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Old 11-14-2013, 04:42 PM   #1
Eldowr
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Default Sugar Cane Buck

Hello All,

I'm very new to brewing (as in just tried brewing my first batch today!), but that's another topic for another day.

I will be heading home this weekend to help my family make Cane Syrup. The process is similar to how cane sugar is made. Sugar Cane stalks are cut out of the field, run through a mill that squeezes the juice out, then boiled down into syrup. My family has been making cane syrup for at least five generations that I know of.

The reason for the story; every year we make syrup my grandfather talks about how his daddy used to make "cane buck". He was very young the last time he saw it made and was never told the recipe/technique. He does remember that his daddy would cook the juice in the kettle just a little bit before letting it set up to ferment.

It sounds to me like they used the pure cane juice as a mash and let wild yeast take care of the fermenting. Has anyone ever heard of this? If not, have any suggestions for me trying to ferment pure cane juice? any help will be much appreciated! I would love to be able to recreate something my grandfather has been talking about for 60+ years.

Thanks,
Eldowr

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Old 11-14-2013, 04:44 PM   #2
Eldowr
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Default Sugar Cane Buck

Hello All,

I'm very new to brewing (as in just tried brewing my first batch today!), but that's topic for another day.

I will be heading home this weekend to help my family make Cane Syrup. The process is similar to how cane sugar is made. Sugar Cane stalks are cut out of the field, run through a mill that squeezes the juice out, then the juice is boiled down into syrup. My family has been making cane syrup for at least five generations that I know of.

The reason for the story; every year we make syrup my grandfather talks about how his daddy used to make "cane buck". He was very young the last time he saw it made and was never told the recipe/technique. He does remember that his daddy would cook the juice in the kettle just a little bit before letting it set up to ferment.

It sounds to me like they used the pure cane juice as a mash and let wild yeast take care of the fermenting. Has anyone ever heard of this? If not, have any suggestions for me trying to ferment pure cane juice? any help will be much appreciated! I would love to be able to recreate something my grandfather has been talking about for 60+ years.

Thanks,
Eldowr

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Old 11-14-2013, 04:51 PM   #3
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Aw man, that's awesome. I've never heard of it, but I don't see any reason it shouldn't work. They're are definately a lot of things you can do to improve the flavor of the finished product (such as using a pure yeast culture instead of wild yeast, though that sorta ruins a lil but of the magic I imagine.

Keep us posted, this is an exciting merger of 2 of my favorite things: family traditions and brewing

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Old 11-14-2013, 09:22 PM   #4
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I did ita few times.
The first time it was boiled for 15 minutes before adding ale yeast. But I think the boiling altered the flavours.
The second time it was just left to do its thing. It fermented out in under 2 weeks and was quite nice with a little sourness.

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Old 11-15-2013, 03:37 AM   #5
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While I've never heard of cane buck I strongly suspect your right about how it's made. I agree that using a yeast culture would work but it wouldn't taste the same. If your grandpa is like mine he won't care. He will appreciate the effort and will be more than happy to be your Ginny pig in your attempts to make it just right.

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Old 11-15-2013, 02:32 PM   #6
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My grandpa used to do something similar but with sorghum. They used bakers yeast to ferment with. Of course there was only one type of yeast and they used it for all their wines back then lol.

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Old 11-15-2013, 02:55 PM   #7
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A little yeast nutrient while grandpa isn't looking might provide a healthier ferment and more pleasant flavors???

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Old 11-15-2013, 04:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilserbrewer
A little yeast nutrient while grandpa isn't looking might provide a healthier ferment and more pleasant flavors???
Seconded. Also a starter with a drop (stress SINGLE DROP) of olive oil. It provides whatever they get from dissolved oxygen. You still need to aerate, but you can be sure you've aerated well enough. Don't do it for beer though, cause too much can really screw with head retention.
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Old 11-15-2013, 11:51 PM   #9
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Thanks for the responses and encouragement everyone! I talked with my dad today and found out that he has been trying to make this recently with my grandfather. Pretty sure they've only tried using bakers yeast as well. They've said that all their attempts have just turned out 'soured'. I'm thinking that is due to other critters taking over before the yeast can get to really working. Would a cultured, properly activated yeast help offset that?

The available yeast selection is quite simply overwhelming.. I've picked a few dry yeasts to order online and would consider a liquid yeast if I knew where to start. Any suggestions? The cane juice has a flavor/aroma somewhere between fresh cut grass on a cold day and molasses..

From what I gather talking with my dad, I believe my best course of action will be to heat the juice from ambient up to just shy of a boil. At that point all of the "skimmings" (impurities/debris) float to the top of the juice and can easily be removed. (we usually dump the skimmings from syrup making into a barrel, the next morning that barrel will already be fermenting from wild yeast or what ever critters are floating around in south georgia.) After heating I'll cool the juice and move into a carboy to be sealed away from airborne critters and add my own yeast of choice.

I'm ordering two 5-gallon carboys to try this out it. Maybe I'll use cultured yeast in one and let the other go au naturale..

Thanks again for all the help!


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Originally Posted by neo71665 View Post
My grandpa used to do something similar but with sorghum. They used bakers yeast to ferment with. Of course there was only one type of yeast and they used it for all their wines back then lol.
Neo,
Any chance you could pass any details from your grandpa's methods? Thanks!
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Old 11-16-2013, 12:16 AM   #10
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Thanks for the reply! Did you add any yeast to the last batch or leave it out to gather wild yeast?

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