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Old 07-14-2011, 01:47 AM   #1
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Default want to add honey to my wheat beer

hey i was wondering i got a wheat beer that i will be brewing tomorrow or the next day but i was thinking about adding some honey... was thinking orange blossom honey.... now with honey when woudl be the best time to throw it in to the brew? at boil? primary? secondary? and how much is a good amount to use i dont want to go over board with it cause i just want to add a nice slight sweetness to the brew......

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Old 07-14-2011, 01:51 AM   #2
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Honey won't add any sweetness to your beer. It will actually dry it out and up the alcohol content. Honey is highly fermentable, so it won't leave you with a whole lot of flavor either. If you want the flavor, add it in secondary...but even then, it won't add much.

When I decide how to go about adding something, I like to concider the recipe it's being used in. Since you're doing a wheat, I'm assuming it's not a very high alcohol beer. For that, I would recommend the last few minutes of the boil. I typically add 1-3lbs depending on the recipe.

Keep in mind, honey will also thin your beer out.

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Old 07-14-2011, 01:53 AM   #3
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this is the recipe im going with

5lbs wheat dme
.75lb flaked oats
1lb pale malt

2oz splatz hops
1oz dried orange peel
.5oz corriander

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Old 07-14-2011, 02:16 AM   #4
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I've had best results when adding honey once fermentation has slowed down. So after ~2-3 weeks in primary, add X pounds of honey to the batch. I would start off with a lower amount than you might be thinking about, let it ferment out, give it a little more time, then taste it. IF you need more, repeat the process. I also had some good results carbonating those same batches with honey.

Since those days, I've switched to using honey malt in my mash when I want honey flavor/character in batches. It doesn't thin the brew out any, and adds a honey flavor to it. Basically, you get the best of both worlds. BUT, if you want to add the flavors of a particular type of honey, you'll need to use that honey.

IF you want to add it before you pitch the yeast, it's best (IMO/IME) to add it during the cool-down of the wort. Once you've dipped below 110-100F, it's safe to add honey. Safe in that you won't lose what flavors the honey has to offer the brew. Heat it too far, and you'll lose too much. IF you feel you simply must heat it up to 'make it safe' (a 100% unnecessary step), then don't go above 140-150F. If you do, only do it for a few seconds. Any longer and you'll lose the goodness the honey can offer you. If you add it to the boil, you might as well just pour sugar into the brew. Since that's about all you'll get from the honey. IMO, that's a waste of good honey.

There's a reason why the majority of experienced mazers don't heat their honey at all when making mead.

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Old 07-14-2011, 02:29 AM   #5
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ok so if i add it to the carboy after a couple weeks .. about how much shoudl i start off with to be safe? like half a pound? 1 pound?


now will i get better flavor from the honey if i add it at the end of the boil or added to the carboy after 2-3 weeks?

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Old 07-14-2011, 02:33 AM   #6
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I think it really depends on the honey you're using, the amount of flavor you're looking to get, and such... If I was to do it all over again, I would add part during the cool-down, then more later during fermentation (once it had slowed) and then sample it. I would start with a single pound in a 5 gallon batch (one during cool-down, then be ready with another pound for later)... If you have more on hand, just have it ready.

To get the honey out, and get all of it, I would pour it from the container it's in. Use a small amount of hot water to get the clingers from the container. You should be able to hold the container without pot holders, or any other protection. If you can't, it's too hot.

Experiment with the same recipe, adding honey different ways. Once you get to try all of them, you'll figure out which method(s) give you the result(s) you're actually looking for.

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Old 07-15-2011, 06:46 AM   #7
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Default Honey wheat

+1 on everything Golddiggie says..

My summer American Wheat uses about 1# of honey for 5 gallons, and I add it once it cools down below 125-F. Adding to the fermenter or secondary unheated is perfectly okay too. I just like the heat to help disolve it, and with my IWC, it is dropping temp fast... so I keep a lot of the flavor.

A few iterations and you'll have it all dialed in for the brew! Good luck!
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Old 07-15-2011, 01:59 PM   #8
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What you will be making is called a braggart. It is a cross between a mead and a beer. You do not want to boil honey, not even for a short time. And its fermentability is nearly the same as simple syrup. Some people heat it and remove the "scum" on top (things like wax, bee parts, i.e. not the honey), but really there is no need to do so.

Unfortunately honey also contains inhibitors to yeast. And while a mead maker will pitch on top of raw honey and water, for your beer you want to wait until you have a nice robust colony going. There really is no need to fully wait until the end of primary fermentation. I usually put it in after about 3 days.

Fermented honey tastes allot like a very dry wine. The main reason a mead is sweet is a mazor (one who brews mead) will add so much honey the yeast can not ferment it all. This leaves some of the non fermented honey still in the bottle (which is why mazors worry about tertiary fermentation blowing corks off bottles).

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Old 07-15-2011, 02:14 PM   #9
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Good timing for this thread. I just made an American wheat and tomorrow will be two weeks in the primary. If I were to add, say a lb of honey just to up the ABV a little and maybe have a subtle honey profile, do I simply just squeeze it in my better bottle and let it mix on its own?

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Old 07-15-2011, 02:29 PM   #10
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Timely thread! I brewed a wheat beer a few weeks back and added 1 lb of honey at flame out. I cracked open the first ones last night and was pleasantly surprised! No major honey flavors, but there was some nice clovery-ness to the beer.

I poured the honey in before stirring up the wort and adding the yeast. Also I highly recommend using hot water to get the last bits of honey out of the container, otherwise you will be holding it upside down for hours!

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