PHOTO OF THE WEEK, Maple Syrup II

Last week we showed how we collect the sap and this week we are boiling it down to syrup.
The kettle on the right is the pre-heater and collector. The bags of sap are poured into this kettle as they are collected. It is held in the kettle to not only begin heating but to allow it to flow into the boiling kettle on the left at a controlled rate.
If this looks familiar to brewers that's because it is our brewery serving another purpose.
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Silly question: If you plan on using it for brewing anyway, why boil it down to syrup? Why not just boil down to the gravity you need contributed to your wort?
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Theodore M. Kloba wrote:

Good question. The answer is,that's exactly what we do when making wine. Saves an awful lot of boiling.
When adding to beer, you would have to deal with all the water in the original calculation for the batch. I presume the person who added the syrup to beer purchased the syrup so it was not an issue.
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If I ever found myself in posession of a quantity of maple sap, I'd be tempted to try this "wine" recipe I found on a Lithuanian folk culture website:
FERMENTED TREE SAP Rauginta sula
Fill a wooden barrel with maple or birch sap. For extra flavor add black currant, cherry or birch branches. Cover top with oats. Oats are light and remain on the surface and sprout creating a 5 cm/2 inches thick cover. This method of covering the sap creates a flavorful fermentation. Such fermented sap can be kept for several months in a cool place and be available to satisfy summer thirst. Cut a round opening in the oat cover to allow a ladle to enter the barrel. Replace the cut out round when enough drink has been ladled.

Makes sense... I guess you'd be pretty much limited to extract or a really long boil otherwise.
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A good reference on tapping is here" Walters, Russell S. Sugarbush Management US. Dept. Agric. Forest Service, Gen. Tech. Report NE-72: 25-37; 1982 Walters, Russell S.; Yawney, Harry W. Sugar Maple Tapholes US. Dept. Agric. Forest Service, Gen. Tech. Report NE-72: 8-15; 1982
Sincerely, John A. Keslick, Jr. Arborist http://home.ccil.org/~treeman and www.treedictionary.com Beware of so-called tree experts who do not understand tree biology. Storms, fires, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions keep reminding us that we are not the boss.

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symplastless wrote:

You know what is really sad? Once upon a time one would be delighted with such information and not think twice about writing off (with a stamp etc) to get it.
Now I sit here and whine... "where's the link?"
Al Gore has created a world of lazy researchers.
As a point of interest, in spite of being a lifetime naturalist and 12 years of maple syrup, it was not at all clear to me how the sap worked, where is it going? why does it stop? why not in Summer?
I posted these questions to the Yahoo Natural History group and finally got some of the answers.
For those too embarrassed to ask, here are a few answers:
The sugar is produced by the leaves and stored in the roots in Fall. The sap containing sugar is sent up to the buds in Spring to get them started. When the buds/leaves start to photosynthesize, they don't need it anymore so it stops... real simple.
There were lots more that were not answered... like why do some very small trees produce more sap than some (most) very large trees?
Why do some trees produce none?
The answers to these were not very satisfying.
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I'm not an Arborist but I did sleep at a ...... Just a wild guess on the first question. Compared to their size the younger trees need to grow a larger percentage each year to be able to establish their own space in the forest. To do this requires more energy, thus more sap. Like humans that grow up fast the first 18 years and then spend the next 60 growing out around the edges slowly.
Mark R
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Jack Schmidling wrote:

Looks interesting. Have you ever tapped box elder trees? They are supposed to make a nice syrup too, but have a lower sugar content so you have to boil longer.
I've read somewhere about syrup producers using reverse osmosis to extract much of the water, so they start boiling at maybe 20% instead of 3%. You can imagine the energy savings.
Bob
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zxcvbob wrote:

We have so many maple trees that I don't bother with the box elders but I wonder about the sugar content. They say the same thing about sugar maple vs other maples but we alway get at least 3% from our silver maples and this is the nominal quoted always for sugar maple.

Not to mention the time. Never heard of this but sounds interesting.
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Very nice.
I like the furnace/foundary you use for boling. Where can one find plans for such device?
Thanks,
Brian
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bhath wrote:

Unfortunately, only in the junkyard of my brain.
Check out my silver page to see some of the things I have done in the furnace mode.
Not to mention, handles and bearing plates in the early days of the MALTMILL.
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