Author Topic: another fermented honey question  (Read 302 times)

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Offline rober

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another fermented honey question
« on: October 01, 2020, 08:14:55 pm »
one of the more venerable keepers here says that if you heat fermented honey to 180* it kills the yeast. would it then be safe to feed to bees? this is the 1st time i've had this happen. i've had an issue with my back that cramped my style of late. ( aging sucks ) the fermented honey was in a catch bucket under my uncapping station & had been forgotten while i was laid up. it had a loose lid & so was allowed to absorb moisture for near 6 weeks. i also had some honey ferment at a local feed store. that one i cannot figure out. i checked the moisture count in each bucket as i capped them & marked the % on each bucket. most of my honey was in the 16.5-17.5% range. a few were 18-19%. i've never had problems in those ranges. i've even had 20% honey not ferment. i did keep that for my own use to be safe. the honey at the feed store was 17.5.. i also delivered honey from the same bucket to a local mom & pop grocery. no problem there. i did have a pint in my garage from that batch that did ferment. there is no A.C. in my garage or at the feed store. i wonder if that is the clue. even so why would 17% honey ferment.
one more thing. the feed store is low volume. i trade out crystalized honey there all the time. the mom & pop store store sells 30 pints every 3 weeks. i don't even check with them any more. i just restock them every 2 weeks.

Offline Poderac

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Re: another fermented honey question
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2020, 08:33:25 pm »
I don't know why fermented honey would hurt bees. They get fermented sap from apples , pears, peaches, ETC. as they lay on the ground and rot.

Offline rober

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Re: another fermented honey question
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2020, 05:15:18 am »
from a previous post

"Alcohol is poisonous to bees. So be sure if you do feed it back to them, it is in small amounts. Also, as RAST Indicated, it has been known to give them dysentery… So make sure it is nice enough weather for them to handle that as well. If it were me, I would either make Mead, or dispose of it."

Offline Poderac

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Re: another fermented honey question
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2020, 06:10:20 am »
Alcohol is poisonous to humans, too, in large amounts. My thinking is, the bees know best. Alcohol is available in nature too often for it to be a big problem.

Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: another fermented honey question
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2020, 09:27:51 am »
I am just guessing about this as I don't have that much experience with making mead.  I have made a few small batches and have always added yeast, which starts the fermentation process.  I think the finished product from champagne yeast would be far superior to the naturally fermented honey.  It might be ok if you are able to wait long enough for the "natural" mead to sit.

Offline Zweefer

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Re: another fermented honey question
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2020, 09:42:15 am »
Mead made from natural yeast has kind of a funk to it… Much like you’d find in a lambic beer. An acquired taste to be sure
Keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: another fermented honey question
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2020, 07:59:10 pm »
I heard, through a reliable source, that there is hope for fermented honey.  It seems that the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Bee Lab has some buckets for fermented honey.  A phone call was made to Marion Ellis, retired from the UNL Bee Lab, and his advice was the following:
Heat the honey at 130 degrees for a minimum of 36 hours (WOW).  This will cook off the alcohol.  Then you can bottle and sell it or make mead.  You can also feed it back to the bees in the spring.  Feeding it back may cause some dysentery issues which the bees can handle better in the spring.  You can also freeze it and that will buy you time to figure out what to do. 

The big question is how do you heat a large quantity of honey for 36 hours?  Hot tub?

Offline rober

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Re: another fermented honey question
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2020, 12:15:28 am »
i have a LARGE pot that i put on a hot plate. i submerge a bucket of honey in water & set it at 1/4 power to liquify crystalized honey. it take 36 hours for a 3 gallon bucket. at that setting the honey gets to 95*. i'll try the fermented honey at the halfway point for the fermented honey & see where the temp ends up. the problem with this set up is remembering to replenish the water every few hours. i hang yellow safety tape from the laundry room & shop door headers. they're hard to miss.

Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: another fermented honey question
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2020, 09:11:41 am »
The up side is that many of us are confined close to home so this doesn't seem so unreasonable.  I think you are going to need to keep a thermometer in the honey too.  If the water level drops too low it might cool the top of the bucket of honey off. 

That was a minimum of 36 hours.

Keep us posted, rober.  I am very curious about the outcome.

Offline Zweefer

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Re: another fermented honey question
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2020, 08:41:54 am »
Good find bakers!  36 isn’t that long if you happen to have access to industrial crockpots for soup etc. I have one that will do 5 gallons at a time! Set the temp and check back later....


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Keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.
Henry David Thoreau

Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: another fermented honey question
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2020, 09:23:12 am »
Good find bakers!  36 isn’t that long if you happen to have access to industrial crockpots for soup etc. I have one that will do 5 gallons at a time! Set the temp and check back later....


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Can you post a picture of that industrial crockpot?  Come on Zweefer!  We need pictures!  :D

Offline Zweefer

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another fermented honey question
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2020, 10:27:26 am »
Out and about this weekend, but here is basically what I got


https://www.webstaurantstore.com/apw-wyott-cw-2ai-12-x-20-countertop-food-cooker-warmer-22-qt-120v-1500w/135CW2A%20%20%20%20%20120.html

I’m sure if you checked you could find better cheaper alternatives... I got mine from a restaurant that went out (thanks covid  >:()

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« Last Edit: October 18, 2020, 10:33:08 am by Zweefer »
Keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.
Henry David Thoreau