Author Topic: Brewing with Honey  (Read 3254 times)

Offline PNWBrewer

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Brewing with Honey
« on: August 08, 2010, 03:38:29 PM »
I am making a Honey Ale, not a mead.  I have a question about adding honey to the primary and secondary and how/if that will affect the alcohol level and subsequent flavor.   

After the partial mash, my OG was 1.059 for nearly 5gallons.  I then put 2lbs of honey in the primary.  After a week, my gravity was 1.013.  I didn't get any honey aroma or flavor, so I added another 1lb of honey to the secondary.  Fermentation restarted as suggested by the airlock  bubbling regularly again, but not aggressively.  After another week (2weeks since mash), the mash is 1.012, but still no honey aroma or taste. I just added another 1lb of honey (total of 4lbs of honey).   

Is adding the honey going to be noticeable?  What will it do to the alcohol %? 

Thanks in advance for the help

-C

Offline gordonstrong

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1355
    • View Profile
    • BJCP
Re: Brewing with Honey
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2010, 03:53:02 PM »
Honey is a fermentable so you're adding gravity points.  If it ferments out, those points are being converted to alcohol.

If you had 5 gallons of 1.059 beer, you had 295 gravity points in the fermenter. Honey is around 40 points per pound. If you added 4 pounds, then you added 160 gravity points.  Honey is 12 lbs to the gallon, so you also added 1/3 gallon of volume.  So you now have (295+160)/(5+1/3) = roughly a 1.085 beer.  If your final gravity is 1.012, then your ABV is (1.085-1.012)*105*1.25 = about 9.6%.

If after all this, you don't have any honey aroma or flavor, consider stabilizing it like a mead (potassium sorbate, potassium metabisulfite) and then back-sweetening with additional honey so you have more residual unfermented honey (which will have a greater aroma and flavor).

The perception of honey often depends on its quality and variety. Maybe you need a more distinctive or flavorful honey.  But I'd stop fermenting it pretty soon or it won't taste as much like a beer.
Gordon Strong • Beavercreek, Ohio • AHA Member since 1997 • Twitter: GordonStrong

Offline PNWBrewer

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing with Honey
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2010, 04:18:00 PM »
Thanks, that is great info!

Offline beerocd

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1429
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing with Honey
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2010, 04:19:53 PM »
Tell me you didn't do that all out of your head...  :o
The moral majority, is neither.

Offline gordonstrong

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1355
    • View Profile
    • BJCP
Re: Brewing with Honey
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2010, 04:39:19 PM »
Except for the arithmatic, I did. Basic beer math.

It helps that I have to do this every other month for the recipes in Zymurgy.
Gordon Strong • Beavercreek, Ohio • AHA Member since 1997 • Twitter: GordonStrong

Offline kylekohlmorgen

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1342
  • Saint Louis, MO
    • View Profile
    • The South House Pilot Brewery
Re: Brewing with Honey
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2010, 07:31:04 AM »
Beer math aside...

If you used honey on your brewday and didn't get enough honey aroma/flavor in the finished product, but you like the finishing gravity, try bottle-conditioning with it (if you're bottling) before back-sweetening.

If its a little too dry/thin AND you're lacking honey character, go with back sweetening. Just remember... a little goes a LONG way! You may even pull a sample and back-sweeten it with a (well) measured amount of honey, then scale-up (rounding down).
Twitter/Instagram: @southhousebrew

Recipes, Brett/Bacteria Experiments: http://SouthHouseBeer.com/

Offline akr71

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 549
  • Beer Ain't Drinkin' - Mojo Nixon
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing with Honey
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2010, 11:38:01 AM »
So you now have ... about 9.6%.

  :o I think you've skipped over honey ale and went straight to a braggot...
Andy

Amherst, NS - Canada

Offline astrivian

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 117
  • Denver, CO
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing with Honey
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2010, 08:25:56 PM »
I was just about to start a new topic until i found this one.

This is interesting. I was considering using some honey (just a pound) in a 5 gallon brew. You don't add it during the boil? Come to think of it that makes sense, i remember reading somewhere it was once used to prevent infections in wounds, so i guess it wouldn't infect a beer after the boil. Hmmm....i knew there was a practical use for that random information i pick up from time to time.

What if i wanted to add a TITCH of honey flavor to 5 gallons? Is a pound enough or should i kick it up.
Never trust a skinny chef and never trust a sober brewer.

Offline PNWBrewer

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing with Honey
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2010, 09:16:44 PM »
In Palmer's book there is a section on honey...the text (pg 244) has has more info than online (chapter20-3).  The book version states that adding honey after primary fermentation will obtain the most honey flavor.  The book also breaks down the % of honey per total fermentables in the recipe. 


Online dmtaylor

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1363
  • Two Rivers, WI
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing with Honey
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2010, 09:27:41 AM »
Did you use clover honey?  Or what sort did you use?  Clover honey can be super hard to detect in the final beer.  For general purposes, I have switched over to basswood honey, which is still very mild similar to clover honey, but pretty widely available and much more flavorful than clover honey, so that you can actually taste it in the final beer.  If you use any of the darker honeys, you should be able to taste it no problem.  But try the basswood and see what you think.
Dave

"This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our Maker, and glory to His bounty, by learning about... BEER!" - Friar Tuck (Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves)

Offline astrivian

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 117
  • Denver, CO
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing with Honey
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2010, 07:52:30 PM »
If you add honey to the secondary, does it ferment or does it remain as sugar?
Never trust a skinny chef and never trust a sober brewer.

Offline gordonstrong

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1355
    • View Profile
    • BJCP
Re: Brewing with Honey
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2010, 08:13:10 PM »
Honey is fermentable.  Depends on how much viable yeast you have at that point.  It can be a bit slower than malt-derived sugar to ferment since (most) honey doesn't supply nutrients for the yeast.
Gordon Strong • Beavercreek, Ohio • AHA Member since 1997 • Twitter: GordonStrong

Offline tubercle

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1639
  • Sweet Caroline
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing with Honey
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2010, 08:26:06 PM »
I was OK until I read "5+1/3" then I fell out of the chair shakin' like a dog s***tin' persimmon seeds.
Sweet Caroline where the Sun rises over the deep blue sea and sets somewhere beyond Tennessee