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Old 01-02-2013, 06:43 AM   #1
BansheeRider
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Default Brewing with clover honey?

I just bought a honey amber ale recipe kit and was wondering if anybody has suggestions as to when I should add the honey. The recipe says add 2lbs of clover honey 30 min into the boil for a mild honey flavor. Or add clover honey with only 10 min left of the boil for a strong aroma honey flavor. Any suggestions? Has anybody brewed with clover honey before? I read that honey is fully fermentable, which will increase ABV but not add too much flavor.

P.S. I wasn't sure if this should've been posted in the recipe forum. Advice is much appreciated

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Old 01-02-2013, 07:02 AM   #2
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If you want maximal honey aroma/flavor, the best time to add it is when the rest of the beer has already finished fermenting (be it in the primary, or in a secondary), unheated.

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Old 01-02-2013, 07:15 AM   #3
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I've struggled with this question myself. I'll give you a summary of what I've learned.

1. The later you add it to the boil, the more honey aroma/flavor will persist in the beer.

2. The whitehouse honey ale recipe puts the honey in at 5 mins left on the boil. If the secret service are okay with the POTUS drinking that, its probably ok for the rest of us too.

3. You can pasteurize it and add it after fermentation has taken off. Pasteurizing honey is not trivial, but you can search to find methods for doing so.

4. Whatever you do, don't simply add it after the boil and cooling. I made the mistake of misapplying advice from a mead forum where it seems to be fairly well accepted that you don't need to boil honey for making mead - well, that may work for making mead, but if you do that when only 10% of your fermentables are honey, all the critters lurking in that honey will join the party. Yes, honey is naturally bacteriostatic, but that has everything to do with how extremely concentrated it is, once you dilute it with lots of extra water, that protection is basically gone.

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Old 01-02-2013, 02:12 PM   #4
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Maybe I'll split the two recommendations in the recipe in half, and add the honey with 15 min left in the boil lol.

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Old 01-02-2013, 05:42 PM   #5
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Clover is one of the weakest honey in terms of flavor but many use it. I prefer orange blossom. And the later you add it the better in terms of retaining any flavor. I vote for post fermentation: either add it when the krausen drops or to a secondary.

You can bottle with it as well

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Old 01-02-2013, 05:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BansheeRider View Post
I read that honey is fully fermentable, which will increase ABV but not add too much flavor. :
Also note that this is not true. Honey is only 90% - 95% fermentable (different sources give different amounts, and I suppose it also depends on the honey itself) That means that even after fermentation, you're left with a fair amount of honey flavor.

Honey flavor is lost in the boil mostly by the loss of aromatics that escape during the boil. As many have noted, this means that the longer you boil a beer, the less honey flavor it will have.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:12 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies! I actually cancelled my order and went with the Octane IPA I may do honey flavored beers in the future.

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Old 01-03-2013, 03:15 PM   #8
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You could also consider Honey Malt.

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Old 01-03-2013, 03:35 PM   #9
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I've been trying to get the honey flavor in my wheat beer much like the Blue Moon version. I've asked a lot of questions and tried everything I've been told to do, yet am still not getting that strong honey flavor.

I was told to steep honey malt, but less than a pound. I was told to make a mini mash with some 2 row. I was told to put the honey at flameout. I've been told to add it to the fermentor after fermentation has died down. None of this has had the effect I was looking for. And with all of them I have used 1/2 lb of honey malt along with honey (~2 lbs). I've even used honey for priming.

This last time I added 3 3/4 lbs of honey a week after fermentation and it sorta has a honey flavor, but it really thinned the beer out too much.

I was recently advised to use 2 lbs of honey malt. That's what I'll try next go around.

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Old 01-03-2013, 06:21 PM   #10
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Rodwha, have you considered using honey as your priming sugar? Not sure how much flavor that would add ... but it would go straight into the bottle. Palmer has a great nomograph you can use to determine how much honey should be used for equivalent vols of CO2.

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