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Old 01-11-2013, 02:28 PM   #1
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Default Ever brew with sugar maple sap?

I have a bunch of sugar maples and usually tap them around March every year. Wondering if anybody has experience subbing maple sap (not syrup) for water? Seems like you could mash with it, no? Looking for a recipe or suggestions for a style that wouldn't taste like fermented pancakes...

zc

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Old 01-11-2013, 02:48 PM   #2
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I brewed with maple sap last year (just sparged partially with sap, actually) just for novelty - I didn't taste any affect at all, but I didn't mash with it.

I think the answer you're going to get is that you'll get almost no flavor out of it - the sap is probably about 3% sugar, and the flavor will just ferment out.

I prime almost all of my batches (bottle conditioned) with maple syrup, and even this late stage addition results in somewhere between little and no maple flavor.

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Old 01-11-2013, 02:55 PM   #3
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Conventional wisdom is that none of the "maple" flavor comes through, just a subtle woodiness. Definitely worth a try. Easier than boiling down 8 gallons too.

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Old 01-11-2013, 02:55 PM   #4
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A buddy in my homebrew club did that last spring with a brown ale. There was definitely a subtle maple flavor to the beer, but since the sap added extra fermentables to the wort, it dried out the finished beer quite a bit. He suggested (and those of us who got to sample agreed) adding some carapils or something similar to bulk up the body of anything brewed in this manner. I'm 90% sure I'm going to try this this spring, just need to settle on a recipe.

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Old 01-11-2013, 03:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stratslinger View Post
A buddy in my homebrew club did that last spring with a brown ale. There was definitely a subtle maple flavor to the beer, but since the sap added extra fermentables to the wort, it dried out the finished beer quite a bit. He suggested (and those of us who got to sample agreed) adding some carapils or something similar to bulk up the body of anything brewed in this manner. I'm 90% sure I'm going to try this this spring, just need to settle on a recipe.
Good to know! I'd be VERY happy with just a subtle maple flavor. Really don't like mapley flavored drinks. Typically when I boil even 1 gallon of sap it takes a couple hours and has to reduce to maybe 1/20th before it starts to take on the characteristics of maple syrup. So I wouldn't be surprised to taste no maple at all after just an hour boil. Glad to at least get confirmation of that. And thanks for the tip on adding body to the beer. This was the sort of response I was hoping for. Let us/me know if you decide on a recipe.
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Old 01-11-2013, 03:41 PM   #6
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I missed the run last year with the warm spring, so I have my taps all ready for this year. Really hope I get to try this. If nothing else, the novelty factor is awesome. Great conversations starter at dinner parties.

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Old 01-11-2013, 03:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TyTanium View Post
Conventional wisdom is that none of the "maple" flavor comes through, just a subtle woodiness. Definitely worth a try. Easier than boiling down 8 gallons too.
I have a couple friends who are gluten free. Maybe I'll get rid of the grains completely and ferment the sap (with some other non-glutonous ingredients) into something of a "Saison Du Sap" for spring time. If the maple doesn't come through at least I can say I brewed it with my own sap. Or the sap from my trees, anyway. Sorry if I just crossed a line.

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Old 01-11-2013, 04:59 PM   #8
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There was a Basic Brewing Radio episode about brewing with Maple sap. I think the verdict was that there was little to no impact on flavor. It's it their archives if you're interested.

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Old 01-11-2013, 05:08 PM   #9
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I need simple math help...

It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup.

So 5 gallons of syrup gets me 16 fl. ounces of maple syrup.

Ok, easy enough. So then the typical sugar content in maple syrup is (or is supposed to be if you make it right) 66%.

So 66% of 16 fl. oz = 10.5 fl. oz sugar

So here's where I blow a fuse... If that is 10.5 fl. oz. of sugar in 5 gallons of sap, how do I know how much sugar I have by weight? If I wanted to be honest with my recipe, I suppose I'd want to know that.

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Old 01-11-2013, 05:26 PM   #10
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So here's where I blow a fuse... If that is 10.5 fl. oz. of sugar in 5 gallons of sap, how do I know how much sugar I have by weight? If I wanted to be honest with my recipe, I suppose I'd want to know that.
I got it. It's 1/3lb.

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