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"Beer" made of Maple Sap  RSS feed

 
Adrien Lapointe
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I thought this article was very interesting. Another use for the maple sap and another way to make alcohol from perennial plants.
 
Nick Kitchener
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That's an interesting article.

The sap normally needs a lot of boiling to reduce it to a syrup so if you reduced the sap down to about a specific gravity of 1055 (using a hydrometer), then some hops for another hour to offset the counteract and balance the maple flavour, then you'd get a nice 5% beer.

Brewers who make maple beer tend to go for a dark porter like beer because of the colour and flavour that the maple gives to the beer. They also advocate a decent amount of hops because there is apparently some unfermantable sugar in maple sap.

Birch trees also produce a sweet sap in the spring although you need to collect more of it...
 
Adrien Lapointe
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Nick Kitchener wrote:Brewers who make maple beer tend to go for a dark porter like beer because of the colour and flavour that the maple gives to the beer. They also advocate a decent amount of hops because there is apparently some unfermantable sugar in maple sap.


Is the additional hop used to mask off-tastes that the unfermentable sugar would impart?
 
Nick Kitchener
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No, the unfermentable sugar will leave the beer with a residual sweetness. It's not an off flavor, but it will taste out of balance on your palate if it isn't countered with something else. Hops, being bitter is the most popular choice of herb to do this.
It will give the finished product a much more pleasant taste.

FWIW, an off taste in brewing is generally from bacterial infection, water contamination of some kind, or an unexpected by product of the fermentation process.

I would personally add some hops about 15 mins before finishing the boil as well. This will add some aroma to the beer and enhance the character.
 
Adrien Lapointe
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Thanks for the info Nick.

Did you ever try making maple or birch sap beer? Do you have a recipe to recommend?
 
Nick Kitchener
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No I haven't.

I've made a lot of beer though so I could find / formulate one based on your personal preference and location.
 
Adrien Lapointe
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Thanks for the offer, unfortunately I do not have access to maple sap, although I have lots of maple syrup. Any chance you would know how to make beer from maple syrup? I assume one would have to proceed in a similar fashion to making mead. I.e. adding water to the syrup.
 
Nick Kitchener
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Yes, that's how to do it. Beer made from honey is called mead ale.

Antibacterial properties in honey mean it can be hard for the yeast to survive, and you need to add nutrients.

If you make the beer with maple syrup and malt, then you will get a much better fermentation because the malt provides all the nutrients that the yeast needs. A 50/50 blend would be a good start.
 
Adrien Lapointe
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Did you ever try using the liquid that forms on sourdough starter as a yeast source? I read a few accounts of people doing this, but never actually got around to do it.

What would be a good source of yeast nutrients? I know there is the stuff you buy in brewing stores, but is there an alternative?

Last question, I guess I would add maple syrup to the water until I reached a specific gravity of 1055.
 
Nick Kitchener
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No I haven't. The yeast in beer has very specific traits and there are many different strains that impart different flavours.
Beer yeast is also selected to be "sticky" so it globs together and sinks to the bottom, leaving a clear beer. Bread yeasts are primarily selected for CO2 production. They generally don't have great alcohol tolerance, don't impart particularly pleasant flavours, and they don't tend to settle out of solution all that well.

A brewing store is the best source of nutrients. The nutrients are mineral salts and if you do a search, I'm sure you could find a breakdown. If you use some malt in the brew, you won't need nutrients as it's a perfect food for yeast, so I guess that's your alternative.

Yes on the dilution although I'd not go 100% maple on the first brew. It apparently brews out very dry (not sweet), and thin on it's own.
 
Adrien Lapointe
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Would a mix of honey and maple syrup work better you think?
 
Nick Kitchener
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It will increase the flavour complexity but you'll be introducing antibacterial / antifungal / antiyeast agents. I would recommend buying a can of pale malt extract, or better yet, some freshly crushed pale malted barley.

If you go the crushed grain route, I'm happy to explain what to do with it. Maybe offline so we don't bore everyone else
 
Adrien Lapointe
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I see. I might try a small batch of a pure maple one and one using malted barley. I have a bag of barley that I can sprout and then malt... Maybe I'll wait in May though. I am trying to go grain free for a month as an experiment. Another option would be to use something other than malt. I read about chestnut beer last weekend and they always seem to use honey when making it.
 
Nick Kitchener
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Well if you're avoiding grain then a maple / honey beer would do fine.
I've made beer only from honey and hops before and it went fine. It was actually pretty darn good

You can skip the nutrient. It just ensures a steady and reasonably short fermentation.

The maple syrup actually has nutrient in it and besides, they made mead quite successfully in the middle ages without nutrient. Just be prepared for an extended fermentation.
 
Adrien Lapointe
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Again thanks for the awesome info. I need to take a half hour and make this.

I think I will start with a growler size batch and about half syrup, half honey. Any recommendation as to the amount of hops? I have a package of 1 oz raw hops. I guess the optimal fermentation temperature is going to be something like 20-25 Celsius.
 
Adam Poddepie
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Adrien, I'd recommend getting BrewMate, a free beer making software that will simulate the bitterness, color, and gravity of your beer recipe. If you are just aiming for a certain amount of bitternes (IBU's) then you can plug in your volume and amount of hops and it will spit out your results. I doubt you can put in maple syrup, but you can imitate it in the software with any other kind of extract you'd like.

I think honey would be a wonderful addition. Also, if you really want more maple flavor, leave some syrup out of the boil until the very end as a prolonged boil of honey or maple will kill a lot of the aroma and flavor.

Best of luck on your brewing!
 
Luke Vaillancourt
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So awesome!!
 
Nick Kitchener
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You have plenty of hops there. Yes, software is your best bet for calculating bitterness. Any idea of what type of hops it is? Different types have different bitterness and flavour profiles. Is it pellet or whole flowers?

Excellent suggestion on the late maple addition. I'd go so far as to add the syrup right at the end of the boil (don't boil it at all), or even when the wort (unfermented beer) has dropped in temperature to about 50 C.

You could brew at 20-25 C. I typically don't. I prefer 18-20 because at higher temps, yeast will produce different flavours and I personally prefer a cleaner European style beer. There are some traps for beginner brewers. One is brewing too warm, the other is brewing too much alcohol. Both result in notorious "home brew" flavours

Oh, and welcome Sandor! I look forward to learning more about wild yeasts. I've spent a lot of time around cultured ones in brewing but have never summoned the courage to expose a fresh batch to the wild. I know you're focussed on fermented foods (yum!), but have you tinkered with the wonders of wild fermented beer?
 
Sandor Katz
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I have my first fermented maple beverage bubbling away at home. I partially cooked down sap (to taste), added a little raw sap, and a couple of apples (as a source of yeasts). It's still bubbling in the carboy. I can't wait to taste!
 
Nick Kitchener
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That sounds awesome!

BTW, if you find it's a bit insipid, you can make a hop tea by boiling hops for 45 mins in water, straining, cooling, and adding it to the fermenter.
 
Adam Poddepie
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Also, if you find the consistency to be lacking, next time you make it consider putting some oats in a bath of 165ish degree Fahrenheit water for 30 to 60 minutes, and using that water with your beer boil. This will give it a silkier/fuller mouthfeel.
 
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Jp Learn
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That article was wild.
 
Adam Poddepie
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I agree, but it certainly sounds like a tasty bucket of suds. I wouldn't be against brewing something like that in a good spirit barrel.
 
Nick Kitchener
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Hmmm. Yes, once fermentation is complete, cold conditioning it in a (used) spirit barrel for 6 to 8 weeks would make things really interesting

Innes and Gunn age a beer like this I think...

Oh yes, here it is:
http://www.innisandgunn.com/the-range/Irish-Cask.aspx
 
Adam Poddepie
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True, they do. But for the love of beer please don't bottle it in clear bottles. Every time I try a beer in anything but dark brown glass I can pick up a hint of skunk in the bottle. I would hate for such a potentially delicious brew to be done in by such a small thing.
 
tel jetson
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Adam Poddepie wrote:True, they do. But for the love of beer please don't bottle it in clear bottles. Every time I try a beer in anything but dark brown glass I can pick up a hint of skunk in the bottle. I would hate for such a potentially delicious brew to be done in by such a small thing.


that's an issue with hops. if hops aren't used, skunk isn't a problem. doesn't mean light can't break down other things in clear bottles and change the beverage, but it's much less egregious.
 
Adam Poddepie
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tel jetson wrote:
Adam Poddepie wrote:True, they do. But for the love of beer please don't bottle it in clear bottles. Every time I try a beer in anything but dark brown glass I can pick up a hint of skunk in the bottle. I would hate for such a potentially delicious brew to be done in by such a small thing.


that's an issue with hops. if hops aren't used, skunk isn't a problem. doesn't mean light can't break down other things in clear bottles and change the beverage, but it's much less egregious.


I completely agree, but I think the recipe earlier mentioned hops. I'm not sure I've ever had a beer without hops, unless it was some kind of spicy Belgian brew.
 
tel jetson
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Adam Poddepie wrote:I completely agree, but I think the recipe earlier mentioned hops. I'm not sure I've ever had a beer without hops, unless it was some kind of spicy Belgian brew.


it did. I thought there were some other ideas pitched for bittering, too. I've had beer bittered with heather, oregon grape root, wormwood, dandelion, and likely a few other things. not all bad, but I think there's a good reason hops are the standard.
 
Adrien Lapointe
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Myrica gale (sweet Gale) can also be used instead of hops. I read somewhere that Achillea millefolium (common yarrow) can also be used. I don't think either are really bitter though.
 
Adam Poddepie
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I think whoever ends up getting their hands on a high quantity of of any grade of maple syrup needs to brew it in to maple wine, honey maple wine, or dark maple stout with oatmeal and call it Back Country Breakfast Stout.

I so want details on this beer btw, it's just do interesting!
 
Tim Crowhurst
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Adrien Lapointe wrote:Did you ever try using the liquid that forms on sourdough starter as a yeast source? I read a few accounts of people doing this, but never actually got around to do it.

What would be a good source of yeast nutrients? I know there is the stuff you buy in brewing stores, but is there an alternative?

Last question, I guess I would add maple syrup to the water until I reached a specific gravity of 1055.


Sourdough starter isn't pure yeast as it includes bacteria as well, so wouldn't be ideal for making beer - especially since some bacteria feed on alcohol.
 
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