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Honey for Priming

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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

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.

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.

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.

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?


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