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Old 07-03-2012, 04:17 PM   #1
lwald
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Default Adding honey

Is it dumb to put honey in the secondary fermentor . And how much.



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Old 07-03-2012, 04:45 PM   #2
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The answer to your question is no and it depends. I am going to make the following assumptions 1) your OG was ~1.050 or higher 2) your FG (predicted) = ~1.012-1.015 3) this is a 5 gal batch. I would add no more than 1# or wild flower or orange blossom depending on your taste. There shouldn’t be any problems with adding the honey to the secondary. Some people warn of infection from bacteria in the honey, others say not to worry. Your OG will go up by (~0.007 pts) and your FG will go down (~0.004). If you have the space in your carboy I would add 1# of honey (36 gravity points) to 0.75 gal water to give you a final concentration of 48 GP. Boil for 10 min, cool and add the solution to your secondary. This way your OG won’t change all that much and your FG should finish around 1.008-1.011. What I have done is split my wort in two and add two different types of honey. It really does change the flavor of the beer tremendously.



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Old 07-04-2012, 05:34 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by skydvr74 View Post
Some people warn of infection from bacteria in the honey, others say not to worry
Honey is incredibly antibacterial, I wouldn't worry about infection. However, it may be a good idea to dissolve it in some warm (boiled, then cooled down some) water before adding to secondary, so it doesn't just sink to the bottom. Don't boil the honey in the water, it will drive off the natural aromatics/flavors of the honey.

Like skydvr said, it will definitely affect the taste of your beer, especially because it will dry it out. If your recipe doesn't hold up well to drying out, it could come out more thin/watery than you'd like but that of course depends on your recipe.
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Old 07-04-2012, 06:31 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by ChessRockwell View Post
Honey is incredibly antibacterial, I wouldn't worry about infection. However, it may be a good idea to dissolve it in some warm (boiled, then cooled down some) water before adding to secondary, so it doesn't just sink to the bottom. Don't boil the honey in the water, it will drive off the natural aromatics/flavors of the honey.
It is incredibly antibacterial because very little can thrive in that concentration of sugars. But spores can and do survive in it, particularly botulinum.

I can't say for sure that botulism would survive in beer, but i still feel safer bringing my honey solution to a boil before adding it.
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Old 07-04-2012, 07:04 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by TimpanogosSlim

It is incredibly antibacterial because very little can thrive in that concentration of sugars. But spores can and do survive in it, particularly botulinum.

I can't say for sure that botulism would survive in beer, but i still feel safer bringing my honey solution to a boil before adding it.
People make beer and even mead all the time without boiling it. I agree with the above poster, it's better not to, as it DOES destroy most of the aroma and subtleties of flavor. If you're going to boil your honey, you might as well just use sugar, IMO. This shìt's expensive! Don't encourage people to ruin it.

And being concerned about botulinum in honey is beyond absurd. Do you always cook honey before you eat it? Botulinum spores can survive in/on just about anything you eat or drink, but it requires a particular environment to thrive. Which does NOT apply to beer made and handled in a normal manner. If you're concerned about its presence in honey, you should be concerned about its presence in nearly everything. Oh, and regular boiling is actually not very effective against the spores; pressure cooking is necessary. So even if botulism was somehow a valid concern, you'd just end up with a subpar beer or mead before you die... I'd at least want my last beverage to a damn good one!

But seriously, this might be the most ridiculous case of alarmism I've ever seen on HBT - and as any long-time poster here knows, that's a hell of an accomplishment! You're free to boil honey for whatever the hell reason you want, but please don't be giving others the idea that the tradeoff for preserving its delicate flavor and aroma is the possibility of death. Sheesh...
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Old 07-04-2012, 09:15 AM   #6
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I can't say for sure that botulism would survive in beer...
Repeat after me:

Nothing. Pathologic. Can. Grow. In. Beer.
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Old 07-04-2012, 09:50 AM   #7
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Repeat after me:

Nothing. Pathologic. Can. Grow. In. Beer.
Despite my comment above, I don't think this is strictly true, and it kind of irks me when it's mindlessly repeated. But there's really such a slim chance when brewing in a home environment (as there is a similarly slim chance that a thousand different dangerous things could happen to you doing anything routine), so it's not rational to be concerned about it. At least, not concerned enough about it to affect your decision-making.
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Old 07-04-2012, 01:25 PM   #8
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emjay - It is actually true, nothing pathogenic can grow in beer. The low pH helps, but it is the presence of alcohol that really seals the fate of most organisms. The bacteria that can infect humans cannot survive an alcoholic environment. If you really don't believe it, feel free to find some information that proves that beer can grow pathogens.

Regarding the concerns about honey, there seems to be some confusion. Honey can be a source of botulism poisoning, but only in infants under 2 years or so. Babies that have not developed an acidic gut can actually grow the botulism bacteria in their stomach. No worries for anyone else.

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Old 07-04-2012, 10:47 PM   #9
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I have also heard nothing. pathologic. can. grow. in. beer. from a commercial brewer. "The only way you can get sick on beer is by enjoying too much of it"

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Old 07-05-2012, 12:55 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by emjay View Post
Despite my comment above, I don't think this is strictly true, and it kind of irks me when it's mindlessly repeated. But there's really such a slim chance when brewing in a home environment (as there is a similarly slim chance that a thousand different dangerous things could happen to you doing anything routine), so it's not rational to be concerned about it. At least, not concerned enough about it to affect your decision-making.
Don't make me sic Revvy on you...

Seriously, though, no disease causing bacteria can survive in the fermented environment. Spoilage organisms are one thing, but they just make your beer taste nasty (or good, if you're into sours, and you get the *right* extra bugs...) You can't get a disease or become ill from drinking it (unless it's to excess, as WreckinBrewCo said...)


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