From Tap to Bottle; eMaple Maple Syrup Refractometer Makes Maple Syrup Testing Easy
Every Drop Counts…
The eMaple Digital Maple Syrup Refractometer can be used at the tree tap or tank to measure maple sap, for pre-process monitoring of reverse osmosis, in the sugar shack to determine when to draw from the boiler, or during bottling and testing.
The measurement of sugar content in maple sap or maple syrup is not just a matter of convenience, it is also important for controlling syrup taste, product quality, and for legal reasons. The principle unit of measure the maple syrup producer is interested in is degrees Brix. Brix is a measure of the percentage of sucrose, by weight, dissolved in a sugar/water solution. In the case of maple sap and maple syrup, 98% or more of the dissolved solids are made up of sugar, so the Brix scale is very applicable to maple syrup measurement.
Regionally, there are different standards for maple syrup sugar content. The range is usually between 66 to 68 Brix. If a product drops below 66 Brix, there is a risk of fermentation, above 68 Brix, there is a risk that some of the dissolved sugar will come out of solution as the maple syrup cools.
Hydrometers have long been used in maple syrup testing; however, a refractometer is more accurate than a hydrometer, requires a smaller sample size, eliminates sources of error, is easily cleaned, and reduces the time that it takes to measure maple sap and maple syrup.
The eMaple Digital Refractometer from MISCO has a range from 0 to 85 Brix and was designed specifically for the maple syrup industry. The eMaple refractometer features two scales.
The first scale is a conventional Brix scale with a resolution and a precision of +/- 0.1 Brix. It is intended for accurately measuring maple sap or maple syrup with a fluid temperature at or under 30 °C (86 °F).
The second scale is a high-temperature scale for testing syrup above 30 °C (86 °F). Although the resolution of the scale is in whole numbers (no decimal), the user will get a stable repeatable reading within +/- 0.5 Brix with every press of the GO button.
Why Are Two Scales Necessary?
When taking measurements with a refractometer, it is always important that the syrup, the refractometer, and the ambient temperature are in equilibrium before taking a measurement. As hot maple syrup is applied to the sample well of the refractometer, the refractometer optics are shocked by the instant temperature change. In the first 45-60 seconds or so after applying hot maple syrup to the refractometer, there is a rapid drop in the temperature of the syrup as heat is absorbed by the mass of the refractometer.
The rate of change (time vs. temperature) is initially very steep, and there is no time for the syrup, refractometer, and ambient temperature to come to an equilibrium. Although the refractometer has automatic temperature compensation, the rate of change is so steep it is impossible to get an accurate reading in the first 45-60 seconds.
The MISCO eMaple Refractometer approaches hot maple syrup measurement in two ways. First, the eMaple has special electronic circuitry to prevent the display of readings before the temperature has stabilized. Second, because of the difficulty in reporting stable readings of hot maple syrup, there is a second scale based on hot syrup.
Easy to Use:
Once the scale is selected, the user simply places one or two drops of maple syrup, or maple sap, on the refractometer measuring surface, waits 30 to 60 seconds and then presses the GO button. The temperature compensated reading is nearly instantly displayed on the large 24-character text display.
The eMaple Refractometer features a stainless steel sample well, an evaporation cover, and a 1,024 element measuring array. The eMaple Refractometer can be easily calibrated to a drop of water at the touch of a button. Special NIST traceable calibration fluids available if required.
The large dual-line LCD display is easily read, even in dim light, and removes the subjectivity associated with interpreting where a boundary line crosses tiny scale divisions. And, it is so easy to use! The user interface consists of two buttons, one to take readings and the other to step through various menu options.
Calibration is automatic and does not require the use of special calibration solutions, or tools. The Palm Abbe refractometer automatically calibrates itself to water and is ready to use in seconds. No more screws to turn and nothing to adjust.