoneyMoon, a brackett from the Viking Brewing Company which is now Valkyrie Brewing Company. If you look at the old Viking website, it says that HoneyMoon "Ages well for years". Perhaps two years. My bottle was purchased in 2009, I believe, and I figured that I'd try aging a 10% A.B.V. wine-like brew/brew-like wine. Tempus fugit and here we are seven or so years later.

HoneyMoon poured a lovely light gold – even if the photograph doesn't portray this. It was quite clear. I didn't get much of a head when I poured it into my glass. But there was no small number of bubbles in the elixir. Are fresh bracketts effervescent? Meads comes bubbly and non-bubbly so you'd think brackett could very well be stillish. I think the last time I had a fresh brackett outside of The Great Taste was about 11 years ago when I had some from White Winter Winery so I remain unsure.

The brackett definitely had a mead-like smell – that dry honey scent – but the aroma also had a rather prominent vinous smell too. There really wasn't anything beery here.

Taking my first sip, I didn't have high hopes. The brackett had a light body and I caught a little carbonation as well as some really nice honey taste. However, that vinous quality was here in spades. It tasted a lot like vermouth to me. As my HoneyMoon warmed up, it took on a strong boozy heat - 10% may have been on the low side – and a pronounced astringent flavor.

The finish had what must have been the very last remnants of hop flavor with a faint grassiness just barely perceptible and more of that vermouth flavor. My glass had no lacing.

Well, my little aging experiment was a failure and you can blame it on me. (We're just sugar mice in the rain.) I should have consumed this bottle years ago. Live and learn. This just means that I need more bracketts to make up for my failing.

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|| Palmer, 10:41 AM

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