Vineale: a beer-wine hybrid. Braggot: a mead-beer hybrid.
Blending beer, wine, and mead is a practice that dates as far back as the ancient Egyptians. It's an easy and exciting way to experiment with new flavors and subtle nuances to your brewing.
How to Blend
Blending can be as simple as combining some beer wort and wine must and letting them ferment, but the real fun comes in when you are looking for that perfect balance of flavors in your finished product.
A great experiment that you can easily conduct at home is to run some blending trials of different beers and wines. Want to make a robust porter with a cabernet sauvignon character, or a saison with some fruity riesling in the background? Let the trials begin.
First, ferment out your two base products for blending later, and keep in mind that the final blended product will only be as good as the base beers, wines and meads used to make it.
Perfecting Your Hybrid
Once you have finished your batch of beer and wine, the tasting begins! Try mixing various proportions of your wine into the beer, and then taste them to determine what tastes best to you.
You may find that a porter only requires 20% cabernet to really have a great flavor, while you may use up to 50% riesling blended into a saison to come up with something truly memorable. When doing blending trials, it is a good idea to have some basic graduated measuring cups available and a pen and a pad.
Make yourself a few different blends of the same two base beers/wines at varying proportions. For example, blend one beer with 10% wine, one with 20% wine, one with 30% wine, and so on.
Be sure to keep good notes of how much of each base beer/wine before tasting. Doing small trials like this will enable you to pinpoint the exact proportions of your beer and wine to really get the flavors balanced out.
Once you determine the perfect blend, you can measure out larger amounts of the base beers and wines to blend into one large batch for bottling. The sky is the limit here, and there is no wrong blend to make, it’s all a matter of your preference. Try a hard pear cider with a Chardonnay, or blackberry mead blended into an American brown ale.
Surefire Hybrids to Try