Monday Brews: Reviewing Ben Franklin’s Honey

I’m back from a series of mini-vacations. In that time my Ben Franklin’s Honey Ale was able to carbonate and mature enough to try it out. So today I will review my second beer, Ben Franklin’s Honey!

Brewing Ben Franklin’s Honey

Bottling Ben Franklin's Honey while enjoying Alberti Amber!

Bottling Ben Franklin’s Honey while enjoying Alberti Amber!

I’ve mentioned this beer before so I won’t go into depth here but I wanted to mention a few things.

The first is that brewing my second batch of beer was much less intimidating than the first. Everything was easier. Everything went better. And the overall amount of time and effort that was required fell a lot.

The second thing I wanted to mention is that I recently learned a little about lagering. This seemingly has nothing to do with Ben Franklin’s Honey, however, I only learned about lagering due to a conversation that was started because of Ben Franklin’s Honey. Why do I mention this? See more below.

The third thing I wanted to mention is that timing is an important part of brewing beer. Due to the amount of time is takes to brew/ferment/carbonate it is important to choose a date by which you want your beer to be ready. Then work backwards. So assume you want a month in the bottles. Then add in a week in the carboy. Then add a week in the fermenter. All told for a simple ale you’re looking at a month and a half minimum. That’s how far in advance you need to brew before your desired release party.

So completing my second brew has taught me a lot about the process and what it all involves. And I now have a great summer beer to enjoy over the next couple months!

Tasting Ben Franklin’s Honey

Last night I had the privilege of sharing the first tasting of Ben Franklin’s Honey with three friends over a game of Ora et Labora. My friends were willing to give it a try. The collective opinion: Enjoyable!

This beer is a pretty light beer that tastes “summery.” It comes in around 5% alcohol. It has a light and clear color. The honey flavor was not overwhelming, which was good.

Overall I would say this was an enjoyable brew. I have plenty more to enjoy and may bring a few to GenCon. I will hold off on rating this beer until I have had a few more. But if this brew is like the Alberti Amber, which got much better after maturing in the bottles for a month, then this will be a fantastic beer come August!

Ben Franklin’s Honey’s Successor?

So above I mentioned lagering. This leads me to my next brew. I am planning on brewing an Oktoberfest!

The problem with lagering is that it is slow and needs to ferment at a cooler temp than a typical basement. My luxury is that I have an extra refrigerator in my basement. So I can probably adjust the temperature on the fridge to a point that might work for lagering.

Since I can try to lager, I now have to make sure the timing will work. If lagering takes 6 weeks and maturing in the bottle takes a month, then I have 2.5 months before it will be drinkable. So if I want my Oktoberfest to be available at typical Oktoberfest time (September), then I need to get going on it.

If I brew within the next two weeks I should be able to have a decent Oktoberfest ready on time. Oktoberfests are one of my favorite beer styles. Perhaps it’s partially due to the season in which they show up since I really love late summer/early autumn. Perhaps it’s because I would love to attend the real Oktoberfest in Germany. Whatever the reasons, I am planning on brewing/lagering an Oktoberfest for this fall.

Have you been brewing? Any tips you’d like to share about lagering? I’m planning a post about the lagering process and how it compares to brewing ales and your tips could be included. Thanks for reading!

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Posted on June 24, 2013, in Homebrewing, Lessons Learned, The Barley and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I too, have thought about making a lager. Actually my first batch was a Vienna Lager kit from Brewer’s Best. Thankfully the lager yeast in this beer work well when fermented as an ale(65-70deg.F).It turned out quite nice! I am concerned about other lager yeast and problems that might occur unless you have the ability to properly control the temp. As I understand it the process for lagering is: after yeast is pitched it is held at 60 to 70 degreesF for 2 – 7 days. then the temp. is gradually dropped by no more than 2 degrees a day until reaching 35 – 45 deg. F then held there for a month or better. So my problem is, I don’t want to take any chances, I have had a whole 5gal. batch go bad over 1 small sanitary issue. Believe me it sucked, it was an all-grain batch at that! What I would recommend for a lager, is getting an old refrigerator and a digital temp. controller. That way you don’t wait 3months just to find out that yeast don’t work so well at ale temps. Unless you have a cool basement you could move it in too. How ever you get there I hope it comes out great! If you have any questions, ask. Maybe I can help or maybe we’ll both learn something!

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