Maple Sap?

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vtchuck

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Up here in Vermont we are finally getting "sugaring weather" and it got me to thinking about using maple sap to make beer.

Years ago when we had "tap-able" maples on our property, I would collect sap to make coffee, replacing the brewing water with sap. Very tasty. So.... why not make beer... a stout, maybe.... using sap in place of water? Sap can range from 1-4% sugar... is this too low a percentage to make any difference?

Anyone else tried this?

TIA
 

Zymurgrafi

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I have thought of it myself. I do not have access to any of my own sugar maples so I have not yet. Papazian mentions it in the adjuncts section of CJHB. I think a bock would be really nice.

Just use 5-6 gallons instead of water in the boil. I think I read it does not make it sweeter, but adds a woodsy flavor. I believe he also said if you were going to use syrup he recomended a gallon!!! That's some pricey beer.

Let us know how it go's and save me a bottle! Or a few buckets of sap, i'll make my own... :mug:
 

david_42

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1-4% sugar translates to 1.3-5% ABV. I'd call that a difference. You could just start with the sap and go straight to the boil or boil the sap a bit to caramelize it and/or adjust the gravity. I would be tempted to make a brown or Porter, as a stout might mask the maple too much. Try doing a search because I'm fairly certain this was discussed at length last year about this time.

***********/recipe/1335.html Smoked Maple Amber
***********/recipe/242.html Maple Marzen
***********/recipe/948.html Brown

And many others.
 

LouT

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Guy I bought my used equipment from tapped his own maples. Said he had an awesome and reproducable brown ale he used to make with maple sap. I asked him for recipe books/notes/etc. along with the used equipment, and he said he didn't have any, but he offered out this:
He said take a brown ale recipe, and in place of the water in the recipe, use Maple sap that has been reduced -- he said he would reduce 25 gallons of sap down to 5 gallons and basically used it as the "water" in the recipe. For what its worth...
 

Glibbidy

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30 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup. ah-yep
I sure hope you got plenty of trees, for yer brown ale.
100 taps on healthy trees may get you ~ 6gallons of finished syrup.
 
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vtchuck

vtchuck

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Here's what I'm considering:

5.5 lbs LME
1 lb. crystal malt (40L)
12 oz. chocolate malt
1 lb flaked oats

Maple sap in place of water

I have Vermont grown nugget, kent golding pellets or northern brewer hops as options for bittering.

Maybe cutting back on the LME to compensate for the sugar in the sap?

I was planning on a pale ale for the next batch, but I think I'll bump it for some maple ale. Reactions? Suggestions?

TIA
 

LouT

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Have you guys ever made syrup?
I never have, but here's what I looked up:
"The season's yield from each taphole may be roughly estimated at 20 gallons, although the quality of the sap declines at the end of the flow and may not be worth collecting. Remember, of course, that this 20 gallons per taphole per season is only an approximate figure which will vary greatly according to location and other factors.

Another rule of thumb has it that about 40 gallons of sap will make one gallon of syrup . . . but the sugar content of sap is not constant and this figure will also vary. Combining these two figures, then (with many qualifications), we arrive at the rough estimate, under optimum conditions, of one gallon of finished syrup for every two holes tapped."

So, tap one tree, and instead of making 1/2 gallon of syrup, reduce your 20 gallons of sap down to 4 gallons of "sweeter sap". Use this as the water in the recipe. The sap alone without being reduced would not be adding much sugar. There are probably a good amount of flavors you can get due to unfermentables, but if the sap is too dilute I don't think you'll get the flavor.
I like how you're thinking.

Also, my wife's from Montpelier, so we go up to VT a lot now that we moved to MA from NC - Maybe I need to talk to FIL about tapping a tree or two for me...

Good luck with this, it will be tasty!
 

emmpeethree

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hold up.

maple SAP contains 2% sugar. however, it is boiled down and condensed to become maple SYRUP. you can read nutrition info on side of the bottle. on mine, per 60ml serving there is 48g of sugar! that's gotta be close to 80%. so do the math if you have a scale and figure out how concentrated your syrup is.

"To make pure maple syrup, the sap needs to be boiled to evaporate a lot of the water away. Maple syrup is approximately 33 percent water and 67 percent sugar."

looks like LouT was on to this above :p
 

Mikey

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emmpeethree said:
"To make pure maple syrup, the sap needs to be boiled to evaporate a lot of the water away. Maple syrup is approximately 33 percent water and 67 percent sugar."
Yup. 6 gallons of maple sap is equivalent to 2 cups of maple syrup.

2 cups of maple syrup will raise the OG of a batch by .006. The taste will disappear in a dark beer.

Not worth the trouble in my mind.
 

Cheesefood

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orfy said:
Sounds good.

How about a maple wine?
I did one with one gallon of syrup and 4 gallons of water. It's really sweet. I'm aging mine now and it's getting close to being one year old. I will say that it ferments down pretty well and yields a lot of alcohol.
 

david_42

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vtchuck - I'd cut the chocolate in half to give the maple a better chance of coming through. You can always steep the other 6 oz. and add it later.
 
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vtchuck

vtchuck

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Just to bring some closure to this discussion, I talked with a friend here in VT who had brewed with maple sap in the past (5 gallons in place of water) and there was not any perceptable maple favor in the final brew. An interesting experiment, but probably not worth the effort


Palmer suggests using 1 gallon of B grade syrup to add a maple flavor. At $30+ a gallon, I don't think so!

What may work is using B grade syrup to prime your bottles... can't hurt... so I'll probably start there.

Another interesting fact that I turned up was that you can make syrup from birch tree sap...its just that the sugar content of the sap is lower...around 1%

Thanks for all your comments and suggestions
 
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