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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: flounderbrewing on February 01, 2010, 02:49:04 AM

Title: Honey for Priming
Post by: flounderbrewing on February 01, 2010, 02:49:04 AM
First I apologize if this was ever on here before, but I am new on the forum and don't think I am quite used to the search function and how to effectively search!


My favorite brew is a honey amber I do, I would love to bottle condition the beer using the honey I use as the priming sugar instead of regular priming sugar, want to see how it comes out.  Anyone got any good insight into the conversion on how much priming sugar to use per 5 or10 gallons versus now using honey, and second anyone have any advice on methods for adding in the honey for priming given the delicate nature of the brew at that point?  Perhaps boiling it up in some water like priming sugar or might that just end up evaporating the good flavors in the honey?  Any input appreciated, thinking about it makes me salivate and I want to give it a shot but want to avoid 5 cases of exploding bottles!

-Jeremy "Flounder" Lees
Title: Re: Honey for Priming
Post by: egghead on February 01, 2010, 11:51:14 AM
One online calculator says that honey is 84% as fermentable as cane sugar (with corn sugar being 95% as fermentable as cane and DME 55% as fermentable) - but I'm sure that's an average and that it would vary by honey variety.  Still, it's probably a good ballpark figure that you could use for bottle conditioning.
Title: Re: Honey for Priming
Post by: a10t2 on February 01, 2010, 11:55:30 AM
Take a known quantity of the honey, dilute it 9:1 with distilled water, and check the gravity with a hydrometer or refractometer. That will tell you how much sugar it contains per unit mass. Typical honey will be somewhere around 80% IIRC.

To prime with it, I would boil some water, let it cool down below ~160°F and then stir in the honey until it's fully dissolved. No need to boil the honey itself - it's more or less sterile.
Title: Re: Honey for Priming
Post by: skyler on February 02, 2010, 03:28:19 PM
Priming is the trickiest part of brewing, in my opinion. There is luck and magic involved. I would advise against priming with anything but cane sugar or corn sugar. Honey will take too long to carbonate, and it may not impart any noticeable flavor. I would just go with plain corn sugar and maybe add an ounce or two of orange blossom water (can be purchased from Asian, Middle Eastern, or Indian/Pakistani grocery stores) to give you a floral, honey-like quality, if you are hell bent on it.
Title: Re: Honey for Priming
Post by: juddz on February 03, 2010, 07:31:33 PM
Interesting insight, Skyler. I have two beers sitting in my secondaries right now, and I plan on using DME to prime. I've been using corn sugar until now; any thoughts about priming each batch with a cup of DME each?
Title: Re: Honey for Priming
Post by: hankus on February 04, 2010, 07:08:39 AM
Why honey?it is more expensive and will NOT give a honey flavor unless the beer has been pasteurized
Title: Re: Honey for Priming
Post by: a10t2 on February 04, 2010, 08:46:24 AM
Interesting insight, Skyler. I have two beers sitting in my secondaries right now, and I plan on using DME to prime. I've been using corn sugar until now; any thoughts about priming each batch with a cup of DME each?

I'd be worried about how precisely you could predict the level of carbonation. Are you just going to assume that the DME will be 60-65% fermentable? It just sounds like you're asking for inconsistency, honestly.

Why honey?it is more expensive and will NOT give a honey flavor unless the beer has been pasteurized

That doesn't make sense to me - I can get good honey flavor by adding it in the secondary, so priming seems like a natural thing to try.
Title: Re: Honey for Priming
Post by: denny on February 04, 2010, 10:38:26 AM
I tried it for priming a few times and found it imparted no flavor.  Maybe it was the honey I used.
Title: Re: Honey for Priming
Post by: a10t2 on February 04, 2010, 11:21:27 AM
On second thought, if you were *only* using honey in the bottles, it would be less than half a pound. I've found two pounds in secondary is about the minimum to get an unambiguous honey flavor.
Title: Re: Honey for Priming
Post by: flounderbrewing on February 04, 2010, 12:31:48 PM
Well thanks everyone so far for the input, definitely have some options try!  As to the question of why.  The expense of it doesn't matter, all of the money I spent on crap to brew with far exceeds any savings I would ever hope to have making my own beer, and second I think there is the possibility for some nice additional notes in both flavor and aroma fro the honey, depending on the honey I think.  Say an orange blossom leaving behind some of the great floral notes.  That's kind of what I am looking for and there is only one way to find out, I gotta give it a try.