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Thread: What do I need to heat syrup for bottling? Finisher? thanks

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    River Falls, WI
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    769

    Default What do I need to heat syrup for bottling? Finisher? thanks

    Currently I draw syrup off my cooker a little light (around 30 degrees Baume). I cool it in stainless cans then transfer to buckets. Once I start making some darker syrup and get caught up on other beginning-of-season stuff, I start bottling.

    Until today, I have always drained my front pan, cleaned it, filled it with syrup, and reheated it with a small wood fire. This works, but it's not my favorite. It's hard to control the wood fire. I can't filter and bottle everything that's in the pan because I can't drain it fully with a fire underneath, etc.

    Yesterday while buying some cases of bottles, I bought a 2x4 propane finisher on an impulse. It's not a fancy one. It just uses a double turkey burner setup under the pan. No sides or insulation on the frame to keep the heat in. No divider, just a flat pan. Anyway, I was excited to use it today. So after peeling the stickers off this morning I put 30 gallons of syrup in it and fired it up. And waited. And waited and WAITED. It took about 3.5 hours until I had the syrup up to temp. A little longer to bring it to the right density. Normally I would like to be able to bottle 60+ gallons in an afternoon, but that wasn't happening today. I was lucky to get 37 through it.

    So, anyway, hopefully my dealer will take it back without too much of a penalty, but moving forward, what are my options? Will a nicer finisher with tube burners be faster? How long will it take to heat 30 gallons of syrup? I don't have 220 power at the shack, and that's unlikely to change, so propane seems like the best choice unless I'm missing something.

    I did briefly consider finishing syrup all the way on the rig, filtering into super clean containers, and later reheating with a water jacketed canner, but it seems like most guys who reheat filter again too, so I don't see that working real well unless I had two canners. Plus, the water jacket canner doesn't seem real fast either.

    Anyway, I'd love to hear what you guys do and I appreciate your advice.

    Thanks Ryan
    Second generation sap rat.

    Started taking over in 2012
    2012-2016: 300 buckets 120 on gravity tubing. Waterloo 2x10 wood fired. Averaged 105 gallons per season.
    2017: hoping for 300 on 3/16 with Shurflo and 50 buckets. New used 4x14 Algier wood fired cooker. 180 gallons of syrup

    2018: 300 on vacuum 2 buckets, finally got a splitter!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
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    942

    Default

    I always take mine off a little heavy, it does not make any sense to me to take it off early and finish it on something that is way more inefficient and time consuming. When I have enough to filter I reheat on a turkey fryer, adjust density and run it through my press into the bottler.

    If you have a water jacketed bottler or system that will not make more niter you could take off a little over density, heat and filter into a larger container. When you want to bottle just but it into your bottler and heat to around 185 and bottle. There is no need to filter it again if you are not creating more niter.
    Smoky Lake 2x6 dropflu pans and hoods on homemade arch
    Smoky Lake 6 gallon water jacked bottler
    Concentric Exhaust
    250 Deer Run RO
    325 taps

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
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    What exactly is that finisher? I use a 2x6 finisher, but rarely need to boil it more except when I finish off the evaporator at season's end. My finisher has 4 tube burners, but I only use the center 2 and I can get 60 gal up to filtering temp of 205-210 in about 45 minutes. What was your propane supply? is it possible it may have been low and not giving you full heat. I used to have a Leader 16x34 finisher that had 2 burners, that was slower but still heated fairly well.
    My experiences however are both while running off a small bulk tank with a high pressure regulator then reducing to a low pressure regulator where the unit hooks up to the propane supply. Might be you need a better fuel supply.
    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:-)
    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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    River Falls, WI
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    Default

    The finisher I bought is a GBM. It's locally made I think. It has 2 Bayou Classic burners under it. Just big round burners, not tube burners. It's 2'X4' and maybe 8" tall. I don't see where they list the BTUs, but this is pretty much the burner under it: https://www.bayouclassicdepot.com/co..._double_burner

    It was running on a freshly filled 20# cylinder and pressure didn't seem to be the issue. I had to keep the valves dialed back considerably or the flames would get pushed off the burner and go out. I did mess with the air adjustment on the burners quite a bit and still wasn't able to get a ton of heat out of it as can be seen by how long it took.


    Super Sapper, I take off light because I don't like diluting, though in the future, I wouldn't mind trying that way with some distilled water. I don't have condensate or permeate in my operation, so that's not an option. I can't stand the idea of reheating on a turkey burner. When I bottle I usually have a couple people helping me and so far, heating syrup is the holdup. I'd need about 10 turkey burners to get enough syrup hot enough fast enough.

    Smoky Lake says their 2x4 will bring 40 gallons to bottling temp in 20 minutes. That would work, but of course it's a bunch of money. I also got a quote on a 220 volt water jacket canner, which seems pretty reasonable. I don't have 220 at the shack, so I'd have to filter into buckets or small barrels, transport the syrup up to our vegetable packing shed and reheat and bottle there. I'm not opposed to this, since currently I have to transport empty glass into the woods and full cases back out. Someday I would like to be able to cook and bottle at the same time, which I guess could be managed with a generator or running actual power out there someday both of which would be additional expenses.

    I don't mind spending some money on the right solution, but I don't want to buy something that won't fit into my operation as it evolves.
    Second generation sap rat.

    Started taking over in 2012
    2012-2016: 300 buckets 120 on gravity tubing. Waterloo 2x10 wood fired. Averaged 105 gallons per season.
    2017: hoping for 300 on 3/16 with Shurflo and 50 buckets. New used 4x14 Algier wood fired cooker. 180 gallons of syrup

    2018: 300 on vacuum 2 buckets, finally got a splitter!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
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    10,437

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    I think that type of burner can have a very wide range BTU output depending on the exact burner. If just stamped metal they can be about 12,000-18,000 BTU max, if a cast iron burner they often range up to 120,000-150,000 range. If it took 3 1/2 hrs, if your propane supply was good, they likely paired it with burners with too little max heat. Back when I had a Leader 16x34" finisher I don't recall what the burners were, but I think they were cast iron. While it heated well, I didn't like the burners because they heated with 2 rings on the pan where it was hotter. Tube burners give a far better dispersed heat. Here's one that generates 210,000 BTU, the same place has burners from 55,000 to at lease 210,000 BTU, all at decent prices. https://www.webstaurantstore.com/bac...RoCCX8QAvD_BwE
    Last edited by maple flats; 04-01-2020 at 10:23 AM.
    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:-)
    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 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
    Posts
    10,437

    Default

    It might be cost effective to buy 2 pipe burners. For a 4' pan you would want a 36" long flame burner and position it 6" below the pan and have the flame 6" in from each end of the pan.
    A google search will give you several options. The pan you have is likely good. You can make legs and an area for the burners. Mine has pipe legs and an angle iron frame. Then the burner area has a SS floor, SS sides, is open on the burner inlet side and it has a 6" stack off the opposite end., that is for 4 tube burners, with 2 burners maybe 6" in from each side and only 3' flame length, a 4" stack should be good. Maybe you could sell the burners separately and make the rest at a far lower cost than buying a 4' finisher with the tube burners. I don't know what others get but Leader charges $3200 for a 2x4 finisher complete.
    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:-)
    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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
    Posts
    10,437

    Default

    There are several companies, here's a link to just one https://custompipeburners.com/Straight-Pipe-Burners/5
    I only googled tube burners, I am not familiar with this company but they have 44" burners (36" flame) for $250 each.
    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:-)
    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. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    River Falls, WI
    Posts
    769

    Default

    Thanks Dave! If my dealer won't work with me on returning this, I'll probably go that route.
    Second generation sap rat.

    Started taking over in 2012
    2012-2016: 300 buckets 120 on gravity tubing. Waterloo 2x10 wood fired. Averaged 105 gallons per season.
    2017: hoping for 300 on 3/16 with Shurflo and 50 buckets. New used 4x14 Algier wood fired cooker. 180 gallons of syrup

    2018: 300 on vacuum 2 buckets, finally got a splitter!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Chatham NH
    Posts
    1,228

    Default

    My Advice is to finish the syrup on your rig, and filter it right away and them package in bulk, weather it be 5 gallon containers or 15 or 40, any unnecessary time spent reheating cold near up or syrup to filter is miserable in my opinion. Once you get rid of all those steps you will be amazed how much more time you have. Get some kind of a water jacketed Canner to heat your syrup up in when you want to package it in retail containers.
    Nate Hutchins
    Nate & Kate's Maple
    2018 1000 taps?
    20x36 sugarhouse
    CDL 600gph RO
    Franken evaporator, lapierre arch, smokylake pans and a leader hood with pre-heater.
    A wife and 2 kids.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Crivitz, WI
    Posts
    94

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    Quote Originally Posted by maple flats View Post
    Here's one that generates 210,000 BTU, the same place has burners from 55,000 to at lease 210,000 BTU, all at decent prices. [/url]
    I'm using two of those 210,000 burners for my main pan, love them!



    Sent from my LM-Q710.FG using Tapatalk
    2013 15 Homemade Taps, Milk Jugs, Turkey Fryer, 3 Gallons Syrup
    2014 Finishing my college degree, looked longingly at the Maples all spring
    2015 26 1/2 Real taps, Milk Jugs, Homemade 20x25 pan on propane, 5+ Gallons Syrup
    2016 50 Taps, Milk Jugs, Homemade 25x48 pan on propane block arch, 8 1/2 Gallons Syrup
    2020 80 Taps, Milk Jugs, 25x48 pan on propane block arch w/preheater, 10 gallons syrup

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