Bottling honey

Finished Product
The ultimate goal: a beautiful jar of homegrown honey!

For this post, I will assume honey has been extracted from the frames. This is a common way of bottling honey and we think it's easy and fairly inexpensive to do yourself, with a little help from gravity. 

Make sure honey containers (jars, bears, etc.) are washed and dried before beginning. And NEVER leave the room when a honey gate is open. Trust me on this one. 

We use three 5 gallon buckets for bottling. With two buckets, we attach a honey valve. We call these the “settling tank” and “bottling tank.” With the third, we cut off the bottom and use it as a spacer to hold up the screen. I made a diagram of our bottling system. (And to show off my 4th grade drawing skills. Don’t worry, actual photos follow.) 

First, we elevate the settling tank by placing it on a counter. Then we place the screen, spacer, and bottling tank below it, as shown in the photo below. Then we open the honey valve on the settling tank, and allow honey to flow down through the screen and into the bottling tank. 

After it finishes running into the bottling tank, close the valve on the settling tank, place the bottling tank onto the counter, and place your desired honey container under the valve. Open the valve and fill the container. Close valve. Attach the lid to the container tightly and enjoy. 


Bottling tank from top to bottom: 
  • Screen for screening out large wax particles, available from a beekeeping supply company. It rests on top of the spacer or can also rest directly in a 5-gallon bucket.

  • Spacer, a 5-gallon bucket with the bottom cut out. It rests on the lid to the bottling tank, which lid has a hole cut in it so honey can flow through. Most of the lid center has been removed. (Think doughnut). 

Lid with center cut out

In another style of spacer, we cut the spacer bucket about 2 inches below the top rings. The 2 inches rest inside the bottling tank. This works well if you are not trying to fill a 5-gallon bucket clear to the top with honey. 

  • Bottling tank, a 5-gallon bucket with bottling valve attached. The photo below shows bottling tank with smaller spacer on top. 

  • Valve. Beekeeping supply companies sell the gate-style valve pictured above. This can be hard to find locally. Below is another valve we use. It is a food grade ball valve, and can be found at your local plumbing supply store (or Lowes or Home Depot). It needs to be at least 1 inch, otherwise, you will be waiting too long for honey to flow out. (3/4 inch is too small.) You will need a PVC fitting and O ring for the inside of the bucket. You will need to (carefully) cut a circular opening into the side of the bucket for the plumbing to fit. We used a pocket knife. 

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