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Discussion Starter #1
Here is an interesting observation (and maybe someone knows what the scoop is).

Some of my jars with 2019 honey crop developed bubbles.
Not obvious fermentation (no smell/taste to speak of); at least not to spoil the honey - we eat it just as-is.
But there is enough gas to create pressure under the lid.
I warmed one of such jars in a car to liquefy it and free the gas bubbles - just great honey after is liquefied and nothing else in it.
Some of my pressed honeys have this; some of the extracted honey does too.

Still wonder if this is an indication of a very minimal level of fermentation (maybe even expected with raw honey).

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Discussion Starter #2
A person from my local forum (he is a chemist) commented:

Could be localized fermentation as the honey crystallizes, leaving behind a solution who's sugar content is now low enough to enable fermentation. Since no off flavors are observed, it could also potentially be cause by glucose oxidase creating H2O2 which decomposes into O2 and H20. GOx is typically inactive in fully cured honey but can be reactivated by adding water and the crystallization could provide a similar mechanism (remaining liquid now has a lower sugar content due to crystallization of glucose). Third hypothesis would be dissolved gas that is less soluble in crystallized honey.
The pictured jar is specifically C&S honey - so the dissolved air/gas is less likely to be contained in it (partly why I like pressed honey).
This is especially why I am puzzled by the bubbles in, otherwise, perfectly fine honey.
Since I harvest small batches in winter (virtually 1-2 frames a batch) - even a single jar can be unique.
I got some jars with very large crystals, small crystals, and even natural cream honey (no crystals to speak of).
Some jars never crystallize.
Now this - bubbly honey.
 

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Greg, this happened to me, and found out honey was very high in protein. Thus was darker Fall honey, with knotweed part of the mix; like you the large jar was in my pantry and bubbled over. No fermentation odor at all, tasted good; actually very good. :) That is what I was told at a bee club meeting.
 

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Greg, this happened to me, and found out honey was very high in protein. Thus was darker Fall honey, with knotweed part of the mix; like you the large jar was in my pantry and bubbled over. No fermentation odor at all, tasted good; actually very good. :) That is what I was told at a bee club meeting.
Thanks for sharing.
Indeed, then what I have is not an isolated incident.
Bubbly honey <> bad honey.
 

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GregV "Indeed, then what I have is not an isolated incident."

I believe I have experienced this issue. I called it slightly fermented honey. I gave out some jars asking for opinions. Everyone liked it, including me, some were addicted to it. This has even caused me to peruse and improve my understanding of honey crystallization, creamed honey processes and storage times for various forms of honey. Just beginning to catch on to the time of year that certain nectars produce quick crystallization around here. Also about to learn how to apply the Dyce method. Cyrstalization is driven by glucose to fructose ratios as noted by Dyce.

I am searching to find out how good a hermetic seal is provided by beeswax. :scratch:
 

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Greg, last year some of my honey developed pressure under the lid. No bubbles so to speak, but the honey had a slight tang to it. I thought it was pretty good and so did the folks that bought or were given jars of it. The water content was right at the borderline of 19% so I suspect that Robert's "slightly fermented honey" definition is indeed accurate. I have yet to have any of the honey here (tulip poplar) form crystals, even that which is now 3 years old, so I cannot speak to that part of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I got more of such jars.
The one in the middle actually spilled out (honey no longer fits into the jar due to expansion).
One other one developed bubbles as soon as I screwed off the lid, (thus releasing the pressure and the bubbles came right up).
So yes - some kind of fermentation maybe going, but I don't sense much of anything - there is maybe some very slight "tang" as you guys call it.
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I think I may need to set this guys out into a hot car and let them liquefy and let the bubbles out.
I don't recall stuffing the jars so, very full that the honey would not fitting in them.
 

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Recently tests were performed here in a lab concerning storing local honey at a range of temperatures from 4°C(40F) to 50°C(122F) and it was found that the HMF levels increased markedly at higher temps due to the fructose breaking down.
Perhaps the bubbles are a result of something similar?
 

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Recently tests were performed here in a lab concerning storing local honey at a range of temperatures from 4°C(40F) to 50°C(122F) and it was found that the HMF levels increased markedly at higher temps due to the fructose breaking down.
Perhaps the bubbles are a result of something similar?
1)HMF creation does not really create any gas, if I understand.
2)My honey is stored in the lower storage area - about 20C+/-; I don't consider this "higher temps".
Not concerned of abnormal HMF levels.

Doing my honey in mini-batches, I can certainly see dramatically different samples - jar by a jar.
Went ahead and handled 5 jars (two of them were leaking due to built-up pressure) - the honey is fine.
In all of these (you can see in the pictured above) there was honey separation where a layer of rather thin honey accumulated on the top.
Removed it for immediate consumption.

I can see how the large scale commercial producers will process the honey to the death - anything like I shown here would not be sell-able. Good thing I know what it is - the real deal honey - and don't care.
 

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Sounds like fermentation to me. Is there something that could pressurize the jar that is not fermentation? I wonder what Greg's moisture content is? And what would happen if the "somewhat crystallized" honey is warmed, will it crystallize like normal over time or does it produce more bubbles? I have noticed that some larger jars ferment a top (wetter) layer above crystallized honey....
 

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Sounds like fermentation to me. Is there something that could pressurize the jar that is not fermentation? I wonder what Greg's moisture content is? And what would happen if the "somewhat crystallized" honey is warmed, will it crystallize like normal over time or does it produce more bubbles? I have noticed that some larger jars ferment a top (wetter) layer above crystallized honey....
I think this is what is happening - as I posted above:
Could be localized fermentation as the honey crystallizes, leaving behind a solution who's sugar content is now low enough to enable fermentation. Since no off flavors are observed, it could also potentially be cause by glucose oxidase creating H2O2 which decomposes into O2 and H20.
I have no clue what is my moisture content.
Don't even own a spectrometer (probably should though).
What I know is the honey was ripe per the bees and was 80-100% capped when I harvested it.
I just go by the bees.

Anyways, when the bubbly honey was spooned into different jars, the gasses collected on the top and created foam.
Again - no smell, no taste of fermentation of any significance.
Just keeping it as is.
No freezer space either for it.
 

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I have eaten fermented honey. Its much yummier than sauerkraut! I think any honey that is ripe enough to think it won't ferment when harvested, if it does ferment still tastes sweet and honey like (with only a slight tangyness). (i have never tasted mead but expect that would have a significantly tangier taste.) I say this to mean the honey is fine and enjoyable, just not saleable (unless you have customers who are interested in that sort of thing and you label it properly)....
I would expect the bees to get it right, but maybe those 80% capped frames were enough to tip the water content. The hydrometer is an approximation anyway: my understanding is that some honeys have a higher yeast content and therefore need a lower moisture content to remain stable. In NY I believe honey needs to be 18% or lower to sell but sometimes 18% ferments.... Again, I expect the bees have some way of "knowing" the right ratio of yeast and water, and cap when it won't ferment. When needed we dry the honey with a dehumidifier (before extracting) if the frames are not capped enough. I like the honey to be between 16.5% and 17%, just to be on the safe side. Especially since as the larger jars crystallize the wetter honey separates out to the top and crystallizes last, thus having more chance to ferment. I don't want to come accross a case of bubbly honey later that I was expecting to sell!
 
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