Welcome! Log In Create A New Account

Advanced

Other Syrups

Posted by Tim Bates 
Other Syrups
February 12, 2016 11:06AM
Well, the California "earlier than ever" --again-- presence of Spring has Sprung! And me without some EM brewing yet. I cannot get a hold of some Molasses for a week and need to brew ASAP. We make apple cider syrup here at the farm and we're thinking maybe it would work as well--especially as we save the bottoms of the buckets (grainy) to add to goat and pig feed. My wife thinks it should work as well. Michael expounds on all the goodness in molasses. Certainly the idea is very appealing as it comes from our apples and processed on farm. Any thoughts out there? Will something key be missing from concentrated apple sugars compared to molasses? Brewing a 40 gallon batch will be a costly mistake if it fouls. Hmmm...maybe a smaller batch to get me through the swollen buds on pears and quince.

The Apple Farm
Zone 8b in California
Re: Other Syrups
February 14, 2016 06:01AM
This is intended as a carb source for the facultative microbes in EM to "activate" ... to feed and multiply and thereby gain the grower slightly more than twenty times the volume of effective microbes to spray. Both molasses and your cider syrup will contain glucose or fructose or even sucrose, all of which can be broken down by microbes for energy. Blackstrap by definition has lots of minerals because its less refined sugar cane. I expect your cider syrup has lots of minerals for the same reasoning. Regardless, the mineral component is a "bonus" more than some key secret ingredient (like those three drops of an intern's blood). (And just to be sure with the rest of you out there ... I do like to kid around with my buddy, Tim.)

Farm sourcing is always good! Similarly, I would love to distill cider down to an alcohol content near to 50% to use for herbal tinctures ... but we have to wait for the next farmer-led whiskey rebellion to take on the guv'ment for that to happen.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
Re: Other Syrups
February 14, 2016 10:43AM
Thanks for bringing this up Tim. I have made enough of the stuff to be looking for other uses, and certainly concur with Michael the need for on farm sourcing. We might add maple and birch syrup to the mix, and in particular the not so glorious batches. I am sure many of us on this site have made some burned, ash and cinder filled batches that need a home. Perhaps good syrup, of any persuasion is too dear for the spray tank, but good for us is the fact that us humans screw up plenty to make some mineral spiked sugars. On this -27 morning, boiling some saps or juices would surely find a dual use.

As for a tincture revolution, Thomas Jefferson might look favorably upon us. I'll have my tincture with some sharp cheese and sharp conversation.

Walden Heights Nursery & Orchard
Zone 3 in Vermont
Re: Other Syrups
February 17, 2016 05:12PM
Thanks for the affirmation guys. We went ahead with a half batch with cider syrup. Two days later it smelled and looked the same. We were concerned about the probable higher acidity of the cider syrup---but guess what...no Ph testers on hand! Getting ready for a new year you sure find out quick what you hadn't thought of. It's now been five days at 94 degrees and still looks and smells great. Will use olfactory testing. Will use some after this next rain. Mollasses is on its way and when we get our sh.. together will gather a little data for you all. If the promised rain comes this PM we will make some tincture...you mean TJ drank alcohol?? Oh my my.

The Apple Farm
Zone 8b in California
Re: Other Syrups
February 17, 2016 11:58PM
PS. Michael, I've never heard the "three drops of an intern's blood" before but I get the drift. Congrats on that one!
Re: Other Syrups
March 20, 2016 01:33PM
Update. Now we have pH papers and were "happy" with the small batch, so we went for a 40 gallon test---guess what? the pH came in at less than 3.5 right away. 5 days later it's up to 3.5 and seems to be holding. What does it all mean oh you folks who understand this better than me. Also, the first couple of days it smelled more like fermenting cider or beer than the molasses batches, but has settled into a more EM groove. Also we put some extra cider syrup in as it was much runnier than molasses and therefore less concentrated with less sugars and we don't have a high reading refracrometer (sp).. Also we moved to plastic barrels as the metal ones (honey barrels from Canada) the paint started peeling and metal rusting. So no more drum heater belt (I won't tell explicitly what happened when we tried the belt on a plastic barrel..yikes!) so using the aquarium heaters from compost tea brewer will only bring EM up to 88 degrees---so fermentation has been slow (I won't explicitly tell you why I thought two Aq. heaters with 88 thermostats shouldn't get the EM into the 90's....duh). In fact a 2 week plus batch (with molasses) is still at 4.0 pH...maybe a tiny bit less (those papers are hard to accurately read). But, it was time to spray, so we have been using it at the higher rates.
Q No. 1. When will the cider syrup be ready and will it have the same efficacy as molasses. I use SCD mother culture and their web site does not offer an test option to see if you did it right (neither does Teraganix--but I just emailed them to see if they have testing). Q 2 Was the mollasses batch charged up enough to be effective. We have ordered a better submersible heater but it ain't here yet. Q 3 I noticed that Teraganix sez you get 22 times when activated. So I've been meaning to ask in another thread that don't you actually end up with 44 gals product when 40 gals water--2 gals EM mom---2 gals molasses---then minus a little evaporation? This may be nitpicking of me, but I have right around 15 acres to treat and 44 gals is a much closer multiple of 15 than 40. (All this so I can feel good that I have real close to the right amount to put on trees when calculating how much to make at a time). Next batch will try 1 gal syrup and 1 gal molasses blend unless you guys say otherwise. Another rambly wambly from Tim...sorry.
Re: Other Syrups
March 20, 2016 04:05PM
Did a small light bulb go on? Since my cider syrup has a low pH, it should maybe be better CCB (Competitive Colonization Boost) spray ingredient than molasses. Thinking that like sulfur which lowers the pH making leaf surfaces etc uninhabitable for scab spores. So, how low do the pH go? with sulfur. Yeah, it's raining at 60 degrees and 350+ DD's.
Re: Other Syrups
March 20, 2016 06:46PM
Gonna go crazy if I keep this up--I decided to take pH's of products...probably quite inaccurate as my eyes are getting weak and paper strips don't seem too awfully reliable (we have spent many bucks to get better pH meters and they seem way beyond my capabilities---buffers...bulbs that break if you sneeze...or just don't work)so pH's; my syrup-- 3.1-3.3: molasses-- over 4: EM Mother --3.4+: sulfur-5.5+. So, if sulfur lowers the pH on the leaves at 5.5 then my syrup should do even a better job. Aiy, but at what concentrations equal each other? 8 lbs micro sulf to 80 gals water MIGHT equal one quart of syrup to 80 gals? My water is around 7.1 as I recall. What's a non chemist (or mathmatician sp.) to do? Well, next is pHing the final blend at spray time? Do we juice some leaves and pH that before and after spraying? Way too long a rainy day. I promise--no more missives today.
Re: Other Syrups
March 20, 2016 08:10PM
And now we see what happens to apple growers as age sets in ... obsessed on pH as the mind slowly goes.

Next you'll be reporting that battery acid should be even better than sulfur. I think one primary difference as regards this theory is sulfur grains embed on the leaf surface (if going that route) whereas this "cider syrup wash" will do just that. Maple syrup averages a 5.15 pH so not quite sure why boiled cider would be two plateaus' worth more acidic. Ultimately, you would have to measure the pH of moisture puddles on the leaf to learn exactly what effects the germinating scab spore.

Anyhow, I'll stick to my guns. The carbon sugars feed the mother culture so microbes proliferate. The source of the sugar isn't really all that relevant though "dark like blackstrap" suggests good residual minerals will be part of the brew. Seeing the "activated pH" in the mid-3s is fantastic. It's stable now, like the mother culture. Your descriptions of the smell sounds spot on too. Lastly, the 22x upgrade of mother to activated brew implies microbe number counts to me . . . there's enough critters in one part to fill the space available in 22 more parts after replicating. Brew 44 gallons exactly (water plus microbes plus sugar) if that makes you a proper mad scientist. I probably fill the barrel to 42-46 gallons, and then add the fixings. It's still going to be about right.

Sweet dreams, friend.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/31/2016 08:23AM by Michael Phillips.
Re: Other Syrups
January 14, 2017 12:42PM
Loved this thread but I have to ask, what is cider syrup?

Joanne Patton, Squire Oaks Farm
Zone 6A, Northern Virginia
Re: Other Syrups
January 14, 2017 02:45PM
Just what you'd expect it to be Joanne. If you boil (or simmer) down cider in the way you would boil down maple or birch sap you will wind up with a thickened product- a syrup. Unlike other syrups, however, if you boil it too much you will wind up creating cider jelly due to the pectin content. It is a welcomed treat to some, but note that it intensifies acidity along with the sugars, and often molasses undertones.

In sprays, it may work as a stand in for molasses especially as a feeding attractant.

Walden Heights Nursery & Orchard
Zone 3 in Vermont
Re: Other Syrups
January 26, 2017 02:27PM
Ahh, of course. As is typical, my mind was imagining it being something way more unusual or complicated. Thanks Todd!

Joanne Patton, Squire Oaks Farm
Zone 6A, Northern Virginia
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login