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Brewing with Maple Sap

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  • Brewing with Maple Sap

    Does anybody have any experience brewing with raw maple sap? I am planning to brew a 7 bbl batch using maple sap for the mash & lauter, as well as perhaps using syrup later in the process. There's plenty of info out there on syrup usage, but I haven't found any on sap. Sap is roughly a 2% sugar solution (mainly sucrose), has a gravity of 1.007, ph of 7.4, and from what I'm told has a much higher mineral content than water (specifically high in Calcium). I am in the process of getting a lab analysis of the sap to find out various levels of mineral content. My concerns lie mainly in how to treat the sap for proper ph levels, without exceding proper levels of various minerals. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thank You.

    Kevin Litchfield
    Head Brewer
    Lake Placid Pub & Brewery

  • #2
    Cream Ale

    I did a maple sap cream ale last year using the sap as first sparge water without treatment. Some could taste a subtle maple flavor, I could smell maple but not taste it. At 40:1 getting maple flavor from sap is tough, but it is good marketing, espcially in your neck of the woods. On the next batch I used Grade A light amber, not my personal favorite for consumption, but it kept the maple flavor throttled back. It turned out well and had a good maple background.
    If the sap is free or really cheap it's worth the effort.
    I spent my summers as a kid in Westport, NY on Champlain. Coming up again this summer and planning on stopping by.

    Bill Hamilton
    The Brewer/Co-Owner
    Blue Lab Brewing Co.
    Lexington VA


    • #3
      I brewed with birch sap long time ago, a porter as I recall that ended up with a very soft finish, I did not think it had a big mineral influence in the flavor, and as far as ph goes, have you considered a partial or full acid rest, which would take time but would take the place of phos acid type of treatment? I used to igloo cooler as much grain as would fit overnight at 95 deg or so on top of the walk in and get a decent lactic correction in a 15 bbl hefe mash I made the next morning. And Ward labs may be able to give you a quick affordable test for cation and salt content. Let us know how it comes out.