Day Out The sap is flowing!

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MrEd

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Feb 18, 2010
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Lovely spring day, so went for a walk about with my 12 year old nephew.
Plan was to do some birch tapping, and to look for the signs of spring and, well, just to walk about enjoying the outdoor, the spring and each others company.

This is the birch tapping we did

He was keen to read up on what might be around this

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Here is our birch tapping kit, the spiles are made from delrin rod that I drilled and turned down and hammered onto a washer.
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Tapped 2 trees, we Drilled a small shallow hole to see if the sap was flowing, I did one and he did the other. Sap was flowing so we made the holes deeper to about 1.5inch. The hole is about 6mm diameter and we used a brace and bit

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Spile in place and sap flowing
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Collecting in the bottle
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and the final collected amount, we only left the tap for an hour as we didn’t need to actually tap a large quantity so why take what we don’t need, it was more about a learning experience together. We drank some straight away and have frozen the rest to use as refreshing ice cubes!
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we then patched the tree up, by whittling down a birch stick to fit the hole, hammering it in and smearing wax over the top to seal it.
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We also came across a few other taps that had been set in another wood, these ones using the cut stick method - we left them alone but it was an added bonus so I could explain the 2 different methods and why.

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was a lovely walk about, spring is definitely here!
Ed
 

Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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Neat! Probably another 3-4 weeks up here to see the commercial sap collectors out in their "sugar-bush." We got about 12 hours of pounding rain, first of the year, yesterday. Sure made the snow slump. Probably cut it 1/3 at my house.

Thank you for describing how you plug your tappings.
 
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CLEM

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Jul 10, 2004
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Stourbridge
I keep meaning to try the ice cube method but still haven’t. No excuse. Mind I’ve only in recent years tried some really decent single malts, I guess my tastebuds have changed/improved but I have to say some single I’ve tried have been quite revelatory and I now understand what the fuss is all about. Deffo got to try the birch sap ice cubes
 
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MrEd

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Feb 18, 2010
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I keep meaning to try the ice cube method but still haven’t. No excuse. Mind I’ve only in recent years tried some really decent single malts, I guess my tastebuds have changed/improved but I have to say some single I’ve tried have been quite revelatory and I now understand what the fuss is all about. Deffo got to try the birch sap ice cubes

the birch sap ice cubes also go well in gin and tonic to! I have been experimenting!!!
 
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Davey569

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Jun 18, 2008
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Off the beaten track
ooh now what’s an idea :D

I like a malt whisky with a single ice cube :)

I’d recommend lots of ice rather than just a single cube. It cools the glass down rather than melting into the whisky. If whisky is cooled quickly it’s still flavoursome but loses flavour if cooled slowly. :)

great job on the tapping though!
 
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DocG

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Dec 20, 2013
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Moray
Great - thanks for sharing. I will wander into the woods in due course and see what flows.

Excellent to see you getting the youngster involved - if Scouts could meet ...
 
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MrEd

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Feb 18, 2010
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Little follow up on how I made the spiles, really simple.

some 15mm delrin Rod, cut into 50mm sections, a 3.5mm hole drilled down the middle, the using a belt sander and a drill i tapered them down to about 6mm (ish) so they formed a cone. Then pushed a washer onto them so that they can be pulled out of the tree after.

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MrEd

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Feb 18, 2010
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Thank you for describing how you plug your tappings.

Been plugging them that way ages, tbh I am not sure it would matter if you used different wood, or even a stick off the floor (once whittled down) as it’s just a plug to stop the sap flowing, the wax is just beeswax smeared over the top to seal it from the weather/insects etc. Could probably use Vaseline or something I would have thought.

I first did this plugging almost 15 years ago on a birch tree in my local wood, the tree is still fine, and I can’t even find the tap holes (have tapped it twice now)
 
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