The first time I tapped my maple trees, I began to think about the sugar water I was gathering. Every time I think about sugar water, I think wine!
It began to occur to me that every recipe I have seen is basically “water down maple syrup”, but my maple syrup instructions always read “take maple sap and remove water”. Wait a minute… why waste all the time and fuel. Why not just evaporate less water in the first place?
Apparently, I’m not the first person to think of this, Roxanne’s Wine Cellar gives three recipes:
From Syrup: add water to bring to correct concentration
Straight Sap: add sugar to bring to correct concentration
Partial Syrup: add heat to boil off water
From there it is straight up wine making recipe
Maple Sap Concentrate
The sugar is too concentrated. Using one litre of pure maple syrup, add water to bring the total volume to 1 US Gallon (yes, I’m mixing metric and imperial. Suck it up).
The sugar is not concentrated enough. You can either add sugar, or remove water. Syrup is produced by boiling off the water, and this is probably the more traditional method. Adding sugar is likely easier and less messy.
- Add 2.25 cups of sugar, add sap to 1 gallon
- Start with 12 gallons of sap, and boil down to 1 gallon of concentrate
Assuming you want to go the 12:1 boil down route, you need to determine how to get 5 gallons (the size of a standard carboy) down to 12:1 ratio, and measure it. The idea we came up with should be reasonably simple and requires our big stock pot (6 gallons) and a five gallon food grade bucket.
- Fill the bucket
- Pour it into the stock pot
- Refill the bucket and top off pot until you have poured 12 full buckets in
- Stop when the fluid level reaches the bottom of the handles on the stock pot (5 gallon marker)
At that point you have boiled the material down adequately. Any over boiling or underboiling should average out so long as the last bucket comes to above the handles, and you are watching to stop it when it gets to the bottom of the handles. I suppose if you boiled to far you could just top it up with water.
- 1 gallon maple sap concentrate
- 1 lemon
Standard wine making procedures apply
- Heat your concentrate to ~80°C
- Peel lemon, and mash it up
- Mix ingredients in primary
- Let stand 12 hours (or until 30°C)
- Add yeast and mix well
- Siphon to carboy after one week, put in air trap
- Rack monthly for several months
I haven’t tried this.
Currently maple syrup is more precious than wine (or so The Wife says), so at this time, all sap must go to the production of syrup. I am hoping that with more trees tapped we will have a surplus of sap that will allow me to have a go at this.
The only solution is for me to get more taps into trees.