You would think so, but after hot filtering through flour sack cloth to remove debris, I’ve never noticed any smoke flavor.
I can get a hint of smoke flavor at times and it’s a good thing. When I made a batch of maple wine it started with a smokey scotch flavor and was quite good. The flavor disappeared after a few months in the carboy, though.
Yes we did get ash in the pans, with some filtering with cheese cloth it didn’t affect quality.
Im very interested in trying birch beer.
I have read that birch sap possibly flows at a different time of year/temperature?
Tried to tap walnut last yr and ran into this problem.
Very timely post for me; I’m cutting down a couple smaller diameter maples for growing shiitakes and was wondering about making syrup from the bigger ones that are left. We are just leaving the temperature window so maybe this Fall/Winter and next Spring.
I’ve looked into making hickory syrup and have found that there are three ways to do it, only one of which involves tapping for sap. I can’t say about the product of the sap method, but the other two are excellent.
How do you test it for completion without a hydrometer?
We pull it when the temperature boils at 7 degrees higher than regular sap boiling temp. So when the boiling temp goes to 219, its done.
I know i posted this several years ago but there may be something useful in there Tapping trees for their sap. Sometimes people dont have sugar maples and may want to tap something else. Nothing better than a sugar maple but sometimes we improvise.
We made several gallons of maple syrup per spring years ago, since our late son was allergic to cane and beet sugar. It was from a silver maple in the front yard. We had to add maple flavoring to give the syrup a maple taste, though. We also learned to put it in the freezer, as it would mold in the fridge after a couple months. We used an electric pot outside, then finished it on the stove, using a candy thermomter to test when it was done. One pot went up in flames outside after running dry. We had some professional aluminum tree taps someone had given us, but found that pieces of 1/2" garden hose worked just as well. We just hung ice cream buckets on nails to collect the sap. It was a fun project for the kids.
Ooh! I somehow missed this thread. Another sapsucker here, checking in.
We have five taps running from the sugar maples in our front yard. The setup looks a lot like the first image above - tube in a bucket with a rock on top. We could tap more trees, but we’ve got all the sap we know what to do with as it is, and it yields a couple of gallons of syrup in the end; enough to keep us supplied for the year and have a bit to give away to family and friends. This is just our second year at it, though we had some previous experience going in.
We boil in a 6 gallon stainless steel pot over a propane burner. It’s not ideal; more surface area would be better for faster evaporation, but for the small amount we’re dealing with, it works. We do sometimes do some boiling indoors, being careful to ventilate well and run a dehumidifier. So far, no peeling paint, but I do get uneasy about it.
We finish the syrup indoors on the stovetop once it’s close. We call it done when the boiling temp hits 219.5 on a candy thermometer, and then run it through a cone filter as we bottle.
Someone above asked about maple wine? I can’t speak to that exactly, but my husband made a tasty maple mead last spring: (60% honey and 40% maple syrup as the fermentable sugars, at a ratio of 2 lbs fermentables per gallon of water). It came out as a semi-dry still mead with a mild maple taste.
We tapped our silver maple tree with 4 taps - really just a hole drilled in at 4 feet from the ground, stuffed in a section of tubing and dropped the ends in a steel crab pot. Got about a gallon a day for the last three or four weeks. Kept a pot on the back of our woodstove to let it evaporate during the day. After topping it off all week, I would bring it to 219 degrees on my cooking stove, strain through a cotton cloth and pour into canning jars. I then sealed the jars and boiled for 10 mins in a water bath. Have 8 pints of beautiful clear maple syrup!
(And even if you didn’t have the patience for boiling 100 gallons into one gallon…you would sure have some clean pure drinking water with a little natural sweetener…you’re making me regret not tapping a tree or two myself this spring!)
Love that idea! If we had a wood stove I’d totally do that!!
Finally have the time to boil today. The buckets are overflowing. I put a grate across our fire pit, put the pans on top and then use some scrap metal to direct the heat a little. Fill the pans part way with sap before setting on flames. These pans are thin and will warp badly without liquid in them.
When the liquid reduces, I add fresh (cold) sap to only one side. For example, I would scoop sap from the right side and dump it into the left side until the left side is full. Then the fresh sap would go into the right side. The left side is always getting more concentrated and is always boiling. If I have to quit boiling due to rain or I just get sick of it, I have one pan of valuable syrup to take care of rather than two diluted pans.
It took about 18 minutes to get boiling. Now you can see the foam that should be scraped off occasionally. I think it gets rid of some of the fines and probably opens up more evaporation surface. Ash usually gets trapped in the foam.
What about a fine mesh, placed over the top of the pans to prevent the ash from going in?
That’s not a bad idea, but it probably wouldn’t work for me. I don’t get enough ash to be concerned and I don’t want to move a screen every time I skim or add more sap. The heat is intense and a screen’s edges might melt. The stainless pans will warp if liquid gets too low in them. I arrange the pans and fire in a way that the wind pushes smoke and ash away from the sap…for the most part.
I boiled sap over a fire like that when I was a kid, I think it was for a merit badge. I remember the end product having a slight smokey taste that was actually pleasant.
I completed boiling down my first batch of sap. I had 6 buckets on 6 trees. One of the trees has 2 taps emptying into 1 bucket. I started with about 30 gallons of sap and ended with exactly 1 gal of syrup. This is a better ratio than expected.