Honey quality

For those making mead and related drinks
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Honey quality

Post by Laripu » Sat Sep 12, 2015 8:39 pm

In a week or two I'll be bringing back a metheglin I haven't made for over 20 years. It's a ginger meth called "Old 11-ish" and I make it carbonated in 350 ml beer bottles to 11% ABV, with cheap bulk honey.

So I wanted to know the number of gravity points I could expect. Measuring a sample of 40 grams of honey in 200 ml of water, I found that my Sam's Club cheapo honey would yield 34 gravity points per pound in a US gallon. For you guys, that's 28.3 gravity points per pound in a UK gallon. Or for the metric minded, that's 28.4 gravity points per kg in 10 litres.

It strikes me that this is the bottom of the range for honey, although certainly within the range quoted by many web pages.

Do you get more sugars in honey in the UK, when using good honey from bee-keepers? What about the cheapest Tesco honey?
Bulk aging, now on oak chips: tart cherry melomel, ~11% abv
1. "Old 11-ish", ginger braggot. ~11% abv
2. "Wee Drappie", dark ale, 4.7% abv, 28 BU
3. "X", Canadian style blond ale, 6% abv, 25 BU
4. Kvass, unhopped bread-based near-beer with German rye bread. ~2% abv
5. Khamsa, ancient ale. Barley malt, wheat malt, kamut, dates, and honey. 1.064-1.010, 7.1%, 27 BU

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Re: Honey quality

Post by Wonkydonkey » Sun Sep 13, 2015 10:22 am

I thought honey was honey, in the term of sugars. It's just what the bees have been visting and the copsosition of that plants nectar. So honey has more or less glucose/ fructose ratio.
All honey will crystallise over time. It's just that some are quicker than others. Eg. Rape seed sets in the conmb if it's not extracted very soon after the flowers drop from the plant. Where as acacia honey is one of the longest types to set.
also.. It has an amout of water in it, which is less than 20% (around 17-19%) other wise it would start to ferment with those wild yeasts. but in heather honey it's a bit higher 20-23% but that's to do with heather and the honey is strange in the fact it sets. but with a bit of stiring it becomes runny and sets again

The thing the big company's do with honey is heat it, filter it. And then it don't crystallise as quick as it has most of the pollen taken out. And cos it's heated it can loose that delicate flavour it had.

So that's what I know about honey.
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Re: Honey quality

Post by JamesF » Sun Sep 13, 2015 5:38 pm

You're quite right. All honey should be around 80% sugars and 20% water with a very small proportion of other stuff thrown in. More than 20% water and it will ferment, as you say.

I have three or four 15lb buckets of honey that's mostly oilseed rape. It has gone absolutely rock solid. My plan is to put the entire open bucket in a fermenter with some warm water, give it a good stir with the other stuff required and then pitch some yeast when it gets to the right temperature. I'm sure they'll sort it out.

Fermenting: Nothing!
Conditioning: London Pride, Old Speckled Hen, Beaverdale Chardonnay
Maturing: Brewalong Wee Bee, Arkell's Kingsdown, Beaverdale Sauvignon Blanc, Beaverdale Gewurztraminer, Beaverdale Shiraz (5G)
Drinking: Marston's Pedigree, Elderflower Champagne, OSH, London Pride, Arkell's Kingsdown, Seymour's Hobgoblin, Jim's ESB, Fuller's ESB, Arkell's 3B, Beaverdale Shiraz, Beaverdale Merlot
Planned: SMaSH brews with a range of hops, some variety of stout
Pints brewed in 2016: 323
Pints brewed in 2015: 619

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