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Thread: Filtering / Bottling Failure

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Bedford, NH

    Default Filtering / Bottling Failure

    Well it was bound to happen - I had an epic fail last Sunday while attempting to finish about a half gallon of syrup on the stove and then bottle it. I will try and upload some photos but I am hopeful this is something many of you have experienced and can let me know where I may have went wrong.

    1st I drew off about 1.5 gallons of concentrate off of my evaporator on Sunday afternoon after boiling all weekend. The temperature of the concentrate was only about 216F on the thermometer at the draw off, so I knew I would have some boiling to do, but I did not want to wait until closer. As I drew off I ran the concentrate through 2 pre-filters into my SS pot.

    I resumed the boil on my stove, and went from about 1.5 gallons to a little more than 0.5 gallons of syrup when it tested out at 62 brix hot (approx 211F).

    I then set up my ghetto filtering rig using 6 pre-filters and a funnel and began to bottle when the temp in the pot dropped under to about 200F. I know probably a little hotter than required. I did this method a month ago (and last year) with no issues, bottles are clear, only difference was a month ago I ran about 40 gallons of sap through the evaporator and finished on the stove in one batch in one session because of a freeze up.

    I noticed right away that the filters stopped flowing almost immediately, which has not been typical, and there was not the obvious dark brown sludge that I woudl typically see on my top pre-filter. The syrup was hot but not flowing easily coming to almost a complete stop before finishing one bottle.

    I ended up going down to 3 filters and would only get one or two bottles before having to swap them out for new/clean filters. I bottled (10) 8 oz glass jars with plastic caps. Everything seemed fine/normal once the syrup was in the bottles that night.

    The next morning I was stunned to see what looked like little suspended particles in the syrup, which I am guessing is what people refer to as cloudiness. When I hold the bottle up to the light and tilt teh bottle the particles shift in the syrup.

    This morning I had almost a 3/8 inch of settlement in one of the bottles. Any guesses on what I may have screwed up on this batch?
    2016-2018, 50 taps on hobby vacuum, boiling outdoors on the Mason 2x3.
    49 taps 2015, mix of hobby vacuum and gravity, boiling outdoors on the Mason 2x3.
    42+4 taps 2014, still on a WF Mason 2x3 Hobby Evaporator
    43 taps 2013 on a WF Mason 2x3 Hobby Evaporator
    10 taps 2012

    Follow along on our sugaring adventures at our website:

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Up on Da Border Eh. Upstate NY


    Sounds like an overboil to me pretty close to candy temps?? You could try to lean it back out with sap below the cold test and reboil keeping a close eye on it 58-60 brix. It may clear up it's worth a try I have done this in the past.
    Tap'em if ya got'em.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Lyman, NH


    If you were using a hydrometer correctly then your density should be okay.

    Were you using only prefilters? Using only prefilters will allow some of the fine sediment to pass though.

    Also, I would not wait for the syrup to cool at all before filtering. I run mine right out of the draw-off valve directly into a filter. Try to keep the syrup as hot as possible by enclosing the filter rack in something to trap the heat. Even cardboard stapled to a wood frame will help.

    The good news, is the sediment will settle out and the clear syrup can be poured off. Or don't worry about it. It won't kill you.
    2012: Probably 750 gravity taps and 50 buckets.

    600 gal stainless milk tank.
    2 - 100 gallon stock tanks
    one 30 gal barrel
    50 buckets

    3' x 10' Waterloo Raised Flue wood fired evaporator w/ open pans.

    12" x 20" Filter Canner

    Sawmill next to sugarhouse solves my sugarwood problem

    Gather with GMC 3500 2wd Pickup w/ 425 gallon Plastic Tank.

    Been tapping here in Lyman NH since 1989 but I've been sugaring since 8 years old in 1968.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    SW. Michigan


    I have this same problem. My first 2 (12oz) bottles look beautiful, but the next 8 (total for today) are clear, but with floaters.
    Since I'm a beginner using this for my own consumption,(and a bottle or 2 to friends) Do I understand correctly, that I CAN call it good, and plan on doing it better next year?
    Thanks to all for the education this forum provides us new hobbyists.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Caledon, Ontario


    MJCP, all of the sediment will settle in the bottom on your bottles. While it messes up the look of an otherwise clear bottle of syrup, it won't hurt you at all. Your syrup is just fine. Once it all settles you'll be able to slowly pour off the clear syrup from the top leaving all the crud behind.
    ~ Karen ~

    2012 - 10 taps, 1 turkey fryer - 169.5L sap 4.2 L syrup
    2013 - 23 taps, 2 turkey fryers - 748.5 L sap 17.56 L syrup

    2014 - 22 taps, 509 L sap 12.5 L syrup
    2015 - 28 taps, 1093.75 L sap 25.1 L syrup
    2016 - 25 taps, 1223.5 L sap 28.25 L syrup
    2017 - 21 taps, 518.5 L sap 12.7 L syrup
    2018 - 28 taps, 2 turkey fryers & Denali 3 burner propane stove - 798L sap 16.9 L syrup
    2019 - 28 taps, 1409.5L sap 40.12L syrup

    Sugar, Norway, Manitoba, Silver and Freeman Maples

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Birdsboro PA


    One other thought in the funnel. The syrup is probably having a hard time coming out because the syrup in the filter is creating a dam in the funnel slowing the flow of the filtered syrup. If you could suspend the filters in the funnel so they didn't hit the sides I think you'd be in better shape.
    first year 2012 50 taps late season made 2 1/2 gals.

    2013 2x6 homemade arch 180 taps. 20 Gals.

    2014 40 on 3/16 gravity 160 on buckets.


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