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Maple Wine Recipe 2010

Posted in Wine on February 28th, 2011 by Chris

Results: Good, overall taste is decent but there is not as much flavor as I’d like. See 2011 recipe for updates.

Update: I posted a video on how to make maple wine. You can see it here.

With maple wine timing coming around again, it’s time to review last year’s process and figure out what I want to try to do differently this year. To start, here is a summary …

Last year’s Maple Wine Recipe

- 10-15 gallons maple sap (boiled down to 5 gallons) (1.025 SG)

- ?? cups granulated sugar (to get OG to 1.094)

- 1 lemon, sliced up thin

- 1 cup strong black tea

- 1 campden tablet

- 1 packet yeast (K1-V1116)

- Yeast Nutrient


This was a modified version of a recipe I found here:


The process was actually fairly simple … I might have exaggerated ‘slightly’ before. Here is a quick run-down from my records.

1. Boil the sap

2. Check specific gravity, and add sugar to adjust to target

3. Add tea, lemon, and campden tablet and let rest overnight

4. Add yeast … wonder why nothing happens ….

4b. Add yeast nutrient and ferment in primary for 2 weeks

5. Rack to secondary, re-rack at one month

6. Add 1 cup sugar and re-rack at two months

7. Bottle at 4 months and age for remainder of 1 year

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Lager is bottled

Posted in Beer on February 27th, 2011 by Chris

Well, the Munich Helles Lager has aged for over a month now in the pantry. There hasn’t been any activity for weeks … so it looked to be ready to bottle. I was slightly concerned that it had darkened. In the secondary, it appeared to darken a bit while it was aging. Lucky, it looks much darker in a big batch than it actually appears when poured into a glass. The color is a nice dark golden when it’s in a glass, just as it should be. You can see the color different (batch to glass) in the picture of the beer flowing into the brewing bucket below. The taste is good. It’s somewhat simple in flavor right now but it should make a good cold beer for this summer (if it lasts that long). For now, all there is left to do is label and wait for it to carbonate.

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Maple Sap Update 2

Posted in Wine on February 27th, 2011 by Chris

It’s been one week since the last update. Since then it’s gone from 60F and sunny to frozen ice and snow and back up to 50F today. As crazy as the weather has been, it’s been a good week for sap collection. We’re up to around 15 gallons now and it’s really flowing well today. It’s looking like if this keeps up I’ll be boiling the first batch next weekend.

I also adjusted the lines into the buckets to help them flow better. Since the sap flows best when the weather is hovering around the freezing point, any sap trapped in the lines tends to freeze and clog easily. So, having a good, straight, path for it to get down into the buckets is key.

We also purchased a new outdoor propane burner. I’m sure we’ll find plenty of uses for it (beer, wine, syrup, camping, etc). The first task is boiling down the sap. Last year I used our grill and it took forever. I’m hoping with a slightly more powerful system it’ll boil down quicker.  With any luck, I’ll have that process documented next weekend.

Here are some pictures of our taps and how full our collection bucket is getting.

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Stout Update

Posted in Beer on February 21st, 2011 by Chris

It took a bit longer than expected but the stout now has a nice frothy head now. I’m sure the fact that the corner of our kitchen where the beer is stored was averaging sub 55 F had nothing to do with it….. Regardless, I’m content now.

I’m not sure if it’s my taste buds changing from day to day, or the beer, but it seems like the dark malt flavors have come in full force now. The final product is a very strong flavored beer. You really have to search for the whiskey and oak flavors but they are certainly in there. The taste is great but it’s not one you’d sit down to cool off on a summer day. It’s defiantly a cold weather beer in my opinion.

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Pruning and Propagating Grapes

Posted in Wine on February 20th, 2011 by Chris

So, our grape vine is a bit of a mess. It was “well established” when we moved here so it’s been a trick to untangle a little more every year. Regardless, it’s been a great learning experience on what to do and what not to do when it comes to pruning (or not pruning) grapes. Believe it or not, I’ve taken out a lot of the scraggly vines. See the aftermath picture to see what I took out this year alone.

I put together a short video to show the very basics of pruning grapes as well as a few ideas for ways to propagate them. Enjoy!

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Maple Sap Update

Posted in Wine on February 19th, 2011 by Chris

The sap has been flowing for a week now. Once the buckets on each tree start filling up, I dump them into a new clean trashcan to hold it until I get enough to start boiling it down. So far, I have about 7 inches of sap in the bottom of the trashcan. This can should be completely full, if not overflowing, by the end of sap season. If all goes well, I’ll use about 15 gallons to boil down and make 2 gallons of wine. The remaining 15-20 gallons will be boiled down all the way for syrup.

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Making Maple Wine Part 1 – Tapping Trees

Posted in Wine on February 14th, 2011 by Chris

The first step in making maple wine is getting some sap. So, here is a quick how-to segment on tapping trees for maple syrup and maple wine.


1 bucket with lid (mine is 5 gal)

5 ft of 3/8 OD 1/4″ ID Poly tubing

1 3/8″ – 1/4″ reducing barbed fitting

1 1/4″ barbed – thread fitting

3/8″ drill bit

15/32″ drill bit (of whatever your threaded fitting needs)


some tape

Below is a video explaining how to set up a bucket and tap one tree. I’ll use a barbed tee as well but only because I’m putting multiple taps in one tree.

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Tree Tapping

Posted in Wine on February 14th, 2011 by Chris

I was talking with my wife this weekend about the weather. We are both very excited that it’s warming up. Then, suddenly, it occurred to me that with the warm up would come prime sap season!

Happy Valentine’s Day Hon … I’ll be outside with power tools.

I’m glad it occurred to me because as soon as I drilled into the tree it started flowing as fast as ever. I was able to prep two new buckets, and finish washing up the equipment from last year, as well as putting two taps in one tree. Assuming I get time before it’s dark, I hope to get the remaining three trees tapped tomorrow.

The goal is to get enough enough sap to both increase our syrup output as well as have enough for another batch of wine. The syrup was a hit last year and we were only able to give away half pints to our family. On the other hand, the maple wine turned out good and I’m anxious to try improvements. So the only solution is to collect more sap. Last year we had two taps running for two weeks. This year I got an earlier start and we’ll have 6 taps in total. So, I have high hopes of a good output.

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The stout is out

Posted in Beer on February 8th, 2011 by Chris

It’s been a week and a half so I decided to check if the stout was ready. While it’s not fully carbonated yet, it really doesn’t matter … it’s awesome! The taste reminds me very much of a Guinness but replace the ashy flavor with the smooth whiskey of Maker’s Mark. I’m hoping with more time to carbonate it will eventually develop a nice head but for now I’ll take it.

The only thing I would change about the flavor is to make it smoother. Just to check, I’ll be stashing a few away with the wine to age. If aging makes a big difference I’ll make sure to age the whole batch next time … as painful as it is to wait, sometimes it makes all the difference.

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Maple Wine Season Begins

Posted in Wine on February 6th, 2011 by Chris

It’s about that time of year where the process of making maple syrup begins. Of course, with that comes another batch of maple wine. Today I got out the equipment from last year and started planning what I’ll do new this year. As for maple wine, the plan this year will be to make a smaller batch and boil it down further to enhance the flavor.

If you want to learn more about the process of collecting sap and boiling it down, here is there start:

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