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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2007 * Archive through October 20, 2007 * Honey 101 < Previous Next >

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dhacker
Senior Member
Username: Dhacker

Post Number: 1087
Registered: 11-2002
Posted From: 65.4.248.206
Posted on Sunday, October 07, 2007 - 01:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Not that Iím looking to save a buck or two . . (okay, Iím actually looking to save more than that) but would it be total sacrilege to use off the shelf honey for a cyser? Not that I donít want to use orange blossom, starthistle, raspberry or pure clover honey, but at close to $4 a pound from online brew shops, my sort of local apiary farm, and the Mennonites, 10 to 15 lbs. for an ABC is starting to approach the cost of precious gems. Shopping at Samís last night I noticed their Bakerís and Chefís brand of pure honey at $7.99 for 5 lbs. Yeah, itís a blend from all sorts places from Canada to Mexico . . India to Uruguay . . .

Will someone empirically tell me there is so much difference that I would ruin a cyser batch with this stuff?
 

Paul Hayslett
Senior Member
Username: Paulhayslett

Post Number: 1364
Registered: 02-2002
Posted From: 71.234.46.245
Posted on Sunday, October 07, 2007 - 01:52 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hard to say in an ABC, with all the other ingredients and spices. I wouldn't make a straight mead with the stuff from Sam's.

But then, I'm even picky about the apiary I buy from. Honey from the closest to me usually has some sort of mint or wintergreen undertone that becomes much more pronounced in the finished mead. I probably drive by 8 or 10 beekeepers on my way to the pick-your-own farm which has the stuff I really like. So maybe I'm not the right guy to ask!
 

Paul Hayslett
Senior Member
Username: Paulhayslett

Post Number: 1365
Registered: 02-2002
Posted From: 71.234.46.245
Posted on Sunday, October 07, 2007 - 01:54 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I should probably add that I bought 30lbs from the guy at $5/lb last month. So, obviously, I'm also not the guy to ask about saving money. (Yeah, there was the inevitable "You spent WHAT on honey??" from the other side of the dinner table.)
 

Steve Jones
Intermediate Member
Username: Stevej

Post Number: 384
Registered: 08-2001
Posted From: 24.158.130.98
Posted on Sunday, October 07, 2007 - 02:24 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

3 or 4 years ago 4 of us went in on a bulk honey buy and got 3 5 gallon buckets (Orange Blossom, Clover, Blueberry) of honey from Dutch Gold Honey in PA. Including the buckets and shipping, our total was about $1.50 per lb. It looks like their prices have gone up about $15 per 5 gallons since then, or about 25 cents per lb. With Orange Blossom at $90, I'm sure you can get it for less than $2 per lb shipped.

The place is Dutch Gold Honey in Lancaster PA. The also sell 5 lb containers that includes varietals Blueberry and Tupelo. When I called and talked to them, I asked about 5 gallons of varietals and they said they could do it - that is how I found out that the Blueberry was available. I was told that their honey is minimally processed just using coarse filtration. I was quite pleased with it, and in a couple weeks will be using the last of my blueberry to make my second batch of ABC.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 7797
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.225.170
Posted on Sunday, October 07, 2007 - 06:05 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

That makes me long for the days (eight years ago) when I could buy 5 gallon buckets (60 lbs.) of honey from a local beekeeper for $50. I recall buying two buckets, one of clover honey and a second of mixed origin ("wildflower") and making numerous batches of meads and honey beers.

Five dollars a pound, eh! Ouch!
 

JimTanguay
Advanced Member
Username: Pizzaman

Post Number: 681
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 24.18.213.14
Posted on Sunday, October 07, 2007 - 08:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I wish I could make meads. I am allergic to bee stings and I get mild reactions to unpasturized honey after a couple sips.
 

Doug W
Intermediate Member
Username: Pivorat

Post Number: 313
Registered: 08-2004
Posted From: 75.21.187.67
Posted on Sunday, October 07, 2007 - 11:01 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

A ABC of sams materials is a better choice then NO ABC in my book.
 

Steve Jones
Intermediate Member
Username: Stevej

Post Number: 385
Registered: 08-2001
Posted From: 24.158.130.98
Posted on Monday, October 08, 2007 - 12:32 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hear Hear!!
 

Matt B
Junior Member
Username: Mattb

Post Number: 56
Registered: 02-2005
Posted From: 68.19.16.39
Posted on Monday, October 08, 2007 - 12:43 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

In an ABC, the signature of the honey may not be as important.

Frankly, $5 per lb. blows my mind. I used to work in a honey farm and there were days when my employer, myself and one other guy would fill 8-10 55 gallon drums in a single afternoon. At $5 per pound I may ask him for a job again.

Incidentally, we ate as much as we wanted of the raw honey. I am sure I ate most of of lb. on several days. Delicious!
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 1338
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 68.32.253.156
Posted on Monday, October 08, 2007 - 04:56 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My dad's a commercial beekeeper. I helped him for 12 years.

Commercial honey is often highly processed and frequently adulterated with corn syrup and other fillers. Some of it is OK.

So I guess the question you should be asking yourself is, "Do you feel lucky, punk? DO YOU?!"
 

dhacker
Senior Member
Username: Dhacker

Post Number: 1089
Registered: 11-2002
Posted From: 74.226.105.204
Posted on Monday, October 08, 2007 - 10:42 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Graham,

If the honey had those other fillers, would they not have to be listed? FWIW, the label sez "Pure" honey, then lists the 6 countries that contributed. I'm gonna use this stuff in my honey wheat and Sweet GA honey brown coming up, and may use it in some small cyser experiments.

Steve, thanks for the link. The disparity in pricing is amazing, though . . 5 lbs. of orange blossom for $23.60 or 60 lbs. for $90, (plus shipping) Looks like bulk is definitely the way to go . . .
 

The Jolly Brewer
Senior Member
Username: Matfink

Post Number: 1832
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 213.83.78.243
Posted on Monday, October 08, 2007 - 11:24 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

what exactly is Apple Butter?
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 7798
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.225.170
Posted on Monday, October 08, 2007 - 01:04 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It's a North American thing, JB, made since colonial times. It was a way of preserving apples before refrigeration. Basically, the apples are peeled, cored and mashed with a lot of sugar and some spices, then cooked to evaporate much of the water. It's usually spread on toast like jam.

(Message edited by BillPierce on October 08, 2007)
 

The Jolly Brewer
Senior Member
Username: Matfink

Post Number: 1833
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 213.83.78.243
Posted on Monday, October 08, 2007 - 01:11 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sounds nice.
 

Steve Jones
Intermediate Member
Username: Stevej

Post Number: 386
Registered: 08-2001
Posted From: 199.190.8.12
Posted on Monday, October 08, 2007 - 02:29 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

JB, just to clarify Bill's response a bit:
When he says 'mashed', it does not mean the same as mashing when brewing. It means to pulverize the fruit. Apple Butter is not a fermented product.
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 1341
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 68.32.253.156
Posted on Monday, October 08, 2007 - 03:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"If the honey had those other fillers, would they not have to be listed?"

Per U.S. law, all ingredients are supposed to be listed. Do you feel confident that government enforcement agencies - FDA, etc. - test every single product on every single shelf? And even if they did, do you think they'd be more interested in testing for ingredients or the contaminant du jour?

My dad doesn't sell honey retail and never has, so we don't have a dog in this hunt. I'm just stating what I know to be true in the industry, at least in years past, from independent laboratory testing results.
 

John Ferens
Member
Username: John_ferens

Post Number: 207
Registered: 05-2003
Posted From: 192.104.24.222
Posted on Monday, October 08, 2007 - 05:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've used the honey from Sam's that comes in 5 lb containers a number of times, usually in a honey wheat or a belgian. Never a problem and the results taste fine, though I've never gone and paid top $ for the specialty honey in order to compare - who knows, the specialty stuff might be worth it, especially in mead or the ABC mentioned, but for an adjunct, probably not.

John.
 

Bob Wall
Senior Member
Username: Brewdudebob

Post Number: 1144
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 139.76.128.71
Posted on Monday, October 08, 2007 - 07:35 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would have to say if you are using honey to kick up the alcohol content of a beer, commercial honey would be just fine regardless of the filtration or pasteurization.

But if honey is going to be the main fermentation ingredient as in any type of mead, I would definitely use all-natural pure honey.
 

Ron Siddall
Intermediate Member
Username: El_cid

Post Number: 418
Registered: 12-2005
Posted From: 70.210.197.135
Posted on Tuesday, October 09, 2007 - 04:54 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I work in the food industry that makes food for people and pets. I must say that ingredient enforcement is MUCH stricter for pet food than human food. In fact, every state will pull pet products off the shelf for testing. If they fail in any of the ingredients or claims, they issue a stop sale and the product must be pulled from the shelfs. I have seen a stop sale on pet food but never on human food short of an actual product recall.

Go figure.
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 1344
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 68.32.253.156
Posted on Tuesday, October 09, 2007 - 05:04 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My little Pom has developed an affinity for duck. I told the 24-hour-a-day-bender-impediment that I had had duck exactly 3 times in my life, and I remembered specifically each occasion. He's had duck the last 2 nights in a row, albeit Cesar dog food with duck.
He doesn't like much of anything else, at least not that we've found.

Good God almighty. How did I arrive at this place?!
 

dhacker
Senior Member
Username: Dhacker

Post Number: 1090
Registered: 11-2002
Posted From: 65.4.202.57
Posted on Tuesday, October 09, 2007 - 11:45 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ron, is that policy new since the time pets starting eating tainted food and dying some months back? Considering what they allow to go into pet food, it may be more important to monitor the degree of guttage, spoilage, fecalage. Don't get me wrong, I'm conscientious about food quality and handling, but we'd probably all be surprised by what passes through our pie holes everyday. At this point, all I know is that looking at the Sam's honey up close and personal, I detect no floaters or sinkers. . . Invisible fillers?? Maybe. I'm still gonna use it in the two aforementioned beers and most likely as an addition to another batch of simple cider.

Oh, I have decided to also order the 60 lb. pail of Orange Blossom from Dutch Gold. Just need to figure out what other meads I want to make in addition the ABC.

Steve . . anyone . . how do you handle/ store/ package bulk honey and how long will it remain fresh?
 

Ron Siddall
Intermediate Member
Username: El_cid

Post Number: 419
Registered: 12-2005
Posted From: 75.208.242.174
Posted on Tuesday, October 09, 2007 - 02:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

dhacker, this food inspection policy has been in place much longer. The pet recall had nothing to do with inspectors finding the tainted ingredients as they do NOT look for that. What they look for is if the ash (et al) content matches the nutrient level description and so forth. Hell, we could be way short on something meant for humans and because there is minimal inspection we could get away with it. Not so with pet food.

As far as shelf life for honey, they have not found it yet. They found honey in Egyptian tooms and it was still edible. Having said that, my orange blossom crystalized somewhat in the 4 weeks that I had it sitting in my closet. Still tasted and fermented great though.

60 lbs of honey? Man that is a lot of Cyser/Mead making.
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 1346
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 68.32.253.156
Posted on Tuesday, October 09, 2007 - 03:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"Steve . . anyone . . how do you handle/ store/ package bulk honey and how long will it remain fresh?"

There's nothing you can do to keep it fresh, save minimizing its exposure to oxygen. Like LME, it will slowly darken over time and its flavors will change and intensify (probably not in the best way.) Be sure to keep it warm, because otherwise it may crystallize.

If it does crystallize, don't panic - all you have to do is gently heat it up, preferably in container in a hot water bath to avoid scorching, and it will re-liquify.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 7813
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.225.170
Posted on Tuesday, October 09, 2007 - 04:01 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I wouldn't want the volatile aromatics of a rare varietal honey to be diminished from being crystallized, but there is nothing wrong with using ordinary honey that this has happened to. I've made some very good melomels with crystallized honey. Graham's method of liquefying it is indeed the best choice.