Brewed the Honey Brown ale from NB (all-grain) a couple of weeks ago. Per the instructions (and advice from other homebrewers), honey should be added at flame-out. Well, my brain wasn’t work on all cylinders towards the end of the brew day and about 5 minutes into the wort chilling (via immersion chiller) I remember I needed to add the honey. So I put the 1lb of honey in and tried to stir it in the best I could without agitating the wort too much. The wort was fairly cool at this time since the ground water was fairly cold (I live in Michigan) and I had a 70 ft. immersion chiller in there.
I decided to do a wort stability test with this batch (Basic Brewing Radio is doing a collaborative experiment with BYO and is asking for input). The testing jar started showing signs of fermentation after about 24 hours and had quite an unpleasant odor after 48 hrs (meaty type smell). What was coming out of the fermentor via the blow-off tubing was a very nice honey smell. So I thought I might be OK b/c of the blow-off smell and I pitched a healthy starter.
Went to sample it tonight after three weeks in primary and what came out was not a real fresh beer smell. It wasn’t an obnoxious smell, but not the freshest. Tasted it and had the same impression, then I got hit with quite a sour aftertaste. Based on the wort stability test failing and the sourness, I decided to dump the batch as I didn’t want to get my kegerator mixed up with this stuff. I guess I could have bottled it, but that would require cleaning my stash of bottles.
I think if I would have put the honey in right at flameout and let it sit for a couple of minutes, I would have killed most of the bugs, or at least enough to not cause off-flavor issues. I’ll probably try using honey again in the distant future, but will be much more diligent to add at flameout (and if I forget, the honey will not be added later on!).