Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...
Dismiss Notice
Join The Buzz! Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest BeerAdvocate updates delivered to your inbox.

Using Honey as my priming sugar.

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Hdredfern, Aug 8, 2013.

  1. Hdredfern

    Hdredfern Savant (395) Texas Feb 16, 2012

    I am preparing to bottle my milk stout and have decided that i would like to use honey as my priming sugar and was wondering if anybody had every gone that rout, if it affected the flavor that much ( i kind of want it to add a mild sweetness). If you have done this what is the way you did it? i'm reading stuff but not fully understanding so I am looking for a step by step direction on this process. The volume of CO2 I am looking for is 2.1 at the beer sitting at 72F at 5 gallons.
     
  2. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Advocate (535) Minnesota May 11, 2007

    What are you looking to get out of the honey, other than Co2?
     
  3. Hdredfern

    Hdredfern Savant (395) Texas Feb 16, 2012

    i was hoping for a little bit of the flavor, i know that is unlikely but reading if i use a darker honey it may add some honey flavor to my beer
     
  4. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Advocate (535) Minnesota May 11, 2007

  5. Hdredfern

    Hdredfern Savant (395) Texas Feb 16, 2012

    i guess i wasn't clear, i'm needing to know what to do. Do I boil the honey with some water or just pour it in there. Also does it change the taste?
     
  6. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Advocate (535) Minnesota May 11, 2007

    Oh, sorry...forgot about that part :)
    I haven't done it, but I would certainly not add it straight in as I would want to ensure even distribution. I would dilute with some boiling water first.
     
  7. From my reading (and as a beginner at mead making) boiling honey will get rid of any aromatics it may produce. I would say dilute it in warm water and add to bottling bucket. I also dont think you will be getting much, if any, of the flavor to come through in the final product.
     
    HerbMeowing likes this.
  8. I would also suggest that you dilute the honey with boiling water to ensure consistent distribution in the beer.

    I really don’t think you would obtain any flavor from using honey for priming.

    Cheers!
     
    HerbMeowing likes this.
  9. Hdredfern

    Hdredfern Savant (395) Texas Feb 16, 2012

    unfortunate. next time i will just add the honey during the fermenting? i had a honey milk stout a while ago and fell in love. now i can't find the brand that i had, and everybody thinks i'm insane.
     
    Smoochy and ufmj like this.
  10. Hdredfern

    Hdredfern Savant (395) Texas Feb 16, 2012

    But thank you everybody for your help! i will keep all this in mind!
     
  11. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (855) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009 Verified

    As others said, with that amount of honey, you won't really get much flavor. Also, it won't add any sweetness (no matter how much you use), because the sugars in the honey will be turned into alcohol (and CO2).
     
  12. sjverla

    sjverla Advocate (560) Massachusetts Dec 1, 2008 Verified

    This is probably a terrible idea, but what the hell...if you haven't racked to your bottling bucket yet, why not just keep on fermenting? Add a pound of honey or two to primary (or secondary) and give it another 10 days or so?

    *this is less of an actual suggestion and more of a question: why couldn't this be an option
     
  13. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Advocate (535) Minnesota May 11, 2007

    Some have suggested that adding honey at high krausen is the best to retain the honey character. Not sure that what you're suggesting is such a terrible idea, but without experience myself I don't know what the results would be. But, the problem might be getting the yeast to go to work since you wouldn't want to add oxygen at this point of the process.
     
  14. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (855) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009 Verified

    If he wants a thinner, higher ABV beer, this would be an option. Normally though, if you're going to use honey in a beer, you'd want to plan it that way from the start, probably replacing some of the malt's fermentable contribution with honey, and perhaps adding som non-fermentables to restore body. The Mar/Apr 2012 BYO magazine had an awesome article on brewing with honey.
     
  15. MLucky

    MLucky Savant (390) California Jul 31, 2010

    I wouldn't use honey as a priming agent. Too messy, too expensive. My guess is that you would get very little for your money other than some very pricey CO2. Use cane sugar.

    There are a number of different ideas about the best time to add honey. I haven't tried even half of them so I can't tell you which is best. Plenty of good articles out there if you want to explore. I will say that if your goal is to add just a touch of sweetness, there are probably better ways: like adding a little honey malt to your grist.
     
  16. bs870621345

    bs870621345 Savant (400) New Jersey Oct 29, 2009


    If you are really looking for a honey flavor, use Melanoidin or Honey Malt.

    Honey is very fermentable and will likely dry out the beer long before you get any honey flavor.
     
  17. Not enough to add flavor, and honey is the most expensive source of sugar.
     
  18. udubdawg

    udubdawg Advocate (550) Kansas Dec 11, 2006

    a little orange blossom in a blonde ale is about the only time I was able to pick it out. I'd have to have kegged some and tasted side by side to tell you if the blossom aroma was just from the bit of honey added during chilling or whether the honey I primed with added anything. I didn't, so I don't know.

    cheers--
    --Michael
     
  19. afrokaze

    afrokaze Advocate (665) Arizona Jun 12, 2009 Verified

    I did this in a pinch last week while bottling - used honey because it was all that was left in the house! It seems to have worked fine, with no noticeable lingering flavors. If you wanted residual flavors, use raw local honey that hasn't been filtered; the more unfermentables you have in the honey, the more you'll notice the flavor.
     
  20. I wouldn't use honey as a priming sugar, because you don't know how much actual sugars you are adding to get your targeted CO2 volume without diluting it with water and measuring the solution's gravity. From Palmer's online version of How to Brew:
    "Honey is difficult to prime with because there is no standard for concentration. The gravity of honey is different jar to jar." http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter11-3.html
    I don't think there would be enough of a flavor contribution to justify the worry. I'm not against using honey as part of a recipe's planned bulk fermentables, as mentioned in above posts. I just don't think it's worth it to prime with.
     
  21. inchrisin

    inchrisin Savant (470) Indiana Sep 25, 2008

    My answer in short: Never use anything but table sugar for priming. It's predictable. Predictable priming is a good thing.

    If you want to get a honey flavor it's going to cost you at least a few pounds of honey or the use of honey malt. This should be worked into the fermentation or the mash schedule accordingly.