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Tweaking a Munton's 3kg Red Ale Kit - Honey & Dry Hops

Discuss problems, tweaks, or anything else related to your beer kit based brews.

Postby orkay » Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:29 pm

I'm going to start on my second kit brew - a Muntons Premium Gold Smugglers Special Premium Ale kit tomorrow, and I'm thinking of making a few tweaks.

As per a suggestion from Philgill in another thread, I'm going to give dry hopping a go to increase the aroma and a bit of depth to the taste. To further the taste (and about .5% ABV), I'm thinking of adding some honey too.

So the plan is:
add 500g honey to the kit before pitching the yeast
about 14 days fermenting
add 40g hops (probably cascade)
another 7 days fermenting
bottle and awarding of medals for awesomeness

I was wondering does anyone have any observations, tips, advice on this? As always, your experience is much appreciated! :D
orkay
 
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Postby orkay » Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:05 pm

Just to update this thread, I added the honey to the mix while doing the brew. It all mixed it fine so looks good so far, and is happily fermenting away at a steady 19c.
The only thing is the OG was 1056. I think the advertised FG for this would be 1014 which would lead to brain-blasting 7.3%!
I don't think it'll get as low as 1014, but the extra sugars in the honey will ramp up the alcohol anyway. It'll be interesting to see the FG as well as the taste effect of the honey.
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Postby Irish Party Ale » Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:10 pm

Dont be too surprised if there is very little flavour added by the honey. Im my experience, the sugars in raw honey are mostly all fermented out. Hopefully for you, my experiences are not repeated
Ed
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Conditioning;
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Planning; Interesting Powerless Ale
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Postby Philgill » Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:37 pm

I think to make the most of Honey you should put it in after the initial burst of fermentation, that way you preserve some of the aroma. I used a jar of it recently with a stout and it took a really long time to ferment out (about 3 weeks). Be prepared to sit on it, give it plenty of time to condition.
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Postby Irish Party Ale » Fri Mar 15, 2013 3:15 pm

If you want to preserve some of the honey sweetness, I'd recommend boiling the honey for about 1/2 an hour to make some of the sugars less fermentable
Ed
Primary; A drought of nowt
Conditioning;
Drinking; Very Vintage Ale, Very Vintage RIS, random unlabelled bottles
Planning; Interesting Powerless Ale
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Postby orkay » Tue Mar 19, 2013 5:21 pm

Thanks for the information everyone; next time I'll leave the honey out of the FV for the first week or so.
I tried it last night after 5 days in FV. It was at 1020, so the yeast was having a great time for the few days. I fortunately managed to keep it at a consistent 19c which probably helped.
The brew tasted amazing, with a small hint of honey as a late aftertaste, so I'm quite happy so far. I'll leave it as is until fermentation is as close to three weeks as I can get it.

I'm not sure about dry hopping this one now, unless it was to add a subtle aroma and taste as opposed to anything too strong. Would 20g of cascade hops dry-hopped for about 5 days achieve this? I know it depends on personal tastes of course - but would this be a decent guesstimate? I'm not looking for anything too punchy because I think it would upset the mellowness of what's there so far.

I've got to say I'm loving this new hobby. I've already got my next 3 brew planned out! :mrgreen:
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Postby Ciderhead » Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:56 am

Irish Party Ale wrote:If you want to preserve some of the honey sweetness, I'd recommend boiling the honey for about 1/2 an hour to make some of the sugars less fermentable


If you boil honey you will kill any flavour in it, eliminating its fragrance and changing the chemical composition of the honey itself :(
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Postby Philgill » Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:51 am

orkay wrote:I'm not sure about dry hopping this one now, unless it was to add a subtle aroma and taste as opposed to anything too strong. Would 20g of cascade hops dry-hopped for about 5 days achieve this? I know it depends on personal tastes of course - but would this be a decent guesstimate? I'm not looking for anything too punchy because I think it would upset the mellowness of what's there so far.

I've got to say I'm loving this new hobby. I've already got my next 3 brew planned out! :mrgreen:


Get another fermenter and split the batch - dry hop one and leave the other :)

Dry hopping itself shouldn't affect the bitterness of the beer but I do think it will impact the flavour. Something like a cascade will give you a citrus like flavour. I dry hopped 20 litres of a red ale with 50g Nelson Sauvin recently and I was delighted with the outcome of it. Some friends liked it, some didnt - all a matter or personal taste :)
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Postby orkay » Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:54 am

I had a read of the hops facts & figures page and I think you're right - the cascade would be more for an IPA for me. I'll go for the Goldings instead and do 50g for 5 days so it won't be too dominant.

As for another fermenter, I'd love to, but it'd be too busy fermenting other batches for me. I think I'll need to get a few good batches under my belt before I can make the case to Intelligence Branch! 8)
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