Measuring ABV after a very late addition of honey

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Sustainable Alcoholic, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. Sustainable Alcoholic

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    I read somewhere (probably on the internet, where everything is true) that yeast will typically try to process the easiest sugars first and so to get the best taste out of honey, you should add it a few days into the ferment once the yeast has had a good go at the malt. This way it will retain some of the honey flavour and still add extra fermentable sugars.

    I've given this a go, but realised that I now have no way of telling what the ABV of my beer will be as I'd taken OG prior to adding the 1lb of honey. I boiled the honey in water and tried to take an OG of this wort but it was too stiff for my hydrometer. Even if I'd got a good reading out of it, I'm not sure how would I have added it to the original OG to get a "true" OG anyway.

    So, does anyone have anyone have any good ideas as to how I might guess it or should I just rely on the estimates in the recipe creator? Or should I not sweat the details and just enjoy my nice honey beer, warning anyone else who is trying it that it might or might not be lethal.
     
  2. Kaiser

    Kaiser Member

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    The easiest way to calculate the ABV is to calculate the OG as if you had added the honey to the boil. For that we need to know:

    wort volume in fermenter
    OG in fermenter
    amount of honey
    sugar content of honey.

    I think BF should support that down the road.

    Kai
     
  3. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    If you setup a recipe with all the fermentables, including the honey, and you have the batch size set to the volume that went into the fermentor (including the honey solution), it should be pretty close.

    The back of the napkin way: A pound of honey is going to add about 42 gravity points to a gallon, so just divide 42 by the total volume and add that to the OG you measured.
     
  4. Hammer1

    Hammer1 Member

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    The back of the napkin way: A pound of honey is going to add about 42 gravity points to a gallon, so just divide 42 by the total volume and add that to the OG you measured.[/quote]
    BINGO!
    But you said that you boiled the honey. Unfortunatly that reduces the honey flavor and aroma. If you ever made any mead there is a no boil method. I have done it both ways and you can tell the differance.
     
  5. chessking

    chessking New Member

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    I have found that if you want honey flavor, that it is best to use honey malt in your grain bill. Actual honey ferments out, adding alcohol, but very little flavor remains. This may be my palate only. but I have a hard time tasting the honey that has been fermented. Honey malt, however, I do notice in the final beer.
     
  6. Sustainable Alcoholic

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    Thanks for all the helpful comments chaps.

    I think I just assumed I should boil it for sterilization reasons. The beer is a heavily spiced ginger beer so I wanted a little honey flavour to take the edge off the fieriness. Boiling the honey in water also allowed me to infuse some more ginger.

    Thanks, I'll give this a go next time I brew this beer.
     

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