A Foamy Finish

by Don 3/29/2021 11:50:00 AM

We entered this weekend uncertain as to it's outcome, as the forecast looked ominous with 70's predicted for the Monday, March 29th. We started the 28th, fully expecting a better than even chance the season would continue into the following week. Our first indication otherwise, was the sugar concentration dropping from 1.9% to 1.5%. This meant it would require 57 gallons of sap (not the usual 45 gallons) to make a gallon of syrup.

The second indicator was the sugar sand/nitre  (organic salt and minerals) building up to such a degree that our filter press required changing paper filters every 8 gallons, compared to the usual 30-45 gallons!

 The third and final indicator was a dramatic increase in foaming, in all pans as the day progressed. While the syrup tasted excellent, and was dark robust flavor profile, we knew the season was at an end.

 We finished the season just under 500 gallons of finished syrup, with all of it being amber rich, or dark robust grades.  We now begin the cleaning phase of pulling and draining all the taps, cleaning of equipment, providing annual maintenance on all pumps and motors, and replacing used inventory. This will most likely take several days to accomplish.

 Our plans for next season includes the installation of a vacuum monitoring system. This entails placing a manometer at the end of each mainline at the end of each mainline that transmits the pressure reading to our sugarhouse or our smart phones.   This will allow us to quickly localize which lines have a drop in vacuum and need attention.  This will save considerable time walking the woods, looking and listening for leaks. 

 All of our syrup is of excellent taste profile, and was featured in a television news report last week. 

Check out our bourbon barrel aged maple syrup. We used a Four Rosed bourbon barrel and aged our syrup in it for 10 months. The is arguably our best tasting barrel of syrup. Give it a try!



Equilibrium has been achieved!

by Don 3/25/2021 9:36:00 AM

It's been so busy around here, we've been amiss in posting the latest report. We'll try to catch up before the season ends.

Last weekend, the race to catch up to the fast sap flow was achieved by simultaneously ROing the raw sap, and boiling the concentrated sap at 130 gallons/hour. Needing to free up additional barrel capacity, Mary and grandchildren Greta and Jack bottled 45 gallons of syrup, while Don and Peter made syrup in the sugarhouse.  We obtained additional barrel capacity by filling a 45 gallon Four Roses Bourbon barrel to begin aging. This barrel was filled with 30 gallons of Amber Rich, and 15 gallons of Dark Robust- these syrups will compliment with the bourbon and oak flavors, and in 6-9 months yield a delicious Bourbon Barrel Maple Syrup. 


We've noticed increasing sugar sand in the syrup as it's drawn off the evaporator. In order to have clear syrup, all the sugar sand needs to be removed, a process obtained by our filter press. This is a description of a filter press from Leader Evaporator:

    A filter press is an effective and efficient method for filtering maple syrup to improve its clarity. A combination of diatomaceous earth, filter papers and specially designed waffle plates and frames act together under pressure to remove niter and sugar sand from your maple syrup.


The sugar sand that accumulates in the syrup pan is cleaned out by draining all the sap/syrup, and filling the pans with water. Brought to a boil, the sugar sand scale is softened and removed with pressurized water. 

The sap flows are diminishing slightly, however the forecast predictions indicate the season should continue for another 5-7 days. We're on track for similar production to the 2020 season, but we'll wait and see how this all ends.  More posts soon.


Sap Insanity!

by Don 3/18/2021 12:52:00 PM

Two days ago, on March 16th, the sun began thawing the sap after our cold spell and 5" of snow.  The flow increased throughout the day and by dinnertime we had 2,000 gallons! With a few calculations, we determined we were collecting over one pint of sap/tap/hour for most of the day! We don't recall a run this robust in our 27 years of syruping.  We're grateful we've had a Reverse Osmosis machine to concentrate all the sap. After a very long day in the sugarhouse on the 17th, we finished with 60 gallons of very flavorful maple syrup. 

We have had some bumps in the road this season. We have a special propane tank heater to make sure the LP vaporizers fast enough to keep up with our 1.2 million BTU burner.  The heater has malfunctioned and more than once we've noticed the boiling process slowing, as the gas is insufficient to keep with the the demand.  We hope to have this corrected this week with the installation of a new gas valve.

Another problem has been ice formation in our vacuum line.  This was the product of a faulty float in the mechanical releaser, which allowed sap to be suctioned into the vacuum line. It took three attempts, but the issue was corrected, and all systems are "go".

We have made over 280 gallons of maple syrup in the first 11 days of the season!In the days before vacuum, this would have been an average yield for a whole season.  We now shoot for double this amount with our high vacuum system.

 The weather forecast appears quite favorable for the next 3 days, before a warming spell appears.  Stay tuned!