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Doctor's Orders Brewing
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From Tuesday Goodliving section in the SMH an article by Willie Simpson on honey in beer.


Bees' whacks
By Willie Simpson
February 15, 2005

The buzz of honey beers comes from their versatility, not just sweetness.

Honey beer has gathered quite a following since Brad Rogers developed his unusual brew during his time at Queensland's Masthead Brewery in the late 1990s. These days Rogers is the head brewer of Matilda Bay Brewing Company and Beez Neez is one the biggest sellers in the portfolio, alongside Redback.

Equal proportions of amber honey, malted barley and malted wheat are used and Beez Neez is only moderately hopped. Rogers adds the honey at the kettle stage and it ferments out to a considerable dryness. The faintly floral honey notes, soft palate and crisp finish obviously appeal to drinkers seeking a refreshing, different beer.

Honeys vary enormously in flavour. I have thrown clover honey into a lager home-brew kit and the results were fine, but I prefer my leatherwood honey on toast. In Peter Carey's Bliss, the dippy hippie Honey Barbara tells Harry Bliss that leatherwood is "the Rolls-Royce of honeys". It's certainly full-flavoured with some heavily perfumed notes.

To my knowledge, Tasmanian leatherwood has been used in three different beers.

Recently, I sampled Leatherwood Honey Ale, one of the regular seasonal brews at Redoak Boutique Beer Cafe. David Hollyoak has brewed a golden ale and deliberately kept the bitterness down. The honey is boiled in the brew-kettle and adds a subtle beeswax note to the aroma and a distinctly musky character to the mid-palate.

Like so many of Redoak's beers, the honey ale really pushes the boundaries of where beer can go. I reckon it would be a good match with some Pyengana Cheddar and Walker's oatmeal biscuits.

Hobart's Dark Isle Brewery produces tiny quantities of beer, including Leatherwood Porter, which complements the honey with roasted malts and a reasonable bitterness. It's a lot of flavour but one you're not likely to forget in a hurry.

And it's a vastly different beer to the Boag's Honey Porter that was released as a one-off brew in 2003. One of the most complex Australian beers I've had, it combined huge roasty flavours, a musky sweetness and a substantial bitterness (provided by a new Tasmanian hop variety, Van Diemen). Leatherwood honey was pumped in as the beer was transferred from the fermenter to conditioning tanks - it was added as a sweetener rather than being fermented, as with the other honey beers.

Young's Waggle Dance (from Britain) is another interesting honey ale whose name is inspired by the little dance bees do to inform each other about nectar sources.

I'm reliably informed that, depending on the intricate dance steps, bees can tell their mates what sort of flowers they've just plundered, as well as the direction and distance. Clever little fellows, bees.

Waggle Dance is decidedly sweet, with a big burst of honey character, and makes an ideal dessert beer. Try it with some sticky Greek honey cake.

Backlane Brewery

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Huh...the last time I had a Beez Neez was a couple of weeks ago (work local has it on tap) and I would have said the honey was added very late in the process, like the Boag's mentioned. The taste comes through as pure honey, didn't seem dry at all. More then faint floral notes mentioned inthe article.
WaggleDance is very subtle, and very good. Think Fullers do a similar summer ale in the UK as well.


Winter's Flat's #1 Brewer, now that XXXX have move
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Spoke to an apiarist today about "clover honey"
Due to the big dry, none available yet, but its the best for brewing, nil eucy flavor.

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