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Thread: Birch Syrup Basics

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Westminster, VT
    Posts
    673

    Default Birch Syrup Basics

    Looking for some basic syrup info
    I what I know:
    The season tends to start as the maple season ends
    It takes almost double the sap compared to maple per gallon

    What else do I need to know!?!?

    I ask because I have a small sugarbush (5-600 taps) that has significantly more black birch trees than maple. I was wondering if I could tube the property for both with one tubing system?
    My thinking is tap the maple, then when the birch season starts, Un tap and plug the maple and tap the birch.
    Would this work? I'm thinking one tubing system to maintain

    Does birch require a Vacuum system? Then you'd have one pump and releaser as well
    Just curious about trying it
    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    261

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    It has been discussed on here a few times. General consensus was that you should not mix tubing systems but ok to use the same processing equipment because it can be easily cleaned. Some have commented that you don't want as hard of a boil with birch sap either. Ratio is sometimes more like 100:1 so maybe even more than 2x.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    NW Wisconsin
    Posts
    63

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    I can't really see an issue using the same tubing. Just flush out the maple prior to switching over to birch.

    Haven't tapped black birch so I cannot speak specifically to it but have tapped paper birch numerous times. Because the sugar content is very low (like.5%- 1.0%), I only make a small batch (quart or two) of syrup and then bottle and freeze 4-5 gallons of sap to drink later.

    When cooking, you want it be at a very low boil. With the sugars in birch, it will scorch if you cook it like you would maple. Finishing should just be at the evaporating point (not a boil).

    Tap just like you would a maple. Birch flow like crazy (at least the paper birch does), it isn't uncommon to have 2+ gallons per tap on a "normal" day. With the temps being warmer at this time, spoilage can become an issue unless you can keep it cool or cooked.

    It is a lot of work for a little reward but keeps us in the woods another couple weeks while the ice is coming off the fishin lakes.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    24

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    I tapped black birch until late April this year. Some days each tree was producing more than 5 gallon per day on good days but spoil quickly in the heat.

    In my experience, no vacuum is necessary but you will need to make sure that your tubing system will handle the larger volume. Black (sugar) birch produces a lot more sap per tap per day than maple. Make sure that your sized for it. It takes twice as much to make syrup but it also puts out twice as much sap.

    I did end up getting rid of all of the buckets that I used for the birch sap though. There was a sticky film on everything that I was not able to clean. The film wasn't a problem on metal surfaces, just plastics.

    I didn't make any birch syrup but the birch beer tastes great on a hot summer day. Don't drink too much though, hangover from real birch beer is a killer.
    Last edited by minehart gap; 07-19-2017 at 09:21 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    chester, ma
    Posts
    172

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    You mind sharing your method for making birch beer? Feel free to PM me, or to direct me to some other online resource.

    Thanks!

    Gabe
    2016: First year. Homemade evaporator out of little woodburning stove with steam tray pans. 6 taps on buckets. 1.1 galls syrup
    2017: Same little homemade evaporator, but souped up. Still 2 steam tray pans. 15 taps on buckets. 4.5 galls syrup.

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