I’ve been researching a lot of birch information this year, and birch wine is an interesting topic. The 2021 birch sap season is three weeks past, but we’re trying to get together a group of people who have made birch wine or are interested in doing so next year. If you’re interested, please call Karen at Wine Creations in Grand Rapids, (218) 326-9490 and get on her list so we can set up a meeting and a tasting.
Birch sap is interesting to work with, and the syrup has a unique taste. There’s a post on the home page of this site covering some of the uses and methods.
But wine has a fairly high alcohol content, and birch sap is extremely low in sugar, with a gravity of about 1.003. Even if you boil it down at a ratio of 50:1, you still can only get to a few percentage points of alcohol by volume, and it caramelizes the sugar, producing a darker-than-clear product. There are a couple of commercial varieties, over 11% alcohol that are colorless. I made two 5 gallon batches this spring, boiling and concentrating the sap to a “golden” level of color, and an “amber” level of color. The first tastes a bit like candy and honey, the second a bit more like brown sugar / very light molasses.
So how do people make clear birch wine? What’s the source of fermentables to get the alcohol levels up? If you’ve made any or are interested in a discussion, give Karen a call and we’ll try to set up a meeting this summer and discuss methods, materials and other additions that people use. I’ve got birch mead and birch beer to share.
Boiling birch sap.