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Will yeast eat honey?

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TahoeRy

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I'm going on a limb here, I want to say that yes, its fermentable. I am not 100% but I to the best of my knowledge it is. I hope somebody else can clarify for you.
 

Bierliebhaber

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They'll eat it until they die from it.

Some carbonation calculators will rate it in mid 80% range for fermentability, but I've experienced much higher in my applications.
 

nachotime

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yeast will eat the hell out of honey. i've gotten some champagne yeasts to fully attenuate an OG of 1.080 and above down to .996
 

sweetcell

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honey is something like 99% fermentable. it leaves very little behind, including flavor. adding honey, especially in the boil, results in virtually no discernible flavor contributions - it simply dries the beer out and adds alcohol.

if you want to get honey flavor in your beer add it after fermentation is done, use it as a priming sugar. or use honey malt.
 

ACbrewer

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They'll eat it until they die from it.

Some carbonation calculators will rate it in mid 80% range for fermentability, but I've experienced much higher in my applications.
honey is something like 99% fermentable. it leaves very little behind, including flavor. adding honey, especially in the boil, results in virtually no discernible flavor contributions - it simply dries the beer out and adds alcohol.
You both are correct depending on what you mean by % fermentable

Thus sugars in honey are 100% fermentable (glucose and fructose). Honey itself is rated around 75% to 80% sugar most of the rest being water with trace other chemicals that create the flavor. In terms of points of sugar, it adds about 35 to 38 points per pound gallon depending on the amount of residual water and the chart you are looking at. LME is typically listed about 37 points and DME at 42 with sugar being 45. iirc
 

Calichusetts

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Honey will ferment out 85-90% These are the numbers you should use. Its pretty well understood if you go look around for some source.
 

Bierliebhaber

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Honey will ferment out 85-90% These are the numbers you should use. Its pretty well understood if you go look around for some source.
If you use it for carbonating, though, I would go very conservative. In the 90-95% range. When I used to bottle, I followed the ratio for 85% and the batch was badly overcarbed. Still had slightly higher carbonation than expected with calculating for 90%.
 

bierandbikes

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I used honey for the first time on my last batch. I added to my BK at flameout in hopes of retaining some of the flavor/aroma. I have seen several references to when to add honey so I figured I would start here. I could taste it in the pre-fermented wort. It is in the fermenter now and won't be bottled for another 4 weeks. I used a local wildflower honey that should have stronger flavors, but won't add any "sweetness" to the beer. I'll post after I bottle and condition a bit with the results. The next experiment will either be adding to secondary or at bottling.

If anybody has an opinion on leaving this brew in the primary for 5 weeks, let me know. I just had hernia repair surgery yesterday, so it gives me a good reason not to haul six gallons of beer, in a glass carboy, up a set of narrow stairs to bottle it for another 4 weeks. The beer is a milk stout, with the honey addition. I'll be working through my Imperial IPA to dull the pain until then.
 

Bierliebhaber

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I used honey for the first time on my last batch. I added to my BK at flameout in hopes of retaining some of the flavor/aroma. I have seen several references to when to add honey so I figured I would start here. I could taste it in the pre-fermented wort. It is in the fermenter now and won't be bottled for another 4 weeks. I used a local wildflower honey that should have stronger flavors, but won't add any "sweetness" to the beer. I'll post after I bottle and condition a bit with the results. The next experiment will either be adding to secondary or at bottling.

If anybody has an opinion on leaving this brew in the primary for 5 weeks, let me know. I just had hernia repair surgery yesterday, so it gives me a good reason not to haul six gallons of beer, in a glass carboy, up a set of narrow stairs to bottle it for another 4 weeks. The beer is a milk stout, with the honey addition. I'll be working through my Imperial IPA to dull the pain until then.
How much honey did you add? You will be thankful you let this beer set for a couple reasons. Stouts just taste better with time...the yeast will scrub it clean. Also, depending on the amount of honey, it can take a while for fermented honey to mellow (i.e. many months). I once had a chart for the minimum aging required for different kinds of honey used for mead, but I can't find it at the moment.
 

Calichusetts

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If you use it for carbonating, though, I would go very conservative. In the 90-95% range. When I used to bottle, I followed the ratio for 85% and the batch was badly overcarbed. Still had slightly higher carbonation than expected with calculating for 90%.
Interesting...beersmith calculates it at 90% and regularly go over the suggest amount to get the "standard" carb (only 8-10% but I'm still over) I wonder if it matters what honey you use or how you measured it.
 

sweetcell

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If you use it for carbonating, though, I would go very conservative. In the 90-95% range. When I used to bottle, I followed the ratio for 85% and the batch was badly overcarbed. Still had slightly higher carbonation than expected with calculating for 90%.
i've used http://www.northernbrewer.com/priming-sugar-calculator/ to calculate how much honey to use for bottle priming, worked just great.

Also, depending on the amount of honey, it can take a while for fermented honey to mellow (i.e. many months). I once had a chart for the minimum aging required for different kinds of honey used for mead, but I can't find it at the moment.
yup, depends on the amount. a mead that is up to 100% honey will need a lot longer than a beer where the honey is less than 20% of fermentables. i've had beer with honey when it was fresh and it tasted great.
 

bierandbikes

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I added 2lbs of wildflower honey. This accounts for about 15% of the total "fermentables", however, that total also includes 1 lb of lactose. So, a little more than 15% of the actual fermentables.

What do you mean by mellowing out the flavor? I am hoping for a slight honey flavor/aroma, but not anything that is overly noticeable or distracting. I definitely don't want the honey sweetness.

Good to hear that I am good with longer time in the fermenter. I figure 5-6 weeks in the primary, then another 2-4 conditioning in the bottles, and then the test. Does this sound about right for timing? I hope that the floral aromas from the honey do not clash with the roasty malts.

The back story on this: This brew is called "honey bear stout." It is a tribute to my daughter's stuffed bear that has been her best friend since the day she was born (she is now 7). She always jokes about liking only stouts. She said we should brew a stout for Boy Bear, which naturally should have honey in it. So, we came up with Honey Bear Stout. This is an experimental recipe, so we'll see how it turns out. I am sure that Boy Bear will be happy with the result regardless.
 

ktblunden

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What do you mean by mellowing out the flavor? I am hoping for a slight honey flavor/aroma, but not anything that is overly noticeable or distracting. I definitely don't want the honey sweetness.
With two pounds you'll probably be fine. Higher percentages of honey, like in a braggot or mead, produce an off flavor that takes a while to go away. You won't get any sweetness from the addition, from my experience you'll get more aromatics than actual flavor, but it should go pretty well in your stout.
 

Bierliebhaber

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If you want honey flavor in your beer, the better option would be honey malt. Use cautiously though, it's strong. 1lb or less would be ample for a 5g batch.
 

bierandbikes

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I have seen references to the honey malt, but for some reason never remember to add some to a recipe. Any suggested styles that benefits from a bit of honey malt? I assume something light and floral would be enhanced by the honey flavor. Maybe a saison? I think that will be my next batch...a good farmhouse ale.
 

Eternalodyssey

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I have made many a Braggot. When working with honey and wanting the actual honey to shine through, I suggest that you go with a yeast like Nottingham which won't go into overdrive but will go nice and clean. Just give it a couple months to settle out. I think my nice Braggot will be a "Burnt Braggot" off the second runnings of my Russian Imperial. Theres some food for thought. Thats a beer concept so epic that it could quite possibly make you want to hook a leaf blower to your air intake of your Dodge Hemi "just to see what happens." I like destroying expensive ****. :drunk:
 

EmmaC

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I haven't tried brewing beers with honey (yet!), but from my mead-making, I know that honey takes longer to ferment -- when you think it's done, check the gravity over the course of a few weeks and make sure it's staying steady; bottling early could result in some bottle-bombs! Also, honey can be kinda hard on yeast -- it has some antiseptic properties that slow yeast down and also lacks some essential nutrients that help yeast thrive. Should be ok with the other malt sugars in there, but if you're getting stuck fermentation, you might try adding some yeast nutrients (available at homebrewing stores).
 
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