To add honey or not to add that is the question

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trojandux

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So I made an Octoberfest/Altbier recipe almost 2 weeks ago. Here is the recipe:

Type: Partial mash Size: 5.5 gallons

Water: Tap

Grain:
3 lbs German Munich 5L info
3 lbs Light Dry Malt Extract info
1 lbsAmerican Two-row Pale info
1 lbs American Vienna info
13oz Caramunich I info

60 min 1.0 oz Tettnanger info pellet 3.9
30 min 0.5oz Hallertau info pellet 3.9
15 mins 0.25oz Hallertau info pellet 3.9
5 mins 0.25oz Hallertau pellet 3.9

Wyeast German Ale (1007)

The OG was measured at 1.043

It has been in the primary @ 64F for 11 days now and it has stoped bubbling about a week ago and it still has a creamy krausen at the top. I plan on racking to the secondary in a couple days.

I was thinking about adding a pound of local wild flower honey to the secondary prior to racking to give it a little kick in Alcohol and a little flavor boost. I was wanting an opinion since this is my first non kit batch.

Would the honey add to much of an overwhelming flavor? Would it even tast good with this type of brew?

And I was planing on adding the honey by boiling a pint of H2O and and then mixing the honey with it and letting it cool before adding it to the secondary, so i get a bt of pasturization.

Thanks for helping a newb out I am still learning tons with each batch and cheers!!!!!!
 

david_42

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A pound of honey will not be noticeable, other than the ABV boost. I wouldn't bother. But if you really want to increase the ABV, cane sugar will do it cheaper.
 
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I always advocate supporting your local beekeeper! Go for it and let us know how it turns out. Better yet, if you can split the batch and do half with honey and half without...well that'd be informative.
 
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trojandux

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I wish I could split the batch but I don't have mulipule carboys, only one for the 2nd any ideas?
 

headbanger

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I wish I could split the batch but I don't have mulipule carboys, only one for the 2nd any ideas?
You can... Just rack about half off into the 2nd carboy and leave the rest in primary, split the honey between the two and let them both go for another 2 weeks or so. I'd wager the half in primary will be higher abv than the other, which should have more honey flavor, but it will be interesting to see.
 

Tinga

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honey alone doesn't add a lot to taste or aromatics because it is so volatile. it would more than likely just boost the alcohol and dry it out more.
 

Golddiggie

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IF te honey has a strong flavor by itself, and you add it after the initial fermentation has completed, and if you do it after te yeast has done all you want (give it enough time for tha) and you rack first (one of the few times it might make sense to rack) then you have a CHANCE of getting SOME honey flavor in the glass.

IF you had used honey malt, you would have honey flavor in the brew.

You can also try carbonating with honey to see if you can get a bit more honey flavor into the glass. Unfortunately, using honey can also ferment a lot. It's about 80% fermentable, so only a little will be left behind.

I've used honey in my earlier batches using honey in many stages of the batch. Feom the boil, to post primary fermentation, and even to carbonate with. I've found that using honey malt gives better, more repeatable, results.
 

bniesen

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I have used honey and noticed absolutely no "honey like" flavor. I have added as much as 2 lbs to a wheat recipe once right in the last 5 minutes of the boil and it just ferments out completely. If you after a honey flavor, I would recommend honey malt. I have tried heat treating honey but probably did it wrong (it was a PIA process)
I'm sure someone here has successfully heat treated honey and got what they wanted out of it. I still will add honey to a light wheat beer but only to lighten the body up some.
 

LexusChris

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A slightly counter opinion ....

I have added honey to my American Wheat beers, and enjoy the noticable honey flavor & aroma.

I agree that honey added during the boil (even a few minutes) will boil off most/all of the aroma and lots of the flavor. I add my honey after the wort has cooled down below 130-F. Stirring well in the warm wort, disolving it completely.

For after primary, I am less sure about best way to dissolve it into solution. You do not need to heat it for any particular reason. Pure honey has a low enough moisure content as to inhibit all bacteria growth. Many mead makers will just add their honey to cold water, stir & ferment. No heating at all is the best way to preserve the honey flavors.

In heavier richer beers, I would expect the subtle honey flavors to not be as noticable. For lighter beers, it is easier. I use 1# per 5 gallons in my wheat, which is 60/40 2row/wheat malt and about 5% crystal-15 (~4 SRM)

If it were me, I would add 1# of honey to the fermenter, stir gently with a long spoon. Trying to avoid over agitating the surface, as too much extra O2 may add oxidizing flavors. That should dissolve the honey, and stir up the yeast and at this low concentrations, they should have no trouble eating up the sugars.

Good luck!
--LexusChris
 

Clann

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Just brewed a honey wheat where I added 22 oz of local wildflower honey at flameout.

Added handfulls of hops as I didnt have a scale to weigh them:D
 

Golddiggie

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I've found that you don't need to dissolve honey in hot/warm water, or even stir as it is added in the primary. The yeast will find it and take care of it for you. This was made evident when I made a batch of hard lemonade with 4# of honey, added in cold water not that long ago. There was a mass of honey on the bottom of the 3 gallon carboy for about a week, maybe two. Once the yeast got to it (fermented the lemonade's sugars first I think) it was soon gone. I was worried about it staying there, but if you give yeast enough time, it will do some amazing things. :ban::mug:

In the end, you have options. Provided, of course, you think about it far enough ahead of time so that you can do it up right. Wanting honey flavor after a batch is already in primary can get tricky. If you knew when getting the ingredients, you could have simply added some honey malt.
 

frydogbrews

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the honey on the bottom trick is used frequently with mead. the only downside is that fermentation takes longer, but the yeaast is healthier overall because they are not dumped into an evironment with a gravity of 1.095. they don't tend to appreciate that.
lots of info on this in the mead section, check it out.
sorry, i don't want to hijack this thread.
as far as honey beer for flavor, it works great, it just takes longer for the honey flavor to come back. i stirred 3 pounds of honey in a honey pale ale that wasa awesome. problem was in took two months in the bottle for the honey to stand up strong again, but once it does, it is wonderful.
lighter honey (like clover, orange blossom) works much better and gives more predictable results than darker honey (wildflower and tree honey)
drinking a honey blonde that used a bunch of honey and some honey malt right now. huge bonus is that honey is great for you, so get it in your belly whichever way suits you, fermented into a beverage happens to be my favorite style.
 
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trojandux

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So I tested the batch in the primary and I had a FG of 1.0105. It tasted like a flat heff. It did seem a tad on the sweet side and I prefer a dryer beer. So I added a pound of a dark wild flower honey that had an amazing taste and an amazing smell. I boiled about 16oz of H2O and took it off the heat I added the honey to it. I then placed it in an Ice bath the cool it quickly as not to loose that great smell and taste through cooking it. I placed it in the secondary and continued to rack my beer. I did the priming sugar technique by letting it swirl while moving the beer. It still smelt good when done and I am hoping this will add a bit of complexity that I felt it was missing. Therefore being a great late Summer drinking beer.

I will keep you posted. I plan on leaving it in the secondary for about 2 weeks.
Cheers!!!
 
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trojandux

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---------Update------------------------

So I moved the beer from the secondary after 2 weeks. The beer smelled great. I added about 6oz. of priming sugar and then continued to bottle. The taste was good. It definitly had the Octoberfest taste with a nice complex honey overtone. After bottling I then tasted again after a week in the bottle. It was already pretty high on the carbonation with a light red to golden appearence. The Taste was still a bit sweet but an easy drinking beer that still tasted a little young. I will continue to taste it on a weekly basis and keep you posted.

Cheers and enjoy the summer!!!!!!!!!!!
 
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trojandux

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Update #2

It is delicious!!! It is light a little sweet and has great head retention. The best part is the aftertaste. It has a lingering Honey taste like you just ate fresh honey from the spoon. This is one of my favioites that I brewed and I only have a case left. :( I will be entering it into the Colorado State fair homebrew compition and see how it does.
 

frydogbrews

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best of luck to you!
you may find that the honey taste keeps getting richer for about 2 months. never gets overpowering, just better and better tasting.
 
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I saw the recipe but you said it was a partial mash what steps did you take to brew it? A friend of mine from work just gave me a bunch of honey from her hives that is awesome and I want to make a good beer with it.

Thanks
 
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trojandux

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I saw the recipe but you said it was a partial mash what steps did you take to brew it? A friend of mine from work just gave me a bunch of honey from her hives that is awesome and I want to make a good beer with it.

Thanks
This brew really turned out great. Everyone that has tried it really liked it. Basically you need to take all the crush grain and hold it around 152 F for an hour. This is creating a wort. After it has set for an hour you need to sparge the grain, with 173 F water. Then add your extract and bring it up to a boil. after the hot break begin to add your hops accordingly. I added the Honey after I racked it to the secondary. I just did one pond and it added a slight flavor but lots of sent. I think it you added 1-2lbs it would be great. One other thing was I added about 6oz of cane sugar as a priming sugar and I would change this to about 5-5.5 oz. It was really carbed.

All the judges at the homebrew comp at the colorado state fair really liked it and said it was very refreshing.:D

Let me know how it turns out. If you have anymore questions please feel free to ask.

Cheers

Scott:mug:
 
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