I might have received adulterated honey

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MightyMosin

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I purchased a small bucket of carrot blossom honey. The plan was to make up a 3 gallon batch, pitch yeast and then split it into three 1-gallon batches to see how they do with some variation in nutrients.

I opened the bucket and it had almost like a small bit of foam on top. A bit out of place but it didn't seem too odd; almost like there was some air burping out when filling the bucket.

I mixed the must and whipped a ton of air into it and instead of the typical light foaming I ended up with a very thick, lemon meringue like foam... not typical and I've seem that once before on a Mesquite honey I suspected was adulterated.

I now checked the pH of the must as if it is very low I will try and buffer it a bit. The pH came in at a high 5.0. I just used and calibrated my meter yesterday, but this forced me to check it again with 4.0 calibrating liquid. My meter read it perfectly. I was expecting a pH anywhere from 3.5 to maybe 4.0. The pH is much closer to Blue Agave syrup.

Something doesn't seem right and I have already emailed the honey dealer, though I'm not sure what to expect out of them other than claims that it is 100% pure honey.

I still plan on doing the nutrient variations, but if its not pure honey what I get out of it may not be worth interpreting... Maybe I'll just front load it with an amount figured by TOSNA and do the experiment over with some orange blossom I have.

I'm not even adding this to the running mead total, as I'm not sure that it is mead.
 
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I purchased a small bucket of carrot blossom honey. The plan was to make up a 3 gallon batch, pitch yeast and then split it into three 1-gallon batches to see how they do with some variation in nutrients.

I opened the bucket and it had almost like a small bit of foam on top. A bit out of place but it didn't seem too odd; almost like there was some air burping out when filling the bucket.

I mixed the must and whipped a ton of air into it and instead of the typical light foaming I ended up with a very thick, lemon meringue like foam... not typical and I've seem that once before on a Mesquite honey I suspected was adulterated.

I now checked the pH of the must as if it is very low I will try and buffer it a bit. The pH came in at a high 5.0. I just used and calibrated my meter yesterday, but this forced me to check it again with 4.0 calibrating liquid. My meter read it perfectly. I was expecting a pH anywhere from 3.5 to maybe 4.0. The pH is much closer to Blue Agave syrup.

Something doesn't seem right and I have already emailed the honey dealer, though I'm not sure what to expect out of them other than claims that it is 100% pure honey.

I still plan on doing the nutrient variations, but if its not pure honey what I get out of it may not be worth interpreting... Maybe I'll just front load it with an amount figured by TOSNA and do the experiment over with some orange blossom I have.

I'm not even adding this to the running mead total, as I'm not sure that it is mead.
Did you buy this from a trusted source?
Somewhere that you've gotten honey from before? I've gotten honey with a thin coat of foam on it before, but never the thick stuff you described. Weird🤔
 
I've purchased from them before and AFAIK they are a trusted source.

I did a tiny bit of looking around and some honey have a much higher pH than is typical. I didn't find anything about carrot honey yet, but Prune honey can have a pH of 6.0!
 
My meter read it perfectly. I was expecting a pH anywhere from 3.5 to maybe 4.0. The pH is much closer to Blue Agave syrup.
So in 2 days the pH has collapsed from 5.0 to 3.6 and gone past the 1/3 SB.

Blue Agave syrup is mostly Fructose with some Glucose. Honey is roughly 40% Fructose, 35% Glucose, and 9% Sucrose.
Yeast typically use sugars in the following order: Glucose, Fructose, and then Sucrose. More complex sugars are used last. The more flocculent strains are less able to handle complex sugars.

Now while yeast normally use the order above, Lalvin 71B (which is what I am using) eats Fructose before Glucose. Having used 71B many times before, I have never seen such a dramatic pH collapse like this. I'm open to other ideas, but this makes me think that it has quickly eaten through the adulteration (maybe Blue Agave) and left with actual honey I am seeing the typical pH range that I am accustomed to.

Thoughts on this?
 
I was skeptic at carrot blossom honey. Looking up quick search those flowers seem fairly small. is there really fields of carrot flowers to be for bees to strictly use that flower to make honey?

I worked for beekeeper in the high school days and you could definitely tell what the source of pollen and nectar came from in adjacent landscape.
 
I think it only has to be "mostly" from a unique source... I think
I haven't made many meads or experienced what you have. or have i investigated in what it takes to say a honey is made from this wildflower.

in upper Midwest U.S. the main source is sweet clover, alfalpha, canola, and sunflower. sweet clover makes some very clean honey and can grow abundantly wild. Alfalpha (ranchers used to plant hay fields) are a little less common now days, but it is probably better than sweet clover. surprisingly canola also makes a very good honey and the amount the bees make from a field is probably a beekeeper's best choice to be by, those hives were filled to the brim (70-80lb boxes) when pulling honey. sunflower is very dark and rich in a way.

Doesn't really relate to your posts just my past knowledge of beekeeping in my region. the upper Midwest is one of the highest producers of honey in the U.S. I see people talking of specific honey from this particular flower that is not grown in mass for any purposes in agriculture and I am skeptical. Unless the honey is extracted specifically for what was pulled from fields otherwise all of it gets mixed together. you can pour that days extraction of course.

it was very interesting teenage years of employment. when I mention working with a beekeeper everyone asks did you get stung; yep 20-30 times a day, once immune mosquito bites are worse.
 
As someone who has purchased carrot seed by the half pound, I can envision the efforts needed to ensure pollination of crops not commonly grown for seed.

That said, my quick perusement says that places offering such a rare product for $8/lb versus the majority at $15+ means that the varient seems ripe for those willing to stretch the decency of what makes a honey.
 
Now I don't know if the supplier might be adulterating things or whomever it is purchased from... what I do know is that it hasn't acted like other honey in preparation or fermentation as a mead.

My last message, I straight out said that I believe that their supplier is adulterating the honey, even if I can't prove that. I will wait to see what/if the response is before I say who they are. I don't like the idea of putting their name out there, but I also don't believe that it is 100% honey. If they are a victim of a supplier, that is not their dishonesty... but I believe they bear some responsibility to know that they are receiving the real deal.

They told me they don't check pH but they do check with a refractometer to see if the water content is in line so that things don't start fermenting on their own.
 
I would agree. Although my opinion is not based on facts and just general thought and observations. but that is where good conversation comes from.

as far as supplier that really depends. Honey is such a low hitter on counterfeit it probably goes un-noticed. Kind of like the whole olive oil thing.

I am not sure if there is a set standard for honey for origins just has to meet certain water ratios and gravity as mentioned. most U.S. honey gets mixed with Argentinian honey for grocery stores making it all one color even then there was studies where it wasn't pure honey.

I still have a hard time vendors saying this is this type of flower honey without actual knowledge of it being so. Unless it is an inclusive vendor that deals with the actual beekeeper. I don't think this is highly regulated so things can happen.
 
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