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Achieving higher abv with flavor

I am going to brew a Honey Weizen soon. I know that honey is almost 100% fermentable, so I fully expect there to be no honey taste left. However, I have lots of questions:

  1. is there any way I can still achieve a honey taste, even if slightly?

  2. I plan on adding extra honey, more than any recipe would normally call for. I think I plan to add 2-3 pounds of honey, where most recipes call for 1 pound. I know this will help raise my OG, which will then turn into higher ABV. However, I also need to use dry yeast (long story, don’t want to get into it). Since I expect higher sugar content, I am going to make a starter even though you don’t usually need to with dry yeast. Will this accomplish my goal, or do I need to actually pick a strain of yeast that is known to be used in higher abv beers, like champagne yeast?

Unless you make an insanely high ABV (over 12+%) most beer yeast will survive. I again suggest that you NOT make a starter with dry yeast. You’re better off spending the money on an additional yeast package than on DME and nutrient. All you’ll end up doing is burning through the packaged nutrients and glycogen and essentially pitch a liquid slurry. Again, your choice but a waste IMHO.

If you want residual honey flavor consider using honey malt. It’s powerful so a little goes a long way. I’ve found even 5% on a 20 IBU beer to be very cloying. Also consider that alcohol has a sweet flavor which will increase the sweetness of the finished beer. If it were me, I would shoot for about 2% of my grist.


OK so I have about 8 pounds of dry grist, 2% of that would be about 2.5 ounces, does that sound correct?

And I already own some DME that is just sitting around. Not enough to make anything with… except a yeast starter or 2. I want to aim for about 8% abv, so I just assumed a yeast starter wouldn’t hurt, but I am not married to the idea.

This keeps coming up where people are obsessed with honey flavor.
If you really want honey flavor and aroma and beer at the same time you need to research making a braggot.

First I would recommend you find some true meads. See if you like them, and if you do, mix them with a beer of your liking. I think you may discover that you’ve not only ruined a perfectly good beer, but also disgraced a marginally acceptable mead.

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I’m not obsessed with the honey flavor, I don’t want the beer to come out tasting like honey/sugar. I happened to like a honey ale that I tried a few years back by Dundee brewing. I just want to keep experimenting with ingredients and such to expand my beer brewing horizons, I am not interested in learning or making mead…

Hey it’s your beer so if you want honey flavor go for it! Everyone has different tastes…

As I mentioned, your best bet is honey malt. Without knowing your entire grist and IBU I would suggest about 2%. It’s a good starting point. If your recipe is really low IBU (under 12) then that may be too much… of course it might not be enough for YOUR liking. That’s what makes this great. You make the beer YOU want. When I think honey weizen I think prob about 20IBU and a grist of 50/50 2row and wheat. So, 2-3% is where I would start.

I appreciate it. Overall, I’m not looking for anything super sweet, I just want to make something that has a slightly sweeter taste… something my wife would like maybe but that I could still drink. My biggest goal is to increase the abv without killing the flavors, if there is a little extra honey flavor then great… if not, I won’t be worried

If you can go to a LHBS try eating the raw Honey malt and try golden naked oats. Together I think they may give you what you want with no real honey

any thoughts on raising the abv? I mean sure I can just add candi sugar or more honey and extra yeast, but I always wonder about what needs to be done to make sure the beer doesn’t just come out tasting like grain alcohol.

Increase the grain content and slightly increase your hops with it

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You could make a honey barley wine. It would be strong and technically be a barley Mead . If it’s just for your wife and you don’t keg. Just make the recipe with the token amount of honey so you can call it a honey beer and stir in a little more honey at serving

Me long time ago did the white house honey ipa. But on the end no flav of honey. Thats was extract brewing. Now me to all grain use honey malt. The canadian grains. This gives me small honey flav not lots. Use on a 11lbs grist bill. About 2.8 % honey malt.

I would suggest you play with the grain bill a bit… rather, ramp up to the ABV, and drink it before reaching for the higher stuff… I find a quite strong brew takes more specialty malt to get to a desired flavor… Which can then become overwhelming if you aren’t careful…The base is where you’d start raising the ABV… You could use table sugar, which then dries it out. Sneezles61

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