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Thread: early season off flavored syrup??

  1. #1
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    Apr 2013
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    Default early season off flavored syrup??

    I was talking to a friend of mine who has a large operation by my standards...6-7k taps or so. he had a fellow producer, who's operation is 4-5 miles down the road, offer to bring some of his barrels to be dropped off at the packer for him. He said sure and went along for the ride. the guy had 64 or so barrels to drop off... they were all off flavored (ouch!). slightly, but nonetheless of flavored. my friend said it was very, very hard to detect but there was something there. this guy has produced syrup for years and has never made any off flavored syrup before the very end of the season and usually quits when he notices. the folks at the packer said that they have been seeing this from other producers throughout the region. I've seen the guys set up and two of his bushes. he has a huge operation... 15k-20k taps +... everything is cleaned after each boil... evaporator, tanks, ro's etc... what could be the cause of this? they said it had a slight woody aftertaste. some odd ph levels within the soils?, warm winter? a few longs stretches of warm weather with sap spoiling in the lines (with 10s of thousands of gallons a day I'd doubt it?)? I believe they sent samples for Dr Tim's group to check out. my friends was pretty nervous after that, but the folks at the packer told him he had the nicest fancy syrup they've seen so far this year, as they've noticed the syrup quality hasn't been as good as it has in years past. sorry for the long post, but I'm just curious as to what the causes could be. I'm sure there's lots of possibilities. from what I understand he's going to boils small amounts from each of his bushes and see if he can find the issue.
    Awfully thankful for an understanding wife!

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    Good luck to all!

  2. #2
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    I believe the "woody" flavor characteristic is attributed to an off-flavor known as metabolism. Maybe all the abnormally warm weather in February caused this? From what I understand, this is not necessarily limited to the late portion of the season.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Urban Sugarmaker View Post
    I believe the "woody" flavor characteristic is attributed to an off-flavor known as metabolism.
    It does sounds like metabolism/woody off-flavor. Often happens in early-mid season, especially with otherwise very nice light-colored syrup. Not a lot you can do about it....but it does tend to go away once we have some good runs to flush it out. Caused by nitrogen-containing amino acids released by the tree and seemingly associated with warm spells, then a solid freeze. Some bushes are more prone to it and some years it is more widespread. Impossible to predict.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  4. #4
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    SO... to update this thread... I have found out what the culprit was with the off flavored syrup. nothing to do with the sap, boiling process, or the producer himself. it was CDL's taps. I'm unsure which ones. apparently they had a bunch of taps that got messed up and they have recognized the situation. they said they'd pay for the syrup and pay for tap replacement. that's some good customer service... however, I'm not sure what else they could do besides ignoring it. you can take one of their faulty taps, stick it in water and it has a slightly odd taste. heat up the tap and or water and it's undrinkable! I guess there's a larger producer in southern vt who had the same issue. kind of odd, but good on them to correct the situation!
    Awfully thankful for an understanding wife!

    “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.”
    - Vincent “Vince” Lombardi

    Good luck to all!

  5. #5
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    You have everyone's attention now. CDL sells a lot of taps!

  6. #6
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    I would have guessed this was metabolism too! I have made some. Took about 50 years of making syrup to have a season where I tapped very late because the weather was good again, sap tasted a little flat, syrup was very light and was the worst tasting stuff you can imagine! Very interesting that this off flavor was traced to the CDL spouts! wow!
    Regards,
    Chris
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  7. #7
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    Which style spouts r we talking about?
    4 by 12 cdl
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by steam maker View Post
    Which style spouts r we talking about?
    I don't know but can't help but wonder if plastic ones are to blame. I know for a fact that when I tried some plastic spouts a couple years back, they didn't impart any flavours that I could tell...but they just slid out of the trees as though greased! Good thing I still had (and continue to have) my ol' 7/16ths aluminum spouts. BTW anyone want 30 free plastic blue *health* spiles? Pay for shipping or come and get em!!!
    Been tapping since 2008, but mostly unexceptional til recent years.
    2014 - 18 taps/6 trees, 407l sap, 19l syrup
    2015 - 18 taps/6 trees, 424l sap and 20.75l syrup
    2016 - 18 taps/6 trees..701l sap, 24l syrup
    2017 - 17 taps/6 trees...474l sap, 15.75l syrup

  9. #9
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    Jan 2017
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    Danbury, Connecticut
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    i have to wonder what the impact of this will be on seasonal pricing of maple as it comes to the fore-front as the really big producers in CA get cranking this week

    side note, very very glad i bought lapierre taps...
    3rd year, still learning as much as i can
    2.5'x10' drop flues
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  10. #10
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    I am unable to provide any details or answer questions at this point, however please be assured that: 1) this issue is being investigated and 2) only a very small number of producers are seemingly affected.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

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