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Thread: First Year Maple sap collector

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    131

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    You have done the right thing by scouting your trees now. One thing I always look for is the sap sucker holes and the black stains on sugar maples from years of dries sap. If the sapsuckers like it , its a good one. When I find those trees they just about always produce well! One thing I run into with reds is that the ones that are deep in the woods and don't receive much sunlight usually don't flow too well. I will bet you will be an addict like the rest of us by this time next year.
    Ill check in with you guys from time to time since theres no Tennessee discussion. Best of luck!

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Albion PA
    Posts
    4,229

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    Good luck with your first season! It sure sounds like you have done research and fabrication to be ready for a great season. When you get done head to north west PA and help us make some syrup too.
    Regards,
    Chris
    Casbohm Maple and Honey
    640 ish roadside taps
    3x10 King, WRU & preheater, AOF [TRS] and AUF
    SIRO Filter Press.
    2015 Ford F250 PSD sap hauler
    One hives of bees
    One Golden named Maggie Cat named Lucy
    Too many Cub Cadets
    Ford Jubilee and several Allis WD's, and IH tractors

    www.mapleandhoney.com

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    20

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    Since about Christmas, it has been frozen around here HIGH's in the low 30's and LOW's in the 10's and under.

    This next week, it looks like thaw temperatures are coming. Good lows, but some HIGH's are a little too high . Next WED/Thur shows a possibility of upper 50's, but then it is back down.

    Man, I am ready to start!

    This may be a dumb question. If someone were to TAP a tree, and the temperatures stay well below flow temperatures (saw low 20's/30's) for a good two weeks, does that negatively affect that tap hole once tempatures do rise? I assume that tap hole is healing even in the frigid cold tempatures?

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    chester, ma
    Posts
    269

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    Quote Originally Posted by netsplitter View Post
    This may be a dumb question. If someone were to TAP a tree, and the temperatures stay well below flow temperatures (saw low 20's/30's) for a good two weeks, does that negatively affect that tap hole once tempatures do rise? I assume that tap hole is healing even in the frigid cold tempatures?
    From the literature I have read, yes even low temperatures do dry out a tap hole. Much more slowly than warm temps, though. Also, I think that if it warm for a while first, that gives the microbes a chance to take hold, and then they can keep growing (albeit slowly) even when it's cold. However if it's cold throughout, they don't really do much until it starts to warm up.

    Another issue is that I've read that splitting the tree is more likely if you pound your spiles in when the tree is really frozen.
    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.
    2018: Same setup. Limited time (New baby!) Downsized to 12 taps and short season. 2.2 gallons syrup.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    20

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    Thanks for the great answers.

    I think I am going to set my taps up tomorrow. I put a tap out on one of my red maples closer to my house and got about a gallon today - close to 2% sugar content. It is really going to warm and thaw everything tomorrow and Thursday. Then the extended forecast looks great. May be a little early, but I am just ready to go.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    20

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    Well I tapped a bunch of reds, and one sugar maple.

    I have two large reds and one large sugar close to my house. They were dripping really well yesterday. I have collected around 6 gallons just from them. (the sugar maple has around 3.5% brix, the red's are around 2%.)

    The rest of the red maples that I tapped are up a mountainside, and sadly they have not dripped at all. I am not sure what to make of it. I figured they would not produce as well, but I expected something.

    I have some monster sugar maples that are all the way up the mountainside, the sun exposure is better there, and I expect they will produce really well. I think I am going to wait until around next Friday to tap those.

    Since I will not have enough to boil, I am just storing the sap in 5-gallon buckets, and placing them in a chest freezer. I am so paranoid about ruining the sap, I hope there is no such thing as freezer burned sap .

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
    Posts
    8,767

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    Give them time, the ground is likely still frozen there. In general, in years with good snow cover, you will not get much sap flow until there is a bare ground ring around the tree, at least that's what one oldtimer told me.
    Dave Klish about 1320 taps in '15, down to about 700 in '16, up to 1000 for 2019?
    2012 Mahindra 36 HP 4x4/ loader/cab/heat/AC:-)
    added a gooseneck equipment trailer and F350 to tow it to haul more sap
    3x8 raised flue evaporator
    250 GPH converted to electric, RO by Ray Gingerich
    6.32 KW solar system, 1.48KW is battery backed up, all net metered
    http://s1041.photobucket.com/albums/...anssugarhouse/
    website: www.cnymaple.com

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    20

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    Well, did my first boil yesterday. Only had about 8-9 gallons, but I thought I would start fresh this next week (sap wise), and see what modifications I might want to make for a larger boil.

    It took around 2 hours to boil down 8-9 gallons to 3/4 of a gallon, then I finished inside. I think I am going to take the top layer of block off my arch, I feel it is a little too high, and I can boil a bit better if my pans are lower / save wood.

    I enjoyed finishing the most. It was just exciting to do. I had a hydrometer luckily, and a digital thermometer. Once the boil got to around 218-219 I started to check. Once it hit around 220 degrees, the hydrometer was telling me a 65 brix. I put it back on the stove for 10 seconds, and quit.

    The warm syrup was so tasty. Very butterscotchy, rich, and a strong delicate taste. I got close to 3/4 of a quart of syrup.

    When I took the sap inside to finish, I used a pre-filter to get any ash out. Then I boiled. After I was done boiling, I used a synthetic cone filter. It worked well pouring through on my first jar, but when I went to the second jar, it was going so slow that it was almost not worth it. I am not sure what I did wrong (I followed the instructions, soaking the filter in hot water prior to pouring). After my second jar, I didn't filter the third one, it was literally dripping at a snail speed. Maybe it was due to the syrup cooling down? Anybody have this issue?

    I attached some pictures. The germans are my sap boiling friends .


    IMG_1597.jpgIMG_1603.jpgIMG_1611.jpgIMG_1609.jpg

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Temperance Mi
    Posts
    259

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    Put the syrup all in HOT at one time with that much syrup. Use at least one pre filter inside the cone filter. An insulated filter tank would help to keep things hot while filtering or even a larger stock pot to filter into.
    Last edited by Ed R; 01-15-2018 at 09:39 AM.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    20

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    Hoping for some more great advice .

    I am going to be boiling tomorrow. All my sap is frozen in 5 gallon buckets that I store in a couple freezers. What would be the best way of getting these buckets thawed? Would it be safe to leave them out overnight in a room that is around 70 degrees? Should I simple pour some sap on the top in the morning to get the ice thawed enough to where I can put it in my steel pan? Just looking for some recommendations from experience.

    Thank you,

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