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2013 Maple Syrup thread

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Bocefus78, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. Bocefus78

    Bocefus78 Minister of Fire

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    I know there are a few others on here that are cooking some sap this year. Lets see some pics!

    This is my first year doing it. I have 20 taps in 10 trees all right around 20"DBH with tubing into 5gal buckets.

    I did my first boil this weekend and ended up with a pint of syrup. I had far from great weather as far a sap production goes (too cold all week), so I wasn't expecting much. It was more of a learning boil than anything. I should have had a quart finished product, but it got too cold in the filter and I was half popped so filters and half of my frozen syrup went into the wash bucket.

    Here are a cpl pics of my first attempt at a evaporator. It worked way better than I expected. the cinderblock chimney have me a place to dampen it down when needed and almost force the heat back towards the front.
    The cast iron pan prewarmer was key as to not lose the boil. Wood used was a mix of beech and sugar maple and I went thru about 1/4 of a face cord in 6.5 hrs. Good thing I hauled about 1.5 cords out while it was boiling because at this rate, I'm going to burn my camping stash up REAL quick!

    All in all, it was a fun weekend. Let see some other operations! IMAG1085 (Medium).jpg IMAG1064 (Medium).jpg IMAG1073 (Medium).jpg IMAG1077 (Medium).jpg IMAG1083 (Medium).jpg
    smokinj, Thistle and ScotO like this.

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  2. TresK3

    TresK3 Member

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    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Nice Pictures. Looks like a simple set-up for your evaporator - especially for a first go-around.

    Last year I tapped a few trees and boiled the sap down to a specific gravity of about 1.54. Not nearly thick enough for syrup, but around the starting gravity for making beer. Once I had a few gallons, I transferred this to a primary fermenter, added some champagne yeast and let it go. After a few weeks I racked it to a clean carboy and let it rest. Then I primed with some commercial maple syrup and bottled. The final gravity was around 0.998, so I fermented out ALL the sugars. I was hoping for something woodsy and mapley; what I got was a VERY dry, sparkly beverage with a faint maple "character" (not so much a flavor). It also packed quite a wallop! If I ever do this again, I think I'll aim for something more wine-like and less beer-like.
  3. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Looking good, bud! As you know I ain't doing it this year, and I am bummed about it but that's the way it goes.....too many things going on...

    Next year, for certain, I'll be going all-out. Here's a couple pics from year's past of our setups, and how they progressed.....

    2007 and 2008 were my first years.....I built the trammel and tripod out of rigid conduit and a chain.....worked like a charm but not very efficient...did a LOT of babysitting this way because I had to keep adding sap and wood.....constantly...

    2008 morning start-up.jpg 2008 my first set-up (40qt stockpot and homemade trammel.jpg

    In the summer of 2008 I tore down a huge barn that was built in the 1860's, in the bottom floor of the barn covered up in junk there was an antique Speed Queen stainless steel washer tub, I took it home, TIG-welded a stainless steel patch on the agitator hole on the bottom and made a 20 gallon kettle.....NOW WE'RE TALKING SOME BOILING! Used this and it worked great for two years (I still use it to this day for cooking corn and stews on the fire in the summertime).....

    2009 20 gallon kettle.jpg

    Me and my 'crew' out getting sap....

    2009 me and my sugarin' partners.jpg 2009 collection jugs.jpg 2009 sap taste tester.jpg

    2010 pics, getting sap, cooking with the big kettle and my addition of the barrel stove I made (and it worked great, too). Found another Speed Queen washer tub on ebay and built a second kettle.....cooked 40 gallons at a time this way...

    2010 20 gallon barrel stove.jpg 2010 emptying the jugs.jpg 2010 collection.jpg 2010 20 gallon kettle.jpg

    more pics on the next post....
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  4. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    more 2010 pics....WHAT A MESS! My backyard was TOAST this season. we had a ton of snow and meltoff, the yard was trashed (I normally keep my yard IMMACULATE....)

    2010 jugs.jpg 2010 getting wood for the evaporator.jpg 2010 hangin round the kettle.jpg 2010 running both 20 gallon kettles.jpg 2010 first batch.jpg

    2011 I built the big evaporator......55 gallons at a time and it really gets the job done....

    Pics below are of last year, didn't do so hot last year (should've ended up with 50-60 gallons of syrup, ended up with around 20 because it went from winter to summer in a matter of a week or two....). These are all the pics I have on this computer, I have literally hundreds more pics and videos on the other PC upstairs.....there are some videos in my older posts of the evaporator....

    2012 55 gallon evaporator (2).jpg 2012 55 gallon evaporator.jpg 2012 first batch.jpg
    smokinj, zap, daveswoodhauler and 2 others like this.
  5. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Nice pics guys. Am I ever jealous!!!!! Good thing Quebec has lots of maple syrup farms...I can get it relatively cheap since I don't have any trees on my property!

    Andrew
  6. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    Wow. I think that is so cool! I can usually find homemade syrups at a local place that sells all sorts of homesteader goods but no syrup yet. Gives me hope that the season is here and soon I can get real syrup again!!
  7. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    Looks great everyone.....Maybe someday I'll try that when caught up with other stuff.... just curious what it would cost me for a quart or 2 of the stuff,including shipping.I can send via PayPal if you'd like.
  8. loadstarken

    loadstarken Member

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    Yes, is anyone selling it on the hearth?
  9. Bocefus78

    Bocefus78 Minister of Fire

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    Update: On Friday, I put up 40 gallons of sap. Between that and what I expect to get this week, I should have 2 gallons or so of syrup this weekend. I've also added a 2nd pan to speed up the process and save on cord wood.

    Scotty, I read that wood fired syrup takes on a darker color....is that why my first run seems darker than the Fancy grade I used to buy?

    Thistle, I'm not making any promises on selling any until I see what my production this weekend turns out to be. If I have some that I decided to sell (alot is already promised out to friends, family, etc) without knowing shipping, I'm thinking around $20/qt plus shipping. I know it seems high, but thats actually about 10% cheaper than where I used to buy it.

    PS, I'd rather have a check :) Paypal has gotten enough of my money.

    Let me know if you are interested.
  10. Shane N

    Shane N Feeling the Heat

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    Just use dwolla.com. Free for <$10, 25 cents for > $10
  11. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    I know nothing about how dwolla works,but the dude that founded that lives in my city.Its growing pretty good latest news report said.
    ScotO likes this.
  12. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    PayPal is one of the main reasons I quit selling on ebay. Once they merged, they monopolized payment methods and such k you dry on fees.......
    I rarely sell on ebay anymore....
    Shane N likes this.
  13. Shane N

    Shane N Feeling the Heat

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    I'm actually the other founder ;). It cuts out CC's from the process and everything is bank to bank.
    Thistle and Jags like this.
  14. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Member

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    Iowa City, Iowa
    As for the color - I don't think how you boil the syrup (wood, etc) affects the color. I've always heard (and have experienced) that the early stuff is lighter in color, and the later stuff is darker. I think the lighter stuff has a better flavor.

    Here's a pic showing a jar of the early sap compared to the later. Not as many pics as Overkill but here's a couple. And pic on my sig is our oldest daughter with a quart we made a few years ago. As Overkill showed in his photos - tapping trees and collecting sap is a great activity with the kids!

    Final Syrup.jpg Syrup and Paige.jpg
    IMG00048-20110227-1425.jpg
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  15. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    What a cutie, Hawkeye.

    You folks must really love your syrup. The last bottle I bought of the good stuff was a fairly small bottle. It took 3 years for me to use it up.
  16. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Jags, we use several gallons a year. I boil some of it clear down to sugar, and that Maple sugar is awesome on carrots and sweet 'taters! She also uses the sugar in her homemade snickerdoodles, they are to die for! We use the syrup also in a cold class of milk, tastes like a melted vanilla milkshake. Its great with some crushed pecans or walnuts on top of vanilla ice cream, too! So the syrup is great on lots of things other than pancakes and waffles......
  17. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    You gonna start a maple syrup haorders club? ;lol
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  18. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    well, I probably could......last time I checked there was between 13 to 16 gallons in the cellar.......;)
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  19. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye Member

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    What Overkill said! I also use it when I make hot-sauce. Or might incorporate more of it when basting a glaze onto wings (hot-sauce, more syrup, and butter mixed together and brushed on......).

    Overkill - that much left over I think puts you in your psycho hoarder category.
    Thistle and ScotO like this.
  20. Czech

    Czech Minister of Fire

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    Tapping this week end!

    Attached Files:

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  21. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Last weekend we finished and jarred 3.5 gallons. Temps dropped and the sap shut down till yesterday and today where it trickled. Hopefully it'll pick back up tomorrow so we can get to boiling again Sunday.

    Our first batch was extremely light and we had a higher sugar content than usual with the sap. There was approximately 105 gallons of sap that made those 3.5 gallons of syrup. Wish I could get that high a ratio every time.

    Will share some pics once we are back up and running.

    pen
    ScotO likes this.
  22. Stax

    Stax Minister of Fire

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    Just finished boiling my 2nd batch this morning. My first batch (22 gallons of Silver Maple Sap) yielded a little under 2 quarts which I bottled in 3 mason jars. They are the first few pics. I kept one and gave the other two to family. My second batch (12 gallons) yielded a little under a quart or 2 mason jars 3/4 full. My second run looks "lighter" than my first. I want to get a syrup hydrometer for next season so that I can accurately produce syrup at the 66% mark. I also want to purchase a larger evaporating pan to expedite the process. This was my first time experimenting with making maple syrup. Like Scotty, I also had to do a lot of babysitting during the outside boiling process. Just like others have said, man do you go through a lot of wood. Anyhow, the temps do not look good for sugar'n this week. I wonder if my season is over? If so, I'm okay with it. I had fun. Anyhow, some pics of the process and the final product.
    Syrup First Yield.jpg Syrup Pint 1.jpg Syrup Pints 2 & 3.jpg Syrup Boil.jpg Syrup Filter.jpg Syrup Second Yield.jpg Syrup Pints 4 & 5.jpg Syrup Forecast.jpg
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  23. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Looks good, Stax! Even have your own label! Keep sappin' , and taste-test the sap from tree to tree. If the temps stay like they are calling for, the buds will swell and the sap will take on a 'woody' taste.....that's when you know it's time to pull the taps.
  24. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    Maple butter and cream is heavenly !
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  25. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Yes it is, made a batch of that several years back.....how'd I forget to mention that?? ;)

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