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laflaone
12-11-2012, 04:44 PM
Not sure this is in the right place, but here goes:

Getting ready to make 5gal of cyser. I have found Suebee honey at Sams Club, $12 for a 5lb bottle, 54oz size. They advertise it as U.S. Grade A Fancy White Pure honey. They claim 100% natural, I suppose it is clover honey. One serving is 21 grams(one tbs), containing 16g of sugar. If the remaining 5g is water, that makes the sugar content 76%, water 24%.

Is my math correct? I have read several threads here, and it seems you don't want to have more than 20% water.

I am a newbie, so if I am nitpicking, say so, and I will quit worrying about it.

Has anyone used this honey? If so, what were the results?

1k_wayne
12-11-2012, 04:59 PM
Find a local apiary.

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/tests-show-most-store-honey-isnt-honey/

Vance G
12-11-2012, 05:14 PM
This company operates to benefit its beekeeper members/owners. When you had to fight to join the association, their sources were more surely domestic and trackable. Now that less than half of domestic consumption is supplied by USA producers, I find Suebees claim questionable. I doubt they gave up market share this year because of a short crop.

As to the floral source, much that is sold as clover honey is a poupourrie of whatever has to be added to a blend to make the honey like substance approximate what consumers have been trained to think of as the right color for clover honey. Water white honeys always bring a premium price on the market because more of the dark floral varieties can be blended with it to get the desired color. two thirds of that honey from large packers and stores cannot be identified as a type, source or place of origion because it has been shot thru filtration that removes all pollen and other particulate matter that could be used to identify it to increase shelf life as that slows crystalization. It is for most purposes indistinquishable from the rice syrup the chinese use to cut it and maple syrup. Not saying what you are buying is toxic or in some way unuseable. Just don't confuse the quality of the product with that of locally produced honey that may cost more.

Intheswamp
12-11-2012, 07:16 PM
Sue Bee is a cooperative of large honey producers and is possibly the largest packer of honey in the USA. They have members of their "nation" all over the United States. The honey in bottles with no location/type marked on it may very well be a mixture of honey from several different honey producers and from several different states....or it may be a specific variety of honey from a single producer. There are a couple of 5# jars sold through big box stores that is a blend of American and Canadian honey. The largest honey producer here in Alabama is a member of SueBee as are other large producers...they ship honey by the tractor trailer load.

I doubt seriously that Sue Bee adulterates their honey as might be insinuated by some...they compete with the illegal adulterated Chinese honey and I seriously doubt they would do something that could bring them such bad publicity and that might compare them with the Chinese.

You could contact Sue Bee and ask them what these percentages mean... http://www.suebee.com/ . Here's a pie chart I found...not sure how accurate it is, but the minerals, proteins, etc., do have to take up a percentage of the composition... http://besthoneysite.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/honey_ingredients_honey_composition_graph.png

I don't have any connection with Sue Bee, but being a bee keeper I know a *little* about them. I would think the honey is ok, but I don't know how those percentages should be read. Do be aware that commercial "retail" honey is often brought up to high temperatures for two reasons....easy pumping (for filtration and packaging) and to keep the honey from crystallizing quickly while on the shelf. The heating is why I wouldn't want Sue Bee's or any other company's "processed" honey...the heating kills all the natural enzymes. Now, I'm not sure if the enzymes are important in mead making but for some reason I want to think that killing/heating them *will* change the honey's taste (something when it's heated changes) which in turn will change the mead's taste. Here is Sue Bee's statement of quality explaining their use of American honey and of foreign honey, you can see for yourself what they say about their honey. http://www.suebee.com/honey/statement_of_quality

Many beekeepers that are not members of the cooperative often disparage Sue Bee. My mentor makes a good bit of honey and talking with other hobbyist and sideliner beekeepers they seem to sell all the honey that they can produce so it can't be that Sue Bee is cutting into the small producers sales. :confused:

But, if I were you I'd do like 1k_wayne said and find a local beek...you'll be glad you did...and who knows, you might even get stung by the beekeeping bug. ;)

Best wishes,
Ed

laflaone
12-11-2012, 09:28 PM
I thank the three of you for your comments. I am attempting to find a local source.

I am not trying to be a salesman for SueBee, but I have to point out that there is a video on their website which states that they do not use ultra-filtration. They do say they use macro-filtration, which removes the visible particles, and they say yes, it will remove some of the pollen.

Vance G
12-11-2012, 09:53 PM
Sue Bee as I said is a cooperative of beekeepers and as such has been somewhat responsive to the information that came out that nearly 3/4 of store honey could not be identified as honey because of ultra filtration. Because honey is far short of demand in this country, the chinese have mastered endless dodges to get honey in to the US and Canada. Once it is on shore, there is a whole lot of that don't ask don't tell thing going on among the big packers.

laflaone
12-12-2012, 09:48 PM
Sue Bee as I said is a cooperative of beekeepers and as such has been somewhat responsive to the information that came out that nearly 3/4 of store honey could not be identified as honey because of ultra filtration. Because honey is far short of demand in this country, the chinese have mastered endless dodges to get honey in to the US and Canada. Once it is on shore, there is a whole lot of that don't ask don't tell thing going on among the big packers.

At the risk of going on and on about this and being tiresome, I feel one more comment is in order. Go to the SueBee website: www.suebee.com, and click on FAQ. Towards the bottom is the question: Is Sue Bee honey a product of the USA? Part of their answer is this: "All Sue Bee honey found in grocery stores is 100% Product of the USA and truthfully says so on the label (One exception is the Sue Bee 5# honey jug sold only at Sam's Club that contains US and Canada honey as they specify)."

Sue Bee is apparently a very large supplier of honey around the country. It is sold at Sam's Club, Walmart, and our local large Florida chain, Publix. I'm sure at many others. I can't see them out and out lying about this. The potential cost to them if found out would not be worth the risk.

Vance G
12-12-2012, 10:29 PM
Enjoy your honey! Merry Christmas.

Intheswamp
12-13-2012, 01:07 AM
At the risk of going on and on about this and being tiresome, I feel one more comment is in order. Go to the SueBee website: www.suebee.com, and click on FAQ. Towards the bottom is the question: Is Sue Bee honey a product of the USA? Part of their answer is this: "All Sue Bee honey found in grocery stores is 100% Product of the USA and truthfully says so on the label (One exception is the Sue Bee 5# honey jug sold only at Sam's Club that contains US and Canada honey as they specify)."

Sue Bee is apparently a very large supplier of honey around the country. It is sold at Sam's Club, Walmart, and our local large Florida chain, Publix. I'm sure at many others. I can't see them out and out lying about this. The potential cost to them if found out would not be worth the risk.
laflaone, the Sue Bee products that are sold in to the public in the grocery stores and box stores is a small part of their domestic sales...the bulk of their sales goes to large food processors like General Mills or Kraft or Tyson... What you're getting off the shelf is probably some of the best they have to offer. Having said that...raw, unprocessed honey will still taste better. :) The Sue Bee stuff will work fine, IMHO some nice local honey will yield a better end product (mead).

Ed

laflaone
12-13-2012, 10:11 AM
Thanks Ed. I am still looking for a local apiary. I live in St. Lucie County, FL which is one of the largest citrus producing counties in the U.S. The county produces a lot more grapefruit than oranges. Which brings me to this question: would there be a difference in the honey from grapefruit trees and orange trees? There sure is a big difference in taste between the two.

icedmetal
12-13-2012, 11:28 AM
Nobody on this site can tell you definitively whether or not the honey you pick up at the local Sam's Club is going to be any good. But, there is one person who can: you. Go buy a bottle, then go find a local beekeeper. Try both, side by side. Do it blind if possible, though I'm willing to bet it won't be possible; the store-bought stuff is usually much thinner.

If you don't think any bad honey makes it into a cooperative as big as Sue Bee, well, let me tell you about this bridge that just came on the market for sale...

Intheswamp
12-13-2012, 12:26 PM
If you don't think any bad honey makes it into a cooperative as big as Sue Bee, well, let me tell you about this bridge that just came on the market for sale...

I agree with bad honey getting into these large supplies, no doubt about it. But another thought is that I very seldom ever hear from a small operator that fed sugar syrup for too long in the spring and inadvertantly adulterated his honey crop.

Doing a taste test is a great idea, icedmetal.

BTW, $12 for 5# is a very good price....IF it's good honey. :) Personally, though, I've never eaten any Sue Bee honey...one of members was supposed to bring me a bottle of his Sue Bee honey to a meeting we attended, but he forgot. :p

I've read that "orange blossom honey" is a general term applied to honey produced from citrus plants....orange, grapefruit, lime, lemon, etc., and that they are basically indistinguishable from one another. I have no firsthand experience to share with you, though.

Sometimes we just gotta trust things, people, ____, yourself, that the sun's gonna rise again, etc.,...and make a decision. ;)

Ed

Medsen Fey
12-13-2012, 05:12 PM
I am still looking for a local apiary. I live in St. Lucie County, FL....

Which brings me to this question: would there be a difference in the honey from grapefruit trees and orange trees?



Gruwell's is in your area and they produce some excellent OB honey.

I think folks usually mix the various citrus blossoms under the label of "orange blossom". I think that's OK because to me* the blossoms all smell similar and I have an orange, a grapefruit, a key lime, and a new kumquat tree that I've sniffed.

Medsen

* I've never had the most sensitive nose or palate so take that with a grain of salt.

Intheswamp
12-13-2012, 05:48 PM
Gruwell's is in your area and they produce some excellent OB honey.

I think folks usually mix the various citrus blossoms under the label of "orange blossom". I think that's OK because to me* the blossoms all smell similar and I have an orange, a grapefruit, a key lime, and a new kumquat tree that I've sniffed.

Medsen

* I've never had the most sensitive nose or palate so take that with a grain of salt.

Doc, I was wondering about whether the blooms smelled similar...I kinda fingured that they did, but you never know....we don't have a bunch of citrus plants up this way to check out. ;D But...I do know a lady that has a nice Satsuma tree that makes a bumper crop each year. I did not have a mead going at the time they were ripe so I saved a bunch of the zest in the freezer...will be adding it to *something* later. Next year I will get my timing together for the "harvest"!!!

As for the nose and a grain of salt....I resemble that remark! ;D

laflaone
12-14-2012, 08:48 AM
Gruwell's is in your area and they produce some excellent OB honey.

I think folks usually mix the various citrus blossoms under the label of "orange blossom". I think that's OK because to me* the blossoms all smell similar and I have an orange, a grapefruit, a key lime, and a new kumquat tree that I've sniffed.

Medsen

* I've never had the most sensitive nose or palate so take that with a grain of salt.

I think Gruwell's may be at the Farmer's Market in Ft. Pierce on Saturdays. I will go see.

jpog
01-04-2013, 02:20 PM
I have used Sue Bee honey before, its decent honey considering its sold in big box stores, it will produce a decent mead. I personally like DUtch Gold Honey better from the big stores, however nothin will beat using local apiray honey.

I have used all three and the local honey always tastes best in the end.