Honey Stout

For some reason I have it in my head to do a big ole Honey Stout. Never tried this type of beer but I do think it has potential. I have about a year under my homebrewing belt and was hoping to solicit your thoughts on this matter…

So here’s what I’m thinking…use the NB Imperial Stout Extract Kit w/ Specialty Grains (looks like it’s gotten great reviews) and add some delicious succulent honey to the primary at about the 4 day mark of fermentation…just after the fermentation peak. I’m mulling over how much honey to use but I’m thinking in the 3-4 pound range of wildflower honey. As you may expect, this isn’t a cheap experiment.

Thoughts? Think she’ll be tasty or am I just loony tunes? I want to keep that honey flavor and meld it with the big Stout robustness…hence using so much honey (after the boil). Oh, and because of honey’s natural antibacterial properties…I don’t plan on boiling it. Just straight into the carboy.

Thanks for your input…Sláinte

3-4lb seems like a lot. I normally add about 1lb to 5 gallon batch when I add honey. I usually add at flame out. I want to try adding during fermentation like you say to see what the difference is. You can also try using honey malt for the flavor. Some people swear by it.

4lb of honey would get you into the 12-13% abv range, assuming it all ferments out like when you put it in for the entire duration of the fermentation. I’m not sure if the late addition is different.

I brewed the Imp Stout extract kit two years ago. Very good beer. I just had one of the last bottles a couple weeks ago…it aged very well!

I wouldn’t start with an imperial kit and then add more fermentables, it’ll be just too strong. You might consider a dry stout kit or maybe the St Paul Porter.

You do understand that honey is very fermentable so all that’ll be left is the floral aroma/flavor of the honey, not any sweetness?

NB’s Imperial Stout is already at 1.086. Beersmith is telling me that a pound of honey would kick it up to 1.092 and would bring you up to about 10% ABV. I don’t think that is outrageous but I would suggest being very careful with fermentation. A big beer like that will generate a lot of heat and then adding more fermentable material will only increase the craziness. I did this last year around this time with a IIPA that I added a pound of NB’s buckwheat honey two at day three in the primary. It turned out great around 9.5-10% ABV.

If you do it a giant yeast starter and some kind of fermentation control will be key to this turning out well.

Wildflower honey ferments very clean. Orange Blossom or Buckwheat would be better. Adding 4-8 ounces of honey malt would help too. I don’t see any problem starting with the Imperial Stout kit, although 3-4 pounds of honey may be a bit much. I’d probably do +/- 2 pounds. You could always reduce the amount of extract to keep the beer in the gravity range you want.

I was given 1 lb. of buckwheat honey which I added to an NB Black IPA AG batch at flameout. The best description I can give is that it had an earthy flavor raw and that is what I was looking for in the beer not the sweetness. One of my best experiments ever.

All very good input…I thank you. It would appear I have some more thinking to do about this one.

I guess the affect I would like to emulate is akin to the influence of honey in Barbãr Bok by Lefebvre brewery. While not the best beer in the world I was impressed with the odor, flavor, and mouth feel finish of the honey for this beer. It got me thinking honey could do a big stout right. Anyway, according to Lefebvre, 2.5% of the ingredients are honey. Hence why I was going to ramp up my honey input…in all honesty, I never worked out the % of using 4 lbs would give me. Sort of winging it on that one. It would be interesting to see how Lefebvre introduces their honey though.

I do understand that honey is going to be a part of the fermentation process but I theorized adding a lot of it would leave some sweetness and add the odor.

I think you’ll be looking at only putting in less than half a pound of honey to get 4%. That recipe calls for 12lb of dark LME, right?

Yes, looks like 12 lbs. of LME. She’s a beast. Point taken about the percentage…thanks.

Just as an FYI, I was doing some research today and came across an interesting looking recipe where 5 lbs. of honey is used. Wild man. Check it out…

http://www.chrisheier.com/homebrew/evil ... ney-stout/