Current birch project
Well, floods stopped me getting to my birch trees without a decent set of waders so I've been
tapping scyamores whilst the water receeds.
I tried two methods - first was the hammering in a spot which worked fine and gave me about
a litre a week, the second method I can get away with because all the sycamores are to be
destroyed anyway - I used a machete to open up three foot long parrallel gashes in the trunk
and put a fourth cut linking these up, at the bottom of this I hammered an open spout made
from a section of pipe cut lengthways. this gave me about twice the amount of sap but it
came out murch darker in colour - presumably from leaching tannins from the damaged bark.
I was going to brew the lot up with honey but thanks to the latest scare, no cheap hiney is to
be found at the moment so I've boiled the sap ( only two litres of it, the rest went on the
kitchen floor ) with 1kg golden sugar - the pale unrefined stuff. I topped it up to 1 gallon, raised
it to the boil and added about four good handfuls of birch twigs, let it cool and pitched the
Now that I can get to the birch again I plan to put in my taps and keep topping up the brew as
more sap becomes available.
I'm also trying an ancient method of yeast propagation whilst I'm at it - floating in the brew are
a few small bunches of birch twigs tied together with twine. Once the yeast is working well,
these are to be taken out and hung up to dry. When I next need yeast I'll take one and float it
in sugar water until the yeast begins to work and then pitch the whole lot into the wash then
get the twigs back afetr a week or so - I'll almost certainly get a load of wild yeasts and gods
know what else in the brew but I think it's worth a try,
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