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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Berrien County, Michigan USA
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    Default Factors affecting honey viscocity

    I know water/sugar content is a major factor. Does the nectar source(s) make a difference. I just did my first extraction (crush and strain) of four 100% capped frames of honey. The honey seems a LITTLE less viscous (i.e. less thick) than some purchased honey i have. My honey is a very light color while the thicker honey is a darker amber. I'm worried about the water content of my honey. Should I be, considering the frames were 100% capped? I know i should just purchase a refractometer but I'd prefer to hold off on that purchase for the time being. thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,572

    Default Re: Factors affecting honey viscocity

    Its unusual to have capped honey that is too high in moisture though I have heard it can happen. Some honey sources produce a heavier bodied and naturally lower moisture honey than other sources. I would guess you have little to worry about.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Panama City, Florida, USA
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    593

    Default Re: Factors affecting honey viscocity

    Chinese Tallow (popcorn tree) can be wet even after capping.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    San Mateo, Ca, USA
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    408

    Default Re: Factors affecting honey viscocity

    how hot was it when you extracted?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: Factors affecting honey viscocity

    Being in Michigan you probably had too much rain this summer like me, and the moisture content of the capped honey is coming in higher than normal, like 17.5-18.5%.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,602

    Default Re: Factors affecting honey viscocity

    Quote Originally Posted by bpeters2 View Post
    I know water/sugar content is a major factor. Does the nectar source(s) make a difference. I just did my first extraction (crush and strain) of four 100% capped frames of honey. The honey seems a LITTLE less viscous (i.e. less thick) than some purchased honey i have. My honey is a very light color while the thicker honey is a darker amber. I'm worried about the water content of my honey. Should I be, considering the frames were 100% capped? I know i should just purchase a refractometer but I'd prefer to hold off on that purchase for the time being. thanks.
    Yes perhaps if its been very wet and humid. Source, heat and "humidity" effect drying in hives. My hives get it right in kentucky, never had a fermentation problem.

    Better to say factors influencing specific gravity. A refractometer is one of the only reliable ways of determining moisture levels. The instrument measures the specific gravity (density), esentially the index of refraction is linearly proportional to the amount of sugar. More sugar reflects more light therefore you can determine the moisture content or inversely the sugar content relative to pure water. Make sure your honey is clean, free of wax, air bubbles, oils or our other stuff from crushing that will throw off measurement.

    I suppose if you had a very accurate volume and mass you could make the same measurement relative to a particular temperature.

    Honey will absorb and release mouisture from environment as function of heat, air movement, surface area and humidity. There are drying, humidity, temperature, time tables available from studies. I believe at 55% relatively humidity honey will steady state around 18% or when dried the minimum moisture level that can be achieved is 18%. 40% is like 15%. Can't really remember, i gotta be close.

    Sorry guys if this bored you im mechanical engineer and its raining this morning with nothing to do outside.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Berrien County, Michigan USA
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    20

    Default Re: Factors affecting honey viscocity

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    Being in Michigan you probably had too much rain this summer like me, and the moisture content of the capped honey is coming in higher than normal, like 17.5-18.5%.
    So do you all think its safe to keep it bottled? Or do I need to test it and dry it if needed. Thanks a lot!
    Last edited by bpeters2; 07-27-2013 at 07:44 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    2,901

    Default Re: Factors affecting honey viscocity

    Moisture of 18.5% is fine to bottle, it is just the high end of the moisture scale for bottling and I guess it could ferment sooner than honey at a lower moisture, that's all I know and I may be incorrect so someone else can add their two cents.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,572

    Default Re: Factors affecting honey viscocity

    Quote Originally Posted by bpeters2 View Post
    So do you all think its safe to keep it bottled? Or do I need to test it and dry it if needed. Thanks a lot!
    If you are worried and don't want to invest in a refreactometer just leave your honey in a flat open container like a cake pan with some gentle air movement over it for a day or two until you like the consistency. Assuming its in a fairly low humidity environment that should reduce the moisture a point or so pretty easily.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
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    1,602

    Default Re: Factors affecting honey viscocity

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    If you are worried and don't want to invest in a refreactometer just leave your honey in a flat open container like a cake pan with some gentle air movement over it for a day or two until you like the consistency. Assuming its in a fairly low humidity environment that should reduce the moisture a point or so pretty easily.
    Its hard to say if your honey will store well. You could freeze the honey if you worried about fermentation and don't have a reliable way to test mouisture.

    This works if your house is air conditioned or you live in dry climate <50% RH. Maximum surface is critcal when drying along with a fan like jim lyon suggested, something like a pan or large casserole, pyrex dish. From what I've read the best way is drying uncapped honey in the comb, just like the bees do. Not so messy and surface area is maximized

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: Factors affecting honey viscocity

    > Does the nectar source(s) make a difference.

    Yes. Some is very viscous even at the same water content.

    Thixotropic = A quality of a liquid where its viscosity gets thinner when shaken, stired or agitated and thicker when left undisturbed so that it becomes a gel. In the case of honey some honey sources have this quality such as heather and manuka and these often require special ways of extracting.

    In my climate, if it's 90% capped it's dry enough. But in some more humid climates this is not true.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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