I tried my hand at brewing honey beer a few months ago with the sweet and light Sage Honey, which brewed into a delightful batch of Sage Honey Bee Ale. While this was a hit, my taste testers started to ask what other varieties of honey would taste like brewed in a similar manner. So for this new batch of beer I decided to use a darker variety, Buckwheat Honey, and doubled the amount to preserve more of the honey flavor and aroma.
While I attempted to make a similar beer, a few variations took place that I think are worth noting. This might all seem very scientific and measured, but really I’m new to brewing, (and I haven’t used the scientific method in 15 years) so these changes are based on information I gathered to make better beer with a splash of my own creativity.
- Doubled the amount of honey to 6 lbs.
- Added the Golden Malt Extract and honey in two stages with the second addition after flameout
- Used Liquid Yeast instead of dry
The resulting Buckwheat Honey beer was a great success. By adding more honey this time the flavor of the beer had a great honey start with a malty finish. The extra honey also kicked up the alcohol percentage a notch to 7.3%. The biggest difference between my first brew and this one is the forward taste of honey, whereas the Sage Honey in the first batch was somewhat overpowered by the rest of the ingredients, Buckwheat Honey tends to have a stronger flavor, which honey lovers find amazing. The only downside of brewing this beer is I only brewed 5 gallons and delicious beer doesn’t seem to last long in the fridge. So back to the recipe book I went, in search of my next batch, Avocado Honey Ale- stay tuned!
Yields: Twenty 22oz. beers
Active time: 4 hours
Total time: 6 weeks
- Beer Brewing Kit
- 3 gallons water
- 16 lbs. of ice (2 gallons)
- 3.3 lbs. Gold Malt Extract
- 6 lbs. Raw Buckwheat Honey
- 8 oz. Carapils (Grains)
- 1 oz. Tettnang (Bittering Hops)
- 1 oz. Vanguard (Aroma Hops)
- Wyeast American Ale Yeast #1056
- 3/4 cup corn sugar
- Steep Carapils Grains at 155°F for 15 – 30 minutes.
- Remove the Carapils and bring the water to a boil.
- Add 1.65 lbs. of Gold Malt Extract to the kettle once the water is boiling, stirring it in slowly so it won’t stick or burn on the bottom. We now call the mixture wort.
- Add 1 oz. of Tettnang Hops to the wort and boil for 60 minutes.
- At 45 minutes in remove wort from burner, add the 3 lbs. of Buckwheat honey, and the rest of the Gold Malt Extract, stirring it in slowly. Once all added return to burner.
- At 58 minutes in, add 1 oz. of Vanguard hops.
- Once 60 minutes are up, remove the wort from heat and stir in the last 3 lbs. of Buckwheat honey
- Cool the wort quickly by adding 16 lbs. of ice and bring the temperature down to 80°F.
- Pour the cooled wort into the fermenter bucket and top off with water if not quite at 5 gallons.
- Aerate the wort to add oxygen by stirring vigorously for a minute.
- Pitch the yeast into the wort, put the top on the fermenter.
- Wait 2 weeks – during this time the yeast is converting the sugar to alcohol.
- Once the two weeks has passed fill twenty 22 oz. bottles and cap the lids.
- Store the beer bottles in a dark, cool place for 2 to 4 more weeks for carbonation.
- Refrigerate, and enjoy your homemade Honey Bee Ale.
This recipe has been simplified down to the basic steps- if you’re interested in brewing a Honey Beer swing by your local brewing supply store or check-out Midwest Supplies online.