It takes 40 gallons of maple sap to make one gallon of syrup. He used two gallons of syrup for his Rum run. That means he had to collect 80 gallons of sap from the trees around his hollow. I know for a fact that last winter was a rough one here and there were many days he couldn’t get up the mountain to collect sap from his taps. But he got enough.
He used two 6 gallon fermenting buckets and dumped a gallon of syrup into each bucket. To each bucket he added 4 gallons of raw sap. Normally, if using a grain mash, plain water would have been added. Sap is mostly water but he wanted to make sure he retained the flavor of the maple for his Rum. So this is what he did.
He netted 2 liters of 160 proof Rum. Rum that strong would burn your insides out, so this high proof result is generally cut with water to make it drinkable and pleasant. He cut it down to about 90 proof, pretty much what you buy in a bottle of Rum from the liquor store.
He doesn’t have any wooden casks in which to age his moonshine products. Instead, he chars small chunks of wood from the trees from his own land and he adds some of this to the alcohol. He charred maple wood with his propane torch and added these to the bottles of Rum. He let it age for a month or two before removing them.
So would he do this again? Was it worth it? Although the Rum was tasty, in his opinion it didn’t quite have the maple taste that he thought it would have. There is a really specific taste to maple syrup that is almost poetic. It’s hard to describe - woody, fruity with a hint of vanilla - a one of a kind flavor. He did add some maple syrup to one bottle which technically made that a “cordial,” not a Rum. It was still good. He said he took two bottles to a party and they were drained in a flash.
There was a lot of work involved in making the maple Rum from the ground up so to say but the final result could have been attained by just adding some good strong maple syrup or maple extract to grain alcohol for maple taste with a kick. As well as I can tell, he’s decided to continue making moonshine, but with grains or fruits, not sap. He’ll save the syrup for pancakes.