What are your techniques for getting honey flavor in a beer?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Naugled, Aug 23, 2021.

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  1. Naugled

    Naugled Pooh-Bah (1,882) Sep 25, 2007 New York
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    I'm working on a recipe where I want to amp up the honey flavor in the final product. This is the first time I'm trying this so I thought I'd ask the forum for ideas/advice.
    • So far I'm leaning towards adding honey at FO, which will be mostly or entirely fermented out.
    • I'd also like to back sweeten the beer by adding honey after fermentation is complete. This will be a lager so any tips on how to completely stop fermentation would be helpful.
    • I also plan to use honey malt, since that's it's name.
    • I also plan to use melanoidin malt, it's description states it has honey notes, and is a similar malt as honey malt.
    Any other ideas or techniques out there?
  2. MrOH

    MrOH Grand Pooh-Bah (3,331) Jul 5, 2010 Maryland
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    Are you kegging? If so, after lagering, hit it with sorbate and back sweeten. Keep it cold and you should be fine.
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  3. billandsuz

    billandsuz Pooh-Bah (2,023) Sep 1, 2004 New York
    Pooh-Bah Society

    Honey malt does indeed taste like honey. Which shouldn't be strange I guess. I have used it, not expecting to get much honey but then again I'm not a malt wizard by any stretch.

    Mead tastes a little like honey. Sometimes. Some more than others, and I find a lot of mead tastes a bit like chemical wine but not honey. Find one you like and you can add that to your taste prior to packaging.

    As @MrOH states, keep it cold and the yeast will not do much of anything. But you must be able to keep the beer cold at all times. Just add honey.

    Adding honey at FO will boil off most of the aromas you are looking for. These volatiles are, well, volatile, and will go away well below 212F. But it will smell great at the time. Honey is pretty much sterile so no worries. Just add what you like after cooling.

    I have made Mead, you really should spend a moment finding a honey you like. The different varieties are quite distinct. Clover honey, wildflower honey, buckwheat honey, they are all different.

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  4. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Grand Pooh-Bah (3,274) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I've never gotten Honey flavors from melanoidin malt.
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  5. Ruderalis

    Ruderalis Initiate (0) Jul 31, 2021 California

    You might be overdoing it with so many ingredients in the mash, if you really want to mix so many, I'd keep their total to around five percent of the total malt and keep the base malt at 95%. If you do otherwise then it might not be very tasty, too much specialty malt is usually a bad idea.

    There are a lot of tricks that could help, like adding potassium metabisulfite after the fermentation and then adding honey so that the yeast are dead and can't ferment it; but I'd avoid all of that if I were you.

    Just build a recipe with 95% 2 row barley malt, 5% honey malt, and choose an appropriate yeast for your style and setup. Avoid hops as much as possible, maybe a small amount, and fining at the end will clarify it. No real need for adjuncts if you brew it carefully

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  6. Naugled

    Naugled Pooh-Bah (1,882) Sep 25, 2007 New York
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    I guess I should have had a pre-amble for my goals. What I'm trying to brew is more a "concept beer", so it won't follow any style guidelines or perhaps not even good recipe guidelines.
    I appreciate all of the good feedback so far though on the honey.

    I'm trying to mimic the flavors of Drambouie. So I'm looking at a sweeter stronger profile with notes of scotch, honey and spices.

    For the scotch notes I'll be using peat malt and oak.

    For spices I'm undecided on what to use, right now I plan to use a spicey hop and see how it goes. I can always add other spices later if I think it needs it.

    For the honey I'm planning on honey malt and honey, but trying to figure out how to keep the honey flavors in there. Another idea I have is to incrementally add honey to the fermenter until fermentation stops, then add more honey for flavor. I'm using Munich Lager yeast so that should be able to tolerate up to 9-10% abv. Once I pass that mark any additional honey should remain behind and add flavor and sweetness. I'm not a mead maker so I'm not sure how well this approach would work.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on that approach?
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  7. VikeMan

    VikeMan Grand Pooh-Bah (3,043) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
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    That's sort of how Sack Meads (high alcohol, usually sweet) are often made, i.e. by relying on the ABV tolerance limit of the yeast strain. Sometimes they are fed incrementally, as you're contemplating. Sometimes not.
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  8. Naugled

    Naugled Pooh-Bah (1,882) Sep 25, 2007 New York
    Pooh-Bah Society

    Thanks, I'll google that.
    GormBrewhouse likes this.
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