Home Brew Recipe : Honey Beer

Adding honey to your home brew is a great way to increase the aromas and flavours in your beer. This recipe for a full bodied refreshing brew will also give you ideas for developing your own honey beer recipes.

Honey has been used in alcoholic drinks for centuries in mead and in beer. While mead is made completely from honey, honey beers are made by adding honey as a flavouring to a general beer base.

Honey beers have become popular with home brewers because the honey flavours and sweetness complement the taste of malt. It can also add complexity to existing favourite recipes.

Commercial breweries have added to the popularity with beers such as Fullers Organic Honey Dew becoming widely available.

It’s important to realise that honey contains wild yeast and bacteria which can potentially damage the brew. (This is why it’s often not recommended to give honey to very young children). Although many brewers throw the honey in without any problems, it’s as well to consider this issue before you start brewing.

There are several schools of thought on how to deal with it.

Some brewers add honey to the wort for the last ten minutes of the boil, sterilising it in the process. The general view, though, is that this kills the flavour along with the bacteria.

In my recipe, the honey goes into the fermenter after high krausen.

This preserves the aromas and gives the yeast extra food to keep the fermentation going for longer. To deal with the wild yeast and bacteria, pasteurise the honey at 80°C for 1 hour before adding to remove the problem without the honey taste.

More information on this and the use of honey in brewing can be found on the National Honey Board website.

Honey Beer Recipe

Fermentation Period
19 Days

Recipe Volume
16 litres

Start Volume (Brew in a Bag)
21 litres

Malts
Pale Ale: 3 kg
Melanoidin: 0.56kg
Honey: 0.5kg (added Day 3 with 1 litre of water)

Mash Time
70 mins

Mash Target Temperature
67°C

Hops
Cascade (6.8%): 15g for 60 mins
Kent Goldings (5.3%): 20g for 10 mins
Kent Goldings (5.3%): 20g for 5 mins

Yeast
Danstar Nottingham Ale Rehydrated in 200ml water at 35°C for 30mins

Original Gravity
1.058

Final Gravity
1.014

Recipe Notes

  • Prepare beer as usual and leave to ferment
  • After three days (or once fermentation has slowed) pasteurise the honey by dissolving it in 1 litre of water, heating for 1 hour at 80°C and leaving to cool. Remove lid of fermenter, carefully add honey solution and gently stir. As always, sanitise all implements before starting.
  • Leave to finish fermenting as normal before bottling.
  • For best taste, leave to condition in the bottle for at least one month.

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Comments...

  1. Michael Roth

    Thank you for this recipe! I made it & just tried my first bottle last night & it was AMAZING! I used honey malt instead of the melanoidin though.

    Thanks Again!

    • John

      Thanks for the feedback, and glad you liked the beer!

      It’s got me tempted and thinking about making another batch myself.

      Cheers!

  2. ivan kibona

    good and nice

  3. ivan kibona

    i like to make beer so me and my family we enjoy to make and drink

  4. michel parsons

    What type of honey did you use?

    • John

      It’s honey from a farm that I bought at my local greengrocer’s. It’s half-set/half-runny.

      Unfortunately it just says “honey” on the packaging so I don’t have more information than that, but the tastier the better.

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