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As an ingredient, how does honey affect a home brew batch? I’ve heard it either dries out beers or just adds a slight honey flavor, but it doesn’t sweeten it.

You have heard correctly. All the sugars get consumed by the yeast.


Be aware that the slight honey flavor is VERY slight. Unless you are making a very clean beer, you won’t be able to taste the honey. Honey malt gives a more pronounced honey flavor.


You would have to add a lot of honey to dry out your beer. I have used it many times and can confirm the flavor is almost not perceivable. If you are looking to boost the ABV or lighten the beer it would be easier and more cost effective to just use table sugar.

Honey malt will give you honey taste but go easy with it because it can be overpowering.

Thanks guys!

I’m not really looking to make a honey beer per say, but I saw an interesting Irish red ale recipe somewhere and it called for a pound of honey in the mash. Is it basically there to boost the ABV?

Honey is a gimmick in beer IMO. Save your honey for Mead


I’m not sure what the reason for adding it to the mash is. Seems like it would just dissolve with the sugar from the grain. Might even lose some leaving it behind after the run off is complete. If someone knows why you would do that I would like to know.

For the price of one pound I would try it anyway. It would be a good experiment and might come out a great beer. Let us know how it turns out if you do try it.

I agree mark- why use it in the mash and potentially lose some of the sugar (we can never get a 100% sparge). I wonder if Ivan mistyped ‘boil’?
One reason that I use honey instead of sugar in any recipe that calls for adding a simple sugar to the boil, is to support my local apiast(sp?- honey producer).

The recipe listed the honey with the grain, so I figured it went into the mash? I think you’re right, it may be a little weird to add it then. It is listed with fermentables though when I try the recipe out in recipe builders online.

When do people usually add honey to batches? My guess would be late in the boil. I’m not sure what to make of this, but my gut says the honey might not even be that necessary.

Do you have a link to the recipe?

I hope the original creator doesn’t mind me posting this. It’s a spin on Three Floyds’ Brian Boru and it seems really interesting.

They posted it on a public forum. I don’t think you have anything to worry about. :wink:

Well, someone asked them to clarify honey vs. honey malt over 2.5 years ago, but they never responded. I am going to bet it is honey malt.

I use a lot of honey in my summer beers. As mark stated it adds very little flavor on terms of honey flavor. You can though get different results on how you use the honey. Adding it to beganing of boil adds no flavor that you can notice. Adding it to the end of the boil will be slightly noticeable but not enough to wow ya and some people cant even tell then either. Now where it can be more noticed is adding it when your cooling your wort down around 170 this pasteurized it and you dont lose aroma from the high heat and the boil making it more noticeable. Then there is adding it direct to fermenter which will add the most noticeble flavor. You can pasteurize add it to the secondary. . I also keep in mind that there is lots of differnent honeys. Like clover orange blossom that will add alittle different aroma to your beer. But not much taste of honey. My favorites is almond honey and blackberry honey that realy shine in a back note of aroma of the beer.

Not sure you have to pasteurize honey. I never do it when making Mead.

I dont normally pasteurize honey depending on where i buy it from. The store bought is already done most of the time. If you get it from local farm i recommend pasteurizing it.

That is when I add honey. Last 5 min or at flame out. If you have a spigot, drain some wort into the empty container to rinse out what honey is left. Wear gloves and use caution if it is glass.

I would think if you’re adding to secondary you’d definitely want to pasteurize it. If you’re adding tot he kettle at boil temps shouldn’t be an issue.

Most microganisms can not survive in honey. But yeast and spore forming fungi and few bacteria’s can. The wild yeast cell count is very low like 100 cell to a pound of honey. Under the right conditions honey will ferment its self with these wild yeast. It has been studied that spontaneous fermentation of early meads and honey infused drinks started with honey. As far as pasteurizing it if is raw from the bee keeper i recommend it but as store bought honey in closed container no need to due to its been done already. But make sure read the label not all of them are.

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I agree with most of what’s already been said… honey doesn’t add a lot of flavor, tends to dry out the beer since it is 100% fermentable, etc.

Regarding pasteurization… the first contaminated beverage I ever made was an unpasteurized mead, which ended up tasting like vomit. Since that day, I have always pasteurized it either the easy way or the hard way. The easy way in a beer is to just add it at the end of the boil or at flameout and then keep it in the “whirlpool” phase hot for a few minutes before chilling the wort. The harder way, or the way I make my meads, is to combine it with the water and other ingredients if applicable, then hold at about 160 F for 15 minutes. This will kill most of the wild beasts without boiling off much of the aromatics.

In any case, it is preferable NOT to boil your honey because if you do, the fickle aromatics will certainly be gone by end of fermentation.

I have had excellent success making honey wheat beers with a blend of both real honey added at flameout AND Gambrinus honey malt in a small amount of perhaps 3-5% of the total grist. If you overdo the honey malt, it tastes kind of weird. Munch on some raw honey malt to see what it can do for your beer. It’s unique stuff.

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