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Honey Colors Different During Same Harvest

Hey All,

Was harvesting honey today and as we progressed the color of the honey has changed from dark brown to whitish brown (picture attached). Any idea what’s going on? Is it still ok to eat the whitish brown honey?


It’s a selling point of flow hive that you get to taste the different flavors of the seasons. As bees go from one nectar sourse to another, the flavor & color will change. In your case, quite dramatically. Most times not so dramatically. The honey will certainly be good to eat, provided everything went smoothly inside the hive & there was no SHB activity happening. People have reported SHB grubs in the harvested honey, on the rare occasion.

Are those two jars from the same frame? It looks like the light honey has started to crystalise already. It it was crystalising in the cells over the winter, and they are from the same frame, the darker honey might be the non-crystalised that flowed out first and then the more viscous honey followed. There is a layer of darker transparent honey in the bottom.

Hi Pete, welcome to the forum.
Although the lighter honey looks to be crystallising from the photo it wouldn’t happen so quickly and the layering is wrong, the liquid would be at the top if candying.
If I was to guess I’d say it’s actually fermenting due to a high moisture content. Have you checked the moisture content? What does it smell like?
The dark jar also appears to have some froth on the top.
If it is fermenting keep it in the fridge and if it tastes ok sure, eat it, but don’t sell it or gift it until you can determine the water content.

If you have checked the water content and it’s below 18% then forget everything I’ve written. :upside_down_face:


The problem with commenting on your honey is we have not been told what the process of harvesting you have adopted. Straight flow hive to jar, or collection bucket, sieve into settling bucket, how long did it settle, what was the night time temp in the place you left it. And so on.

The dark honey has signs of froth which I would put down to not being allowed to settle for long enough. But I wouldn’t worry it’s fine. I note your temp at night is at the moment 4 plus. If you allowed the honey to cool it will take longer to settle. How long I cannot tell you. But to me it’s not an issue. In my mind that froth is ok. A little crema to delight if you like.

The brown honey as you have referred to it. To me this is how honey of this nature looks normally unless it’s clear. Now I can only comment on rapeseed honey which crystalises in the frame unless you extract early. Early means as soon as rape flowers go. And I spin that honey capped or not. It won’t flow. I have no scientific means of measuring water content but my hives have been kept at low humidity as best I can. And I believe that helps the low water content levels. Rape honey goes in the jar exactly as yours looks. I always put it in an airing cupboard with a temp of 60degrees centigrade before spinning and leave it heating up for maybe a week. Just to get it as free flowing or as easy to extract as I can. Now that’s my rape. But we don’t know the source of your bees foraging.

The lower different colour in the brown jar might just be a visual effect created by the glass. If however the honey settles and you get a lower clear layer that’s ok. Just means in that jar you have honey created from different nectar sources. But of course if this jar has been overnight in an outhouse or cold windowsill it will not have separated.

Just so you know I am not an award winning honey bottler. And as a bee keeper I hate rapeseed, but my rapeseed for foraging produces a very strong honey. Finally I believe if my honey is acidic to taste, that’s my taste of course, it is correct constituency. Don’t ask me what I would do if it was just sickly sweet, can’t tell you and never had that thankfully.

I have decided that next sign of rapeseed I will endeavour to keep splitting my hives so I only have brood based stores. Rape is over in May. In UK the first starvation alerts come out in July as it is a period between crops, and waiting for second period of flowers in the gardens. So I have maybe 7 weeks for the bees to build up to a good nectar flow.

Enjoy your toast

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