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Bottling with honey?

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Kephren

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Gordolordo said:
I'd like to try bottling my beer with honey as the primer.

How does one go about doing this?
Honey doesn't really ferment very well. I think you'd have to add yeast nutrient also. Anyhow, the priming sugar really shouldn't add much, if any, flavor to your beer.
 

Janx

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In my experience, you don't want to use honey as a priming sugar. It just doesn't ferment all that well compared to corn sugar and you gain no flavor out of it. Only time I did it was with a braggot and I would use corn sugar next time.

In addition to what Kephren said, you might want to hit it with another dose of yeast in hopes of actually getting some carbonation within a few months. But, really, there are other areas that you can exercise creativity to more benefit with less headache. Just MHO.
 

Calichusetts

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I only bottle with honey and you will get a nice aroma and a hint of the flavor if you drink it young. I have no idea what they are talking about with fermenting as I have never had an issue carbing my beers.

3 tablespoons per gallon is the norm but I use 4 since some of the honey sticks to the spoon. Just add it to hot water (NOT boiling) and swirl it around a few times, again as it cools. Add it to the bucket then rack beer on top and bottle.

I wonder what the experience level of the above posters with honey is (not flaming just truly asking) as I have done 30+ batches with honey and get the exact opposite of what people post on here. I get a nice carbonation with an immediate aroma and a small taste on the front end. My recipe until now has no honey malt but I have started using it as sometimes the honey takes over the hop aroma at first, and I plan to do a "traditional" bottle carb to compare. Then again this is for my IIPA which is consumed rather young.

Orange blossom honey is my "secret weapon" with this, and I have tried them all (at least at a commercial market and organic stores)
 

evwoller

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Just bottled a batch with honey yesterday, honey is just fructose and glucose...
 

Calichusetts

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Also, honey ferments around 90% (beersmith uses this as their standard calculation). Since not all of it ferments, you do get a tiny amount of honey sitting in your bottles for over a month...it will mix and add to your beer. Try it and see how it works for you
 

Punky_Brewer

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I only bottle with honey and you will get a nice aroma and a hint of the flavor if you drink it young. I have no idea what they are talking about with fermenting as I have never had an issue carbing my beers.

3 tablespoons per gallon is the norm but I use 4 since some of the honey sticks to the spoon. Just add it to hot water (NOT boiling) and swirl it around a few times, again as it cools. Add it to the bucket then rack beer on top and bottle.

I wonder what the experience level of the above posters with honey is (not flaming just truly asking) as I have done 30+ batches with honey and get the exact opposite of what people post on here. I get a nice carbonation with an immediate aroma and a small taste on the front end. My recipe until now has no honey malt but I have started using it as sometimes the honey takes over the hop aroma at first, and I plan to do a "traditional" bottle carb to compare. Then again this is for my IIPA which is consumed rather young.

Orange blossom honey is my "secret weapon" with this, and I have tried them all (at least at a commercial market and organic stores)
Have you tried bottling with Buckwheat Honey? I have a jar and I love the flavor of it. I know some people say it has a barnyard taste, but I have never tasted this, just molasses. Just wondering if it works well and comes out with a good taste? I am making an American Pale Ale.
 

Calichusetts

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Have you tried bottling with Buckwheat Honey? I have a jar and I love the flavor of it. I know some people say it has a barnyard taste, but I have never tasted this, just molasses. Just wondering if it works well and comes out with a good taste? I am making an American Pale Ale.
Search this site...there is another thread where a few people have more experience with buckwheat...I have only used it once and also didn't get the barnyard taste, but found it too powerful for my taste
 
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I've used raw wildflower honey as a priming sugar in several batches. It may take a few extra days to carb, but that's the worst of it. My philosophy is prime with a sugar that's already in the recipe.

I made mead with raw buckwheat honey from Ohio. It has a very nice malty flavor that I prefer to the wildflower batch I made at the same time.
 

Wyrmwood

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I prime with honey about 1 in 4 batches, also brown sugar and in a pinch table sugar, as well as the standard corn sugar. The issue with using other sugars is, you need to measure weight, since volume can vary widely. Here's a good priming calculator. More importantly, with honey, the concentration of sugars varies, so you have to be careful. I find it safest to try a beer after only a few days, and if carb level is already high - transfer the entire batch to the fridge. It will leave it a bit sweet, but won't over carb in your fridge. Otherwise, after the first trial, wait a week, and repeat until it is at the desired carb level. If it's totally flat you can wait 2 weeks.

With honey, I've had some be over carbonated in a few days, but by transferring it to the fridge, it's been a nice tasty beer, with lots of honey flavor.
 

gladril

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So, here's my experience priming with honey.

I recently carbonated 5 gallons of a Blonde ale with 1 cup of clover honey. I used one of those small honey bear containers of 12 ounces of honey, and it all fit into one US measuring cup. The beer has been bottle conditioning for about 5 weeks now.

At weeks 3-4 the poured beer had what I can only describe as "champagne" carbonation - it practically evaporated off the tongue. The head filled the glass and stayed thick and strong to the last foamy drop. An interesting sensation, to be sure, but not what I had been hoping for.

I think if I do this again I will cut the amount down to 4-5 ounces, closer to what the TastyBrew priming calculator mentioned above recommends. I was actually happy with the priming quality, just not the amount.

I do think it lends a small honey flavor, especially early on, but that has faded quite a bit by the bottle I had last night. Still there, but only a hint.
 

Calichusetts

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So, here's my experience priming with honey.

I recently carbonated 5 gallons of a Blonde ale with 1 cup of clover honey. I used one of those small honey bear containers of 12 ounces of honey, and it all fit into one US measuring cup. The beer has been bottle conditioning for about 5 weeks now.

At weeks 3-4 the poured beer had what I can only describe as "champagne" carbonation - it practically evaporated off the tongue. The head filled the glass and stayed thick and strong to the last foamy drop. An interesting sensation, to be sure, but not what I had been hoping for.

I think if I do this again I will cut the amount down to 4-5 ounces, closer to what the TastyBrew priming calculator mentioned above recommends. I was actually happy with the priming quality, just not the amount.

I do think it lends a small honey flavor, especially early on, but that has faded quite a bit by the bottle I had last night. Still there, but only a hint.
Just to help...clover is by far the weakest of the honeys in terms of flavor and aroma. I call it the "budlight" of honey and only use it if I really don't want the honey flavor but still want to bottle with it. Try orange blossom, I think it get the honey taste most imagine when they think of it in their finished beer. Buckwheat is very strong. Otherwise, the darker and fresher the better, but experiment with different types as well as different amounts.
 

snarchi

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I primed with orange blossom honey and I tried one after 2 weeks and no carbonation?should I wait longer or is there a problem this is the first time I primed with honey
 

gladril

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Just to help...clover is by far the weakest of the honeys in terms of flavor and aroma. I call it the "budlight" of honey and only use it if I really don't want the honey flavor but still want to bottle with it. Try orange blossom, I think it get the honey taste most imagine when they think of it in their finished beer. Buckwheat is very strong. Otherwise, the darker and fresher the better, but experiment with different types as well as different amounts.
Thanks. I'll have to try that next time. The honey flavor is pretty much all gone from my bottles (now more than 5 weeks along).
 

gladril

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I went looking for Orange Blossom Honey, and had a hard time finding it any of my usual grocery haunts. I did find Buckwheat Honey at a health food store. I picked it up, but then after checking the boards, am feeling less confident about how it will turn out for priming. The word "barnyard" keeps coming up.

I was hoping to use it in a honey blonde I made using honey malt, 10L caramel, and Briess golden light extract, which seems to have a very delicate profile at the moment (read, not much flavor). Anyway, for those of you with experience, will I be okay using the buckwheat honey, or should I start looking for something a little less strong?

I am contemplating using half buckwheat, and half clover, to mellow it out a bit.

UPDATE: Last night I dissolved some of the buckwheat honey into some water and sampled it. It tasted okay to me -- did have an aroma that seemed stronger, sort of like hay. But when I asked my wife to sample it, her first reaction when I asked what it smelled like was "barnyard." I couldn't believe it and had to laugh. She grew up on a farm, and that smell wasn't exactly appetizing to her. For my purposes, I've decided to use a different honey.
 

TheWeeb

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late in this thread, but I regularly use honey as priming sugar and find if you are patient, the reward is very creamy, fine carbonation, almost nitro-like.
 

Primal_Vince

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Also late in this thread, but im curious how much how water you all add to the honey when mixing. Equal parts of hot water to honey, than add to the bottling bucket and rack the beer from the fermentor on top? Bottle at wait at least 3 weeks?
 

TheWeeb

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Also late in this thread, but im curious how much how water you all add to the honey when mixing. Equal parts of hot water to honey, than add to the bottling bucket and rack the beer from the fermentor on top? Bottle at wait at least 3 weeks?
I am sure that would work, but I always use 2 cups water no matter what the priming sugar; bring it to a boil, take off heat, add sugar or honey or DME, stir, and cover. Any nasties killed, cools down while I sanitize the bottles, pour into bucket, rack and gently stir, all good..
 

te-wa

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to resurrect this thread:

i wanted to see if anyone has done a combo priming sugar, such as what i just did...

i have a wildflower honey irish red, and before bottling i did the obligatory gravity read, a taste test, etc.. and it was really dry (great!) and had no aroma/flavor of honey that i could tell.. brewed with 1.5lbs of the stuff.. it is allergy season tho -
i figured it would not hurt to add honey as my primer but wanted also to get a little "insurance" so i used 3.5 ounces of clover honey, and 1.5 ounces of light brown sugar.
cannot comment as it wont be ready to test for a week.
 
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