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Thread: Tapped in Chester... sorta

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    chester, ma
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    705

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    Quote Originally Posted by eustis22 View Post
    Berkshires, I have questions about boiling on your Mason 2X3. A) What kind of maples are you tapping? 2) When you draw off, are you doing it by temp or density? c) What depth do you keep in yours? I try to maintain depth to just over the thermometer stem. I ask because I always produce a dark, heavy syrup (that tastes very good) but I am wondering if that's a function of my sap (mostly silvers/norways at -2%) or my boiling technique. I have never produced a golden and only rarely an amber. I usually draw off when the gauge says 219-220 and then fine finish on the stovetop to density.
    Hey eustis22. Happy to answer any questions. This is only my second year on the Mason, so I'm sure there are things I haven't quite gotten dialed in yet, but I'm happy to share my current practices.

    A) What kind of maples are you tapping?
    All sugar maples, but average sugar content in the sap is 1.7-1.8%. And that's only because I skip the many many trees putting out 1.2%!
    2) When you draw off, are you doing it by temp or density?
    Temp.
    c) What depth do you keep in yours?
    Generally the same as you - just above the thermometer, which is about an inch, inch-and-a-quarter.

    What elevation are you at? I'm at nearly 900', and drawing off at 219 is often too heavy. Usually for me it's in the range of 217.5-218, depending on the barometer. Certainly if you draw off too heavy you'd wind up with darker syrup. But you'd know that when you finish on the stovetop.

    Do you boil a lot of cloudy sap? I only get darker syrup from cloudy sap. Does your RO warm up the sap to the point it starts getting cloudy by any chance?

    GO
    2016: Homemade arch from old wood stove; 2 steam tray pans; 6 taps; 1.1 gal
    2017: Same setup. 15 taps; 4.5 gal
    2018: Same setup. Limited time. 12 taps and short season; 2.2 gal
    2019: Very limited time. 7 taps and a short season; 1.8 gal
    2020: New Mason 2x3 XL halfway through season; 9 taps 2 gal
    2021: Same 2x3, 18 taps, 4.5 gal
    2022: 23 taps, 5.9 gal
    2023: 25 taps?
    All taps on buckets

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Haverhill, Ma
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    873

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    I'm only at 106 ft but maybe I am drawing off too heavy. Something to think about for next year. I have another season with these maples but after that I'm off to maine with a lot of sugars on the property. Thanks for the answers. I only get cloudy sap after it starts to warm up. I haven't gotten my RO quite tweaked out yet so its all still raw sap. However I do preheat on a turkey fryer to boiling and then ladle that into the preheater.
    Last edited by eustis22; 04-04-2022 at 02:23 PM.
    2019 - New 12X12 boiling pavilion
    2018 - New Mason 2X3 Hobby XL and homemade RO
    2017 - 49 taps on gravity, 6 on buckets.
    2016 - 19 taps on new 3/16 tubing, 24 on buckets
    2015 - 51 taps, 26 buckets
    2014 - 50 taps, 14 buckets, steel railroad toolbox converted into arch, new 2X3 continuous flow Phaneuf from Homestead Maple
    2013 - 33 taps, 12 buckets, steel railroad toolbox converted into arch, steam table pans
    2012 - 26 taps, 10 buckets, steel railroad toolbox converted into arch, steam table pans

  3. #33
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Savoy, MA
    Posts
    405

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    Quote Originally Posted by eustis22 View Post
    Berkshires, I have questions about boiling on your Mason 2X3. A) What kind of maples are you tapping? 2) When you draw off, are you doing it by temp or density? c) What depth do you keep in yours? I try to maintain depth to just over the thermometer stem. I ask because I always produce a dark, heavy syrup (that tastes very good) but I am wondering if that's a function of my sap (mostly silvers/norways at -2%) or my boiling technique. I have never produced a golden and only rarely an amber. I usually draw off when the gauge says 219-220 and then fine finish on the stovetop to density.
    I might be wrong about this. But here's my take on amber and golden syrup. The longer sap spends over a fire the darker it comes out. For example, I used to batch boil on a small 20"x20" pan and my sap would spend days cooking until I eventually had enough sap boiled to make syrup. And all of my syrup was dark. On small evaporators that boil 10 GPH...it would take 4 hours to boil off 40 gallons of sap to make your 1 gallon of syrup. On a larger 2x6 evaporators, that same 40 gallons of sap will only spend 1.5 to 2 hours cooking...and thus has the potential to be lighter. On the huge professional evaporators that same 40 gallons is probably cooked in an hour.

    I boil on a Mason 2x4 and, like you, I have never made light syrup.
    Last edited by bigschuss; 04-04-2022 at 05:12 PM.
    16x24 Timber Frame Sugar House
    Mason 2x4 Evaporator
    90 trees on buckets

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Wilton, NH
    Posts
    62

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    I went to Mason's 2x4XL a few years ago. Until this year, I have regularly produced all three grades. This year, no Golden. It is my belief that the ending grade of our syrup is more under Mother Nature's control, than ours. I run my Mason hard, with very dry hardwood (wrist size), and about 1-1/2" deep......seeing 12-15 gph evap. My maples are about 75% sugar / 25% reds. Draw off a little heavy, using a Murphy cup and usually need a splash or two of permeate to get to final density at bottling.
    Bill
    2017 - 3 taps hanging buckets. Turkey fryer evap.
    2018 - 32 taps on 5 gal. buckets.
    2019 - New Mason 2x4 XL. 80 taps - 50 on 5 gal. buckets, 30 on 3/16 tubing
    2020 - Barn / Sugarhouse finished. 125 taps, all on 3/16 tubing. 100 on (2) Sureflo Vac set-ups
    2021 - First season in new Sugarhouse - 157 taps, 100 on 3/16 tubing w/two Shurflo set-ups, the rest on buckets
    2022 - 225 taps. 175 on 3/16 tubing, rest on buckets.

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    chester, ma
    Posts
    705

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    Just finished bottling my sixth and final batch. Here's a photo. Hard to tell, but the first three batches are each a tiny bit progressively darker. Dunno if any of them are technically golden delicate, as I don't have a grading set. What do y'all think?

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/AX7iz3iGZeboGXm48

    My final tally for the year was 5.5 gallons of syrup for 0.24 gallons per tap on 236 gallons of sap for 10 gallons per tap.

    It was a challenging season due to weird weather, but I've been through much worse in the last few years. Overall an average season in terms of sugar percent in the sap, and gallons sap per tap. But with more to show for it because I tapped more trees and boiled faster. So I'm happy.

    Two trees with four taps that were total duds, one because it produced very little sap, the other because it produced 1% sap. Couple other dud taps too means the taps that were producing did a fantastic job. Glad I tracked that all this year, so next year should be a big improvement as I weed out the duds and add (hopefully) better taps in their place. Also figured out which are my best producers, so I can put the bigger buckets on them, and hopefully not show up to so many overflowing buckets.

    Hope those still sugaring (Bigschuss?) have a great end to your season.

    Gabe
    Last edited by berkshires; 04-06-2022 at 09:53 PM.
    2016: Homemade arch from old wood stove; 2 steam tray pans; 6 taps; 1.1 gal
    2017: Same setup. 15 taps; 4.5 gal
    2018: Same setup. Limited time. 12 taps and short season; 2.2 gal
    2019: Very limited time. 7 taps and a short season; 1.8 gal
    2020: New Mason 2x3 XL halfway through season; 9 taps 2 gal
    2021: Same 2x3, 18 taps, 4.5 gal
    2022: 23 taps, 5.9 gal
    2023: 25 taps?
    All taps on buckets

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Stockbridge,Ma
    Posts
    276

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    We collected and boiled sap yesterday for the last time this year. We will package it today and finish off the sweet from the evaporator tomorrow. We will finish at about 1/2 gallon per tap this year. I have one tree that was still at 2.3 % yesterday.
    First introduced to making maple syrup in 1969
    Making syrup every year since 1979
    3 x 10 oil fired
    Revolution syrup and max flue pan
    Almost 1300 taps total with 900 on high vacuum
    Bought first Marcland drawoff in 1997, still going strong.

  7. #37
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Stockbridge,Ma
    Posts
    276

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    So, I just checked my monitoring system and we still have sap. About 300 gallons ran overnight. I may wait and see what happens today. I really need at least 1000 gallons to make it worth collecting and running it through the RO.
    First introduced to making maple syrup in 1969
    Making syrup every year since 1979
    3 x 10 oil fired
    Revolution syrup and max flue pan
    Almost 1300 taps total with 900 on high vacuum
    Bought first Marcland drawoff in 1997, still going strong.

  8. #38
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    chester, ma
    Posts
    705

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    Quote Originally Posted by bill m View Post
    We collected and boiled sap yesterday for the last time this year. We will package it today and finish off the sweet from the evaporator tomorrow. We will finish at about 1/2 gallon per tap this year. I have one tree that was still at 2.3 % yesterday.
    1/2 gallon per tap is great, congrats! What do you usually produce?

    GO
    2016: Homemade arch from old wood stove; 2 steam tray pans; 6 taps; 1.1 gal
    2017: Same setup. 15 taps; 4.5 gal
    2018: Same setup. Limited time. 12 taps and short season; 2.2 gal
    2019: Very limited time. 7 taps and a short season; 1.8 gal
    2020: New Mason 2x3 XL halfway through season; 9 taps 2 gal
    2021: Same 2x3, 18 taps, 4.5 gal
    2022: 23 taps, 5.9 gal
    2023: 25 taps?
    All taps on buckets

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Stockbridge,Ma
    Posts
    276

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    Quote Originally Posted by berkshires View Post
    1/2 gallon per tap is great, congrats! What do you usually produce?

    GO
    That's a tough one to answer. Our production has been going up every year for the past 10 years, maybe longer. Our tap count has not gone up substantially in the past 3 or 4 years. We did add vacuum to one of our sugarbushes a few years ago and I am sure it has contributed to the increase in production. Totals for the past 3 years is:
    2020 - 331 gallons
    2021 - 420 gallons
    2022 - 606 gallons This number will go up after we finish off everything in the evaporator.
    First introduced to making maple syrup in 1969
    Making syrup every year since 1979
    3 x 10 oil fired
    Revolution syrup and max flue pan
    Almost 1300 taps total with 900 on high vacuum
    Bought first Marcland drawoff in 1997, still going strong.

  10. #40
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Savoy, MA
    Posts
    405

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    Quote Originally Posted by berkshires View Post
    Hope those still sugaring (Bigschuss?) have a great end to your season.

    Gabe
    Glad you had a good year Gabe. I am done too. Not the worst year I ever had, but not the best. The lack of snow shut me down early, which may sound weird. But without frozen ground and decent snow pack, the trails to my sugarbush to gather sap become muddy messes that I don't want to tear up.
    16x24 Timber Frame Sugar House
    Mason 2x4 Evaporator
    90 trees on buckets

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