BRIX: Is a measurement of density in syrup. 1 brix is approximately equal to 1% sugar. Sugars in maple sap are primarily sucrose but also include inverted sugars fructose and glucose/dextrose.
CONNECTORS/FITTINGS: The various Tees/Ts, hooks, and other small plastic pieces used to connect tubing from spiles, to drop lines, and to mainlines.
EVAPORATOR: A metal reservoir (evaporator pan) with a heat source (called an arch) from firewood or propane under it that holds sap so it can be evaporated/concentrated, that is, removing the water and caramelizing the sap for flavor until the sap reaches 64-66% brix, which is syrup. Evaporators can be a large kettle over a stove, but for commercial operations they are large stainless steel pans 2’ x 4’ and larger.
HYDROMETER: An instrument for measuring sugar content of sap by floating it in sap in a beaker to determine its density relative to water.
REFRACTOMETER: A non-digital or digital instrument for measuring sugar content in sap by looking at how light is bent as it passes through the sap.
REVERSE OSMOSIS: A pre-built (it’s also possible to make home-made versions) machine with high pressure pumps that force sap through a rubber-like membrane to remove water from sap in order to concentrate the brix (% sugar) and reduce the amount of liquid and time required to evaporator sap to a syrup. The higher the quality the R.O. the more water can be removed from the sap and the faster it can do it. Some R.O.s can increase the brix of sap to 5 to 10% (even 20% highly advanced equipment) by removing significant amounts of the water in maple sap.
SPILE/TAP/SPOUT: A metal or plastic tube that gets inserted into a hole drilled into a maple tree which allows sap to flow out of the tree.
TUBING DROP LINE: The short runs of tubing that connect taps to lateral or main line.
TUBING MAINLINE: A run of tubing from the beginning to a collection tank, typically running downhill.
VACUUM PUMPS: Special pumps designed for the maple industry that can be connected to air-tight tubing systems and pull sap that is running down through the tubes and into a collection tank.
VACUUM TUBING: Specialized tubing used in the northeast sugar maple syrup industry that can be connected together with specialized taps and tubing connectors designed to withstand extreme outdoor conditions including freezing and UV radiation from the sun. It can be left setup and used for several years before being replaced. The typical sizes are 3/16”, 5/16”, and 3/4" interior diameters and different setups may use one or more size combinations.