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Add honey to secodary

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jdhasse

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So I brewed yesterday and later realized I forgot to add the honey I had plan on adding.

Anyone ever add Honey to the secondary?
 

TheZymurgist

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Is this a question, or are you just stating that you forgot it? Can't tell if you're looking for input or not.
 

peterj

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Boil a small amount of water and mix the honey in after you take it off the burner. Cool and add it to the primary. No need for a secondary.
 

TheZymurgist

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So I brewed yesterday and later realized I forgot to add the honey I had plan on adding.

Anyone ever add Honey to the secondary?
That makes more sense. You can add honey to the secondary if you want, but it all depends on what end result you desire. It sounds like the honey was supposed to be added before fermentation began. If that's the case, you can add it any time during fermentation and the yeast will still consume it. You'll actually have better results if you add it towards the end of fermentation, because honey is made of simple sugars that are easily consumed by the yeast. Let them take care of most of the more complex sugars that are in the wort, then give them the easy stuff, sort of like dessert.

If you add it to the secondary, after you've racked off of the yeast, there will be little to no fermentation of the honey. You'll get more honey flavor and sweetness this way, but it's very easy to overdo it. Since the recipe called for adding it prior to fermentation, I would wait another day to add it, and not wait until secondary.

Boil at least an equal volume of water (equal to the amount of honey you're adding) and take the water off the heat, then dissolve the honey into it, let it cool to the temp of your fermenter, and pitch.
 

dirtdigger

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Boil a small amount of water and mix the honey in after you take it off the burner. Cool and add it to the primary. No need for a secondary.
I had a honey wheat last year, that didn't have much if any honey flavor after fermenting. I did this little procedure and added to the keg, gave it a few inverted shakes, once the lid was on, just to mix it. This gave the honey flavor I was looking for.
 

ObsidianJester

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That makes more sense. You can add honey to the secondary if you want, but it all depends on what end result you desire. It sounds like the honey was supposed to be added before fermentation began. If that's the case, you can add it any time during fermentation and the yeast will still consume it. You'll actually have better results if you add it towards the end of fermentation, because honey is made of simple sugars that are easily consumed by the yeast. Let them take care of most of the more complex sugars that are in the wort, then give them the easy stuff, sort of like dessert.


This.

I made a very nice IPA with honey added on day two or three of primary fermentation. Honey is somewhat insulated from infection but instead of water I kept mine in the container and microwaved it till it was quite hot, then let it cool down to fermentation temp and poured it though the air lock hole with the help of a funnel. Is this the right way to add honey, I don't know but it worked well for me. It finished most of the fermentation and also gave me a nice honey flavor in to the IPA.

In fact I would add it again to the primary as the main fermentation ends and am planning on doing so.
 

peterj

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If you add it to the secondary, after you've racked off of the yeast, there will be little to no fermentation of the honey. You'll get more honey flavor and sweetness this way, but it's very easy to overdo it. Since the recipe called for adding it prior to fermentation, I would wait another day to add it, and not wait until secondary.
I don't think this is true. If there is any yeast in the beer (which there will be or else bottle conditioning would not work) they are going to consume all of the sugar in the honey that you add. Adding the honey after the most vigorous part of fermentation would be a good idea though because it will keep more of the subtle aromatics of the honey from getting scrubbed out with all of the CO2 that will be off-gassing.
 

TheZymurgist

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I don't think this is true. If there is any yeast in the beer (which there will be or else bottle conditioning would not work) they are going to consume all of the sugar in the honey that you add. Adding the honey after the most vigorous part of fermentation would be a good idea though because it will keep more of the subtle aromatics of the honey from getting scrubbed out with all of the CO2 that will be off-gassing.
You're right, there is some yeast left, but not nearly enough to consume the honey. There's no way that small amount of yeast could consume such a large amount of sugar. Sure, there's enough to create a small amount of CO2 for carbonation, but honey added to secondary will not ferment out.
 

eastoak

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i agree with peterj. if you add fermentables into any quantity of yeast they will eat it up otherwise starters wouldn't work, would they? it makes no sense that they would just give up fermenting because there are not enough of them, they just start reproducing.
 

Ramitt

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. Sure, there's enough to create a small amount of CO2 for carbonation, but honey added to secondary will not ferment out.
That doesn't seem right, I have added fermentables to secondary and it seemed to ferment out. Why would the yeast not reproduce if enough food was available?
 

TheZymurgist

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i agree with peterj. if you add fermentables into any quantity of yeast they will eat it up otherwise starters wouldn't work, would they? it makes no sense that they would just give up fermenting because there are not enough of them, they just start reproducing.
So if I add one cell of yeast to a 5 gallon batch of beer, it will eventually ferment out completely? Starters work because of the proportion of yeast to the amount of sugar. If you don't add enough yeast to a high gravity wort, won't it get stuck? Yeast don't always 'just start reproducing.' They can go dormant.

That doesn't seem right, I have added fermentables to secondary and it seemed to ferment out. Why would the yeast not reproduce if enough food was available?
It all depends on how much yeast is left in suspension. If you're using a less flocculant strain, then there will be more yeast, and it will be able to consume more sugar. In my experience, there has been almost no fermentation when adding honey to secondary. The small amount of yeast that's left will consume a small amount of the sugar, but far from all of it.

Back to my original point, though, if you want the honey to ferment out, you would have better luck adding the honey while the yeast are still active, rather than adding it to secondary and hoping it ferments. Personally, if I was trying to add sweetness and flavor, I'd add the honey to secondary.
 

eastoak

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So if I add one cell of yeast to a 5 gallon batch of beer, it will eventually ferment out completely? Starters work because of the proportion of yeast to the amount of sugar. If you don't add enough yeast to a high gravity wort, won't it get stuck? Yeast don't always 'just start reproducing.' They can go dormant.



It all depends on how much yeast is left in suspension. If you're using a less flocculant strain, then there will be more yeast, and it will be able to consume more sugar. In my experience, there has been almost no fermentation when adding honey to secondary. The small amount of yeast that's left will consume a small amount of the sugar, but far from all of it.

Back to my original point, though, if you want the honey to ferment out, you would have better luck adding the honey while the yeast are still active, rather than adding it to secondary and hoping it ferments. Personally, if I was trying to add sweetness and flavor, I'd add the honey to secondary.
we're not talking about a one yeast cell or even a small amount. there are billions of yeast sells in a 5 gallon batch of beer, even in the secondary. fermentation can slow down or stop for a number of reasons; low temperature can stop ale yeast but not enough yeast won't, it slows down but will eventually finish (of course that assumes that the wort is fermentable which can also stop a fermentation). there are some yeast experts on these boards, i hope one of them chimes in here.
 
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In my experience honey does ferment out completely in secondary, it just might take a little while especially if you just dump it in cold and solid. I don't know about ONE yeast cell but racking to secondary just gets your beer of the cake, there is plenty of healthy yeast still to chew through some sugars. Agree to disagree I guess but adding honey, fruit, whatever-kind-of-fermentable to secondary has always resulted in further fermentation for me. If you managed to completely cease or stall fermentation (Filter? Killing the yeast with heat/cold?) then I'd bet you'd get sweetness and no-to-little-fermentation.

Good luck, let us know how to turns out.
 

TheZymurgist

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we're not talking about a one yeast cell or even a small amount. there are billions of yeast sells in a 5 gallon batch of beer, even in the secondary. fermentation can slow down or stop for a number of reasons; low temperature can stop ale yeast but not enough yeast won't, it slows down but will eventually finish (of course that assumes that the wort is fermentable which can also stop a fermentation). there are some yeast experts on these boards, i hope one of them chimes in here.
Well when you talk about "adding fermentables to any quantity of yeast" that kind of leaves a wide door open, doesn't it? And I don't really understand your comment about starters, since the proportion of yeast to sugars is much higher than when you pitch into a five gallon batch of wort.

Anyways, I was just sharing my experience and trying to help the OP since there isn't much reason to use a secondary. I think many would agree he'll have better results adding the honey while fermentation is active.
 

eastoak

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if the OP is looking for a honey flavor in their beer it will not be achieved through adding honey to the fermentation. honey malt in the mash is probably the best course of action, it adds body and flavor. some people claim that honey in the boil, primary, secondary, or at bottling works in adding honey flavor. i would imagine that would depend on how aromatic the honey is but i know honey malt works for sure.
 
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jdhasse

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Thank u everyone for the input. The original plan was to add a different source of flavor while also upping the alcohol content.

I boiled a small amount of water and added 2 lbs of orange blossom honey to the primary today, which is 3 full days into fermentation.

Thanks!
 

TheZymurgist

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if the OP is looking for a honey flavor in their beer it will not be achieved through adding honey to the fermentation. honey malt in the mash is probably the best course of action, it adds body and flavor. some people claim that honey in the boil, primary, secondary, or at bottling works in adding honey flavor. i would imagine that would depend on how aromatic the honey is but i know honey malt works for sure.
I've had pretty decent success with adding honey during fermentation and getting good honey flavor. I have an IPA recipe that uses 1lb of honey added a little after flame-out, no honey malt, and it has great honey flavor and aroma. I'll typically use clover honey, because you don't get much out of the different varietals.
 

eastoak

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the thing with using honey malt is that it works; no loss of body, no question of timing. most of the new brewers on here are wondering when to add honey, what quantity, primary or secondary. not to mention the issue of honey lightening up the body.
 

peterj

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So if I add one cell of yeast to a 5 gallon batch of beer, it will eventually ferment out completely?
Yes. Theoretically given the right conditions and a lot of time it will reproduce to a large enough population and be able to consume all the sugar. This would never happen in the real world though, because the right conditions would require, among other things, absolutely no other organisms to compete with and the perfect incubation temperature to not let the yeast go dormant. However, as was already said, there are billions of yeast cells in fermented beers, and transferring them off the yeast cake only gets them out of contact with the mostly dormant yeast. You would still have a lot of yeast in suspension in the secondary, and you still have a lot in there even when you are drinking the beer.
 

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kaips1

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Calichusetts said:
Honey is 85-95% fermentable...NOT 100%

Adding it to the secondary will give the yeast the least suitable environment to to churn through it. Google "fake honey." The main issue with people not getting honey flavor to come through is that they are not using real honey.

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/tests-show-most-store-honey-isnt-honey/#.Uk1HkT9ybIU
Actually there reason you don't get honey flavor is because it ferments out. Store bought honey unless its certified organic shouldn't be used in beer anyway.
 

Calichusetts

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Not all the way and yes it works, I've done it and smelled it. Again, if it doesn't ferment out 100% (because that is impossible) then some is left.

Only 80% are simple sugars anyway
 

Calichusetts

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What I was meaning to imply is that the whole "it ferments out so no flavor" is not an assumption that we should make. Real honey contains pollen and enzymes produced in the natural process, which is where most of the flavor profiles we look for come from (think wildflower, clover, orange blossom, etc). Its the sickly sweet side of honey that ferments out and many associate that with the "true" honey flavor, which will be lost. This is why companies can fake honey with sweetners. The aromatic nature of honey is not some magical combination of simple sugars but play a role.

Using real honey, in a secondary, will give you a honey ale. The darker the more aromatic and 1-2 pounds in a 5 gallon brew will get the job done. 2 pounds leading to a robust flavor but any more will start becoming "meady." Do not use it with strongly flavor ales like hop bombs or malty brews. It will never show up and be covered by the beers flavor profile. This is one reason it works so well in saisons and pale wheat ales.

EDIT: Adjust your recipe knowing that the honey will thin out the beer. I do very high mash temps and end up with a nice body. Nonetheless, honey malt is far more convenient.
 
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