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Old 02-10-2013, 03:40 AM   #1
Timmyg316
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Default Brewing with Honey: Final Findings

I thought I would make this into a new topic since I finally have conclusive findings about the best ways to brew beer with honey and have the flavor stand out. This endeavor has taken me over a year of tinkering and more than a few brew sessions to pin down. A lot to credit goes to the people on these forums who have given me hints and suggestions, thank-you you are making our beer better. Without further ado here are my findings:

Without a doubt, the best way to impart the taste of honey into your beer by bottling with honey then pasteurizing the bottles (following essentially the Papper's method described on the cider forum http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/easy...g-pics-193295/). I will trust you to check out the link for more details. What you do is add 1-2kg of honey instead of bottling sugar and check the bottles after 24 hours. You need to use glass bottles (unless you're cool with your plastic PET bottles getting warped permanently), and pasteurize before they gush to avoid problems. Follow the guide closely to avoid problems. This method works by killing the yeast before they can ferment all the honey out of the beer and is able to make even strong tasting dark beers taste of honey.

The second best method is to use honey malt. I will leave it up to you to decide on how to do this. The flavour isn't as noticeable and might not hold up against stronger tastes, but by all accounts this is the way to go (especially if your not willing to pasteurize).

Lastly, I have found that simply bottling with honey and/or adding it at different times (flame out, high kraeusen, and end of fermentation) is ineffective as nearly all the honey can and will ferment. Since most yeasts can tolerate alcohol up to 9% it is essentially impossible to add enough honey to the beer for it not to ferment (and if you do, it will be expensive and so strong you couldn't enjoy more than a few bottles).

I hope this short guide will help those wanting to brew with honey!

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Old 02-12-2013, 08:45 PM   #2
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Interesting. So, bascially, you're saying that you've found that 24 hrs is the perfect time for the yeast to make enough C02 to carbonate the beer before you kill them off (thereby preventing bottle-bombs)?

A couple of questions, then:
1.) does the amount of honey, then, determine how much carbonation, as well as how much honey flavor / sweetness?
2.) if so, what are the carbonation level for the range you listed (I am assuming 5 gal batch?)
3.) if not, is the carbonation level more determined by where around the 24-hr mark that you pasteurize? When you say "watch" the bottles, are there clues that would be indicative of this?

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Old 02-14-2013, 04:10 AM   #3
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Would like to know also to the above questions

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Old 02-14-2013, 09:17 AM   #4
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Thanks for reporting back!
Coincidentally, I have a batch of mead that's really sad facey because I WAY undershot the OG. Its aged for 5 years, and has fantastic aroma, but no substance. As an experiment, I'm brewing a scottish wee heavy at the end of the month and blending the two to make what I guess will wind up being a 70 schilling braggot.
I've always been scared of pasteurization after carbing, but I guess I'll have to get over it somehow. Especially now that I have beekeepers popping up in my life.

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Old 02-16-2013, 02:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drlars View Post
Interesting. So, bascially, you're saying that you've found that 24 hrs is the perfect time for the yeast to make enough C02 to carbonate the beer before you kill them off (thereby preventing bottle-bombs)?

A couple of questions, then:
1.) does the amount of honey, then, determine how much carbonation, as well as how much honey flavor / sweetness?
2.) if so, what are the carbonation level for the range you listed (I am assuming 5 gal batch?)
3.) if not, is the carbonation level more determined by where around the 24-hr mark that you pasteurize? When you say "watch" the bottles, are there clues that would be indicative of this?
I will do my best to answer these good questions.

1) Yes, for example, if you add 2kg of honey to the beer and it only needs 100g of honey to carbonate than you should have 1900g of unfermented honey in your beer. The control for honey taste is how much you add. I think 2kg is plenty. Carbonation if determine by how long you allow the bottles to wait before pasteurization. If you wait too long you will get gushers or bombs. Start opening bottles after 24 hours to check carbonation, the bottles will carbonate rapidly.

2) If you start checking after 24 hours and pasturize when its carbonated to your liking you can't go wrong. After 4 days a 23L batch of beer was gushing, I base my check one bottle a day after 24h on that. I think 23L approximates 5 gallons (sorry Canadians love metric).

3) Basically, you should open a bottle, if the carbonation is ideal (good head, bubbly taste, not flat) you can stop the carbonation and kill the yeast.
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Old 02-16-2013, 02:51 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firstpancake View Post
Thanks for reporting back!
Coincidentally, I have a batch of mead that's really sad facey because I WAY undershot the OG. Its aged for 5 years, and has fantastic aroma, but no substance. As an experiment, I'm brewing a scottish wee heavy at the end of the month and blending the two to make what I guess will wind up being a 70 schilling braggot.
I've always been scared of pasteurization after carbing, but I guess I'll have to get over it somehow. Especially now that I have beekeepers popping up in my life.
Try it! Its just another tool in your brewer's bag of tricks!
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Old 02-16-2013, 02:57 AM   #7
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I'd think one could make up one PET bottle per batch and check how hard it is to decide when to cook up the glass bottles...

Cheers!

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Old 02-16-2013, 07:33 PM   #8
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Thanks for the reply.

Basically, not an exact science.... just start checking them and pasteurize once you're where you want to be.

Its a good idea.... typically we are told to "condition" beer for around 28 days in the bottle, though I wonder what the actual effect of that is in this case, once the beer is completely carbonated. That is, would the beer derive any further benefit from bottle-conditioning after pasteurization? Settling/clarification maybe?

I would like to try this with a Hefewiezen (once I finally achieve a hefewiezen that I consider a success, that is.... so far I'm 0/2.)

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Old 02-17-2013, 05:04 AM   #9
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Would this work with maple syrup as well. I know maple flavor is hard to get into beer

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Old 02-20-2013, 04:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drlars View Post
Thanks for the reply.

Basically, not an exact science.... just start checking them and pasteurize once you're where you want to be.

Its a good idea.... typically we are told to "condition" beer for around 28 days in the bottle, though I wonder what the actual effect of that is in this case, once the beer is completely carbonated. That is, would the beer derive any further benefit from bottle-conditioning after pasteurization? Settling/clarification maybe?

I would like to try this with a Hefewiezen (once I finally achieve a hefewiezen that I consider a success, that is.... so far I'm 0/2.)
To be honest I don't know, but I expect the answer is yes. Because more sugar is going into the bottle than normal it is very likely you could get some yeast buildup that if it settles could lead to a more clear beer.
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