Honey Wheat Ale
After trying out a Honey Rye, I’d had a request to brew a Honey Wheat Ale. I’ve created some decently successful Wheat Ales, so I decided to refer to a few of my older Wheat Ale recipes for inspiration. For the honey, I went with a honey malt instead of actual honey. I’ve never been that impressed with the flavor I’ve gotten from real honey, and I wanted the flavor of honey. In my experience, the honey malt provides a better honey flavor than actual honey does. Real honey tends to ferment away and dry things out.
The all-grain recipe is mostly wheat malt and pilsner malt. Honey malt and Munich are used for a little character. The hops are the same as you might find in a Pilsner, but also what I’ve liked in Blond Ales I’ve made. The attempt is a spicy blond ale / wheat ale hybrid. In my mind this all makes sense…
All-Grain Recipe: Honey Wheat Ale
- 4 lb. – Pilsner Malt
- 4 lb. – Wheat Malt
- 12 oz. – Honey Malt
- 12 oz. – Munich Malt
- .5 lb. – Rice Hulls
Hop Additions / Boil Additions:
- 1 oz. – Hallertau (4.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
- .5 oz. – Saaz (5%) – added during boil, boiled 20 min
- .5 oz. – Hallertau (4.5%) – added during boil, boiled 20 min
- 1 Whirlfloc Tablet & Wort Chiller – added during boil, boiled 10 min
- .5 oz. – Hallertau (4.5%) – added end of boil
- .5 oz. – Saaz (5%) – added end of boil
- Safale US-05
Additional Details / Notes
- Style based on American Wheat Ale – 6D
- OG 1.047 / TG 1.012
- 4.6% ABV | Color: 8.1 °SRM | ~26.8 IBU’s
- Brewed 03/10/2013, Secondary ?, Kegged 04/14/13
- Mash Temp: ~152°, Thickness: 1.3 qt/g, Efficiency 67%, Attenuation 82%
Brewing the Honey Wheat Ale
The Mash. Poured the rice hulls in to the mash tun before the grains in an effort to keep from getting a stuck sparge. I’ve had that problem with wheat before, and it’s a pain. Not a lot of grains for this one, didn’t require much water to mash. Did a loose mash, 1.4 qt/lb. 3.5 gallons of water at 162° to get it to 151°. Recirculated 3 gallons of wort back over the grain bed after an hour to set the grain bed.
Cooling. Outdoor cooling using hose water. ~30 min.
Fermenting. Added 30 seconds of oxygen. Fermented at about 68° in basement closet. About 63° ambient temp.
Racking to Secondary & Bottling. Skipped the secondary on this batch (not sure why). Kegged entire batch.
Drinking the Honey Wheat
This one turned out okay, but I missed the mark a little in my recipe creation. I’m on a run of batches that are coming out just a little bit too sweet. I need to add a higher ratio of the base malt to let the Munich and Honey Malt be a lot more subtle. Not to say this was a bad batch, but it was nothing I will rush to make again. It’s also not a style that I’m particularly fond of drinking.
This batch didn’t age particcularly well. As with a few other batches lately, it started to take on a certain level of green apple flavor. Best I can research, that is an indication that my yeast health wasn’t where it should have been when I started. I’m hoping to get better with yeast starters going forward.
The nice thing about a Wheat Ale is that you’re brewing something that rookie homebrew drinkers have a decent shot at liking. This batch was a decent crowd pleaser, and a good recipe for new drinkers.