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Thread: Homemade Barrel Evaporator

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Perrysville, Ohio
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    5

    Default Homemade Barrel Evaporator

    Hello all,

    Relatively new to the maple game here. I was always familiar with how it was made, as a local state park has a Maple Syrup Festival and I'd hear stories of my great grandparents making it, so when I realized I had some sugar maples on my farm I decided to give it a go last year. Started out with about 10 taps and a turkey burner...that was a mistake. After spending about $120 in propane and ruining a few batches (was renovating my house at the same time, so couldn't keep a constant eye on it...especially being outside, in the freezing wind and dark. I ended up only getting about 24 oz, burning another 48 or so, and calling it quits. I just didn't have the time or money to put into it last year, but I was hooked.

    So fast forward this year, still don't have a whole lot of money but looking forward to expanding a bit. Haven't tapped yet, but looking to add about 5 more to start out with. I picked up some steamer pans and a 55 gallon barrel and decided to go redneck with a homemade evaporator. Used the barrel stove kits from TSC and boy is this thing ugly, but hoping she does the job. Going to line the inside with fire brick, and instead of a tradition arch shape I cut some steel and stuck it in the back like a "ramp" that I'll try to either brick or lay some fire blanket over, then add a grate in the front to help with airflow.

    It's certainly not pretty, and was more of a pain to make than I thought it'd be...but hopefully it does the job. I've yet to fire it up, wondering if I need to burn off all the paint before I add the sap?

    IMG_5951.jpg

    PS not sure why pic is upside down, it's not like that on my computer?
    Last edited by kmlibben; 02-06-2019 at 10:41 PM. Reason: postscript
    Perrysville, OH
    Approx. 15 Taps

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Winfield, Iowa
    Posts
    358

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    I'm not sure you'd absolutly HAVE to, but I would. With the fumes and stuff. Besides, fill the pans with water and see what kind of boil you get. Just my thoughts, Ted

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Central Wisconsin
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    83

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    Yeah I would burn it off, it may not ALL burn off though. Like tbear said it'll give ya a chance to see what kinda boil you get. If it's not boiling like you think it should, make sure you have plenty of space/draft under the fire.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Perrysville, Ohio
    Posts
    5

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    Thanks guys, do you think I should burn it before or after bricking?
    Perrysville, OH
    Approx. 15 Taps

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
    Posts
    9,869

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    I think before would be best. Burn it outdoors because it will stink. Also, in the picture it look like there is some space around the pans, that should be sealed somehow but you want to be able to remove the pans for cleaning.
    Dave Klish about 1320 taps in '15, doing fewer each year, about 450 planned for 2020 (and after?)
    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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Perrysville, Ohio
    Posts
    5

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    Yeah, there's a little bit of space but not as much as the pic makes it look...the pans fill it up pretty well once they sit all the way in. Any tips for something cheap and easy to fill them with?
    Perrysville, OH
    Approx. 15 Taps

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Cumberland, KY
    Posts
    30

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    Good looking evaporator. It should definitely get the job done!
    Jeremy Williams
    "In the deep dark hills
    of Eastern Kentucky."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    chester, ma
    Posts
    319

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    Quote Originally Posted by kmlibben View Post
    Yeah, there's a little bit of space but not as much as the pic makes it look...the pans fill it up pretty well once they sit all the way in. Any tips for something cheap and easy to fill them with?
    Any space at all is going to lead to smoke (and maybe more) coming out there, scorching the sap in your pan on the sides, making cleanup a pain (and getting in your eyes etc).

    Standard solution is rock wool insulation. Can be purchased pretty cheaply online. You can cut it into strips. Here's an example: https://www.amazon.com/Insulation-Mo...dp/B015GD0QCW/

    Cheers,

    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.
    2018: Same setup. Limited time (New baby!) Downsized to 12 taps and short season. 2.2 gallons syrup.
    2019: Still very limited time, with a one-year-old. Downsized even further to 7 taps and a short season. 2.1 gallons syrup

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