Last weekend I brewed an Imperial Stout, and missed my OG by a good shot (1st big beer with my all grain setup, still got around 62% however) and figured an extra 2 lb’s of a honey/sugar would get me in the neighborhood of my est. gravity. If I use honey, should I dillute it with water and pasturize it?, and will that kill the subtle honey flavor that I want left behind? I am unsure if I should worry about beasties lurking in raw honey.
I’ve never really heard of doing a true secondary fermentation. I would be worried about adding honey since it’s 100% fermentable it will thin out your beer. And if your OG was lower than expected it’s probably already a bit on the thin side. What was your OG? I would personally just leave it as is and just call it a stout.
I’m pretty sure nothing can live in honey it has too much sugar/not enough water and low ph? ( hope fully someone else will chime in)
Nothing can grow in honey, and it kills active cultures exposed to it. Spores can still survive in it, most notably botulism. That is why you aren’t supposed to feed honey to infants. In adults, the stomach acid and gut bacteria prevent botulism in honey from becoming active, but infants digestive system isn’t working fully yet. With beer, the acidic and alcoholic environment will keep the spores from producing toxin.
You are safe adding raw honey to beer without worry of infection, but I’m not sure it is appropriate in an imperial stout. The honey will, as noted above, make the beer dryer and thinner. An Imperial Stout should be a thick, rich beer.
Why not just leave it as-is and call it a robust stout? And now that you know how your AG set-up performs, plan another brew day for the Imp stout.
I agree with what’s been said. Why dry out and thin a beer just to get a small gravity bump? I’d leave it alone and chalk it up as a lesson learned. Try doing a few smaller beers on your system until you figure out how it ticks.
Add a couple of pounds of extract.
I wouldn’t add raw honey to the secondary if you are intending on keeping the yeast slurry going as I’ve been told that wild spores can certainly live in it, and after a few batches may begin to become noticeable. I prefer to add my honey at flame out because of that and so that I can get an accurate OG reading.
Thx for the feedback! She’ll be and Extra Stout!! And, upon the bright side of things…Beer was made!!