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Alternative containers for maple sap buckets

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Burn-1, Mar 12, 2008.

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  1. Burn-1

    Burn-1 Feeling the Heat

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    It looks like it could really be a great sugaring year here in NH with nearly perfect weather so far.

    I have a few trees I would like to tap to make just a small amount of syrup and I have the spiles but no buckets. It looks like the buckets would get expensive quickly although I would always have them in the future. Has anyone used anything else to useful effect. Would a 1 gallon milk jug work OK if I checked morning and night? I'm hoping to get some tubing and plastic spiles in which case I'll use a 5 gallon carbuoy but that's not looking good at the moment.

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  2. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    milk jug, cottage cheese container... 5 gallon bucket. The larger the container the better since you do not have to empty them as often.
  3. Burn-1

    Burn-1 Feeling the Heat

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    I had thought about a five gallon bucket but wasn't sure if a nail could hold the weight if it got too full. I think the milk jugs will have to do for now.
  4. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    I've used the milk jugs, but drove by the house with the 5g buckets DUCTAPED to the tree!

    LOL!

    Matt
  5. Cazimere

    Cazimere Member

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    Use rope to tie the bucket to the tree by its handle.
  6. Czech

    Czech Minister of Fire

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    I've been using 5 gallon buckets for years with the handle hooked right to the spile, never had a problem. Not sure what kind of splie you use, the ones I use have a hook that hangs down.
  7. homebrewz

    homebrewz Minister of Fire

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    I have used plastic 5 gal. carboys (water cooler jugs), milk jugs, and 5 gallon buckets. I use spires made from sumac branches,
    and slip the plastic tubing right over them and down into the buckets. That way, they buckets can sit on the ground.

    btw, I don't make much syrup, but the sap makes excellent beer!
  8. MainePellethead

    MainePellethead Minister of Fire

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    Many around here use milk jugs as well.
  9. lvfd50

    lvfd50 New Member

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    Beer from the sap now that sounds good. I was just starting to look into making my own beer and was wondering how you use the sap in your beer making? Also what kind of flavor do you end up with?
  10. homebrewz

    homebrewz Minister of Fire

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    I use the sap instead of using water. Its basically water from a tree with a 2% sugar content.
    The sugars in the sap ferment out increasing the alcohol content somewhat. It gives beer a crisp,
    clean sort of "woody" taste. If you let them age, the mapleness usually comes out.

    Also, if you need 5 gallon buckets, most supermarket bakeries have them lying around. They are
    usually willing to part with them for free. Donut filling, frosting, etc comes in them. You can also get
    them from the deli, but those are usually pickle buckets, and you will need to soak them in a strong
    bleach solution for weeks to get the smell out!
  11. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Minor tip on the 5 gallon buckets - If you are getting ones with lids, make sure the bucket and the lid are from the same manufacturer The buckets look standard, but they aren't, there is just enough subtle difference in the way the rims are sized and shaped that a lid from bucket company A will probably not fit or seal properly on a bucket from company B... I have tried to keep my buckets all the same brand as much as I can, and use a Sharpie to mark the brand clearly on the side of each bucket and lid so I can match them up easily - especially important to mark the buckets as the brand imprint is usually on the bottom, hard to check on a full bucket!

    Gooserider
  12. Czech

    Czech Minister of Fire

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    Just started running yesterday here in the Twin Cities, MN. A lot of work for a pint or two! Good news is the new pellet camp stove works great for boiling down and is tons cheaper than LP.
  13. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

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    My neighbor uses sumac branches with a 1 gal milk jug hung right on it - drill a hole in the jug. I use metal spiles with galvanized bag hangers and blue 3-gallon bags. Kinda pricey from Lehmans.com, but they work great.

    A friend at work uses the standard spiles, gets food-grade tubing, and sticks it on the end of the spile. He has 5-gallon buckets with a small hole in the lid to stick the tubing in.

    As far as pickle buckets, I have several of them. Still smell like pickles 3 years later. I have never had any off-flavor from it. I also have a 15-gal. barrel that had schwepps syrup in it that I use for storage.
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