Confirmation – Bees and Beer are Linked

So, how did I arrive at this epiphany? I am certainly one data point. I started brewing beer around 1991 and became a beekeeper 6 years ago. Ok, not a strong link, but I have more that I would like to offer up.

I have a prolific 8 frame hive, already has 3 supers, in the backyard of some friends, Mike an awesome beer brewer and his wife Annette loves his Chocolate Porter. Synergistic relationship I am certain. The beer fridge, with two beers always on tap, is less than 25 feet away from the hive. There has to to bee and beer intersection in the respective auras influencing honey production and quality beers brewed here! A stronger link don’t you agree?

Well, here is the confirmation! A few weeks ago I put out feelers for an apiary location closer to the house to host a few of my hives. Out of the blue came an offer…..just 2 miles outside my parameters but close enough. Several acres, with a nice tall berm that is above the flooding that plagues our area, a pond and…….next to 100 acres of Tallow Tree – the biggest nectar source for SE Texas beekeepers. First move was a swarm that had moved into a newly built top bar hive in my backyard.

The small top bar in place. Room left for two more hives. I have two Langstroth hives that we’re not doing as well as I wanted out at Berry farm just begging to be moved closer. Today I gathered them up and hauled them over to the new and closer location.

I  have a 10 frame and an 8 frames Lang that were picked up Ready to go. They are loaded on the rack and they were set, opened and bees flying by 8:30 AM. Confirmation of the indisputable link between bees and beer happened at approximately 8:45 AM CST. My Goo friend John and I were packing the truck up when Terry, the property owner, asked if we wanted some homemade wine. It was red and sweet so we declined but mentioned beer is preferable. Terry turned and indicated that we should follow him.

There was a nice “Speak Easy” style door off the garage leading the BREWERY. – Yes a brewery…. 5 gallon style brewery, all electric, set up for all grain brewing. Sweet set up…..over to the right was the bar and a double tap. A lager on one, yes he truly brews and lagers his beer, and a nice Bock. John and I behaved ourselves as we had duties but we did sample and agree the Bees and Beer are joined at the hip.

Do you need anymore proof?

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

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Homebrewing & Mopping the Floor

My wife is usually pretty happy when I brew beer because, due to my messiness, I have to mop the kitchen floor after each of the several steps in the process. I think it is only right that I take care of my duties and I can’t think of a woman who would not be happy with her husband mopping the kitchen floor!

Last night I was at the bottling stage and as always I had planned on mopping up the few spills and drips that are common to the process. Well, the task of mopping morphed into a industrial clean-up due to an unusual string of clumsy moves on my part! The mess started small and manageable. My 6 gallon priming tank that you can see in the picture below, had a loose connection at the outlet spigot….I didn’t check it before I began to fill the tank. The drip was slow…I attempted to turn the spigot to tighten I but to no avail. I really needed to hold the inlet side, now under about 3 gallons of beer, in order to properly tighten it…..I opted to manage the very small quantity dripping with an absorbent towel….no big deal. I did not want to potentially contaminate the beer by sticking my arm in the brew.

The first bottle to be filled was the 6L plastic mini-keg bottle from my Tap-a-Draft set-up. I got it filled and set off to the side as I switched to filling the 12 ounce bottles – 29 of them! The 6L bottle sat with the chilled beer in it and developed a wet surface due to our humidity and the condensation on the outside. (Note: I had crashed to temperature to 34 degrees F to drop out the sediment and help clarify the beer)

Once the glass bottles were safely filled I decided to pick up the 6L bottle and dry it before moving to the location I use while the beer conditions. I wanted to make sure that it didn’t slip out of my hands…….noble thought but poorly executed. Beer weighs about 2.2 pounds per liter or 1 kg per liter. ( Just gotta love the simplicity of the metric system!) That would be 13.2 pounds or 6 kg! I was amazed at how high it bounced the first time it hit the tile floor. The second bounce had me in motion to capture the precious container, filled with my lovingly crafted beer. At age 62 I was just a little too slow. I captured the container when it hit the tile floor the third time, popping the cap off and spraying beer across the kitchen floor. I did manage to slap my hand over the opening after at least a 12 ounce bottle’s worth covered the kitchen floor. (355 ml)

I had no idea where the cap had shot off to and hollered for some help….I tried not to look my wife in the eye when she saw my predicament! I needed that cap and had to ask for help…..well, she found it off into the dining room on the carpet.  My tragedy was growing. The cap had broken but fortunately I had a spare in my kit in the kitchen and a bowl of sanitizing solution to dip it in before capping the bottle. I think I saw a look of disgust on her face, not sure though…..as she gave me some very specific clean up instructions!

When we were first married some 30 years ago, we found fun things to do while the floor dried after mopping…..She wasn’t in the mood this  January 14th of 2014. I was nearly done with the mop up when “Murphy’s Law” kicked in…As I was moving some things out of the kitchen I bumped the graduated cylinder holding the sample I collected for checking the final gravity – I had read and recorded the gravity so that wasn’t so bad, but I did lose half the sample….I wanted more of a taste. My other fear was breaking the hydrometer but I was quick enough this time to catch it before it hit the tile floor.

After mopping, wiping down the cabinets, cleaning the rugs and counters I managed a taste test. The aroma is great and the bitterness is nice….Now I just have to be patient for a couple of weeks to allow the beer to condition and mellow.

I am so glad she loves me!

Transferring from the secondary carboy to the priming tank/bucket.

Transferring from the secondary carboy to the priming tank/bucket.

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Give up your keys when asked!

Bishop