View Full Version : Testing Honey?

01-17-2010, 02:53 PM
If I suspected a honey to be watered down, how would I test that?

I have a honey that is especially viscous, more like maple syrup in consistency than any other honey I've ever bought.

01-17-2010, 03:06 PM
Use a refractometer? Honey should be (I think) 18% or so water. If it is over 20% then it has either been watered down or never cured properly in the first place.

01-17-2010, 04:21 PM
Is there not a simpler way by comparing volume to weight?

01-17-2010, 06:14 PM
Not sure on the weight, cause different honey will have different weight per volumm.

Yep I would say 18.5-19% or less. For some reason the honey in our area falls in that 18.5% which is higher then I like to see. BUT it is 95% capped and has never spoiled.

01-17-2010, 08:39 PM
From a strictly mathematical approach, and by using the approximation that 12 pounds of honey at the default 79.6% sugar concentration from the mead calculator is equal to 1 gallon of volume, I used the blending utility to calculate a default honey SG of 1.44. I don't know how that relates to water percentage, but if you found the weight in grams of any volume in mL of your honey, you could divide the weight by the volume which would give you the SG.

Once you have this number, you could put that in the required value of the blending utility with 1 as value #1 and 1.44 as value #2, and 100 gallons as the target volume, and the number that appears in volume #1 would be the percentage of extra water that would have to be added to the "default" honey to give you what you have.

Granted, this is based on a lot of assumptions, but it will at least give you some idea.

01-19-2010, 01:25 PM
You're suspecting that it's being watered down by the reseller to rip you off? I would be surprised if that was what was happening, because honey is generally "watered" down with corn syrup if anything, rather than water.

01-19-2010, 08:35 PM
It's much thinner than I'm used to, I have several types side by side, it's not just a little thinner, it's much noticably thinner. It still tastes good... it doesn't seem like there is an easy way for me to test it, with the amount I have.

01-26-2010, 12:50 PM
This was told to me many years ago by a beekeeper (he was selling honey at a local market).
If you put whole honey into fridge, it will crystallize. If you add even a little water or other foreign materials into it, it will not crystallize properly.
I have never had reason to test this, so I don't really know.

Medsen Fey
01-26-2010, 02:13 PM
If you put whole honey into fridge, it will crystallize. If you add even a little water or other foreign materials into it, it will not crystallize properly.

Yeah, but when it warms up it may start to ferment. See this thread (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15564&highlight=osmophilic) and the article referenced for more details.

01-26-2010, 11:08 PM
It just went into the fridge. There's only a half cup left of it in the jar anyways, just something I bought not too long ago on a whim. If it's watered down... you will all know...

01-28-2010, 08:57 PM
No crysallization.

I put in another jar of honey from a different source, also no crystallization. 24 hours on each test. Should I have waited longer, or is this just an unreliable test?

Dan McFeeley
01-29-2010, 09:26 AM
It's really difficult to tell on this one. If it's a local beekeeper who supplied the honey, maybe not much more than a seasonal variation. A major commercial honey producer, possibly. If this is a honey you've used before, and you added water for a honey must you've used in previous recipes, and got a significant difference in starting gravity, possibly.

It still comes down to final product. Taste the honey and see what you think.


01-30-2010, 08:18 AM
You might ping Lori Titus at the Bee Folks and put this one out in front of her. She's very knowledgeable about honey and had some thin honey that she was selling last year.

Another resource would be Andrew Schwab who is also very knowledgeable. Post a reference link in this thread to the Beekeeping forum under the hive and I'm sure someone chime in.


01-30-2010, 02:47 PM
They are both local, from Georgia. One was distributed in Walmart, the producer is the former president of GA beekeepers. That's the original suspicious one.

The second one was more of a placebo, I expected crystallization to proove the other was watered-down or had additives. But it didn't crystallize either. It is also a local producer, but distributed in Kroger, a regional grocery store chain like Publix.

Medsen Fey
01-30-2010, 02:59 PM
There are some types of honey, like Tupelo, with naturally high fructose content that don't crystallize normally, but that doesn't sound like what you've got there.

01-30-2010, 03:34 PM
Both wildflower, within 50 miles geographically of each other. Perhaps there is a link and an explanation for it. I hope the bee experts chime in. I may also email the company and see what they say, and repost it. But I'd like to arm myself with info from the experts before I go firing off an email to the company.

02-03-2010, 11:43 PM
I normally just take a spoonful of honey and let it drizzle into a tumbler full water. If it begins to sublimate/dissolve before it hits the bottom I know it's less than pure. Full on honey will generally flow nicely to the bottom of the glass without losing integrity of the stream. There are exceptions however.



02-06-2010, 06:19 PM
What is a tumbler?

02-06-2010, 08:31 PM
A glass, 12 oz usually.

02-07-2010, 02:41 AM
It is hard to tell if honey has been "thinned" with HFCS. China (along with others) has come under fire for doing this.

If they thinned with water then a refractometer will tell, as mentioned.

Not all honey is thick, they are different..

As well as how soon they will granulate. Typically the colder temp the honey is stored the faster it will granulate. NOW there are things that alter this. If you heat the honey to high temps it will not granulate as fast. If you hold the honey at say 110 degrees for a long period of time it will not granulate as fast.

Really if you do not trust the source, go to someone else. It will be hard to test anything other then water content..:p