Mosher has a recipe for a honey ginger IPA in Radical Brewing, where you add 2 lbs of honey and candied ginger to a secondary. Wouldn't this cause bottle bombs or be cloyingly sweet?

I have an awesome honey called Meadowfoam (which literally tastes like vanilla-and-carmel-dipped roasted marshmallows) that I'm itching to use, and I'm not a mead fan (yet). I used this in a dubbel before (pre-fermentation), and while it mainly fermented out, but gave the beer a FANTASTIC nose (probably linked up well with the dark malts).

I guess my other question is what would be a good style to make with this honey. Honey Saison? Summer Honey Blonde? Pre or post-fermentation? Again, the aromatics from this stuff are amazing, but the taste is simply out of this world, so I'd like to get some of that in a beer without making (another) 9-10% abv beer that is sessionable for summertime.

  • 2
    Honey is essentially fructose and water, and so is completely fermentable. Provided the yeast cell count is high enough, and the ABV low enough, honey should actually dry your beer out in the same way that sucrose does. Commented Mar 21, 2012 at 15:52
  • even if its added to a secondary? I thought sucrose was typically added at the end of the boil if you were looking to dry out the finish?
    – Pietro
    Commented Mar 21, 2012 at 16:43
  • 2
    Wow! Meadowfoam sounds awesome! I've got a site open in another window right now to order some :)
    – GHP
    Commented Mar 21, 2012 at 16:58
  • 1
    When you add the honey (primary or secondary) won't affect the degree of attenuation. My guess is that the recipe specifies to add the honey in secondary to accentuate the aromatics quality of the honey. I don't know if this is true, but I've seen it claimed that the vigorous fermentation in primary drives off volatiles and so reduces the contribution of aromatic ingredients. Commented Mar 21, 2012 at 17:14
  • @ Graham, at this point, I put it on my oatmeal. There are two big homebrew shops around me, and one (Annapolis Homebrew) basically gets it from a 'supplier' that, according to the proprietor, looks like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes (read: HUUUUGE hippies). The stuff is fantastic though.
    – Pietro
    Commented Mar 21, 2012 at 18:42

1 Answer 1


Wouldn't this cause bottle bombs or be cloyingly sweet?

No. Honey, like any other sugar added to the primary or secondary, will ferment out completely with enough time. Just make sure the beer is fermented to fullness before bottling. Honey is pretty much 100% fermentable, so if you are going to add it to secondary, you should take a gravity reading first, once primary fermentation is done, then add the honey, then bottle AFTER the gravity of the beer hits the pre-honey level. In fact, you might even see the gravity go down a little below what it was before you added the honey, due to the increased alcohol in the solution.

I've got my first braggot in the secondary now. Its basically all Golden Promise malt for a base, with 3 pounds of Florida Orange Blossom honey added to the secondary. It was sweet and cloudy yesterday, but its fairly young (honey added on 3/17) and was down to 1.020 from about 1.060 already. I suspect it will be at final gravity (1.012-1.015) within a few more days, although I'll give it a little more time to mature in the secondary before bottling.

I guess my other question is what would be a good style to make with this honey.

I'm not positive and this type of forum (Stack Exchange) isn't the place for recipe speculation anyway. However, I'd encourage you to go nuts and see what you find! Brewing is subject to all kinds of trends that seemingly break the rules. Think about how every style of beer now has an "India" prefix where they add a ton of hops. Or how big hoppy beers are now being brewed midnight black. Perhaps you'll kick off a wave of honey-flavors in styles we don't associate normally with honey.

  • As a follow up, my keg of braggot did not last very long at all. 3lbs of Orange Blossom Honey in the beer created a very nice and upfront honey character, and still dried out completely.
    – GHP
    Commented Sep 21, 2012 at 13:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.