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Old April 11th, 2018, 08:49 AM
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Default Variable hydrotherm readings

This is my first year using a hydrotherm in addition to a thermometer for processing final product. The type of hydrotherm I have will determine Brix at any temperature between 2C and 99C.
In my current batch, I measured the density hot from the boil and it was showing about 66 Brix non stop until I dumped it back in 5 minutes later, so I stopped heating and covered the pan while I drained it off. (wanted to go a bit more but nervous about going too far...) Now that the batch has cool to ambient temperature (22C) I re-verified the density with the same hydrotherm and its showing 67.2. (each increment on the hydrotherm scale is 0.2Brix)

Do you folks ever see variances like this with your measuring tools? Is this just the "personality" of the tool which I can simply compensate for?

Here is the model I have (pictured just like what is on the right of the page / without the correction scale)

http://www.cdlusa.com/wp-content/upl...hydrotherm.pdf

Thanks!
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Old April 11th, 2018, 09:43 AM
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That change is most likely just because when you shut the heat off you still get more evaporation. You just need to learn from experience how much that will be. It will vary by the amount of syrup too, so it's not always going to be the same. Humidity levels will also affect it.
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Old April 11th, 2018, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Maple Flats View Post
That change is most likely just because when you shut the heat off you still get more evaporation. You just need to learn from experience how much that will be. It will vary by the amount of syrup too, so it's not always going to be the same. Humidity levels will also affect it.
I was thinking of putting at least part of the batch back into the pan, adding a bit more sap from the latest run, re-boiling to a higher water content and repeating the bottling. I'd like to get a handle on how my process is affecting the final Brix.

I wouldn't expect it to be common practice, but is it acceptable to rehydrate and re-boil if you go too far?
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Old April 11th, 2018, 02:53 PM
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ADV... this is a struggle I always have given I too am dealing with smaller batches of 5 to 8 gallons each. If I filter right at 66+ brix from the finish pan final product will be 69 to 70 brix simply due to continued evaporation while filtering and bottling affecting a small batch. With a little practice I now finish to 64 brix and usually end up between 66 and 67 brix which I am good with.
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Old April 11th, 2018, 02:58 PM
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I wouldn't expect it to be common practice, but is it acceptable to rehydrate and re-boil if you go too far?
Missed this part but yes. In fact there are some producers that purposely draw off heavy so they can dilute given it's easier than trying to bring density up. Just use distilled water, RO water, or heated sap and you are good. If using sap you want it to at least hit a boil to clear any bacteria first.
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Old April 11th, 2018, 03:07 PM
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Next time I am going to try layers of plastic wrap over the test cup on my last sampling, let it cool, and retest. If it never leaves the cup and the cup gets sealed, I should end up with the same sugar content, unless its a physical limitation in the hydrotherms capability at the extremes in temperature.

I'll post an update following on this test following my next batch.
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Old April 11th, 2018, 04:41 PM
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My set up for finishing is the typical 16 x 16 finish pan over a propane burner. As soon as I hit 66 brix I shut off the propane and run the syrup through a small hand pump filter press into an unheated tall canner. By the time I filter the syrup the inside of the finish pan and lid are full of condensation and by the time I finish bottling the canner is the same. That is were I suspect my density continues to increase despite being dead on to start with given the smaller volume of syrup. It's kind of like knowing the sights on your rifle are a little off so aiming a little to the right on purpose. I now finish a few brix under density but end up on target in the bottles.
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Old April 12th, 2018, 12:29 PM
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ADV, if you put plastic over the test cup, there will be condensation on the under side of the plastic, which will need to be blended back in for an accurate reading.
I routinely either add back in or evaporate a little more to get to the right density. I far prefer needing to add some water, or sap, it's just quicker. However if I need to add very much it means I have boiled too long which is not good. While I use an auto draw it rarely ends up perfect without needing a little adjustment because the boiling temperature of water keeps changing as the barometric pressure goes up or down and that is how I set my auto draw. Even this year, following an app that gives the draw off temperature for syrup and I adjust about every 2-3 hrs, it is still rare to be exactly on when I finish. I like my sugar at 66.9%, .1 under I boil more, .1 over I leave it, .2 over I add sap or water (permeate or distilled only).
Those who make syrup so fast that they fill barrels by filtering right off the evaporator and straight to the barrels, they keep verifying density. Others who make less usually adjust up or down when we process a batch. In my case, I try to draw off at density or .1-.2% over then correct if it ends at .2% over, but sometimes I also need to evaporate more. If it is close, but need to evaporate more I recently started just using my water jacketed bottler. I heat to bottling temp, and hold it there, then every 10-20 minutes I remove the cover and dump the condensation off the underside of the cover, then mix the syrup in the bottler and retest. That method seems to work well if the sugarhouse is on the cool side, if it's too warm it takes much longer. But using that method I once had to raise the sugar % 2 full points and I had a different grade in my finisher. I brought it up in 3 hours time with just over 10 gal in the bottler without creating sugarsand, but it had been filtered at 210-215 F before that. Had it only been filtered at 185 it would have likely ended up with more sugarsand.
If you need to add, a chart in the North American Maple Syrup Producer's manual will help to know how much to add. However I just add a little, mix and test until it is correct.
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Old April 12th, 2018, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maple Flats View Post
If you need to add, a chart in the North American Maple Syrup Producer's manual will help to know how much to add.
We also have a downloadable version of the chart posted here - Hydrometer Chart

Scroll down to the second page of the hydrometer chart.
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Old April 13th, 2018, 11:26 AM
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Thank you gentlemen. Very good info for a trainee like myself.
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