Sunday, November 10, 2013

Let it Bee Honey Ale

My friend and neighbor keeps a hive of honey bees and posed this question a few months ago.

Can you make a beer using lots of honey and heather?

And of course I said yes. I do love an experiment in Beer.

Previously, I had made a few brews using honey. But even Indie's Honey Mutt Brown Ale was limited to a single pound of store bought clover honey. And I never used heather. So, when trying to figure out what to do with Ryan's honey and heather, I decided I would head towards a strong scottish ale. Heather was used in scottish brewing before hops became the bittering preservative of choice. Plus, I also had the remains of a 55# bag of Maris Otter Malt (from the UK) and some other random specialty malts (my recipes are always driven from a practical point of view).

Anyway, here's what I came up with:

12# of Maris Otter Base Malt
1# of local honey added during boil
2.25# of honey added as Wort was cooling (at 150 degrees)
1# Dark Wheat Malt
1# of Crystal 60
12 oz Carapils
8 oz of Aromatic Malt
2 oz homegrown heather
1.5 oz of Roasted Barley

And homegrow Nugget (bittering) and Cascade hops (aroma).

Originally, I had planned to Use Mangrove Jack's West Coast Ale Yeast, but my slurry had sat dormant for too long. So I ended up using dry English Ale yeast since it was the only backup yeast I had.

Anyway, this is a great beer. Very smooth, aromatic, and dry. And did I mention strong.

Let it Bee!