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Thread: Ice in sap collection barrel

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Mercer PA


    I experimented with this last year by pulling the ice which was around two inches thick in my buckets over top of the remaining two to six inches of unfrozen sap and saving both.
    The unfrozen sap was high in sugar. If I remember correctly, it was about 4 or 5% compared to my normal 1.6% and boiled down nicely to a light color.
    The ice was then melted and the sap that it made did not register on my hydrometer which is not very accurate at that low of a content.
    I proceeded to boil it down to almost nothing and got nothing.
    Before that, I saved the ice and boiled it all. Now I throw it all away since I have an insulated milk tank in the shade and I do not let my sap sit for very long.
    Like the previous poster said, there has to come a point when too much freezing starts capturing sugar and then discarding the ice would be throwing away syrup.
    2 x 6 A&A raised flue w/ preheater, OFA & UFA
    600 gal Zero tank
    125 taps on vacuum w/homemade releaser, 70 on gravity, 75 on buckets + a partner with 100 more buckets
    7" short stack Wesfab press
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    Two English Setters to keep watch on things

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Adirondacks (and Socialist Republic of NJ)


    Yes S.Acer

    That's my thought. As I've been hearing/reading (and again I'm new to this, this being my 3rd season sugaring) it does appear that, at least to a point, freezing sap, and skimming off/discarding of that ice would have a RO effect. I certainly don't know enough to make a statement, or for that matter actually experiment with my own sap as I simply don't have enough (skills, sap or equipment) to part with the amount needed to come to any real answer. I haven't grown yet to the point where I have the sap volume (or quite frankly the $$) to invest in RO equipment nor am I advocating a freezer can replace the equipment but I am intrigued by the potential answer...

    Does anyone know if this has ever been truly studied/tested?

    Has there ever been a published opinion/finding by Cornell, Proctor/UVM or Dr. Tim? I'm truly fascinated at the prospect.

    The more I learn, I'm noticing, the more questions I have

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2011


    The old timers here say the frozen stuff is low sugar . I believe I read somewhere that years ago they would toss the ice and only boil unfrozen . Interesting topic . 4% is a nice #
    2020-Leader Micro2 RO added, 210 taps
    2019-165 taps ,24 gallons syrup made.
    2017-crazy weather. 18 gallons
    2010-1st year,30 taps on buckets ,concrete block and 4 stainless pans

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    NE PA


    Search past threads in this forum because this comes up a couple of times each season. Here's a start....

    In this thread Dr Tim mentions some past research


    The graph I mentioned earlier appeared as a link in this thread...


    .... but the link posted by RileySugarBush no longer works. I found something similar at the same site where they discuss the science of crystal formation in sugar solution:


    hope something in there helps

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Frankford, Ontario


    My son studied this at University. Short Story - if the sap remains -5c or warmer, no sugar will be collected in the ice. Once the sap goes down to about -9c, some of the sugar will be trapped in the ice as it forms. I have the chart somewhere.

    I dump ice unless I need it to keep my sap tank cold for a day or too.
    Eastern Ontario (Quinte)
    20+ years on a 2x3 block arch,
    Homemade 20"x64" drop flue since 2011

    Build a Block Arch
    Build a Flat Pan
    Build a Flue Pan
    Sweetening the Pans
    Build a Bending Brake
    Using a Hydrotherm
    How much Sap to Sweeten?

  6. #16
    Join Date
    May 2008
    St. Marys Pa.


    From what I have learned on this site I ditch ice also

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    south new berlin,n.y.


    As others have said,toss it.I only keep the ice and put it in my storage tank when the weather starts to warm up some to keep the sap colder.As mentioned it is the poor mans ro.
    homemade barrel evaporator 2 x 4 divided flat pan 40 taps 10 x 8 sap house hood and pre heater

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Cooperstown NY


    Thanks to everyone........I guess it's ditch the ice! Good luck to all!

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Central Vt


    my vote is to skim the ice on the top off if it's in the buckets... the slow freeze seems to seperate the water better. On my barrels I leave the ice to the very end as a cooling device. It really saved me last season when we had 80 deg temps, that and a north side snowbank worked great. Small producers like me also don't have alot of excess sap each season so boiling a little longer is no big deal.
    31 Taps in 2011 with buckets, Barrel evap
    45+ Taps for 2012 with buckets, 2x5 Dryer Arch with steel pans ! 8x11 Sugar Shack, Dump Stations,
    60 Taps for 2013- Insulated Dryer arch, AUF,
    2014 watched from sidelines...
    70 Taps for 2015 - dryer arch, new 2x5 divided pan from Smokey Lake with a float box !
    70 Taps for 2016 - added a preheater and new grates for the Dryerator.
    80 Taps for 2018 - Dryer arch got new front and door

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