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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > Brewing with maple sap?
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:11 PM   #1
rinhaak
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Default Brewing with maple sap?

I have a friend who has a small maple farm, and he's having a banner crop year. He's going to give me about 10+ gallons of maple sap (not syrup), and I'm going to experiment with making a beer using no water: only sap.

Considering this may be the only chance I have to ever try it, I wondered if anyone else has ever done this and has any tips I should be aware of?

I got the idea from a Russian brewer (who's name escapes me at the moment) who has done this. I haven't tasted his version, however.

It's fairly early still in the maple season, so I am anticipating the maple to still be fairly light. According to my friend, last weekend it was flowing with an OG of 1.035, so it's likely going to be up a little bit next week (when I get to pick mine up).

I was thinking about making a Belgian Pale/Tripel; I think the Belgian yeast will really compliment the maple flavors. I considered doing a Maple Stout, but I really want to see what effect the maple has on the beer, so I'm opting for a lighter colored brew.

Here's the recipe as it now stands:

76% 8 lbs Belgian Pils
10% 1 lbs Belgian Pale
10% 1 lbs Weyermann Abbey Malt
5% 1/2lb Belgian Caramel Pils

90 minute boil

1oz Tettnang (60 min)

Zest of four oranges at flame out.

1214 Yeast.

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Old 03-14-2013, 03:24 PM   #2
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March 31, 2011 – Maple Märzen
From an AG recipe from the net, that's been in the secondary about a week, preliminary first taste was pretty good.
Nick

I almost always brew at least a couple batches with maple – mashing with the sap, adding syrup to the kettle, sometimes both. Since I do make my own syrup, I have access to all the fresh sap I need for a couple of weeks. I start by concentrating the sap some (I’ll boil 6 gallons down to 3 for my mash liquor, generally), which adds a hint of smoky/woody sweetness to the wort. This brew is a more or less traditional Märzenbier – brewed (just barely!) in March and lagered in bulk all summer, I will unveil this beer in the fall, when our local brewers’ group has an Oktoberfest tasting planned.

Ingredients:

8.5 lbs. Weyermann’s Bohemian Pilsner malt
6 oz. cara-pils malt
4 oz. 120°L crystal malt
6 oz. 60°L crystal malt
4 oz. melanoidin malt
1 pt, grade B maple syrup
1 oz. Tettnanger hop pellet pellets (3.5%)
1 oz. Styrian Goldings hop pellets (4.5%)
1 oz. Saaz hop pellets (4% aa)
White Labs Octoberfest Lager yeast (WLP820)
3/4 cup corn sugar (for priming)
Procedure:

Crush grains. Heat 14 quarts semi-concentrated maple sap to 168°F. Mash in grains and hold at 154° for 90 minutes. Heat 15 quarts water to 170°F. Begin runoff and sparge, collecting 27 quarts sweet wort. Add syrup to kettle. Bring to boil. Boil 45 minutes without hops, to develop color and caramel flavors. Add Tettnanger hops, boil 15 minutes. Add Styrian Goldings hops, boil 15 minutes. Add Saaz hops, boil 15 more minutes (total of 45 with hops, 90 overall) and remove from heat. Chill to 80°F, take a hydrometer reading and pour into a sanitized primary fermenter, splashing well to aerate. Pitch yeast, seal and ferment 8 – 10 days at 65°F. Rack to secondary and age 3 – 4 months at 40°F. Prime with corn sugar, bottle and condition cool (50°F) for four weeks.

OG: 1080

IBU’s: 30

If you don’t have access to fresh sap but want to try something like this brew, you can always add some real syrup to the mash water – probably a pint will do the trick. I’m sure there’s a way to figure it out but the math is beyond me… And yes, this is a LOT bigger than the usual Festbier, the high gravity is a product of the sap and syrup!

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Old 03-14-2013, 03:30 PM   #3
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I plan on doing this same thing. I have already collected almost 10 gallons. I plan on collecting 15, and reducing it to ~6 to use for all the water for my house brown ale. I don't have a maple farm or anything, I just tapped my maple tree in my back yard. It was super easy to do.

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Old 03-14-2013, 04:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rinhaak View Post
According to my friend, last weekend it was flowing with an OG of 1.035, so it's likely going to be up a little bit next week (when I get to pick mine up).
You sure about that 1.035? That's awful high. I've had plenty of maple sap in my days and it's not anywhere near that sweet. The interweb says, around 1.008.

MC
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Carbonic bite? Is that like the bubonic plague?
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Needless to say after more than a few drams my mental efficiency matched my mashing efficiency.
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Old 03-14-2013, 04:15 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by reverendj1 View Post
I plan on doing this same thing. I have already collected almost 10 gallons. I plan on collecting 15, and reducing it to ~6 to use for all the water for my house brown ale. I don't have a maple farm or anything, I just tapped my maple tree in my back yard. It was super easy to do.
Make sure that the sap you use is clear. Murky/cloudy sap is not good and can actually state sour.

Also, you'll need a really cheap heat source to reduce 15-gal down to 6!

MC
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Needless to say after more than a few drams my mental efficiency matched my mashing efficiency.
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Old 03-14-2013, 05:06 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Misplaced_Canuck View Post
Make sure that the sap you use is clear. Murky/cloudy sap is not good and can actually state sour.

Also, you'll need a really cheap heat source to reduce 15-gal down to 6!

MC
Thank you for the advice. It's crystal clear. By looking at it, you wouldn't know it wasn't just water. I drank half a glass of it. It didn't taste at all mapley, but it did taste like sugar water.

Yeah, we're trying to figure out how to reduce it now. I might build a small fire pit out of cinder blocks. Otherwise I guess we'll have to do it on the stove.
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Old 03-14-2013, 05:17 PM   #7
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I did it this year and last. we only have one maple tree and only get a gallon at a time (on a good day), so the challenge is to accumulate enough to brew with without the sap turning, which can happen very quickly (which is what happend during last year's attempt). I ended up freezing a gallon at a time in milk jugs, and thawing out to brew when I'd accumulated 10 gallons or so.

I wouldn't count on much maple flavor unless you really concentrate a lot of it, the flavor contribution will be subtle at best. I do it more for the novelty of it more than enything else.

This year I brewed what was supposed o be a brown porter, using for the dark grains a couple pounds of brown malt that I roasted myself. My efficiency was a little higher than I expected and the sap contributed a bit more sugar than I'd initially calculated, so it turned into a robust porter instead. It's in secondary now and tastes good, although no discernable maple flavor. Others who have done this have primed their bottles with maple syrup as well to get a bit more maple flavor into the beer.

Good luck - let us know how it turns out!

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Old 03-14-2013, 05:19 PM   #8
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Depending on what your over-night temps are you can leave it out to ice over and remove the ice. Would save some boiling...

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Old 03-14-2013, 05:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roxbob View Post
I did it this year and last. we only have one maple tree and only get a gallon at a time (on a good day), so the challenge is to accumulate enough to brew with without the sap turning, which can happen very quickly (which is what happend during last year's attempt). I ended up freezing a gallon at a time in milk jugs, and thawing out to brew when I'd accumulated 10 gallons or so.

I wouldn't count on much maple flavor unless you really concentrate a lot of it, the flavor contribution will be subtle at best. I do it more for the novelty of it more than enything else.

This year I brewed what was supposed o be a brown porter, using for the dark grains a couple pounds of brown malt that I roasted myself. My efficiency was a little higher than I expected and the sap contributed a bit more sugar than I'd initially calculated, so it turned into a robust porter instead. It's in secondary now and tastes good, although no discernable maple flavor. Others who have done this have primed their bottles with maple syrup as well to get a bit more maple flavor into the beer.

Good luck - let us know how it turns out!
I've only got one tree too, but it's huge. We've had it tapped for almost a week and we didn't get more than a dribble until a couple days ago I got ~7 gallons in one day.

I'm also doing it for the novelty more than anything. My co-brewer and I are really playing around with water lately. I don't think it will impart much flavor, but I'm reducing it enough that I hope it will do something. From my understanding, using 15 gallons of sap should roughly equal using 1 1/2 quarts of maple syrup.
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Old 03-14-2013, 05:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Depending on what your over-night temps are you can leave it out to ice over and remove the ice. Would save some boiling...
I had heard about this too, but not much. In my 7 gallons in my collecting bucket (actually my BK ) I had ~1 gallon of ice last night. I think I'm going to be all scientific and separate the ice, melt it and take a gravity reading, just to make sure I'm not losing out on any precious mapley goodness before I dump it. If it's almost water, I can just toss it. That would save a LOT of time.
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