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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, I know. Bear with me! While sitting with a cup of coffee looking at a new (used) hot tub, I started letting my imagination run wild. Maybe it's a sign of age or happy marriage, but those thoughts (for me at least) run to "how can I use this for beekeeping" since 100F is too warm for brewing :).

I pictured a 60-lb pail of crystallized honey I have in storage, and how I'll never be able to store a dedicated honey-warming chamber year-round. WAIT, I'll have a 300+-gallon reservoir of 100-degree water bath! Only problem is keeping water and humidity out of the honey.

Picture: sealed bucket (tight, gasketed lid) with a collar, maybe pink foamboard, to keep it floating upright. Burp the lid a couple times to release pressure as it warms, but why couldn't the bucket sit in the water until it's reliquified?

Anyone tried something similar (not necessarily a hot tub, but a water bath to liquefy larger volumes of honey)?
 

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Hey Ben...Western Slope here. Blane of Epicurean honey over here does just that but with barrels of honey. He has big vats filled with water and controls the temp. He has it down to a science and it keeps the honey from scorching, turning darker or losing any of its flavor.

Instead of having it float I would just build a stand so that the top of the bucket is about two inches above the water line. It will take a bit to liquefy and if you stir it every so often it will speed up the process but it should turn out ok. Just make sure to not get any water in the honey or turn it over as you could have 300 gallons of mead if your aren't careful. (not that that's a bad thing. :D )
 

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Ben, would it be an option to simply lower the water level in the hot tub to just below the lid of your honey container? No danger of tipping or contamination then.
Regards,
Steven
 

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I have one of those giant marine coolers. I scoop the crystalized honey into 1/2 gal glass canning jars and seal them up tight and put them in the cooler with hot water to decrystallize. Works pretty good as the cooler retains the heat.

I place the honey in there and just enough water to reach near the lid (it's sealed anyway, so no worry). I do this before bedtime and by morning it is all decrystalized and the water has only lost about 10 deg.

This way the honey can't get scorched or even overheated.
 

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Have you thought about building a heating box? Ideally it has 4 sides + top&bottom... I scrapped one that had 4 sides + top... wood construction, 2" pink foam insulation, pieces bolted together.

Disassemble when not needed, bolt back together when you want an insulated box. Heat was provided by an old 220v stove element.

My other heater box, inherited from my mentor, is similar construction... big box with removable front panel, temperature control to an old stove element.

If I was to build one now, it would have metal studs (lighter), hardi-board (cement board) liner, high-temp isocyanurate(sp?) insulation with foil.

Can be set low to melt honey in buckets (or stuff that has been bottled), or to melt wax for rendering. Use a kitchen strainer (steel mesh) with paper towel. Fill the strainer with wax to be filtered. Support the filter above a cakepan. Turn on heater box to appropriate temps, let sit 12 hours, then turn it off. Filters the wax (although doesn't remove honey... one advantage to melting in water)... and the used filters make GREAT fire starters!
 

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I used my hot tub years ago until I got away from buckets. I ran a dowel across the top of the spa to hold the buckets. Since those days I have become less creative and just purchased thousands of dollars worth of bottling tanks. I have a 360 gallon double wall on its way which should hold about 7 drums of honey. I do plan on building a heated room controlled by an attic fan thermostat and tons of insulation.
 

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I like the stand in the hot tub idea. Just be absolutely sure you don't get the tub's biocide in your honey. I also wouldn't tell anybody that doesn't need to know.
 

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Ben, it aught to work. Just don't float the buckets in the water. It could still get into a sealed bucket. At 100 degrees, it will take you all day to get it liquified or soft enough. Can you get the water up to a higher temp?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hmmm, I do like the stand idea. That would be pretty easy to rig and reduce the worry quotient. The buckets I have are hard-sealing food-grade, so especially with the rim above water there shouldn't be any chlorine mead in the making :). I have considered making a warmer box many times over the years as a fermentation chamber (temp-controlled blower ducting to chest freezer to cool in summer, incandescent bulb to warm in winter) but couldn't justify taking up the space. I'll have to think about a knockdown version. Cement board... so you don't ding up the insulation moving buckets in/out?

I just figure I'm paying to heat the bleedin' water anyways, might as well get some extra use out of it. Apart from having a new location for the evening pint that is. Wonder if the girls will miss me out watching the bee channel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ben, it aught to work. Just don't float the buckets in the water. It could still get into a sealed bucket. At 100 degrees, it will take you all day to get it liquified or soft enough. Can you get the water up to a higher temp?
I could, though the tubs are controller-limited to 104 (some kind of lawyer switch). Mainly the reason I think this'll work for me is that I'm not in any hurry; I could take a week if I wanted/needed to, I don't sell just trade, brew or feed. And I love water baths since they're even and (as noted above) won't scorch or over-heat the honey. The tradeoff is certainly time, but if a beekeeper/brewer/angler/hunter/gardener/husband doesn't have patience he'll need some serious medication just to get by! Or wait, maybe that's where the beer and mead fit in :D.
 

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I can't waste any more of my brain cells on a idea when I can use my nobrainer method. 1 empty deep, metal queen excluder on top, hang a trouble light with a 75 watt or what ever size you need from the bottom of the excluder, 2 empty deeps on top, set honey on excluder, put on a outer cover,plug in the light, walk away and don't worry about it for a few days. Very little brain power required.
 
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