Honey flavor

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Ancient Abbey
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Honey flavor

Postby Ancient Abbey » Wed Jan 27, 2016 9:38 am

I see conflicting reports on honey flavor, even between members on this forum, let alone with other sources. George Fix claimed 2,3-pentanedione is a natural yeast byproduct that likens to honey and is part of the VDK complex. Several have claimed that honey flavor is a product of oxidation and staling of finished beer. Many German maltsters pride themselves on producing honey flavors and aromas in some of their malts. Some here have written that honey flavor is wrong for a German helles, and some here have written that you must use certain malts to ensure you get that honey flavor. I totally get that all these conversations and postings happened over time, and we learn as we go. However, I am curious what the consensus is now....

Is honey part of the flavor profile of a great German helles? Do we strive to produce it, or avoid it?
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Bryan R
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Re: Honey flavor

Postby Bryan R » Wed Jan 27, 2016 9:47 am

Honey in wort, no honey in beer.
Kit_B
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Re: Honey flavor

Postby Kit_B » Wed Jan 27, 2016 10:39 am

There is a distinct difference between the honey flavors of old, crappy, poorly treated beer that tastes stale & a fresh flavor that is honey-like, due to its resemblance to a field of flowers & grain.
We are talking about 2 different flavors & situations.
Unfortunately, we have not been able to easily put our definitions into words.
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Ancient Abbey
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Re: Honey flavor

Postby Ancient Abbey » Wed Jan 27, 2016 10:48 am

Are we talking about the same chemical compound for honey, just in different malt contexts. That is, the honey is always the same, but the malt may be fresh and aromatic vs old and stale. Or, are there multiple compounds that we detect as honey?
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Kit_B
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Re: Honey flavor

Postby Kit_B » Wed Jan 27, 2016 4:26 pm

I'm not a chemist of any kind & I don't know what all the compounds are that mimic a honey-like flavor.
But, I know the difference between the fresh honey-like flavor & aroma that I get in really, really good wort & the crappy honey that I get from a poorly treated bottle of helles.
The only real way to fully understand what I'm saying is to physically compare those 2.
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Re: Honey flavor

Postby Bryan R » Thu Jan 28, 2016 8:21 am

Malto-meal and honey, maybe wildflower honey when hops are present(grain dependent). Fresh grain in finished beer.
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Roachbrau
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Re: Honey flavor

Postby Roachbrau » Thu Jan 28, 2016 6:05 pm

The good honey starts strong and fades away over time. The bad honey doesn't appear until the finished product, and grows stronger with time. I don't know much about chemistry, or whether the same compound is responsible, but that's the difference to me.

I think good honey is just some form of malt sugar. Bad honey is the product of oxidation. Good honey is elusive and desirable, bad honey is a symptom of poor handling or age.
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Brandon
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Re: Honey flavor

Postby Brandon » Thu Jan 28, 2016 9:44 pm

Roachbrau wrote:The good honey starts strong and fades away over time. The bad honey doesn't appear until the finished product, and grows stronger with time. I don't know much about chemistry, or whether the same compound is responsible, but that's the difference to me.

I think good honey is just some form of malt sugar. Bad honey is the product of oxidation. Good honey is elusive and desirable, bad honey is a symptom of poor handling or age.


To me it's not honey (and I keep bees so maybe I spend enough time around hives to have a bias). Honey and German beer both share the same aromatics, but it's flowers. Honey at its core is sugar. Beer (or wort) is sugar. It's not about that. it about the floral aromatics. And they are very delicate ones at that, hence why they are easy to lose.
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Weizenberg
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Re: Honey flavor

Postby Weizenberg » Fri Feb 05, 2016 4:58 am

Germans visiting Bavaria always comment positively how fresh the beer is.

Surprisingly, there is a lot of room for manoeuvre with Bavarian Helles as far as flavour development goes.

The most boring example of this style is the Munich type. Venturing further into Oberbayern or taking the plunge into Niederbayern you'll get to see hugely interesting- and much better tasting examples ;)

Must be difficult to make something which is very far away and not easy to come by.
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Ancient Abbey
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Re: Honey flavor

Postby Ancient Abbey » Fri Feb 05, 2016 7:15 am

Weizenberg wrote:The most boring example of this style is the Munich type. Venturing further into Oberbayern or taking the plunge into Niederbayern you'll get to see hugely interesting- and much better tasting examples ;)

What do you feel is the biggest driver of the differences between those beers you quoted?

I think this is often why people are so focused on recipe. It's hard to trust recipe formulation when you don't know how the beer tastes fresh. I can go to any watering hole down the street and dissect an American IPA, porter, stout, etc. and be reasonably close because the flavors are so fresh. I can tell the difference between chinook and amarillo, because the are fresh. It's much harder do this with beers that have traveled 5,000 miles and sat on a warm shelf for who knows how long.
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