Honey

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Brouwerij Nuenhem, Jun 25, 2020.

  1. Brouwerij Nuenhem

    Brouwerij Nuenhem New Member

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    A beekeeper asked me to make a reasonable batch of beer with his honey.

    I've made a lot of beers before but never with honey. I have been puzzling for a long time; there should be a lot or little hops in contrast to the subtle taste of honey, it should be a beer with some but not too much body and light color. I want to use his honey for the good man but think that a real honey taste will not be tasty ...

    I read that a 20% share of honey from the total landfilled grains is a good ratio. Is there anyone here who has (much) experience with it?

    I want to make a 20 liter test brew before making the large batch. Does anyone have an idea for a rough setup with a grain yeast (seems safer than growing yeast for the 10 hl. batch)
     
  2. ^Tony^

    ^Tony^ Active Member

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    I have not brewed one yet but i fully intend to this season. I think a long conditioning period may "bee" require so it will be a fall/Christmas beer that can lay up for a few months without tying up a fermenter I need for another brew.

    Depending on how much you want to keep the honey profile of the beer look up some recipes for a "Braggot" style beer. From what I can tell (and have tasted) you want the hops to be low in the flavor profile. The recipe can be between 10 - 50% honey (that's not a typo..it can be 50% honey for the recipe) and the ratio is completely dependent and what flavor profile you want. The TYPE of honey will also determine the rest of the recipe. For example, buckwheat honey is very bitter and dark so you would use way less honey AND hops than a smoother fruit bloom honey (which is the most recommended). Apparently clover honey has a really light flavor so you would have to use WAY more honey and WAY less hops.

    I have been working on building a recipe but it is not quite finished. I'm aiming for a slightly hoppy lager-esk mead type brew.

    HOPS: I am going to use a medium to high AA hops (between 10- 12 AA) that compliments the honey - Hallertau Blanc, Nelson Sauvin, and maybe a dry hop determined by a taste test when the ferment is close to finished. It may be a little too hoppy or bitter but I won't know until I try!

    HONEY: I have some fruit bloom honey which I will add as a late addition in the last 15 minutes of the boil. Any earlier and I am concerned that the nice honey aroma will boil away.

    GRIST: The malt profile will be very simple and light in order to highlight the sweetness from the honey. Maybe 35% pilsner/2-row, 34% biscuit, 6% honey malt, 25% honey - kind of. Honey ferments differently so you would not add 6 kg honey to 6 kg malts. I've been playing with the ABV to figure this out; aiming for about 8.5% abv or so and about 30 IBU (I would go lower but I'm thinking I would need a slightly higher IBU to balance the sweeter profile of the honey.)

    YEAST: Honey is a natural antiseptic/anti-bacterial which can stall or kill the yeast so I am going to add some yeast nutrients as well. It can't hurt. I think I will use a combination of Belgian Ardennes 3522 and something like Lavlin D-47 white wine yeast to see if I can smooth out the bitterness that can come with honey and move more to a dry white wine like sweetness.

    H2O: The water profile will be neutral. Just enough to make sure the yeast have what they need to take care of business.

    I will let you know how it goes (if I remember to post about it). Let me know how yours goes!
     
  3. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    20% is quite a bit of honey. It's free so I won't go into my usual rant about buying very expensive sugar. From there, it depends on what you want. Honey in the boil will create alcohol (thin the beer's body) without adding much in the way of flavor. If you want the honey flavor, I'd pasteurize it - honey has a lot of microbes and some of them can wreak havoc on your beer. To do so, combine it with equal parts of water heat to 160 degrees and hold for 20 minutes. Then add it to your fermentor at high krauesen. As to the 20%, it depends on what you're making: It would be quite a bit if not too much in a table strength beer, might be really good in a strong beer. Also, if you want the honey character to shine through, you want a base beer that is not highly flavored. I'd imagine a blonde ale or a Koelsch.

    So what kind of beer do you envision making?
     
  4. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    I have used honey in a Christmas Ale at 7%, it is a 1.070 OG beer. It is a recipe that I found, and copied. It turnedout REALLY good, so I won'tchange a thing for the next brew. Nosy is correct though, it is just a simple sugar which will thin, or dry the beer up a bit. It does not lend a honey flavor to the beer. There is honey malt that will add more of a honey flavor if that is what you are going for. I haven't used it so I can't comment on percentages.
     
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  5. ^Tony^

    ^Tony^ Active Member

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    I find honey malt gives my beers a nice subtle sweetness. It is a regular part of my grain bill for just about all my beers.
     
  6. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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  7. Blackmuse

    Blackmuse Well-Known Member

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    I just used it at 10% in a recipe and I'd say the flavor is certainly there! Maybe a touch heavy even. So I'd keep under 10% (my opinion).

    I think Nosy's idea of a blonde or Kolsch is a good idea! I'm thinking a Kolsch with 5-8 % honey malt would be neat and then as he said add the real honey at high krausen just so your yeast don't get too lazy. - This would probably give a beer that really highlights the honey! If you use the honey malt and mash at 152 - 156 you might even be able to keep it from getting too "thin and dry".

    Geez - I may have even talked myself into something here!
     
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