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Thread: Birch syrup! Breaking rules but...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2017

    Default Birch syrup! Breaking rules but...

    So I have a nice grove of silver birch trees on a slope that would be perfect to tap....I know it's about 100:1 ratio
    .....but how parallel is the process? If I have the time is it worth It?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Bridgewater NH


    I have extremely limited experience with birch. Tried tapping 2 white birch and 1 yellow birch 3 years ago and spent almost nine hours boiling on my kitchen stove only to realize that either I totally missed it or it tastes like yuck. Maybe I was too late in the season
    I know the process is much slower than maple.
    I don’t think I would do it again

    12 x 16 Sugar house
    2x6 Leader raised flue Oil fired
    Pre heater and hoods
    260 taps on vacuum (Guzzler)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    dummerston, vermont


    We had about 300 black birch taps on vacuum a couple years ago. You definitely want an RO. We have one and it still took a long time to boil. We never really found a market for the stuff and still have some.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Two Harbors, Minnesota


    My understanding is we don't want to boil the Birch sap. Apparently the different sugars are likely to burn.
    My thought is to convert my maple evaporator into a Birch evaporator when the mapl season is over.
    I believe the modifications I will need is to adapt a tray for some firebrick to lay on directly under the pan. Therefore if the fire gets to hot, it will store into the brick and act like a crock pot.
    Any thoughts?
    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.
    2019- 180 maple taps, 20 gallons of finished syrup.
    ~ 160 birch taps, 13 finished gallons of syrup.

    Latitude 47.278150


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Wakefield,New Hampshire


    I have thought about designing a pan to fit on top of my syrup pan to act as a double boiler when the lower pan is filled with water. Boiling down the raw birch sap about halfway in the rear pans before transferring it to the top pan. I've heard the lower scorching temps don't really happen until it's cooked about halfway. Using hardwood for heat instead of softwood may help keep the sap to more of a simmer than a boil. But that's just my theory, i wonder how efficient it would be. Having an RO and turning your evaporator to a giant double boiler would probably be more safe and efficient.
    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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2013


    I had some a friend gave me that he brought back from Alaska. Did not like it at all. Had a bitter finish to it. I guess if you never tried maple syrup you may like it but it wasn't for me.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Loudon NH


    Quote Originally Posted by bill m View Post
    I had some a friend gave me that he brought back from Alaska. Did not like it at all. Had a bitter finish to it. I guess if you never tried maple syrup you may like it but it wasn't for me.
    I had a friend bring some back from Alaska for me to try too. Like you, I thought it was kind of bitter and really didn't like it. He was all excited about it and ready to move to Alaska so he could make it himself.

    "Red Roof Maples" Where the term "boiling soda" was first introduced to the maple producing world!

    Algier 2x6 evaporator, W F Mason arch
    Lapierre 250 Turbo RO machine
    SP-22 vacuum pump
    1930 Ford Model AA Doodlebug tractor
    1971 IH 454 52hp diesel tractor
    A couple of Honda 4 wheelers
    About a dozen chainsaws and no chickens

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Leeds County,Ontario,Canada


    My wife was up north a few years back,bought a 250 ml bottle,paid $40.00 for it,looked like motor oil that had never been changed,smelled like burnt molasses,I wouldn't even try it,witnessed a few friends spitting it back out though
    7th generation maple producer in sugarhouse built in 1892
    2x World Champion Maple Syrup Producer
    1250 taps on cv adapters
    Leader Vortex 3x14 with Max Flue and Revolution Syrup Pan,Enhanced Steam Away

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Eagle lake Maine


    Our maple season ended early last year and I still had some ambition left, so I tapped 50 birches that are right next to one of my mainlines. I had saved some maple permeate for this purpose and concentrated it 4 times and it was still only 2.5% sugar content. I then spent 2 nights boiling it down on a gas finisher and ended up with a quart out of 50 gallons of sap. My wife hates the stuff, I think it tastes more like teriyaki than syrup. It's good as a glaze for cooking, but I'll never do it again!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Alcona County, Michigan


    I made birch syrup a few years ago, but I did a lot of reading before I did it, so I wasn't as surprised by the results as some seem to be. First, it is not pancake syrup, nor would it be good for sweetening coffee. It's okay for oatmeal or drizzled on vanilla icecream, but it is much like molasses and works in most of the same applications, like baking, BBQ sauces, meat glazes, etc. The uniqueness of birch really shines in making things like pulled pork or beef brisket, but BBQ spareribs are my favorite use for it. RO makes a big difference because you burn less of the fructose, which is the primary sugar in it, but even so, you have to approach the syrup density slowly after boiling most of the water out. But I will tell you how I learned to make it better. Add 1-4 cups of plain white table sugar per 100 gallons of sap. This makes the boil behave much better. Of course, you can't do this if you intend to market it as pure, but it will taste much better and work better in baking.
    44° 41′ 3″ N

    2019 -- 44 Red Maples - My home and sugarbush are for sale.
    2018 -- 48 Red Maples, 7 gallons
    2017 -- 84 Red Maples, 1 Sugar Maple, and 1 Silver Maple , 13 gallons
    2016 -- 55 Red Maples, 8 gallons
    2015 -- 15 Red Maples, 6 Birches - 3+ gallons maple syrup
    An awning over my deck is my sugar shack.
    An electrified kitchen sink and an electrified steam table pan are my evaporators.

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