Author Topic: Honey tips  (Read 1970 times)

Offline astrivian

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Honey tips
« on: May 25, 2011, 08:24:33 PM »
I am going to try my hand at a braggot. Any tips for using honey?  You are not supposed to boil it i gather. Also, how much honey do you think for a 5 gallon batch?
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Honey tips
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2011, 09:28:19 PM »
By definition, to be a braggot at least half the fermentables have to come from honey. So it depends on the OG, but at least 3/4 lb per gallon.

I've had the best results when I add the honey to the fermenter once primary fermentation is almost finished.
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Offline astrivian

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Re: Honey tips
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2011, 07:01:24 AM »
By definition, to be a braggot at least half the fermentables have to come from honey. So it depends on the OG, but at least 3/4 lb per gallon.

I've had the best results when I add the honey to the fermenter once primary fermentation is almost finished.

ah okay. Do you have to sanitize the honey in any way before adding it?
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Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Honey tips
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2011, 04:03:05 PM »
ah okay. Do you have to sanitize the honey in any way before adding it?

You can pasteurize it if you want, but it's not as big a risk as you'd think since the alcohol in the beer will kill off at the bugs as long as ABV is above 6% or so.

If you do pasteurize, better to pasteurize for a longer time at a lower temperature. Also, some commercial honey is already pasteurized - read the label before you do anything with it.

The amount of honey to add depends on your desired ABV. Calculate its SG contribution just like you would any other adjunct sugar.

Offline punatic

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Re: Honey tips
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2011, 06:27:48 PM »
By definition, to be a braggot at least half the fermentables have to come from honey.

By whose definition?  Braggot is a very loose term for a beverage made with malt and honey. 

I wouldn't worry too much about sanitizing the honey  I've been making no-heat, no-sulfite meads for years without a single infected batch.  I mix my honey with room temp water, stir until well mixed, pitch the yeast and let it go. Many flavors and aromas in honey come from volatile compounds that evaporate when honey is heated.

You could blend finished beer with finished mead.
You could add honey to your favorite beer wort to bump up the gravity.
You could add some malt for flavor, to your favorite mead recipe.
Deciding when, where, and how is completely up to you.

From my experince, I have found that malt can contribute assertive flavors to braggot (a good thing).    I like to use a more flavorful honey to allow the honey flavors to find balance with the malt. Here on Hawaii Island I use eucalyptus honey and Christmas berry honey for making braggots. I save my mild-flavor honeys for show meads.

I don't like the flavor of hops in my braggots, so I don't use them, but that's my preference.  You may find hops to be good in braggot.

Have fun with it.  Add a can of malt extract, a half gallon of honey,to enough water to make 5 gallons, mix it up good, throw an ale yeast in there and see how it turns out. 
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Offline astrivian

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Re: Honey tips
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2011, 07:08:01 AM »
ah cool thanks. i have tried this recipe three times and it always tastes like butter. i was adding the honey to the last five minutes of the boil and i think that was the problem. i didn't realize you could just mix honey with water and make mead that way.

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Offline punatic

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Re: Honey tips
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2011, 03:26:00 PM »
ah cool thanks. i have tried this recipe three times and it always tastes like butter. i was adding the honey to the last five minutes of the boil and i think that was the problem. i didn't realize you could just mix honey with water and make mead that way.


Extra attention to sanitation is needed if you go no-heat no sulfite.  You don't need to be obsessed, but clean is important.

What kind of honey did you use?  Perhaps butteriness may come from the honey type.
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Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Honey tips
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2011, 09:48:06 PM »
ah cool thanks. i have tried this recipe three times and it always tastes like butter. i was adding the honey to the last five minutes of the boil and i think that was the problem. i didn't realize you could just mix honey with water and make mead that way.

Assuming the buttery notes are from diacetyl, getting buttery notes from any honey types seems unlikely. It's more likely related to yeast - either yeast strain or yeast health. Do you add yeast nutrient to your meads?

Offline punatic

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Re: Honey tips
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2011, 11:06:27 PM »
That is not a foregone assumption.  Several floral source honeys can produce buttery notes in the absence of diacetyl.

Yes I use yeast nutrients. Highly recommended.  As a beekeeper I harvest bee pollen, which I have found to be an excellent yeast nutient in mead.  Additionally, I use Fermaid K and diammonium phosphate (DAP) as described by Ken Schramm in his book, The Complete Meadmaker and his article in the Nov/Dec '05 issue of Zymurgy.

Monitoring mead must pH is also very important.
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Offline theoman

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Re: Honey tips
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2011, 02:52:14 AM »
I used honey instead of sugar for a tripel-ish beer I brewed last winter. I added it 1 minute before the end of boil. It turned out really nice, but I think I got lucky with the honey, too. I bought the cheapest thing I could find in any quantity, which was a buckwheat honey. It has a really nice, almost malty flavor to it that I think worked really well with the beer.

Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Honey tips
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2011, 08:09:33 AM »
That is not a foregone assumption.  Several floral source honeys can produce buttery notes in the absence of diacetyl.

I always thought macadamia nut honey was buttery.  I asked my wife to bring me some from a business trip to Hawaii.  She shows up with this little decorative jar.  Uh, thanks, but I was kinda thinking of a plain white pail of it...
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Offline astrivian

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Re: Honey tips
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2011, 01:18:45 PM »
i used wildflower honey from a local place in colorado. maybe i should try orange blossom or something.

about the pH. are we talking about 5.2 or is it different for honey?
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Offline punatic

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Re: Honey tips
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2011, 02:43:05 PM »
i used wildflower honey from a local place in colorado. maybe i should try orange blossom or something.

about the pH. are we talking about 5.2 or is it different for honey?

"Wildflower" honey can be from  just about any flowers that have nectar.  It varies with location and time of year.  Citrus blossom honey is a very good honey for meadmaking.

Fermenting mead must pH will drop naturally.  When it gets into the low 3 range and lower the yeast activity slows way down.  I make pH adjustments to my meads with small additions of a KOH (potassium hydroxide) solution.  I try to maintain the pH around 4.0 - 4.5 during fermentation.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Honey tips
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2011, 02:48:46 PM »
I would be interested in seeing what 'forest' honey or honeydew honey would taste like in a mead or braggot, This is not a floral honey rather it is produced when bees steal honeydew from a certain type of scale insect. As a honey it has an intense almost caramelized flavour. It's fairly rare as the bees only do this when the summe is too dry to provide enough nectar from normal sources.
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Offline astrivian

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Re: Honey tips
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2011, 08:11:16 PM »
I would be interested in seeing what 'forest' honey or honeydew honey would taste like in a mead or braggot, This is not a floral honey rather it is produced when bees steal honeydew from a certain type of scale insect. As a honey it has an intense almost caramelized flavour. It's fairly rare as the bees only do this when the summe is too dry to provide enough nectar from normal sources.

+1

that does sound like a cool experiment. I love brewing for that very reason. I see, smell, or taste something and wonder "Can i brew a beer with this?"

Thanks for the tips on the honey. I think i will go with a citrus honey this next time and change the yeast. It is frustrating: This beer COULD really be good if i did it right.
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