Maple Wine

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

Syrup

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).

Sap

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.

Either:

  • 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

Your preference.

12:1 ratio

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.

Latex formula
  1. Fill the bucket
  2. Pour it into the stock pot
  3. Refill the bucket and top off pot until you have poured 12 full buckets in
  4. 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.

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon maple sap concentrate
  • 1 lemon

Procedure

Standard wine making procedures apply

  1. Heat your concentrate to ~80°C
  2. Peel lemon, and mash it up
  3. Mix ingredients in primary
  4. Let stand 12 hours (or until 30°C)
  5. Add yeast and mix well
  6. Siphon to carboy after one week, put in air trap
  7. Rack monthly for several months

Comments

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.

8 thoughts on “Maple Wine”

  1. I don’t follow your need to add a lemon???

    I have done the following for a maple wine recipe and eliminated the need for a “primary”

    2250 ml distilled water
    500 ml maple syrup (light)
    500 g raw cane sugar

    sit for 24 hours and add yeast

    at 3 weeks rack

    Top up carboy with Sortilege to bring back to 3 litres.

    will rack again in 3 months, and every three months after till one year, topping up with Sortilege at each rack then Bottle.

    In case your wondering what Sortilege is it is Maple Whiskey.

  2. The lemons come from my mead recipe. Mead is a little funny in that honey does not have sufficient nutrient, nor is it acidic enough, for yeast. I use lemons to compensate for that. I still have not made my maple wine recipe… I think that will have to wait until this coming spring (when the sap starts flowing again).

    Now you have me curious. Why do you add “cane sugar”? Why not just rely on the sugar in the sap?

    Maple Whiskey! Hadn’t thought of that! Where do you get Sortiledge?

  3. Sortilege is available in Quebec, but it’s basically Whiskey+maple syrup.

    I make maple wine. I use syrup, because it’s easier to gauge. I mix it 45% syrup, 55% water (approx). I add sliced orange and yeast nutrient to my primary, as the syrup is too pure and can’t feed the yeast properly, same as mead.

    I also oak it to give it a bit of dryness and smoothness.

    The final product is like a rich mellow white wine with an aftertaste of maple that lingers in your nose. it’s also close to 18%, so….

    If you can boil down your sap to the right levels, you can use that, but, from experience (my dad has a sugar shack) it’s tough to get right.

    If you add sugar, it’s just not maple 😉

  4. If you add sugar, it’s just not maple

    Eric, I think you and I are in complete agreement on what makes wine what it is… 😉

    If you can boil down your sap to the right levels, you can use that, but, from experience … it’s tough to get right

    That seems a really good point, for consistant flavours you need to have a consistant starting point.

    I started a job in the city this year and wasn’t involved in the boiling. I was sitting at home one evening having a conversation with the wife, and all of a sudden she jumped up and walked over to the boiler. She had heard the sound of the boiling change and knew the syrup was finished. That point where the sound changes has a very specific concentration of sugar, achieving that accurate of a measure any other way would be much more difficult.

    Since The Wife did all the processing this year, I don’t have any sap for wine (again). I wonder if she’d notice a jar going missing…

  5. Maple Sap Wine

    Cook sap down to a S.G. (specific gravity) to 11.00 SG.
    5 tsp of Acid Blend
    2.5 tsp of Pectic Enzyme
    2.5 tsp of Yeast Nutrient
    5 Campden tablets
    4 Oranges
    2 Apples
    1 Lemon
    1 package of Pasteur Red Active Dry Wine Yeast

    The fruit is needed because the sap is very low in acidity.

    Mix all the above ingredients except for the yeast into a 5 gallon primary fermentor. Stir to make sure all ingredients are mix throughout. After 24 hours add yeast if the temperature of sap is between 70 degrees and 80 degrees. Stir vigorously daily because of the low acid content you may lose the oxygen, if you do lose the oxygen you will smell a sulfur smell. If so pour must from one 5 gallon pail to another until you get the oxygen back in your must. After 5 days check SG when SG reaches 10.30 rack must to a 5 gallon carbouy. After 1 month rack to 2nd carbouy. Check SG. After 1 month rack to 3rd carbouy. Check SG. By this time the SG should be 10.00. It is now wine, about 18 to 20%. Add Super Klear as directed. This clears your wine, it will take out all the very small particles. After a week to ten days rack wine to the forth carbouy. Let sit for 1 week then filter with #1 Vino filter. Ten days later filter with #2 Vino filter. Let sit for 7 days and then filter with #3 Vino filter. Two days later sweeten to taste and bottle. Makes about 25 to 30 bottles. This wine should age about 3 months for the best tasting and smooth wine, but can be drank right away. It’s just better if you wait.

    I put 1/2 a tsp of Potassium Sorbate per gallon in my wine after I sweeten it to make sure it does not start to ferment again. Enjoy

  6. You will not make a “maple” flavored wine with sap. Not even close. It is clear and barely sweet. Even if you add sugar.. it will just taste like fermented medicine garbage . Pull your wallet out and buy real syrup, water it down with quality water to 1.125,, darker syrup won’t be needing tannin but an acid adjustment may be necessary. Make it higher alcohol so it stores well and either stop fermentation or back sweeten with real syrup only . Then pour it down your neck

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