Thank you honey bees!

One of the many great things about our partnership with the Park District has been seeing the honey-making process at various stages. In our previous post, we talked about and showed examples of some of the history of Lyman Woods and the process of installing bees in the apiary. We also introduced the Field to Fermenter program at the Park District coming up on Sept. 9th.

Nearly four months have passed since that time and we’re happy to announce that those bees worked their little abdomens off!  75 pounds of raw honey were delivered to the brewery and will be added to our special honey wheat ale during fermentation. While participants in the program will get a sneak peek, the official debut will be at Harvest Fest on Sept. 30th.

Honey Harvest

The hives used at Lyman Woods are referred to as “Langstroth hives.” These are modular stacks of hive bodies (4-sided boxes) that contain vertically positioned frames where the bees build their honeycombs. The flexibility of the modular design and removable frames enables beekeepers to efficiently maintain the hives and harvest honey at the end of the season; which typically occurs from late July to early September.

After the frames have been removed, and all the bees have been carefully separated from them, they are ready for the honey to be extracted. Using an electric hot knife, the capping (beeswax) is carefully removed to expose the honey. The frame is then put into a honey extractor that uses centrifugal force to separate the honey from the frames. Extractors come in both manual (hand-crank) and motorized varieties. The honey drips down the side walls, collecting at the bottom and then exiting through a small capped opening at the base. The honey passes through a simple filter as it drips down and is then ready for packaging.

Lyman Woods honey is a highly sought-after item in Downers Grove and sells out very soon after being put on sale. We were extremely delighted to get as much as we did for our honey wheat ale. If you’d like to get your hands on some, be sure to be at this year’s sale on August 14th at 9am.