Author Topic: Using honey in place of Candi Sugar  (Read 965 times)

Offline Sandyfeet

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Using honey in place of Candi Sugar
« on: April 19, 2022, 10:51:11 AM »
I have an opportunity to use some backyard honey in an upcoming recipe. I have done something close to a Belgian Single before where I used a small amount of candi sugar. It was good, but I did not quite get the esters that I wanted because it fermented in my garage refrigerator when it got unexpectedly cold for a few days. As a result, I want to try it again, this time when I know it will be warm.
I have read several articles including the one on BeerSmith. The consensus is that you don't want to boil natural honey as it will lose its flavor, but you want to sanitize it. I initially wanted to add it at flame out which would solve both issues without going through the pasteurization on the stove BS. Upon having a conversation with another individual, I might have an issue with it not dissolving enough if I add it right at flame out. I assume it would be a big mess on my wort chiller too.
Has anyone tried adding it with around 5 minutes left in the boil? If so, what was the result? Could you taste a little bit of it in the beer, and did it take a lot longer to ferment?
I'm not using a lot, probably only 8 fluid oz (12oz by weight). I'm not going for a high OG beer (maybe 1.053/1.054ish), and I'm leaning toward White Labs WLP550. I plan on starting at around 68F for a couple of days, and maybe bumping the temp up a degree each day until I get around 73ish. I usually leave my beer in the fermenter for 14-15 days before I bottle, so I hope that gives me enough time, even with the honey.
The recipe is simple. I am only using pilsner and 1/2 pound of biscuit. I am going to try to hop only to about 30IBUs with something mellow like Saaz and Fuggle hops. I hope this gives me an opportunity to taste a little tiny bit of honey, even with Belgian esters.
If any of y'all have done this, I would appreciate your feedback.

Offline Oginme

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Re: Using honey in place of Candi Sugar
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2022, 03:57:01 PM »
It is not so much the taste you lose from the honey when it is boiled, but the aromatics which contribute to flavor. 

I do a wonderful Honey Brown ale using orange blossom honey.  I brew the base beer and start the fermentation.  At the second day after active fermentation has started, I measure out the honey into a sanitized canning jar, add some boiled and cooled water to allow it to flow better, and then seal with a plastic cap and microwave it to 162 F for at least 5 seconds.  I allow this to cool and then add it to the fermenter.  Never had a problem and ended up with nice orange tinged aromatics and flavor.

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Offline Sandyfeet

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Re: Using honey in place of Candi Sugar
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2022, 04:58:33 AM »
I appreciate the response.
I have seen some other ideas about adding things during fermentation, specifically hops for a New England IPA, but the idea of removing the airlock during active fermentation still scares me unless absolutely necessary. I did have to do it with the first Belgian because stupid me was unaware of what those crazy yeasts do without a blowoff tube. I didn't have any sanitizer laying around for my lid, so I scrambled around the house looking for rum and vodka to sanitize a plate.
I might think about removing the airlock and doing something like that somewhere down the down the road with a few more recipes under my belt though. I wish I had more time to play around with ideas like that.
Does your honey addition add significant time to the fermentation process?

Offline Sandyfeet

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Re: Using honey in place of Candi Sugar
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2022, 05:41:46 AM »
I forgot to add:
I toyed around with sweet potatoes in a brown that turned out quite interesting. I baked 5 pounds, peeled them, added a little brown sugar, liquified them in a blender mixed with some spring water, and used the liquid as part of my strike water in the BIIB. I did not get a whole lot of flavor, but the aromatics were quite nice. It works well for the fall.
 

Offline Kevin58

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Re: Using honey in place of Candi Sugar
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2022, 05:57:09 AM »
I appreciate the response.
I have seen some other ideas about adding things during fermentation, specifically hops for a New England IPA, but the idea of removing the airlock during active fermentation still scares me unless absolutely necessary. I did have to do it with the first Belgian because stupid me was unaware of what those crazy yeasts do without a blowoff tube. I didn't have any sanitizer laying around for my lid, so I scrambled around the house looking for rum and vodka to sanitize a plate.
I might think about removing the airlock and doing something like that somewhere down the down the road with a few more recipes under my belt though. I wish I had more time to play around with ideas like that.
Does your honey addition add significant time to the fermentation process?

Adding additions like fruit or honey during fermentation is quite common. As Oginme describes, you do it while fermentation is still active. That way the CO2 is still creating negative pressure in the vessel pushing any air out through the airlock.
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Offline Sandyfeet

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Re: Using honey in place of Candi Sugar
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2022, 10:13:35 AM »
Thanks.
It is an interesting idea with the darker malts. I assume the yeast would also have a chance of consuming some of the darker malts/more complex sugars before adding the honey.
 

Offline Sandyfeet

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Re: Using honey in place of Candi Sugar
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2022, 07:11:57 PM »
Just an update as I am going to vacation to drink other people's beer.
I did add my honey at flameout. I had it in a mason jar on the simmer setting in a pan on the stove before adding it to the wort. I took one gravity reading from the middle of the kettle when I was draining it into my fermenter, and it appeared the sugars from the honey were not incorporated into that gravity reading.
As violently as this beer fermented, I have a feeling that most of my honey made it into the fermenter. I know that Belgian yeasts are violent, but without the honey, I would have been around 1.045OG.
This is going to be a true experiment, and I am looking forward to tasting it before I bottle.
I was initially worried as this beer didn't take off as fast as some of the others that I have brewed with the White Labs yeast, but at Day 2, it almost blew the cork off my fermenter, and I put tubing in place of the airlock knowing this yeast was crazy. I had a solid activity for about 3 days, then it settled down for less than one day before taking off again. After 6 days, it finally looks like it settled down for good. This is becoming an addictive hobby learning about all the crazy variables. 

 

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