View Full Version : NewBee question on 'creamy honey'

10-10-2007, 05:07 AM
As I haven't been able to find this in the archives, perhaps someone can help me here (or point me to the right topics). I've heards some contradictory info on the use of 'clear' honey and 'creamy' honey. I'm not sure if I use the correct English words to describe them and hence I may have seached the archives with the wrong keywords. By clear honey I mean the more runny, clear (see-through) kind; creamy honey is more white-ish and opaque and thicker in consistency.

Is there a difference where the making of mead is concerned, other than the ease of use in that clear honey gets out of the jars quicker?

I can get 12 1 lb jars for a nice price from a local hobby beekeeper, but I think it may be creamy honey. Haven't used that before.

Thanks for any info you can give.


10-10-2007, 11:42 AM
"Creamy honey" is just honey that has its sugars crystallized. It is perfectly fine for mead making, provided it is not too old. When the honey crystallizes (and most honeys do crystallize when stored at normal room temperature), it is possible to create zones of less sugar concentration in the residual liquid that is left behind, and those local zones can, in theory, support the growth of wild yeasts or other undesirable organisms. I have not had this happen with any of the "creamed" honey that I have ever employed for meadmaking, but in general I make sure that the honey I'm working with is not more than a year old and has been stored in relatively clean, closed containers.

So you should be fine with either clear or creamy honey. If you wish to get creamed honey to flow again, then slowly bring its temperature up to 33-35C. That will cause the crystals to re-liquify and that temperature is not hot enough to drive off desirable volatile components of the honey. After about 10-20 minutes at 35C you will have perfectly pourable liquid honey again!

10-10-2007, 12:03 PM
If you really want to be safe, pasteurise the honey.
Do NOT boil it !! that'd lose some of its interesting characteristics. (You'll read plenty articles advising boiling, plenty advising no heat at all, read'em all and make up your own mind :tongue3: )

To pasteurise, heat to 65C for 5 minutes (or to 60C for 20 minutes) and then cool down to room temperature in as little time as possible
(store in freezer, or pour the now liquid honey in fridge-cold water to cool it down.)

I use 1Lt of fridge-cold (3) water per Kg of hot honey, and that brings is down to abbout 25 C. I then add 1Lt of room-temp water and this brings it down to about 20 C - 30% honey and ready to pitch the yeast 8)

Also keep in mind that honey is resilient to many infections and beasties but that this is related to its viscosity and composition. Therefore, diluted honey (ie your must) is not that resilient. Once pasteurised, use it asap and make sure to keep it in sanitized vessels/environment.
Once fermentation has started, you're safer because of the yeasts and CO2.

10-10-2007, 12:18 PM
Clearly, I'm one of those in the "no heat" category! ;D

By no heat, I mean no exposure to anything higher than 50C for any reason. In my experience I have not found any honey, commercial or acquired from a private individual apiarist, to harbor any objectionable microorganisms that can successfully compete with a well hydrated pitch of a commercial strain of wine yeast.

But, if you wish to be absolutely sure, pasteurization will guarantee that nothing remains alive in the must before you pitch your yeast. I just don't find that to be a necessary step, even though I did it for decades before some of the folks on this board convinced me that I should try no heat! Now I'm happily living "on the edge!" :icon_pirat:

10-10-2007, 12:22 PM
It sure is a hassle to heat and coldcrash it. However unless the honey is pretty liquid, it's also quite a hassle to dissolve it in room-temp water (never tried it with mead but had some experiences with this in preparing my 'cinnamon-honey rhum' cordial.)

I guess you wouldn't have to talk to me for long before I give in to the cold method ;D
Lazy as i am I might go for liquid honey and no heat next time. Do you use sulfites ?

10-10-2007, 12:28 PM
No sulfites before yeast pitch. I only use sulfites after fermentation, to stabilize the mead when required.

And I agree, dissolving crystallized honey in room temp water is a pain. That's why I'm willing to go between 35 and 50C (I put the containers of honey in a 50C hot water bath, which cools to about 35C in about 20 mins to achieve this) just to get it nice and liquified, before I add water to it. I'm all for the easiest possible way to prepare the must, lazy so-and-so that I am! :toothy10:

10-10-2007, 12:47 PM
Thanks for the reply. That's what I thought, but I wanted to make sure before buying a larger amount of honey.

For my first batch I boiled the must, but for batch 2 and 3 I just disolved the honey in hot water and then mixed it with cold water in the primary fermenter. Then pitched yeast - which was bubbling away happily in its starter - when everything was at room temperature. All equipment and my kitchen sanitized, of course.

It suits me, as I am lazy and have no multi-gallon pan to heat the must in. If it should turn out that I am losing batches due to the no-pasturize method I will reconsider this procedure.

Regards, Jandra

10-11-2007, 11:51 AM
Im a no chemicals period kind of person so pasturizing suits me just fine. It all depends on where you want to go with it I guess

10-11-2007, 02:23 PM
You may be referring to "creamed" honey, otherwise known as "whipped". Yes, white, thicker, nice on toast without dripping.

As mentioned, it is just honey seeded with other creamed honey and kept at about 57F degrees, so that rapid crystallization occurs, and the crystals are so small that they can hardly be detected. The process ensures smaller crystals than otherwise would occur.

It is usually 100% honey (unless flavored) and can be used just like regular honey. It might be cheaper though to get regular honey, or ask if the beekeeper has plain old crystallized honey. Its all the same, just handled a bit differently.

As long as it dissolves in water its all good.