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Old 02-21-2017, 08:35 PM   #1
Buckladd
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Maple Sap 2017

'Just wondering if anyone out there who lives in or close by the Adirondacks endeavors in making their own syrup. My wife and I started a few years ago and only tap 10 trees on our property in the Lake George area. We enjoy doing it and the idea that the product comes from our own property.

I'm just curious what others do and mainly interested in keeping track of how the sap is running in your area. Maybe we can share some tips and track progress around the region. We tapped on Saturday (2/18) and it ran well over the weekend and I expect it to for some time. 'Hope to do some boiling this weekend.
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Old 02-21-2017, 10:48 PM   #2
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I set our 40 taps on Saturday morning and by Sunday afternoon I collected 50 gallons which I boiled off on Monday. Today I collected about 35 gallons and will start boiling in the morning at 6. I'm near Pulaski, between Syracuse and Watertown. We started out with 10 taps in 2008 or 2009, and gradually increased a little. I only tap the trees that are within 150 yards of the road, but we have a lot more trees out in the woods to the south if I had the gumption to collect from them. We started out boiling over an open fire in a 15 gallon steam table pan and in late 2011 I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to buy a homemade 2x4 evaporator for $60 at an auction. I converted it to burn wood by cutting a hole in the end and adding a barrel stove kit door. It's made from what looks like an old bridge I-beam. I built a sugar house around it on an old 8x12 concrete slab that winter and it's much faster than the open fire. It'll evaporate 5-6 gallons an hour on a good day, 4-5 on a higher humidity day. The wood fire is nice and cheap to run but I have to go out and tend it every half hour, and if I have a lot to do I will run it from 6 AM to 10 PM sometimes, so it's a lot of trips.
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Old 02-22-2017, 01:04 PM   #3
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I'm not as committed as the abovers but I've got a couple trees tapped. Sap is flowing good right now, I just checked.

Edit: Anyone collect other sap such as birch, black walnut, etc? I got a few gallons of birch sap last year and will expand operations this year to get more. Used it for making beer and drank some as a post exercise drink. Didn't boil any down to syrup, but may this year. Curious to hear if anyone else is experimenting with it.

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Old 02-24-2017, 12:55 PM   #4
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My nieghbor called me up last night and he was boiling 60 gallons. He's got a pretty big evaporator. Anyway, he also welds and told me if I got one of the kits in the link below that he had a barrel and would weld it up for me. Some either put a flat plate on top or cut holes to drop the pans down it. I might do this next year.

http://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/pro...FQ2ffgodzL8KQg
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Old 02-24-2017, 01:44 PM   #5
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I bought one of those barrel stove kits after I got the 2'x4' arch at the auction. It was set up for an oil or gas burner to be mounted on it, so I had to cut a larger hole in the front and bolt on the door so I could burn wood. The door is nice enough, though the little handle part wouldn't stay screwed on. I just use a piece of wood or the hatchet to tap the handle in and out of the latch when the fire is burning and that works fine. I took a piece of 3/4" conduit and flattened the end a bit so I could stick it through one of the slots in the damper in the lower door frame and put an air mattress blower on the other end of the conduit. It blows a nice stream of air into the bottom of the firebox and keeps the boil going a lot faster than when it was naturally aspirated. I have known people who cut a hole in the top for the pan. I think that would give better heat transfer than having a plate on top of the stove for the pan, but I could be wrong. Do you plan to make an arch inside the barrel or just use it as a regular barrel stove?
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Old 02-24-2017, 02:02 PM   #6
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Do you plan to make an arch inside the barrel or just use it as a regular barrel stove?
Zach
I'm not sure. At this point it's a new idea for me. The propane burner and pans I got last summer at a garage sale were custom built for sap so I'm going to give that a try along with my other burners this year. I'm building a new shed in the spring and am going to try to move the old one with my tractor. That could become a sugar house, sort of, in the future and a the barrel stove may be just the ticket.
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Old 02-27-2017, 11:09 AM   #7
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Well, I finished my first small boil. Like I said, I have a small operation. I collected 5 gallons of sap last week and buried it in a snowbank, but something knocked it over. I don't see any bear or coon tracks so it must've been the wind. Anyway, I collected another 5 gallons or so and got a pint of syrup that's fairly dark, but tasty, that I finished this morning. Pancakes for dinner tonight. I'm off from work today so it'a back out to check the taps.
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Old 02-27-2017, 01:36 PM   #8
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It sounds great, dark syrup is very nice. I boiled 60 gallons on Wednesday so we're just over 3 gallons of syrup so far. I usually aim for 10 or so. I haven't emptied any buckets since Wednesday and they were frozen when I looked yesterday, but we might get enough of a run to boil again tomorrow or the day after. A pint from 5 gallons is a pretty good sugar content, good for you.
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Old 02-27-2017, 05:34 PM   #9
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Well, I finished my first small boil. Like I said, I have a small operation. I collected 5 gallons of sap last week and buried it in a snowbank, but something knocked it over. I don't see any bear or coon tracks so it must've been the wind. Anyway, I collected another 5 gallons or so and got a pint of syrup that's fairly dark, but tasty, that I finished this morning. Pancakes for dinner tonight. I'm off from work today so it'a back out to check the taps.
I always liked dark syrup.
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Old 02-28-2017, 01:24 PM   #10
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Heard one report say that current yields are down 70%. I expect that if we get back to "normal" March weather, the sap will flow, but I really don't know. I've seen a couple silver maples with flowers already. This is very strange weather.
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Old 02-28-2017, 04:23 PM   #11
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Flow was strong early last week then slowed with the very warm days and lack of cool nights. The weekend cool down completely slowed the flow then yesterday was a good day. I'll be boiling 5 gallons tonight. Hopefully I will have about a half gallon total so far. Color has been variable depending on the tree. Finished product is amber but not as light as the usual first boil of the season. Still really good taste though.
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Old 02-28-2017, 04:52 PM   #12
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Do any of you boil your sap all the way down to make candy? If so I'm curious as to the approximate ratio of sap/candy. Does is vary greatly depending on the sugar content of the sap you boil?

I don't need exact figures or anything, just looking for a roundabout idea please.
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Old 02-28-2017, 09:41 PM   #13
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I just got in from taking today's boil off the evaporator, 75 gallons +/- and should make about 2 gallons of syrup tomorrow when I finish it if the sugar content in this sap is similar to what we've been having so far this year. If so we'll be up around 5 gallons which is half of what I usually make, and all in the first 10 days of the run. Of course there's no way to know what will happen for the remainder of the season but we're off to a good start.

IndLk_Brett, I think it depends to some degree on whether you're making hard candy or soft, but I don't do either. Syrup is 2/3 sugar and 1/3 water, and candy goes on from there to more sugar, of course. Sap to syrup ratios can range from 20-1 to 60-1 according to Cornell, but we have usually been in the 30 or 40-1 range in my experience.
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Old 02-28-2017, 10:16 PM   #14
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IndLk_Brett, I think it depends to some degree on whether you're making hard candy or soft, but I don't do either.
I was thinking of soft candy actually. Thanks for the other info though. I have a limited bit of experience watching and helping my Dad produce syrup back when I was very young, but he never made candy either. Just something I was curious about as I've always loved some good maple candy and one of these years I think I'd really like to try.
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Old 03-04-2017, 08:20 AM   #15
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A few years ago I over-boiled what would've been a pint. I thought about trying to make candy out of it but it was Easter weekend and my wife wanted it for a spiral ham. Best ham ever!
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Old 03-23-2017, 12:46 PM   #16
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Finished boiling down around 10 gallons I collected over the weekend and early in the week before the cold snap. Quality is excellent, looks like it went back to amber with the snow on the ground after the last batch I did was much darker.
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Old 03-23-2017, 04:43 PM   #17
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Cool! I boiled about 8 gallons on Monday and it was pretty dark and not as sweet as what I boiled two week's prior. This week is going to be it for me. My neighbor said the same thing. I boil whatever I get this week on Sunday/Monday.

Meanwhile, http://www.nysmaple.com/nys-maple-weekend/
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Old 03-23-2017, 04:50 PM   #18
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Also, my wife and I took a ride over to the Vermont Country Store a few days before the big storm. Their syrup display was impressive to say the least. It looked like whiskey, and they had samples for tasting.
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Old 03-25-2017, 09:59 AM   #19
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I've cooked up 3 1/2 gallons of syrup so far. Hoping to get one more good run before I pull taps.
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Old 03-25-2017, 11:33 AM   #20
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I've made 8-1/2 gallons so far and I am planning to boil whatever I have on Monday and pull the taps. My goal is 10 gallons for the year, or 1 quart per tap. Sometimes when we were staring out we'd get a bit more, and lately it's been less most years but it looks like we'll make it this year.
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