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Author Topic: Honey Refractometer  (Read 1600 times)

Offline omnimirage

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Honey Refractometer
« on: April 19, 2018, 01:10:29 am »
What kind of refractometers are best for beekeepers? Are cheap ones adequate, or are the ones that cost over a hundred dollars worthwhile? What sort of oils should be used for calibration?

Here in my country, it's legal to sell honey if it has no more than 21% moisture. I read though that it can ferment when it's at 19%. At what moisture level is it inclined to ferment? If it is at a higher range, are there actions that I can take to prevent it from fermenting? Should I ever be concerned if the moisture level is particularly low?

Offline eltalia

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Re: Honey Refractometer
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2018, 07:11:58 pm »
"Should I ever be concerned if the moisture level is particularly low?"

Excepting the ones so keen to rip honey from frames, no.

Capped honey is ready to go, not all capped honey should
go tho'. Requiring a refraction reading to decide 'harvested'
[note single quotes use]
quality sez (to me) someone is more than "keen".

Bill

Offline Acebird

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Re: Honey Refractometer
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2018, 08:48:12 pm »
What is with the single quotes?
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Offline eltalia

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Re: Honey Refractometer
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2018, 04:24:51 am »
What is with the single quotes?

Not to be confused as a tautology, single quote marks -  used as you ask, Brian -  simply
indicate to the reader there is no literal meaning intended.

Common practice - as taught in schools of my time in my part of Australia -  the finer
points of using *any* system of quotation marks has and is being wiped out by the ingress
of modified American English, simply because the dominant 'educators' believe the loss of
meaning over preferred expediency in getting an "A for English" better serves *their*
funding model - all schools in Australia receive Federal G'mnt funding.
Long sentence?
Do not then get me started up on G'mnt funding scales in our education system..! [laughs]

With quote marks use, the reflection of the writer is found in consistency.
The work I link to goes further in making that a recognisable "rule" of sorts,
"as long as you employ logic and consistency" - I trust all this helps.


https://grammarfactory.com/grammar-goodies/use-quotation-marks-like-an-expert/

While I have your 'ear', Brian?
The "Aussie Innovation" thing is a joke - "funny hah ha", like.
Not, "funny weirdo"... get it?
FYI - I own one, have done now for14 years.
No way would anyone suit a Lab. up in that kit depicted.

Here he is in his sunset years, *still* working..!

Bill

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Offline Acebird

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Re: Honey Refractometer
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2018, 08:49:58 am »
I trust all this helps.

Not really, maybe I should use Babble to learn a new language.
Brian Cardinal
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Offline Dallasbeek

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Re: Honey Refractometer
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2018, 01:55:20 pm »
What kind of refractometers are best for beekeepers? Are cheap ones adequate, or are the ones that cost over a hundred dollars worthwhile? What sort of oils should be used for calibration?

Here in my country, it's legal to sell honey if it has no more than 21% moisture. I read though that it can ferment when it's at 19%. At what moisture level is it inclined to ferment? If it is at a higher range, are there actions that I can take to prevent it from fermenting? Should I ever be concerned if the moisture level is particularly low?

Anybody have answer for the original question in the first paragraph?

As to the second graph, if it's less than 18% it's honey.  More than that, it's not.  Right?
"Liberty lives in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no laws, no court can save it." - Judge Learned Hand, 1944

Offline Skeggley

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Re: Honey Refractometer
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2018, 08:54:57 pm »
Hiya omni, it was my understanding that 18% was the mc limit?
As for refractometers, I have a cheap eBay one and it seems to work fine but I've not gauged it on an expy one. Calibrating oils are explained in the below link.
http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/refractometercalibration.html
Hope this helps.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Honey Refractometer
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2018, 09:07:51 pm »
Anybody have answer for the original question in the first paragraph?
I hate to tell people what to do but what is % moisture?
You have used the cheapest garbage refractomitor to test your honey, no problem all beekeepers are cheap.
Take a small sample of your honey, weigh it.  Dry it down until it is like a piece of plastic.  Weight it again.  Subtract the dry weight from the wet weight and divide it by the wet weight.  How does that compare to your cheap refractometer?  Make an adjustment to your readings and make believe you have the most accurate refrctometer made.  Good enough for beekeeping. :wink:
Brian Cardinal
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Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Honey Refractometer
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2018, 09:47:56 pm »
Honey over 18% water can ferment but at 18.5 % does not usually ferment. Over that it is a matter of how long does it take to ferment.
You can dry your honey by putting the honey in a dry or dehumidified room and dripping, very slowly, the honey from one bucket to another. I use a settling tank. The farther the drop the better.
I use a refractometer that costs about $70.  I see the same unit for sale for a lot less than that now.
Jim

Offline eltalia

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Re: Honey Refractometer
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2018, 04:15:38 am »
What kind of refractometers are best for beekeepers? Are cheap ones adequate, or are the ones
 that cost over a hundred dollars worthwhile? What sort of oils should be used for calibration?

Here in my country, it's legal to sell honey if it has no more than 21% moisture. I read though
that it can ferment when it's at 19%. At what moisture level is it inclined to ferment? If it is at a
 higher range, are there actions that I can take to prevent it from fermenting? Should I ever be
concerned if the moisture level is particularly low?

Anybody have answer for the original question in the first paragraph?

I gave the answer DB... not clear?
"Capped honey is ready to go, not all capped honey should
go tho'. ".
Bees cap at the correct water content. Trust them and leave them
some is the answer. Has been since time immemorial :smiles:

Quote
As to the second graph, if it's less than 18% it's honey.  More than that, it's not.  Right?

And maybe I am reading Omni not the way he intended however my
read says he is really asking how to be sure he is _legally_ within
boundries set. Such a question then says to me "there is a honeybadger".
Hence the mood of my first response.
Okay?

Bill

Offline omnimirage

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Re: Honey Refractometer
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2018, 07:49:28 am »
What's a good way to dehumidify a room?

I'm more concerned about having quality honey that isn't going to spoil by fermenting. It's peculiar to me that they allow it to be sold at levels where it can ferment. Maybe that's related to why it's required for a best before, or date of packaging to be included on the label.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Honey Refractometer
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2018, 08:55:07 am »
It's peculiar to me that they allow it to be sold at levels where it can ferment.
The 18% threshold is based on raw honey.  You may be aware that much of the honey produced is highly processed, heating the living be jesus out of it and filtering every last grain of pollen out of the honey.  This highly processed honey will not ferment at much higher water levels.
Brian Cardinal
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Offline omnimirage

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Re: Honey Refractometer
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2018, 11:18:51 am »
Ah! That explains it, thank you.

Offline Skeggley

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Re: Honey Refractometer
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2018, 07:15:13 pm »
What's a good way to dehumidify a room?

I'm more concerned about having quality honey that isn't going to spoil by fermenting.

Well with a dehumidifier of course... If you don't have one f these lying around your reverse cycle air conditioner will do it on either the dry or cool setting. But is the power worth it?
You could refrigerate the honey with a higher w/c or do what I do and make mead...

During the recent Marri flow I harvested capped honey frames at 19.5% w/c. The frames had dry cappings on it. I have some frames still in the hive with wet cappings which have been in longer and I'm sure they will have a lower m/c.

Offline eltalia

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Re: Honey Refractometer
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2018, 07:40:46 pm »
What's a good way to dehumidify a room?


Not a room but the 'harvest' itself.
Google "Coolgardie Safe" designs and substitute honey for the water.
Depending on localised conditions in your part of Sou'Aussie humidity levels
would lend themselves very nicely to the evaporative concept.

http://Https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coolgardie_safe

Bill

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Honey Refractometer
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2018, 10:04:11 pm »
What's a good way to dehumidify a room?

I'm more concerned about having quality honey that isn't going to spoil by fermenting. It's peculiar to me that they allow it to be sold at levels where it can ferment. Maybe that's related to why it's required for a best before, or date of packaging to be included on the label.
The way I did it was I ran the air conditioner and a room heater at the same time. This dries the air pretty well. I drop from the settling tank/bottling tank to another 5 gallon tank and make the drip as slow as I can make it and as far of a drop as I can make it.
Jim

Offline Acebird

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Re: Honey Refractometer
« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2018, 08:59:14 am »
What's a good way to dehumidify a room?

I think you have a dry season.  That is when you should be harvesting or at least extracting.  The process of extracting slings the honey through the air as it leaves the comb.  Rigging up a small fan with a filter into your extractor would be the quickest way to dry the honey down if it ever needed it in the dry season.
Brian Cardinal
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Offline eltalia

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Re: Honey Refractometer
« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2018, 10:20:03 am »
I trust all this helps.

Not really, maybe I should use Babble to learn a new language.

By flint or borrowed firestick?

 [chortle]

Bill

Offline omnimirage

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Re: Honey Refractometer
« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2018, 06:27:35 am »
I bought the refractometer, because I was concerned that my honey was fermenting. I was going to process a bucket, but it suspiciously smelled like wine and also had a subtle tangy flavour to it. Now, I've opened it two weeks later and it barely smells like wine.

The calibration oil hasn't came in yet with the refractometer, so I haven't verified accuracy, but it's allegedly shipped already calibrated so I figure it should be good. It was difficult to read the results as it was quite small, but the line was inbetween 18 and 19. There's 4 line/mark/notches in there, and the reading was just below the 3rd line/mark. I'm not too sure what percentage that actually is. My unit's supposed to be accurate within 0.2%, so it seems that this honey could possibly be over that 18.5% fermentation mark. I'm not really sure how I'm supposed to tell.

Seems useful to reduce moisture content in it. It's been suggested to use a dehumidifier (which I don't own) or some sort of aircondition, but these too costly to be practical. A fan has also been suggested, which strikes me as more cheaply and viable. Evaporation through heat is interesting, one could use lightglobes, but I do already have a chest freezer with an oil heater in it to enable an effective crush and strain operation, and to decrystalise honey. I can leave the bucket of suspected honey in there, with the lid off, and the chest freezer slightly open so moisture can escape. I'm just not sure how high I should heat it to and at what range of temperature would the honey start to become damaged and lose it's flavour, but I suppose accepting some damage is better than it fermenting. I'm also not sure about this approach, because I wonder too myself, wouldn't heating it up speed up the fermentation process? Or have I got that all wrong?


Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Honey Refractometer
« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2018, 08:21:57 am »
Omni,
I thought you lived in a very dry area. What is your daily humidity level. If it is less than 55 percent, that is good for drying honey. I AC and heat to get to 50%. Drip the honey from one bucket to another to dry it. Sounds like you only need to dry it 1/2%. Very do able.
Jim

Offline omnimirage

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Re: Honey Refractometer
« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2018, 05:43:32 am »
I found this which shows the mean humidity levels in my region:

http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_023034.shtm

I did some measurements today. It's been between 41% and 53%, from morning to dusk. Inside my chest freezer, the humidity level was in the low 30s. Having the heater on, and off didn't seem to change much. I notice that, there already is a slight gap for moisture to escape, since the electrical cable for the oil heater keeps the lid open very slightly.

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Honey Refractometer
« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2018, 03:41:00 pm »
I found this which shows the mean humidity levels in my region:

http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_023034.shtm

I did some measurements today. It's been between 41% and 53%, from morning to dusk. Inside my chest freezer, the humidity level was in the low 30s. Having the heater on, and off didn't seem to change much. I notice that, there already is a slight gap for moisture to escape, since the electrical cable for the oil heater keeps the lid open very slightly.
I would love those humidity levels.
You should have no problems drying the honey using the drip method.
A commercial Beek friend uses a flat long chute to dry their honey.
Jim