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White House Honey Ale so far a disgusting disaster

Hello all,

I brewed a batch of White House Honey Ale from NB earlier this month, and bottled 10 days ago. I kept everything sterile and sanitized through out the whole process, and always make sure to Star San, and I ALWAYS leave foam and never rinse. My fermenting temperatures, which I do in my closet stay at about 55-65 degrees during the winter. I did primary fermenting with a liquid yeast pack (which I absolutely do not like using) for 2 weeks, secondary for a week, then bottled.

I opened a bottle of this beer tonight and poured it into a glass, and was immediately disgusted by the extremely potent, strong alcohol smell. There’s a light carbonation in the glass, but not enough to create a head or anything. Then I dared to take a sip, and the taste was…Let me think how to describe it…Sour/Potent Alcohol/Weird…Haha, not sure. Didn’t taste like a honey ale whatsoever. The color of it is also very cloudy and hazy…maybe thats what its supposed to look like? I’d have to imagine it should be clearer.

Like a dummy I forgot to take a OG test, but I’m pretty sure the gravity is not the issue here. If anyone has any advice, or thinks I need to dump all my bottles out, would love to hear your input. Thanks everybody :frowning:


I would age it a little longer. That beer is very green and aging will allow the flavors to meld. It will also allow it to carb up.

As for carbing. At what temps do you have the bottles? They should be at 70° or so.

For the strong alcohol. How do you know your closet stays no higher than 65°? Strong alcohol flavors are often caused by high ferm temps. Fusel alcohol is what is actually produced.

As for the haze. Look into cold crashing and fining. Wait a couple more weeks with the bottles at 70° then put them in a fridge for a week. This will get the yeast to settle to the bottom of the bottle and form a yeast cake. In addition pour GENTLY and leave a little in the bottle. This will prevent agitation of the yeast cake at the bottom of the bottle.

sorry to here about your bad beer. with out asking a bunch of ?s , I have had some all grain smash beers turn out like you described usually when the fermentation lasts for 2 days then falls. I allways let it go for at least 10 days . I do not secondary, but when in the bottle it needs to be at 70 for a while if not it will stall out. try putting the bottles in a warmer place for at least a week before you dump them. oh by the way how did it taste before you bottled them?

[quote=“Loopie Beer”]I would age it a little longer. That beer is very green and aging will allow the flavors to meld. It will also allow it to carb up.

As for carbing. At what temps do you have the bottles? They should be at 70° or so.

For the strong alcohol. How do you know your closet stays no higher than 65°? Strong alcohol flavors are often caused by high ferm temps. Fusel alcohol is what is actually produced.

As for the haze. Look into cold crashing and fining. Wait a couple more weeks with the bottles at 70° then put them in a fridge for a week. This will get the yeast to settle to the bottom of the bottle and form a yeast cake. In addition pour GENTLY and leave a little in the bottle. This will prevent agitation of the yeast cake at the bottom of the bottle.[/quote]

-I had the bottles conditioning at roughly 55 degrees F in the basement, but after reading your post, just moved them back upstairs into a closet thats about 70 degrees for the most part. I don’t know exactly what temp the closet stays at all the time. Some cold mornings here when its in the negatives outside, the house feels like its about 50 until I get the wood stove cranked back up. Thanks for your input.

-The beer had that strong smell when I bottled it, and the same taste it had when I tried it today. I figured the beer just needed to condition and do its thing and hopefully it would come together. Like I mentioned above, its been conditioning in a 50-55 degree F basement, I just moved it back upstairs to condition in a warmer closet, so hopefully that will help. Thanks a lot!

you may have to let them go for 2 weeks. test one after a week. peace out.

I responded in the other thread…

[color=#000080]It’s possible that the honey in the beer requires a little time to mellow out. Almost every beer I used to make with honey (I don’t use honey in beer anymore) tasted like rocket fuel when it was young. You might just leave it in the bottles for a bit and see how it tastes a month from now, 2 months, 3 months, etc. If you did everything right, you might be rewarded with some very smooth & yummy honey ale.
[/color]
I’ll add to that: Any time I make a beer with any type of flavoring, spice, fruit, etc., it seems to require extra time as well. This will be true with your honey beer, IMO. It could depend on how much honey you used but I had a very tame-sounding extract kit many years ago called Honey Bee Ale. Sort of like a blonde ale but with 2 lbs of honey added late in the boil. It tasted like absolute dookie for months. I kept it around for awhile and tasted in months later and it smoothed out. There is some magic that happens when the beer is aging so give it time. Also, 10 days in the bottle is way too young for almost any style so… patience.

To the OP: I brewed this as an all grain by converting the extract amounts to grain and I added my one pound of honey at flame-out. Mine does have a high-alcohol “note” to it because my efficiency is relatively high. My OG was 1.080, FG 1.020, ABV apprx 8%. :shock:

The color of mine in nearly the same (slightly lighter) as what you posted above but no where near as light at NB’s picture. I consider it a “Honey Brown” ale. Over the past 8-weeks, it has become smoother and much easier to down a pint. That being said, I’m a light weight and do get a buzz on one-pint :oops: so mine is not a session beer (well, very short session perhaps).

cheers.

[quote=“Ken Lenard”][color=#000080]It’s possible that the honey in the beer requires a little time to mellow out. Almost every beer I used to make with honey (I don’t use honey in beer anymore) tasted like rocket fuel when it was young. You might just leave it in the bottles for a bit and see how it tastes a month from now, 2 months, 3 months, etc. If you did everything right, you might be rewarded with some very smooth & yummy honey ale.
[/color][/quote]

I’ll second this. In my early days of extract brewing, I made two different recipes involving honey and both had an unpleasant alcohol flavor to them. I can’t say for sure that only the honey was to blame; I’ve learned a lot about proper fermentation temperature and pitching rates since then. The honey was definitely a factor though.

[quote=“StormyBrew”]To the OP: I brewed this as an all grain by converting the extract amounts to grain and I added my one pound of honey at flame-out. Mine does have a high-alcohol “note” to it because my efficiency is relatively high. My OG was 1.080, FG 1.020, ABV apprx 8%. :shock:

The color of mine in nearly the same (slightly lighter) as what you posted above but no where near as light at NB’s picture. I consider it a “Honey Brown” ale. Over the past 8-weeks, it has become smoother and much easier to down a pint. That being said, I’m a light weight and do get a buzz on one-pint :oops: so mine is not a session beer (well, very short session perhaps).

cheers.[/quote]
Stormy: I think it’s even possible that if you brewed this in the 5% range, you would still get a hot, jet-fuel character when the beer is young. There is just something about a beer with added honey or sugar that takes some time to mellow. I wish I had a scientific explanation for it but I don’t. Here’s a story: Years ago I was at a Brew-On-Premise with a buddy and we were making a “pilsner” of sorts. This recipe had [x amount] of dextrose to boost the gravity. My buddy was measuring it out and said, “If some is good then more is better” and he added MUCH more dextrose than he was supposed to. Almost every beer we made at this place was outstanding but this one was hot jet fuel and even though it mellowed a little bit, it was never really “good”. The honey beers I used to make were not 8%… probably closer to 5 and I still had that hot, boozy character. Also, I don’t bother with honey anymore because I don’t understand the point of it. It’s almost 100% fermentable so the chances of getting any amount of honey flavor is pretty much zero. Plus you have this lag time before the beer is smooth. It can add a crispness to a beer so if that’s important to the brewer, I could see it but I just don’t like the other drawbacks.

[quote=“Ken Lenard”][quote=“StormyBrew”]To the OP: I brewed this as an all grain by converting the extract amounts to grain and I added my one pound of honey at flame-out. Mine does have a high-alcohol “note” to it because my efficiency is relatively high. My OG was 1.080, FG 1.020, ABV apprx 8%. :shock:

The color of mine in nearly the same (slightly lighter) as what you posted above but no where near as light at NB’s picture. I consider it a “Honey Brown” ale. Over the past 8-weeks, it has become smoother and much easier to down a pint. That being said, I’m a light weight and do get a buzz on one-pint :oops: so mine is not a session beer (well, very short session perhaps).

cheers.[/quote]
Stormy: I think it’s even possible that if you brewed this in the 5% range, you would still get a hot, jet-fuel character when the beer is young. There is just something about a beer with added honey or sugar that takes some time to mellow. I wish I had a scientific explanation for it but I don’t. Here’s a story: Years ago I was at a Brew-On-Premise with a buddy and we were making a “pilsner” of sorts. This recipe had [x amount] of dextrose to boost the gravity. My buddy was measuring it out and said, “If some is good then more is better” and he added MUCH more dextrose than he was supposed to. Almost every beer we made at this place was outstanding but this one was hot jet fuel and even though it mellowed a little bit, it was never really “good”. The honey beers I used to make were not 8%… probably closer to 5 and I still had that hot, boozy character. Also, I don’t bother with honey anymore because I don’t understand the point of it. It’s almost 100% fermentable so the chances of getting any amount of honey flavor is pretty much zero. Plus you have this lag time before the beer is smooth. It can add a crispness to a beer so if that’s important to the brewer, I could see it but I just don’t like the other drawbacks.[/quote]

Ken,

now that you mention it, I do recall my past, low-alcohol honey-ales as also having that hot, boozy character. I mainly brewed this one for my wife as she’s fond of a particular honey-brown ale that is usually found near the BMC at 711. :wink:

Don’t get me wrong, this is a nice brew but if I brew it again I’ll omit the honey and plan on a producing a nice English Brown with a tad more hops. TBH, I think it should have be an English Brown from the get-go.

b.

[quote=“StormyBrew”][quote=“Ken Lenard”][quote=“StormyBrew”]To the OP: I brewed this as an all grain by converting the extract amounts to grain and I added my one pound of honey at flame-out. Mine does have a high-alcohol “note” to it because my efficiency is relatively high. My OG was 1.080, FG 1.020, ABV apprx 8%. :shock:

The color of mine in nearly the same (slightly lighter) as what you posted above but no where near as light at NB’s picture. I consider it a “Honey Brown” ale. Over the past 8-weeks, it has become smoother and much easier to down a pint. That being said, I’m a light weight and do get a buzz on one-pint :oops: so mine is not a session beer (well, very short session perhaps).

cheers.[/quote]
Stormy: I think it’s even possible that if you brewed this in the 5% range, you would still get a hot, jet-fuel character when the beer is young. There is just something about a beer with added honey or sugar that takes some time to mellow. I wish I had a scientific explanation for it but I don’t. Here’s a story: Years ago I was at a Brew-On-Premise with a buddy and we were making a “pilsner” of sorts. This recipe had [x amount] of dextrose to boost the gravity. My buddy was measuring it out and said, “If some is good then more is better” and he added MUCH more dextrose than he was supposed to. Almost every beer we made at this place was outstanding but this one was hot jet fuel and even though it mellowed a little bit, it was never really “good”. The honey beers I used to make were not 8%… probably closer to 5 and I still had that hot, boozy character. Also, I don’t bother with honey anymore because I don’t understand the point of it. It’s almost 100% fermentable so the chances of getting any amount of honey flavor is pretty much zero. Plus you have this lag time before the beer is smooth. It can add a crispness to a beer so if that’s important to the brewer, I could see it but I just don’t like the other drawbacks.

Ken,

now that you mention it, I do recall my past, low-alcohol honey-ales as also having that hot, boozy character. I mainly brewed this one for my wife as she’s fond of a particular honey-brown ale that is usually found near the BMC at 711. :wink:

Don’t get me wrong, this is a nice brew but if I brew it again I’ll omit the honey and plan on a producing a nice English Brown with a tad more hops. TBH, I think it should have be an English Brown from the get-go. [/quote][/quote]

A little JW Dundee Honey Brown? :wink:

This type of conversation makes my head hurt because there are a lot of variables. Do you want your beer to taste like “honey”? If so, adding honey to the brewpot is probably not going to cut it because i’s 100% fermentable and it’s delicate character will get burned off by the heat of the BK and the primary activity will scrub out anything that’s left. I don’t think honey malt is the answer but it will make your beer kind of sweet. But I don’t think honey malt is really very much like honey and using too much (like more than 4 ounces in 5 gallons) can make your beer nasty. Finally, I could see making a beer w/o honey, fermenting it, kegging it, chilling it and then adding some amount of heated honey to the keg where it would be too cold for the residual yeast to metabolize it. That would make your beer taste like honey but I would have no idea how much to add. Bottom line… I don’t brew with honey anymore. 8)

I doubt I’ll brew with honey again. I just don’t get the positive results I expect.

I did a honey brown years ago using honey from my Mom-in-law in Washington St. It had a very floral flavor and aroma in the raw. Much of that flavor transferred to the ale, but none of the aroma. The flavor that did transfer did not enhance the brew. :cry:

The remaining honey was used on toast and to sweeten tea. :wink:

cheers

Ha. I misread the title of this thread and agreed with it! I skipped over “Honey Ale”.

:slight_smile:

[quote=“Grizz Talker”]Ha. I misread the title of this thread and agreed with it! I skipped over “Honey Ale”.

:slight_smile: [/quote]
Ba-dum-dum. :lol:

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