Wow! What a beer.
Many years ago I had a beer from Portland, Oregan called Honey beer. It never took off in Australia but I will always have memories of that beautiful flavour. So I've tried to recreate that flavour in my own Gluten Free Honey Beer.
This beer is very light in colour, it has a lovely floral smell courtesy of the Saaz hops used in the dry hopping. A mild sweetness complements the bitterness of the hops and refreshes the soul mouthfull after mouthfull and a nice creamy head. A true summer session beer (3.8% ABV), it has a truly refreshing and uplifting flavour similar to the fusion beers that are becoming popular now a days. I ferment this at about 18 degrees C which makes it more of a steam beer (California Common) style beer.
It can be changed around to suit your palate. There is another version of this in the Ales page. It is done as an APA style beer. It is also done without the grains.
Here's the Honey Fusion recipe...
200g of hulled millet
100g of buckwheat kernels
50g of Saaz hop pellets
1kg of maltodextrin (from maize)
1 packet of Saflager S-23 lager yeast
1.5kg of honey
(Please note this recipe makes beer of about 3.2% alcohol. Another 500g of honey will bring it to 4.2% approx.)
6 Earl Grey tea bags
Priming sugar (household white sugar)
Roast millet and buckwheat by placing it in a large frypan and place on high heat on stove. The grains will take a few minutes to start changing colour. Always watch the grains and stir every few minutes so as not to let them burn. When they are a dark brown take them off the heat (see website for darkness of roast).
Crush the millet and buckwheat in a blender, until they are broken up into grist. You only want them cracked open. You don’t want them to be a powder or flour. Add the grist and the tea bags to 3 litres of boiling water and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit for another 15 minutes. Strain the liquid through a kitchen strainer into your fermenting barrel.
Add your honey, maltodextrin and 25g (or 1/2) of the hops (bittering) to 8 litres of boiling water. Stir well. When the water starts to boil again allow it to boil for 40 minutes.
At the 40 minute mark add 12.5g (approx ¼) of the hops (aroma) and boil for another 10 minutes.
Allow wort (liquid) to sit for 10 minutes. Strain the wort through your kitchen strainer into your fermenting vessel. Add enough water to make 20 litres and stir for about 5 minutes. In a hop bag place the last 12.5g of hops into the fermenting barrel. When cool enough, pitch yeast.
Allow to ferment out (approx. 3 weeks).When the specific gravity has stopped dropping on your hydrometer (approx 1.014) the beer is ready to bottle. Prime and bottle beer. Allow a minimum of two weeks to ferment in the bottle. The longer the better the flavour.
I've adapted this recipe from a brewing magazine. It appealed to me because of the use of corn in the brewing process. I didn't have to play with the recipe at all except for making a yeast starter out of honey instead of sorghum syrup. This beer needs to ferment at 11 degrees C and the yeast starter needs to be about 2 litres. Fermentation at cold temperatures takes longer so having a large amount of yeast going to work straight away helps alot. This beer takes about 3 weeks to finish fermenting.
1 cup of honey (yeast starter)
1 packet of S-23 lager yeast & yeast nutrient (yeast starter)
3kg of Briess Sorghum Syrup (2 canisters)
1kg of frozen corn kernals
1 teaspoon of Irish Moss
109 grams of Saaz hop pellets @ 3.5% AA
Two days before you intend to brew make the yeast starter by boiling the 1 cup of honey in two cups of water for 10 minutes. Allow this to cool. Place the liquid into a sterilised 3 litre bottle and fill up with enough cool tap water to make 2 litres in total. Pitch the yeast and place the lid on the bottle. Shake vigorously for about 1 minute and let sit in a cool dark place for two days. NOTE: Ensure to check the bottle every couple of hours to release the gas from the fermenting sugar or just twist the lid a little until a hissing sound comes out and leave it in that position.
On brew day slightly blitz the defrosted corn kernals in a food processor. They only need to be broken open. Place the corn into 2.5 litres of 72 C water and let the corn mash for 1 hour at 65 C. Once this is done strain through the mash liquid (I use a BIAB grain bag from my homebrew store) into a large pot of boiling water (at least 8 litres). Run through some of the boiling water to rinse out all of the corns fermentable sugars and then squeeze the bag until dry. (Be careful because everything is hot.)
Now place 1.5kg of sorghum syrup into the boiling water with 53g of hops. Vigorously boil for 45 minutes.
Then add 1 teaspoon of Irish Moss and 28g of hops. Boil for 10 minutes.
Then add 1.2kg of sorghum syrup (the other 300g will be used for priming sugar) and another 28g of hops. The mixture will stop boiling for the moment due to the cold syrup being added. When it starts boiling again let it boil for 5 minutes then turn off the heat.
Allow wort (liquid) to sit for 10 minutes. Strain the wort through your kitchen strainer into your fermenting vessel. Add enough water to make 21 litres and stir for about 5 minutes to oxygenate the beer. When the beer is cool enough (24 C or less), pitch the yeast starter. This will make 23 litres of beer.
Ferment at 11 C for approx. 3 weeks.When the specific gravity has stopped dropping on your hydrometer (approx 1.008) the beer is ready to bottle.
Priming the bottles:
Mix the 300g of left over sorghum syrup with 1 cup of water and boil for 10 minutes. Add 5mls of this liquid to each 330ml bottle. Fill with beer and cap. Allow a minimum of two weeks to ferment in the bottle. The longer the better the flavour.
Another way to get a nicer and slightly more complex flavour is to caramallise some of the honey. I've been doing this alittle lately just to add some depth to my brews. I simply take about 500g of honey and in a pot put it on a large gas burner for a number of minutes depending on taste. I usually go for about 5 minutes to get the colour and flavour I am looking for.
Starting gravity 1.044. Final gravity 1.008. 5.5% ABV approx
This Vienna Lager recipe is a little bit harder again as it contains 1.5kg of malted millet and requires a two hour mash with some alpha amylase to convert the starches into sugars. Although this method (called extract with specialty grain) of brewing takes longer it is well worth trying as the malt flavours of this beer are fantastic. I've never lagered this beer due to a lack of beer at home and no time to lager but I'm sure this would improve a great deal if allowed to lager for a month at around 0 to 2 degrees celcius.
I've also gone a different way of making this beer by separating the mash boil from the sorghum syrup. I bring the sorghum syrup to the boil in another pot for 10 minutes to sterilise only, then add this to the fermenter with the other ingredients. The reason for this is so I get a better hop utilisation and don't need to add as much hops to get the required result.
2lt yeast starter (300 grams of honey and 1 packet of either Saflager S-23 or W-34/70 yeast)
500g of Pale millet malt
750g of Vienna millet malt
250g of Munich millet malt
4g (1 pkt) of Alpha Amylase
2.5kg of sorghum syrup
30g of Perle hop pellets @ 7.1%AA
25g of Hallertau Hersbrucker @ 2.5%AA
1 teaspoon of Irish Moss
Put aside 250 grams of Vienna malt for the end of the boil. Crush all the other grains (I use a blender) until you make a rough flour and place into a small pot. Fill with 4 litres of water at 40 degrees celcius. Place pot on a stove and slowly (over 20 minutes) bring up the temperature of the mash to 68 C. Add the alpha amylase and mash at 68 C for 2 hours, checking the temperature and stiring every 15 minutes or so.
Using a colander lined with a BIAB grain bag strain the grains into a large pot using boiling water from a kettle. I do this at least four times to get maximum sugars from the grains. I then fill the pot and bring to the boil.
Add all the Perle hop pellets and vigorously boil for 45 minutes.
At the 45 minute mark add the Irish Moss and also the last 250g of Vienna malt crushed to a rough flour. This gives an extra malty/grainy flavour. Boil for another 10 minutes.
At the 55 minute mark add all of the Hallertau Hersbrucker hops. Boil for another 5 minutes.
At the 60 minute mark turn off the heat and whirlpool the wort for 30 minutes.
In a separate pot bring the 2.5kg of sorghum syrup and a kettle full of boiling water to the boil to sterilise.
Strain both pots into your fermenter and top up fermenter with chilled water until you've got 21 litres. Add your 2 lt yeast starter and ferment at 12 degrees celcius.
If you like your beers a little bit more hoppier than malty I've made this beer using multiple hop additions through out the boil as well as dry hopping and it makes a really lovely German style lager as well. I kegged my last batch of this but if you choose to bottle your beer just follow my usual bottling techniques.
Starting Gravity 1.042 Finishing Gravity 1.010 4.2% ABV approx. 18 IBU approx