Friday, April 6, 2012

Rabbit's Foot Meadery - Hel clone

In Norse mythology, Hel, the daughter of Loki, is a goddess who presides over a realm populated by souls after their human death.  Rabbit's Foot Meadery in Sunnyvale, CA makes a saison-style braggot that is named for the goddess and is only available at their meadery in limited quantities for 2 months of the year.  It has the properties of a traditional saison (spiced yeast character, fruity esters from a warm fermentation, dryness) combined with significant honey for a unique product.  With a dark plum color and 10% alcohol, it has attained some legendary status along the same lines of other limited release beers.  In an episode of the Sunday Session, Mike Faul the owner/founder of Rabbit's Foot shares details about the brewing process and provides a recipe scaled to 5 gallons for homebrewers.  Part of the motivation for my latest honey purchase was to attempt this clone recipe.  All of the ingredients I ordered came in the mail today, and I'm excited to brew it later this week.  Recipe below:

Hel includes sweet orange peel, crushed coriander seed, noble hops, amber candi sugar and two different Belgian ale yeast strains along with the honey and grains.  After a single infusion mash and a standard boil, I'll add the honey as the wort cools to avoid compromising the aromatics.  I'm planning a warm fermentation with the initial Belgian Saison Ale (WY3724) yeast strain before finishing at lower temperatures with the Belgian Strong Ale (WY1388) yeast after approximately 70% of the fermentation is complete.  I'm considering the addition of oak in secondary fermentation.  When it's done, I want to bottle it petillant.  It should be the sort of beverage that changes significantly in the bottle over time.


  1. Did you ever make this? How did it come out?

    1. I brewed this one on April 9th and am pretty happy with how it's developed. The initial fermentation chugged along slowly, and it finished a little bit higher than I expected. In retrospect I think that was a good thing as it seems to substantiate the role the honey plays in the recipe. A little over a month ago I added two ounces of medium toast American oak cubes. I'll be tasting it again soon and deciding when it's ready to bottle or keg.


Have something to say?