If a picture is indeed worth 1,000 words, this should be a short blogpost, because this infographic pretty much says it all!
But here’s the backstory. At Vermont Evaporator Company, we offer two different barrel-based opportunities to make wood-fired maple syrup in your backyard. New this year is the BYOB Seedling Evaporator Kit. The Sapling Evaporator is the flagship item that gave us our start almost seven years ago! Here’s a comparison of the two.
The BYOB (Bring Your Own Barrel) is a kit item. You source the barrel, and we send you a template and directions for how to turn it into an evaporator. Accompanying those instructions are a Seedling Evaporator Pan, a Seedling Evaporator Barrel Stove Kit, two lengths of Seedling Evaporator Stack, and a can of high-temperature, Flat Black Paint.
The result of your 1-2 hours of labor will be a portable, open-air, wood-fired barrel evaporator that is sized for 5 to 30 taps and boils down 2 1/2 to 5 1/2 gallons of sap per hour. Because assembly of the BYOB Seedling Evaporator includes cutting and bending metal as well as tightening down fasteners, we characterize the level of difficulty as intermediate. Check out this YouTube video to judge for yourself!
The Sapling Evaporator comes ready-made, and requires about 30 minutes of beginner-level assembly: 16 nut-and-bolt assemblies attach the door frame to the front of the barrel, 8 nut-and-bolt assemblies attach the legs to the bottom of the barrel, 7 self tapping screws attach the stack to the back of the barrel, and two clevis pins secure the door to its frame.
The Sapling Evaporator is also a portable, open-air, wood-fired barrel evaporator. But, in addition to coming ready-built, the Sapling is coated with a top quality, high-temperature powder coating for increased durability. It also comes with the larger Sapling Evaporator Pan, and can be accessorized by the Sapling Warming Pan, giving it the ability to handle a 5-50 tap operation with boil rates of 4-8 gallons per hour.
Because both the BYOB Seedling Evaporator and the Sapling Evaporator start with a 55-gallon barrel, they can both be accessorized with the same fire brick, fire grates, fire pokers, and stack thermometers. But part of what gives the Sapling Evaporator its extra value is your ability to convert it into a wood-fired grill, smoker or pizza oven, either with separate purchase, or by opting for the Sapling Everything Grill with Evaporator Pan at the outset.
The dimensions of the BYOB Seedling and Sapling Evaporators vary slightly. Because of how the stack is situated, the BYOB is slightly taller, while the Sapling is longer. Either can be piped in to a sugar house or other outbuilidng with attention to safety: proper setbacks and non-combustable flooring are a must, for a start.
Our first season offering the BYOB Seedling Evaporator has already been a huge success. So, we expect to offer accessories like warming pans, conversion kits and premium covers for the BYOB Seedling Evaporator and the Seedling Evaporator Pan in time for the 2023 season.
We hope this helps with some of your questions. Please feel free to contact us if we didn’t cover them all!