Parallel 49 – Braggot

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The first of Parallel 49’s “Barrel Aged Series” to be released this winter season is their mead and ale hybrid called Braggot.  Braggot is the name of the style for the record, not a name that Parallel 49 came up with to call this.  It’s an old style that dates back to the twelfth century or so.  A couple details on the bottle that allude to the use of bee’s honey that I enjoy:  the honeycomb pattern in the center of the logo and the use of beeswax to seal the top of the bottle (which smells fantastic!).

From the bottle, P49’s Braggot weighs in at 10.2% ABV and 8.5 IBU.  That 8.5 IBU came to mind when I took my first sniff through the opened cap, because otherwise I’d have swore I was smelling a barleywine.  But a barleywine has an IBU value much higher, typically 60 – 90 I’ll estimate.

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I’m going to say though that from colour to aroma to taste, this beer did remind me of a barleywine although it is certainly not one.  There are definitely differences too.  But there are similarities. It pours a deep crimson brown though the head is quite tame.  The smell is sweet, malty fruits like rum-soaked dates or figs, red licorice, and honey biscuits.  Taste follows quite closely with rich, sweet red fruits and a little bit of honey, then transfers to oak and earth towards the finish.  There is a slight bit of heat from the alcohol, like you’d get from a glass of wine.

This was very enjoyable, almost a dessert version of a barleywine.  I have a couple more bottles and from what I know about braggot and mead this should cellar quite well, so I will revisit one next winter and the last in probably 3 years.  That’s my go-to cellaring scheme for a 3-bottle purchase for many cellar-able styles, as it strikes a good balance between minimizing excess oxidization and providing aged results.

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The use of honey brings me to a related point.  I know there are endless causes out there, but please put the honeybee’s welfare on your list of things to care about if you haven’t already.  The bee plays such a huge and critical role in our lives and so too many do not value them enough.  As we all know, the bee helps plants pollinate.  This very much includes plants we depend on for food.  Without bees, we would have a lot less food, and we need all the food we can get with today’s world population.

It has been indisputably proven that the pesticides that many (well, probably all) big food corporations are using have adverse effects on bees – not surprising that a chemical designed to kill or deter insects is going to kill or deter a bee – and this is going to have huge impacts on the welfare of our food sources.  Use of pesticides is not to be taken lightly – once you’ve sprayed your crops, that soil has pesticide in it.  You can’t undo that.  You can’t grow an organic crop on that land next year, it’s been compromised for the long term.

I don’t use my blog as a political outlet typically but please be mindful of the bee’s welfare and be educated about what food companies you are supporting by buying their product.  Cheers!

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