What is barrel-aged honey? I didn’t know it had to be aged!
It is honey that has spent time in used spirit barrels, usually months. Honey does not have to be aged.
How is honey different in a barrel than spirit?
Honey is like a sponge. It absorbs the wood and spirit character from what was in the barrel. It has a tendency to dry out a barrel because unlike spirits water it does not soak into and saturate the wood. We hope to try different techniques to maximize the flavor extraction in the future but right now we’re letting nature, time, and the elements work their magic.
Will each batch taste the same?
No. Our goal is to really focus on the uniqueness of the honey varieties and the distinct flavor profiles that the distilleries create. Buckwheat honey from different areas can have very different flavors, some more barnyard and earthy than others, depending on where the hives were. The same goes for wildflower, and berry honeys, and we want to taste every honey and be deliberate in our choice of what barrels would work with them. Lee’s work in distilleries gives her a unique perspective and appreciation for how much of a difference mash bills and where cuts in the distillation process make to the spirits that will go into the barrel.
Will I have to wait months for a new batch every time?
We hope not. We will be working hard to get as much honey as possible into as many barrels as we can, but one decision we stand behind is that we would not release a honey that wasn’t up to our standard. If it needs more time in barrel, we will give it that time. We’ve got different processes in place to stagger our release and aging so that we will always have product available. We think part of the fun of this project is that since each batch will be unique, we have opportunities to find different culinary and cocktail uses for each original batch, as well as collaborating with local businesses to create a special dish or product that will highlight the honey.
My honey crystalized what does that mean?
It’s a good thing. Crystalized honey just means that your honey is raw and not subjected to high heat. Some honeys crystalize faster or more frequently than others. Two principal sugars in honey are fructose (fruit sugar) and glucose (grape sugar) and the percentage of fructose ranges from 30- 45% and glucose from 30- 45%. The proportion of these sugars causes the crystallization of honey, and can determine whether the honey crystallizes quickly or slowly. Depending on the size of the crystals, it can make your honey very spreadable, an example is creamed honey which is made up of finely crystalized honey. I generally do not heat my honey above 110 degrees and the high sugar content coupled with the naturally low ph of honey makes it very stable by inhibiting growth of bacteria. Do not give raw honey to children 1 year or younger.