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Recipe: Bieken

Source: Homebrew Recipe Book - Beer Captured -

"Bieken has a thick-cushioned white head with some large bubles sitting atop a slightly hazy, gold-colored beer. The aroma is one of clean, smooth honey. The palate is a canvas of honey, malt and fruit with splashes of spicy hops. Bieken is a a well-crafted beer and provides the drinker with a unique taste experience."

Flavor peaks between 3 and 6 months, but will age for up to a year.

  • Started Brewing: Sep 18, 2011
  • Original Gravity: 1.088
  • Finished Brewing: Dec 23, 2011
  • Final Gravity: 1.021
  • Alcohol by Volume: 8.8%
  • Would Make Again?: Yes  

Final Review

This was a simple recipe that produced a strong, aromatic, flavorful beer. The orange peel is undetectable, but I'm not sure that is a bad thing. The honey I used from my hive is a very flavor rich wild flower. Orange blossom honey has hints of citrus, but I don't think that would translate through the brewing process. Skipping the extra yeast three days before bottling appears to have had no negative impact on this long aging beer.

Taste Notes

This has a strong honey aroma and flavor. Not as sweet as a mead and is firmly grounded with flavors you'd expect of a beer. The flavor should continue to mature over the next 6 months and I expect the sweet remnants of the priming sugar/honey to completely dissipate.

Notes From Sept. 18, 2011 (Brewing)

Gravity Reading: 1.088

Instead of using orange blossom honey, I used wild flower honey from my bees and added 0.05oz (~1.5 tsp) of dried orange peel for the last 5 minutes of the boil. I also upped the final honey quantity to 5oz because the honey was crystalized and I wanted to make sure a full 4 oz made it in to the wort.

The first gravity reading was 1.040. Low probably because of an issue with the thermometer during the mash. To boost the gravity to 1.088, I boiled 2.5 lbs of honey and 5.5 oz of Light Dry Extract for 30 minutes in about 2 quarts of water.

Notes From Sept. 19, 2011 (Other)

Gravity Reading: [Not given]

The batch is closer to 5.5 gal. Despite being in a 7 gal bucket, it started to overflow the airlock a little over 12 hours in the bucket. I replaced the airlock with a hose in a bucket of sanitizer.

Notes From Sept. 26, 2011 (Moving to Secondary)

Gravity Reading: 1.021

The beer has a strong honey flavor and smell. It tastes like a beer/mead hybrid.

Notes From Oct. 5, 2011 (Moving to Secondary)

Gravity Reading: [Not given]

Transferred from 6.5 gal carboy to 5 gal carboy. Forgot to taste. :(

Notes From Nov. 13, 2011 (Bottling/Kegging)

Gravity Reading: [Not given]

The beer seems to have darkened and the flavor is more on the side of a mead than a honey ale. Delicious and drinkable as is. I skipped pitching another batch of yeast due to forgetting and scheduling conflicts. It will most likely be slightly under carbonated, but I feel this will go well with its stronger mead leanings.

Notes From Nov. 29, 2011 (Other)

Gravity Reading: [Not given]

Opened first tasting bottle. The beer is mostly flat. Yeast is working slowly, but there is a slight Psst when opening the bottle. The honey flavor is muted by the priming sugar that is still present. Next tasting deferred until late December to allow the yeast to do what it needs to do.