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Thread: Foam while bottling

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Howell, mi
    Posts
    759

    Default Foam while bottling

    We bottled up 15 gallons yesterday. 5 gallons medium, 10 gallons dark.

    Normal procedures were followed:
    Taste tested the batch for off flavor, checked density, sterilized the containers with hot water, heated the syrup 180 to 190, filled and capped the containers, laid them on their side.
    Weíre careful not to agitate the syrup while filling the containerÖor at least minimize agitation as much as possible.

    In the glass containers we noticed that as the syrup began to cool a great deal of foam developed.
    This only happened with the dark syrup and it was bottled last, which rules out any contaminate in our bottling equipment.
    Weíve experienced this before but never to this degree. Usually, the foam will dissipate overnight to a small, thin ring in the neck.
    This morning, there is still a 1/8 inch mat of foam floating on the surface. It looks like it may continue to dissipate, but right now, to a customer, it would look like mold.
    Iíve tumbled a few of the glass containers end for end and that seemed to reduce the mat, initially, but foamed like crazy again after a few minutes.

    In the past, this foamy ďproblemĒ syrup will start to foam up again if exposed to direct sunlight while sitting in the booth at the market.
    In the pic, the gallon on the left sat overnight. The center gallon was tumbled (this is also what it looked like just as it started to cool). The gallon on the right is the medium we bottled first (no issue).
    It would appear that heat is a contributing factor for foam development. Itís odd though that it didnít foam while we were heating the syrup to 180 for bottling. The foam only developed as it started to cool.


    So what would cause this?
    Is there anything I can do to prevent it in the future?
    What do I do about it now?

    20170805_081903.jpg
    42.67N 84.02W


    350 taps- 300 on vacuum, 50 buckets
    JD gator 625i Sap hauler w/65 gal tank
    Leader 2X6 drop flue

    Homemade auto draw-off
    Homemade preheater
    Homebrew RO, 2- xle-4040's
    LaPierre double vertical releaser
    Kinney KC-8 vacuum pump

    12X24 shack
    Lots of chickens and a few cats.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    St.Johns, Michigan
    Posts
    34

    Default

    I have had this happen with 8 and 12 oz bottles and the SBS red caps with the paper seal. Air would be pulled back in through the syrup as it cooled. I see you have the good caps though. Do you think air was being leaked back in as it cooled?
    2011 140 taps on flat 2x6
    2012 175 taps on Leader WSE
    2013 215 taps on Leader WSE
    2014 300 taps on shiny new Sunrise 2x6 raised flue
    25% sap sacks, 25% gravity lines, 50% 5 gal. buckets
    constant sampling for quality control

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Bristol, VT
    Posts
    1,548

    Default

    I'm curious as to why you sterilize the bottles with hot water when the purpose of hot packing is for the hot syrup to sterilize the bottle. I do personally preheat glass bottles by putting them on the canner, but that is because the glass can absorb heat from the syrup and drop the temp. below where you want it for sterilizing.

    I do get some foam in bottles occasionally when filling them too quickly. It depends upon the I.D. of the canner spout I'm using and the size of the bottle. It generally dissipates pretty quickly but on occasion there are one or two glass bottles that still have some foam after a bit. It always dissipates however.

    You could try filling the bottles more slowly and see if that changes anything...
    2014- 550 on High Vac
    2015 - 752 on High Vac and 2 Buckets
    2016 - 750 on High Vac.
    2.5 x 8 Intens-O-Fire
    Airtech 3 hp LR Pump
    Springtech Elite 500 RO
    14 x 24 Timber Frame SugarHouse
    www.littlehogbackfarm.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Sutton, Quebec
    Posts
    21

    Default

    [QUOTE=Tweegs;335587]We bottled up 15 gallons yesterday. 5 gallons medium, 10 gallons dark./QUOTE]

    In what kind of container and under what kind of conditions was your syrup stored between the time you made it and the time you bottled it?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Howell, mi
    Posts
    759

    Default

    I don’t think air was filtering back in when it cooled, the caps all sealed.

    General,

    Sterilizing might be a strong word. We rinse the containers with really hot water to be sure there are no flies, ants, spiders, mouse poop, road fumes, cleaning agents, etc. inside.
    We can only control what happens to the container once it is in our possession.
    What happens between the time the manufacturer packages them and we get our hands on them is anyone’s guess.

    I made a fill stop for the wife and it uses a ľ” spout plus ball valve.
    Large containers we tip to one side as we start to fill so the syrup runs down the side rather than splashing straight to the bottom.
    It’s an attempt to reduce the amount of agitation the syrup suffers.
    We can adjust the ball valve when/if necessary.

    Quebecguy,

    We’re a small op, so we fill 5 gallon SS Cornelius kegs, 1 gallon glass, then retail containers, in that order.
    Long term storage is down in a root cellar at about 63* (17C).



    We were able to fix it.
    We use cone filters off the evaporator, then filter again when hot packing for storage.
    After long term storage and prior to bottling we normally run it through a pre-filter only.
    Last night we broke everything back down, reheated, then ran it through the pre-filters and an orlon.
    No foam this time.

    I don’t understand why running it through an orlon would keep it from foaming the way it did previously. Something in the syrup? Niter?? Something else??
    Shouldn’t have been, ‘twas filtered twice before.
    I don’t know.
    Last edited by Tweegs; 08-06-2017 at 03:00 PM. Reason: typo
    42.67N 84.02W


    350 taps- 300 on vacuum, 50 buckets
    JD gator 625i Sap hauler w/65 gal tank
    Leader 2X6 drop flue

    Homemade auto draw-off
    Homemade preheater
    Homebrew RO, 2- xle-4040's
    LaPierre double vertical releaser
    Kinney KC-8 vacuum pump

    12X24 shack
    Lots of chickens and a few cats.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Sutton, Quebec
    Posts
    21

    Default

    Hi Tweegs,
    I've given quite a lot of thought to your problem but can't come up with any obvious solution. I'm guessing some kind of contamination of the syrup was causing the foaming. How do you wash your filters? I've had good results by using a dedicated washing machine only used for washing syrup filters. It has never had any soap or other cleaning material (besides hot water!) in it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Center, Underhill Ctr, VT
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    3,655

    Default

    Were the pre-filters rinsed well prior to using them? Sometimes in the manufacture of textiles they "wash" them. Might be some surfactant or detergent residue.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Howell, mi
    Posts
    759

    Default

    I appreciate it Quebecguy,
    We hand wash the filters, hot water only, donít wring them, hang them to dry.

    Orlon filters are replaced annually, the pre-filters get trashed when they are no longer serviceable.

    Since the medium we bottled didnít have the foaming issue, itís not likely our filters, containers or canning equipment was responsible.

    We batch code everything we bulk pack or pack for retail.
    We were able to trace back this dark syrup via the batch code.

    It was later in the season, sap didnít really start coming in until about 2 PM, so not enough sap to fire up at days end.
    It didnít freeze that night, sap came in all night long and we awoke to tanks at near capacity.
    (My shack is computerized and records temperature data and tank levels, among other things)
    We boiled 12 hours that day and the daytime temperature reached 57*.

    We had cleaned the pans and tanks 4 days prior to this event and had one short 4 hour boil of raw sap in the interim.
    Temps got above freezing (40-ish) 2 days in this 4 day stretch, but for only about 5 hours each day, which accounts for the short boil.

    I donít know what to make of the above.
    I donít see any red flags in our process, but maybe someone else does.
    I didnít note anything out of the ordinary during the boil (i.e. Foaming like crazy!).

    I'll check with my wife to see if she was using new pre-filters, Dr. Tim.
    It would surprise me if she hadn't washed them prior, she knows better, but there's always that chance.
    42.67N 84.02W


    350 taps- 300 on vacuum, 50 buckets
    JD gator 625i Sap hauler w/65 gal tank
    Leader 2X6 drop flue

    Homemade auto draw-off
    Homemade preheater
    Homebrew RO, 2- xle-4040's
    LaPierre double vertical releaser
    Kinney KC-8 vacuum pump

    12X24 shack
    Lots of chickens and a few cats.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Middletown Springs, VT
    Posts
    113

    Default

    Hey no expert, but I think you have re-activated the sugar sand / niter in the syrup?? I know you did not over-heat but I question if perhaps the syrup you are recanning from, still had niter that was was not properly filtered out initially. When this has happened to me in the past, if you give your bottles a couple days, hold up to the light, you will see the particles floating around that eventually sink to the bottom of the container......is this possible???
    www.MaharMaple.com
    Vortex 30x10 woodfired
    springtech 600
    3000+ taps
    vacuum/ gravity/ buckets

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Sugarhill NH
    Posts
    686

    Default

    In conclusion some syrup when reheated foams and some does not
    30x8 Leader revolution, wood fired blower, steamaway/hood. 903 taps all but 54 on pipeline and 3 vacuum systems. Hauling sap this year with a 99 F350 7.3 diesel dump and of course back up is the Honda 450 and trailer.

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