How much sweetness does honey impart?

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dnr

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I used some old crystalized honey to kick up the ABV of a brew a week into primary. My approximated increase was from 5.4% to ~ 7.9% which is cool. I actually got down to 1.008 on this FG.
But I wonder how much sweetness I might be getting from the honey. I used Jasmine, chamomile, prickly pear, hibiscus tea blends and lemon zest. So it's got a perfume-y quality. I also used a lot of bittering hops early on to balance it.

Just curious about that honey aspect though. Extra blathering was just too give a little (probably unneeded) info.

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day_trippr

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If there's still viable yeast in whatever you're brewing the honey will be totally fermented out - there won't be residual sweetness left behind.
And if you added it during the boil there likely won't be a trace of it in the glass...

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Kickass

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No noticeable sweetness. It’ll all be fermented out. Adding it a week into fermentation, you may get some aroma but will all that other stuff, I don’t think I could pick it out.
 
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dawn_kiebawls

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I don't have much to add other than what has already been said, but I do want to say that a brewery near me currently has on tap a honey hibiscus pale ale (I'm pretty sure it's a pale...honey hibiscus is 100% though). I could not believe how strong the honey came through, and the bar tenders were just as surprised that I picked it up. Fortunately, the brewers are very happy and willing to talk with homebrewers about their process and sample my products (if I'm willing to subject myself to that...).

I'll report back with my findings about how they got such a crazy amount of honey flavor in their final product.
 
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day_trippr

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A small amount of Gambrinus honey malt carries far more character to the glass than actual honey.
But it's easy to go overboard (bt/dt) and I advise keeping it to a max of 4% of the grain bill...

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dnr

dnr

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What would you guys think could account for the sweetness or would you think it's more perceived sweetness because I used such perfume-y and aromatic adjuncts?

I thought honey would leave a flavor that would be, even subconsciously, linked to honey and then sweetness.

I used Pilsner make, honey, sucrose as fermentables; Northern Brewer, Newport, Centennial hops.
But thank you for the info. I double checked that I was down to 1.008...
It tasted good, just sweeter than I expected.
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VikeMan

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What would you guys think could account for the sweetness or would you think it's more perceived sweetness because I used such perfume-y and aromatic adjuncts?
Residual sweetness in beer (from sources other than honey) can enhance the non-sweet honey flavor that does survive, sort of building a quasi-original honey profile.

I'll report back with my findings about how they got such a crazy amount of honey flavor in their final product.
There are a few ways to do it. And I'm interested in hearing how they did it. But here are a few ways.

- Use a lot of honey, and add it directly to the fermenter
- If only serving from keg, add honey to the keg (i.e. back sweeten)
- Enhance with honey-like malt flavors
 
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Brewmasher

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Residual sweetness in beer (from sources other than honey) can enhance the non-sweet honey flavor that does survive, sort of building a quasi-original honey profile.



There are a few ways to do it. And I'm interested in hearing how they did it. But here are a few ways.

- Use a lot of honey, and add it directly to the fermenter
- If only serving from keg, add honey to the keg (i.e. back sweeten)
- Enhance with honey-like malt flavors
+ use honey as priming sugar for carbonation
 

VikeMan

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+ use honey as priming sugar for carbonation
I haven't done that but I think it's a good idea, assuming the brewer has a good handle on sugar content.
 

AJinJacksonville

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And here I sit with three gallons of freshly pulled honey next to my laptop...

Not a mead fan...so I might have to try out your method homebrudoc...
 

VikeMan

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And here I sit with three gallons of freshly pulled honey next to my laptop...

Not a mead fan...so I might have to try out your method homebrudoc...
It hasn't been discussed so far, and is slightly off topic... but, if you want to add (fermented) honey flavor to a beer but otherwise want to keep it "to style" body-wise and ABV-wise, think about removing some base malt (to offset the honey gravity contribution) and also think about building back some body via mash temp and/or grain choices/substitutions and/or maltodextrin and/or etc.
 

OldDogBrewing

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Usually honey (unless toasted, but not scorched) will lend no sweetness as it's 100% simple sugars, it difficult to ferment as it lacks some nutrients but if throw into wort rich in nutrients, it ferments in hours, I usually add it to get some floral notes in saisons, those are really subtle notes but it the end product it can make a difference
 

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I made a Triple with honey that is a bit too strong on the honey. Brewed in February and the honey flavor is just now starting to calm down. I’ve found that certain honeys will leave more behind. I’ve had more luck with the darker honey. It doesn’t taste as good from the spoon, but works in the beer. I agree with the higher mash temp. I fermented it really cool to begin with. I slowly ramped the temp. I add my honey at flameout.
 

VikeMan

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Usually honey (unless toasted, but not scorched) will lend no sweetness as it's 100% simple sugars,
Honey also contains some complex sugars, some of which are not fermentable by Sacch strains (or at least most Sacch strains...I'm not sure what STA-1 strains would do with them). Having looked at several published honey sugar profiles, I'll hazard a guess that about 96-97% of a typical honey's gravity contribution is fermentable. Testing this is on my to-do list.
 

OldDogBrewing

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Honey also contains some complex sugars, some of which are not fermentable by Sacch strains (or at least most Sacch strains). Having looked at several published honey sugar profiles, I'll hazard a guess that about 96-97% of a typical honey's gravity contribution is fermentable. Testing this is on my to-do list.
I have attenuated 100% of the sugars on some meads and in some beers when added at peak fermentation, maybe adding them later makes them less fermentable, one thing I know is that really dark ones are less fermentable but not too much, I have a 99% attenuated Spanish oak honey mead, while a similar one (different batch of honey but same variety) attenuated to 97%

But my honey is not the same as yours, and probably not the same as a honey produced a 100km away from the one I have, so it will vary a lot from brewer to brewer and yeast strain to yeast strain
 

VikeMan

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I have attenuated 100% of the sugars on some meads and in some beers when added at peak fermentation, maybe adding them later makes them less fermentable,
When you say attenuated 100%, what was your OG and FG?

ETA: remember that 100% real attenuation is more than 100% apparent attenuation.
 

OldDogBrewing

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When you say attenuated 100%, what was your OG and FG?

ETA: remember that 100% real attenuation is more than 100% apparent attenuation.
I don't have the numbers now as it was literally mi first ever brew but it was around 0.960 at the end, it's too dry so I have it ageing at home and maybe someday I will back sweeten it with more honey or who knows because it tastes a bit like rocket fuel due to the high ABV and zero sweetness
 

Vale71

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Honey has some complex sugars. Sources say 2 to about 10% of total carbohydrates depending on type of honey. Of those some will still be fermented by saccharomyces (maltose, maltotriose, sucrose) and some won't so that after fermentation you will have very little sugar added even with massive additions of honey. Considering that beer already has from 3 to 6% by weight of unfermentable dextrins I seriously doubt that the perceived sweetness can increase to a degree that will be noticeable by even the most skilled taster.
 
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