Maple Syrup: Nature's Spring Tonic. -- Since 1918

Category: 2005: Season 88 Page 2 of 4

Preparing to Storm

No fresh sap today. Its preparing to storm and it was about 55 or 60 without freezing last night. Too warm. An additional 3.5 gallons of finished syrup was bottled last night yet from Monday’s sap. Total now is 44.5 gallons of finished syrup. One batch of syrup from yesterday did not turn out well. It was cloudy. Not sure why. But it was redone today. Filtered again with the pressure filter and re-bottled. Now it looks nice. Sometimes a batch does not turn out as nice as it could. We can just redo it because its all natural with no artificial additives. Add a little fresh sap. Bring back to the proper density, re-filter and re-bottle. Over the weekend its forecast to return to freezing nights and sunny days. Hopefully the trees will run a little yet. With 500 gallons of sap yet we can reach our production goal for finished syrup.

41 Gallons of Syrup

After boiling through Monday’s 300 gallons of sap, we now have 41 gallons of finished syrup. Today was warm, but with a cold South wind. The trees dripped some, but not enough to collect. And it supposed to rain. There is still frost in the ground and snow in the woods so we hope the season will not quite be ending. We are still short of our production goal of 60 gallons of finished syrup.

300 More Gallons of Sap

Collected another 300 gallons of sap on Monday. The weather was OK, but this coming week looks to get warm, maybe too warm. For two weeks it was too cold then all of the sudden it changes. We will have to see what happens.


We usually figure 60 gallons of syrup as the production goal from our 400 taps. Another 8 1/2 gallons have been bottled bringing our total to about 31 gallons. Our new collecting tank is causing some problems. While the tank is nice, its higher then the old tank and that makes emptying the collecting pails harder. We use 5 gallons plastic pails to gather the sap from the trees. With the collecting tank being higher, we have to lift the pails higher and that wears you out faster. We have some ideas for modifying it but have not yet had the time to try it.

How Much Sap to Make Syrup? The Rule of 86

As noted earlier, the sap is very sweet this season. We have had brix readings of 4.1 and 3.9. The question is how much sap at a given brix reading is needed to produce one gallon of syrup? The Rule of 86 can help us. Its not exact, but its close enough for general work. Here is the rule: S=86/X where “S” is the amount of raw sap to make one gallon of finished syrup and “X” is the brix reading of the raw sap. So if we use our brix reading of 3.9, we get S=86/3.9, or S=22 gallons of raw sap to make one gallon of finished syrup. We usually say it takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup, a brix reading of about 2.1. So sap with a 3.9 brix is very sweet sap and only takes 22 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup; that is a significant improvement. Here is a link to the North American Maple Syrup Producers Manual with more background on the Rule of 86 .

22 1/2 Gallons of Syrup

With Thursday’s collection of 300 gallons of sap we have now finished 22 1/2 gallons of syrup. Today was a cold north east wind again so there won’t be sap to collect today. Starting boiling at 5:30 this morning. By 11:00 we where finished. Its nice to have a days rest in between sap runs.

Sap Today

Collected 300 gallons of sap today. And the sap is still very sweet: 3.9 brix. They are working to boil it off now and will work into the night.

Cold NE Wind

While it was sunny, a cold north east wind kept the temperature down. The spouts were wet and some dripped a little, but over all it was too cold. We are hoping tomorrow will be better.

10 1/2 Gallons of Syrup

We have 10 1/2 gallons of syrup bottled for the season now. Since we had 2 1/2 gallons from earlier it means we made 8 gallons in the past 24 hours. Its nice quality syrup — very clear. Boiled until 8:00 pm last night. Then came back at 3:00 am to finish up. It was cold last night, about 18, so even though it is sunny now, it may not warm up soon enough to get more sap today. By afternoon it should be warm enough to drip, but it may not be enough to collect. We will see.

Very Sweet Sap

Collected 320 gallons of sap. This sap tested out at 4.1 Brix.  Brix is a measure of sweetness. Typically our trees produce sap at 2.5 – 3.0 Brix so today’s sap is much sweeter. And sweeter sap means it takes less gallons of sap to make syrup. While typically we figure 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup with sap at 4.1 it will take much less.

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