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Old 03-15-2012, 01:03 AM   #1
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Default Bottling with Honey

So i would have put this in the bottling and kegging section but it seems like that section should be just called Kegging! I'm a newb with 4 batches under my belt, all recipes from the Brooklyn BrewShop book and they are big on using all natural elements so all the recipes pretty much call for honey or syrup for bottling. maple syrup is pretty thin and it easily seemed to mix into one of my batches. The first time I bottled with honey I goofed and racked to my bottling bucket and then added honey instead of racking on top of it. That time I boiled a cup of water and cooled it down and mixed it with the honey to thin it out a bit. Today I decided that I would just pour the straight honey into the bottling bucket and then rack on top of it. Things seemed to go fine but when I went to clean the bottling bucket after finishing bottling, it appeared that there was a fair amount of honey still stuck on the bottom of the bucket.

FWIW, the other beer that I primed with honey just went past the 2 week mark a couple days ago and i've had a few and it seems fully carbed but I'm just trying to get a feel for what the best practices are when using honey to carbonate.

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Old 03-15-2012, 01:31 AM   #2
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I have an apiary (I'm a beekeeper) and if there is one thing that I know it is honey... and beer.
honey is not very soluble in liquid unless it is warm and priming is done at room temp (for ales) and it is not easy to incorporate the honey in the beer unless the honey is warm. If not you will end up with honey that sinks to the bottom. my suggestion would be heat your honey (to about 100 f ) before you add and stir well, or just use a different sugar for priming.

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Old 03-15-2012, 02:09 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by BackwoodBrewery View Post
I have an apiary (I'm a beekeeper) and if there is one thing that I know it is honey... and beer.
honey is not very soluble in liquid unless it is warm and priming is done at room temp (for ales) and it is not easy to incorporate the honey in the beer unless the honey is warm. If not you will end up with honey that sinks to the bottom. my suggestion would be heat your honey (to about 100 f ) before you add and stir well, or just use a different sugar for priming.
Thats what i was thinking which is why the first time around I boiled water, added the honey while it was hot and mixed it up, and then mixed the two together and let them cool. I was worried about doing something to the yeast if I added it when it was too hot but I suppose since i'm adding a relatively small amount of hotter substance into a large amount of room temp liquid it wouldn't be too big of a deal.
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Old 03-15-2012, 02:22 AM   #4
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if there is one thing that I know it is honey... and beer.
That's two things...

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Old 03-15-2012, 04:50 AM   #5
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I just primed a 2 gallon batch with honey. If I did my calculations right, it was four tablespoons. I sterilized and heated a cup of water, mixed the honey into it one tbs at a time until dissolved, and then poured it into a bottling bucket and racked the beer in on top of it. We'll see how it turns out.

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Old 03-15-2012, 10:30 AM   #6
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I only use honey for priming...try this:

3 tablespoon PER GALLON is the standard, but I use 4 since I like slightly overcarbed beers. Heat up the honey as stated...I put it in about a 1/2 pint of water and heat it until I see steam. Then I start stirring the crap out of it...get the water up the sides and all over...you should not be able to tell there is honey in there. Finally, bottle IMMEDIATELY! Yes the water is probably 100 degrees at first, but after you add the beer (whirlpool if you can) it will be fine.

Do not let the water/honey cool. My best beer to date was ruined by this as the honey started to stick and sink again. You can hand carb with honey if you own a cupcake baking rack and a large eye dropper, but thats a whole nother story and I think I am one of the only people who have tried this as I found no information on it...you would need to use 22oz bottles for the best results.

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Old 03-15-2012, 04:00 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Calichusetts View Post
I only use honey for priming...try this:

3 tablespoon PER GALLON is the standard, but I use 4 since I like slightly overcarbed beers. Heat up the honey as stated...I put it in about a 1/2 pint of water and heat it until I see steam. Then I start stirring the crap out of it...get the water up the sides and all over...you should not be able to tell there is honey in there. Finally, bottle IMMEDIATELY! Yes the water is probably 100 degrees at first, but after you add the beer (whirlpool if you can) it will be fine.

Do not let the water/honey cool. My best beer to date was ruined by this as the honey started to stick and sink again. You can hand carb with honey if you own a cupcake baking rack and a large eye dropper, but thats a whole nother story and I think I am one of the only people who have tried this as I found no information on it...you would need to use 22oz bottles for the best results.
Awesome info, so if I get that right, are you saying when you pour the honey in the bottling bucket that you are pouring it all around the sides of the bucket and then racking it in there?
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Old 03-15-2012, 05:54 PM   #8
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Yup...get a little whirlpool action going in the bottling bucket or pot, whichever you use. Get it up the sides and splashed around, I really try to get a high speed whirlpool going. It mixes the honey better and it helps with cooling.

Be ready to rack immediately after you put it down and be ready to bottle immediately. You don't have to be rushing around with your head cut off, do it right, but the longer you wait the more it settles and condenses again. Just have your bottles ready, caps (might want to put caps on but actually cap after they are all full.) and anything else.

My actual ritual:

Move carboy to kitchen the night before
Fill up sanitizing bucket and submerge siphon, tubing and any other equipment
Sanitize bottling pot
Add 1/2 pint water to pot, heat at mid setting
Submerge bottles in sani-bucket
Add honey...should see steam or feel heat (100-120)
Assemble auto-siphon and let it float in sani-bucket
Swirl honey...end heat
Uncap carboy, grab siphon
Place bottling bucket under carboy (get a nice swirl going)
Rack
Put bottles in sink
Rack to bottle
Done

From heating water in bottling pot to capping...I'd say its a total of 15 minutes, but again, this is a 6 pack of 16oz

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Old 03-16-2012, 06:45 PM   #9
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If you use a syringe with warm/hot honey, 3 mL per 750mL bottle will give you good carbonation. Perfect for a Saison.
Search ebay for "plastic syringe".

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Old 03-17-2012, 04:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dstar26t View Post
If you use a syringe with warm/hot honey, 3 mL per 750mL bottle will give you good carbonation. Perfect for a Saison.
Search ebay for "plastic syringe".
You can also find a meat-flavor injector to do this...I really like the idea of carbing individually
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