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Thread: Birch syrup! Breaking rules but...

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    Two Harbors, Minnesota
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    I discovered the problem with the acidity level in birch reacting with copper yesterday. I had to throw the whole batch out. Dammit.
    My understanding about the duration for tapping is much the same as Maple. When the buds come out, the season is over. I was hoping someone else would chime in to tell the both of us. This is my first time ever with birch and have only tapped maple for 3 years now.
    2016- 32 taps, 3 1/2 gallons
    2017- 150 taps, 13 gallons after building an evaporator
    2018- goal is 240+ taps. 20+ gallons.
    2018 Reality- 235 taps, 5 gallons of syrup. Average 50 birch taps and 3 gallons of syrup.
    Latitude 47.278150

    livingoffmyland.com

  2. #32
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    Mar 2018
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    Two Harbors, Minnesota
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    I have revised the way I am finishing the Birch syrup now. Because it seemed I was losing product with a flame under the stock pot, I decided to put firebrick between the stock pot and the flame. The syrup seems to be sweeter and less niter in the bottom of the pot. What while I found while finishing on an open flame, it niter forming in the same pattern as the flame from the stove. The niter was hard and crusty but not burnt as I didn't exceed 190 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Here's the preheater.
    IMG_20180514_181604861.jpg

    Here's the evaporator.
    IMG_20180514_181619709.jpg

    Finishing pot.
    _20180514_181658.jpg
    Last edited by billschi; 05-14-2018 at 06:44 PM.
    2016- 32 taps, 3 1/2 gallons
    2017- 150 taps, 13 gallons after building an evaporator
    2018- goal is 240+ taps. 20+ gallons.
    2018 Reality- 235 taps, 5 gallons of syrup. Average 50 birch taps and 3 gallons of syrup.
    Latitude 47.278150

    livingoffmyland.com

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Two Harbors, Minnesota
    Posts
    70

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    As careful as I was during the finishing process, it didn't matter. I will go back to an open, low flame.
    I have about 70 trees tapped and getting about 70-80 gallons of sap per day. I lose about 5-10 gallons of sap due to mice, squirrels and sometimes the bags falling off the trees because they got too full. I collect sap twice per day.
    2016- 32 taps, 3 1/2 gallons
    2017- 150 taps, 13 gallons after building an evaporator
    2018- goal is 240+ taps. 20+ gallons.
    2018 Reality- 235 taps, 5 gallons of syrup. Average 50 birch taps and 3 gallons of syrup.
    Latitude 47.278150

    livingoffmyland.com

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Da E. U.P. of Michigan. 46.16°N
    Posts
    187

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    Well im all done with our Birch syrup experiment. Made about a quart of finished (68 brix) from 3 taps. Here what I learned.

    1st, not sure when to tap, I tapped one Birch tree every day after finishing maple season. On day 10 finaly I got good sap out of the 10 th tree. The original 9 gave a total of 1 pint to just short if a quart each day. The 10th tree was giving about 1.5-2 gallons each day. This cotinued for 3 days. After this I pulled the first 9 taps as they were just not producing enough sap to make it worth while. I then tapped two additional trees, they ran like buckets when tapped. One produced 3.5 gallons and the other overflowed the 5 gallon bucket each day. They ran like this for the 4 days before the buds started to swell, at which point I pulled the taps. All taps were new 3/16 drops into 5 gallon buckets.
    2nd you can NOT freeze concentrate birch sap like maple sap. Since I only had three taps by the time the sap actualy started running, I was freeze concentrating the sap. I had done this for 4 days, throughing out the ice. While threwing out the ice one morning from the prior days sap, I was thristy so I ate some on the ice. While doing this it had a slight hint of sweetness. I tested the sap at 1.4% before putting it in the freezer, it now tested at 1.8%. I let the ice all melt then tested it, it tested at 1.1%! I had been threwing out sugar the whole time. I repeated this experiment 2 more times with similar results.
    While cooking down I cooked 5 gallons down to 1/2 gallon of concentrate, then remove and filtered the concentrate before freezing to start the next batch of raw sap. I repeated this until all the sap was concentrated. I then took the concentrate and cooked it down on propane making sure not to boil it, keeping it to a strong simmer. The end result was a deep red amber colored syrup.
    Last edited by Jolly Acres Farm; 05-15-2018 at 09:13 AM.
    New for 2016 Mason 2x4 XL with AUF blower. No more boiling in stainless steam table trays or pots for me.

  5. #35
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    Apr 2015
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    Da E. U.P. of Michigan. 46.16°N
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    Picture just before final filtering. 20180513_111908.jpg
    New for 2016 Mason 2x4 XL with AUF blower. No more boiling in stainless steam table trays or pots for me.

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Two Harbors, Minnesota
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    Looks like you did well.
    When I'm done tomorrow, we will have around 3 gallons if finished Birch syrup. Not bad for starting late with 25 taps and ending up with 75 taps. I have a few restaurants interested in the product and trying out new recipes for it. So far I have sold 10 8oz bottles for $15 each. I don't think I'll have any problem selling the rest of what I have.
    The buds just starting coming out today, and I am done. The sap tasted starchy.
    2016- 32 taps, 3 1/2 gallons
    2017- 150 taps, 13 gallons after building an evaporator
    2018- goal is 240+ taps. 20+ gallons.
    2018 Reality- 235 taps, 5 gallons of syrup. Average 50 birch taps and 3 gallons of syrup.
    Latitude 47.278150

    livingoffmyland.com

  7. #37
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Two Harbors, Minnesota
    Posts
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    We sold our birch syrup at 3 farmer's markets so far. The response and sales was amazing. We made sure people tasted it before they purchased. We sold what we had allotted for the markets. The rest is for the restaurants that have their dibs on bottles. We sold our 8oz bottles for $15 which is well under what they're selling for online. I never let the sap get over 200 degrees and doesn't have a burnt taste. I had a couple of other guys that made their birch syrup try mine who boiled at first and simmered at the end and they preferred mine as well.
    Next year we are going to shift to making birch syrup as soon as we can. I want to make a RO system so I can step up production. My goal will be 10-20 gallons of finished product. I may keep my prices the same to get more awareness as no one has heard of this before. The people I targeted other than the fine restaurants we the rugged guys at the farmer's markets. They are likely the people who like to grill and the wives drag them along to flea markets. My guess is about 80% of those guys purchased our product after tasting it.
    birch syrup.jpg
    2016- 32 taps, 3 1/2 gallons
    2017- 150 taps, 13 gallons after building an evaporator
    2018- goal is 240+ taps. 20+ gallons.
    2018 Reality- 235 taps, 5 gallons of syrup. Average 50 birch taps and 3 gallons of syrup.
    Latitude 47.278150

    livingoffmyland.com

  8. #38
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Two Harbors, Minnesota
    Posts
    70

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    Yesterday I had a restaurant preorder 4 gallons of birch syrup from the 2019 season.
    This is a chef that bought an 8oz bottle from me last spring. He assured me there are many restaurants in the area that would do the same.
    I am excited for next spring's maple and birch season.
    2016- 32 taps, 3 1/2 gallons
    2017- 150 taps, 13 gallons after building an evaporator
    2018- goal is 240+ taps. 20+ gallons.
    2018 Reality- 235 taps, 5 gallons of syrup. Average 50 birch taps and 3 gallons of syrup.
    Latitude 47.278150

    livingoffmyland.com

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Wakefield,New Hampshire
    Posts
    245

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    That's quite the pre order size from the initial 8oz bottle ! Wish I could get people to do that with my maple syrup. Still not set up enough to try birch. Maybe a little bit next season. Goodluck to you, I'll be keeping an eye on your thread to learn some more about birch.
    5th season solo sugar maker in a young sugar bush of mostly red maples
    50 taps 2014
    125 taps 2015 7 gal
    185 taps 2016 10 gal
    250 taps 2017 14 gal
    280 taps 2018 30 gal
    2x6 self built arch, Flat pans w/ dividers
    New 12x16 sugar house

  10. #40
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Two Harbors, Minnesota
    Posts
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    Default

    There's a guy at a farmer's market here that charges $2/oz by adding cinnamon, ginger or jalapeno to his maple syrup when he bottles it. People are lined up at his table.
    2016- 32 taps, 3 1/2 gallons
    2017- 150 taps, 13 gallons after building an evaporator
    2018- goal is 240+ taps. 20+ gallons.
    2018 Reality- 235 taps, 5 gallons of syrup. Average 50 birch taps and 3 gallons of syrup.
    Latitude 47.278150

    livingoffmyland.com

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