Brewing with maple syrup

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by MWolverines66, Jan 6, 2015.

  1. MWolverines66

    MWolverines66 Devotee (420) Mar 13, 2013 New York
    Beer Trader

    Hi All,

    I am trying to get some input from people that have brewed with maple syrup. I am trying to do an imperial porter with maple syrup and coffee. I was originally going to go with at bottling, but after reaching out to some breweries, asking how they get their maple syrup taste/smell in, and I have heard 10-12% total volume to the secondary fermenter. Has anyone tried either way and had and have any input?

    Cheers,
    Jason
     
    DrMindbender likes this.
  2. Mothergoose03

    Mothergoose03 Poo-Bah (2,226) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Premium Member

    Jason, here is a link (http://www.beeradvocate.com/community/search/30523638/?q=maple&o=date&c[node]=8) to a search of this homebrewing forum using the search word 'maple' and you can see that this question has been a regular topic. You can read any of these threads that you want, but I think the consensus is that maple is a difficult flavor to get into a beer. Probably the one method that does not get mentioned very often is to use maple extract (the same stuff that is used in baking cakes/cookies). I'll suggest that you give it a try and be the one to report back to us whether it worked.
     
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  3. MWolverines66

    MWolverines66 Devotee (420) Mar 13, 2013 New York
    Beer Trader

    Thanks Mothergoose, I had done the search on this site, as well as many other sites and it seemed like the consensus was it is really difficult to do, as I noticed people had some issues with the beer becoming dry when added during brewing. I decided to reach out to some of the breweries that have made some really good maple beers (Kane, TG, Treehouse to name a few) and I got that response back regarding secondary fermentation (10%+ volume). That being said, i thought this would be a lot more difficult compared to just adding at bottling. I wanted to see if anyone had some success with adding at bottling, or success with the extract either in the secondary fermenter or at bottling.
     
  4. Mothergoose03

    Mothergoose03 Poo-Bah (2,226) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Premium Member

    Yeah, hang tight -- somebody is going to chime in on this topic to give you a better answer.
     
    MWolverines66 likes this.
  5. tkdchampxi

    tkdchampxi Meyvn (1,041) Oct 19, 2010 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I've never used extract, so I won't address that.

    It seems you have done sufficient research on this already, but I just wanted to ask your thoughts on how to address the problem of the maple syrup being fermented out/ creating bottle bombs at bottling. My understanding is that, if you add it at bottling in place of priming sugar, you don't actually add that much --> so you don't get that much flavor by the time the beer becomes carbonated. On the other hand, if you add enough to taste, you can definitely run into a problem with bombs/ overpriming.

    I've added extra maple syrup (and some cinnamon stick) to a few bottles before, but (1) I did it with swing-tops that could release some of the pressure from over-carbonation, (2) I threw the bottles into the fridge after 4 days, to stop the yeast, (3) I did it with beer that did not need any more time to develop in-bottle flavorwise, and (4) I only did it on a few bottles with the intention of drinking those immediately.
     
  6. OldSock

    OldSock Defender (655) Apr 3, 2005 District of Columbia

    When you say 10-12% total volume, you mean for a 5 gallon batch, ~1/2 gallon of maple syrup? Or as a percentage of the fermentables from maple syrup?
     
  7. MWolverines66

    MWolverines66 Devotee (420) Mar 13, 2013 New York
    Beer Trader

    I am assuming the entire batch (0.5 gallon of syrup for a 5 gallon batch). At least that is what I was told was used for creating Sunday Brunch Stout.
     
  8. OldSock

    OldSock Defender (655) Apr 3, 2005 District of Columbia

    Kentucky Brunch?

    Wow! That's 5.5 lbs of maple syrup. Assuming 32 PPPG, that's ~.035 added to the OG from it alone.
     
  9. MWolverines66

    MWolverines66 Devotee (420) Mar 13, 2013 New York
    Beer Trader

    No sorry for the confusion, not kentucky brunch, Kane's Sunday Brunch
     
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  10. Smw356

    Smw356 Initiate (0) Jan 14, 2013 Ohio

    Have you tried this yet? I'n Debating how much to feed to an imperial stout destined for a rye barrel. Looks like Lawson's uses about 2lbs per bbl for theirs.
     
  11. MWolverines66

    MWolverines66 Devotee (420) Mar 13, 2013 New York
    Beer Trader

    I have not, it's a project in the works down the line. I spoke to Funky Buddha about their Maple syrup beers, and they add it during the flame-out.
     
  12. Smw356

    Smw356 Initiate (0) Jan 14, 2013 Ohio

    ^ gallons per bbl not lbs.

    I've got a gallon and a half of grade b syrup that is getting fed (along with nutrients and wpl099 ) into several batches ~15% imperial stout that are destined for a 15gal barrel. Not sure if I'll use the full amount. Tasting between each addition and making sure the fg doesnt get to thin.

    I'll post the results as they come in.
     
  13. sixa66

    sixa66 Initiate (0) Jan 20, 2015 Florida

    You can watch the North Carolina episode of Brew Dogs to see how they add it. I believe they added it towards the end of the boil as well as cooking bacon in it and adding that to the boil as well.


    I have yet to use it, though currently planning on using it. I actually found an Agave syrup/maple syrup blend that is very much more of a liquid than a thick syrup which I think can be easily used as the priming sugar.
     
  14. cmmcdonn

    cmmcdonn Initiate (0) Jun 21, 2009 Virginia

    The cold hard truth is that you need an artificial extract to actually get maple aroma/taste in beer. This is why there are no world-class examples of beers with true maple flavor.
     
  15. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,407) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I have tasted maple flavor in homebrews that did not use extract. I didn't brew them myself, but unless the brewers were lying, it's possible to do it. IIRC, they used a lot of syrup (grade B I think), and they didn't boil or pasteurize it.
     
  16. Smw356

    Smw356 Initiate (0) Jan 14, 2013 Ohio

    I don't think pasteurizing it would change much, since its already boiled down to create the syrup in the first place.

    So far 1 qt (~2.75 lbs )of pretty strong grade B into ~4.5 gallons of wort that started at 1.140 and was around 1.045 pre syrup feed has produced a slight yet noticeable effect,
     
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  17. Smw356

    Smw356 Initiate (0) Jan 14, 2013 Ohio

    Eh I'd consider beers like Mornin Delight, Lawson's Fayston etc to be fairly world class
     
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  18. MWolverines66

    MWolverines66 Devotee (420) Mar 13, 2013 New York
    Beer Trader

    Yea, the idea to do this beer was inspired from having mornin delight. It was unbelievable, and I dream about finding anything that comes close to that again.
     
  19. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (544) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    Not entirely true, but the breweries that are successful with syrup generally produce it themselves or have a reliable local source. Lawson's has made a couple of no-doubt-about-it world class beers with maple syrup.
     
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  20. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (544) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    Have you talked to Sean at Lawson's Finest? He makes a couple of stellar beers with high maple content (Maple Triple, Maple Double Stout). Originally used his own syrup but called on a couple of his neighbors that do sugaring when demand increased. He knows a lot about maple sugar as well as brewing (e.g. Double Sunshine) and would probably be happy to answer your questions.

    http://www.lawsonsfinest.com/about-us/contact-us/

    As advised above, be forewarned that it takes a lot of maple sugar to get much character into the finished product.
     
  21. MWolverines66

    MWolverines66 Devotee (420) Mar 13, 2013 New York
    Beer Trader

    Thanks! I have not reached out Sean yet, but I have actually been trading for a few of his maple beers to taste and experiment to find the exact flavor we want in the beer. I will be sure to shoot him a message.

    Cheers,
    Jason
     
  22. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (544) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    He is a really nice guy who started as a homebrewer and still likes to help out. A couple of years ago, he not only helped our club get a good price on a barrel, but jammed it into the back of his prius and hauled it 10+ miles up a snowy mountain road to our February meeting. He is busy with some family business right now but beer queries are probably a pleasant distraction.
     
  23. cmmcdonn

    cmmcdonn Initiate (0) Jun 21, 2009 Virginia


    Yes, I agree I made my comment with haste. I associated maple with other ingredients that are generally difficult to brew with (strawberry for example). I suppose maple flavor is pretty easy to achieve if you have the ability to filter/kill the yeast and force carb, which many breweries do.
     
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  24. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,407) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I think you must be talking about back sweetening here. I think when most of us talk about maple flavor, we're not talking about the sugar. I would agree that if you want a truly sweet beer, you have to prevent the sugars from fermenting.
     
  25. Smw356

    Smw356 Initiate (0) Jan 14, 2013 Ohio

    Ok, so some more progress here I'm at ~half gallon (5.5 lbs) grade B syrup in a roughly 5 Gallon batch.

    Og: 1.158 (pre syrup) O.G:slight_frown:Post Syrup) 1.185
    F.G (on batch with no syrup additions): 1.045 F.G (on batch that was fed syrup 1.039

    There is a definite ,yet not overpowering, maple character to the syrup fed beer, and its kind of wrapped around the residual sweetness of the base beer. I think you could definitely get away with more, and while the FG is lower in the maple beer it didnt thin the beer out at all.

    Granted this is a pretty extreme test case, but if the flavors can come through in beer this big similar amounts should definitely do it in a smaller one.
     
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  26. OldSock

    OldSock Defender (655) Apr 3, 2005 District of Columbia

    I brewed a variant on HoTD Adam last weekend (cherry and beechwood smoked instead of peat), planning to add a quart of Grade B maple syrup to 5 gallons this weekend (some oak/bourbon down the road too). The other half is getting candi syrup and calvados (an homage to Matt).
     
  27. rockernino

    rockernino Disciple (342) Aug 10, 2014 California
    Beer Trader

    Probably a while ago, but when was the maple syrup added? And was the beer bottled or kegged?
     
  28. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (347) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    I make a smoked maple imperial, 5.5 gallons and add 1 cup boiled maple syrup to the secondary. Plenty of maple flavor and not overly sweet defiantly gets the secondary working so have some head space
     
  29. pants678

    pants678 Crusader (793) Jan 26, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    what grade maple? and, light, medium or dark? and how do you boil? with how much water?

    sorry if i'm obnoxious, gorm, but i need to make a good morning clone. the rest of my life depends on it.
     
  30. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (347) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    No problem pants,yer cool. I use medium or dark. Used to be called grade A medium Amber, or grade A dark Amber, but the producers always change the labeling. Just stay away from the commercial grade. Very rough flavored.

    I do not add water. Just put your syrup in a sauce pan, bring it to a boil then let it cool for 5/10 minutes then add to secondary.

    Good luck
     
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  31. OldSock

    OldSock Defender (655) Apr 3, 2005 District of Columbia

    I'll say that my quart of grade B post-primary provided significantly less than half as much maple flavor as I got in Good Morning. I thought the maple in Good Morning was so intense it almost came off as artificial. Not saying it is, but it smelled more like maple syrup than maple syrup does. Maybe a combo of maple syrup in the boil, and maple syrup on the cold side so it doesn't ferment out?
     
  32. jamescain

    jamescain Champion (895) Jul 14, 2009 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Would conditioning with maple syrup make any difference in the aromatic profile?
     
  33. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (347) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    My notes on using maple in the boil says "little or no maple flavor, or scent".
    Personally I would avoid using more than 1 quart per 5 gallons of brew cause you may want that brew for pancakes.

    @OldSock was that b commercial or b table grade? Commercial is much rougher material than table grade.
     
  34. OldSock

    OldSock Defender (655) Apr 3, 2005 District of Columbia

    It could trap a little, extra but I don't think the aroma is as volatile as say honey given that it is produced by a long boil. Maple just isn't as a particularly potent flavor when it is diluted.

    Table grade (Whole Foods).
    As noted above, some breweries are using 10%+ by volume (so 1/2 gallon in a 5 gallon batch). Tree House Good Morning had a huge maple aroma, like people across the table were picking it up when I opened the growler.
     
  35. QueefLatina

    QueefLatina Initiate (0) Mar 19, 2015 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    About a year ago I made a coffee porter and I used maple syrup at bottling. I used nowhere near the half gallon you guys are talking about. I think for a 5 gallon batch, I added 1/2 cup of Grade A, it had a pretty solid maple flavor, almost too sweet, the most shocking part was the bottles were carbonated in like a week.
     
  36. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (347) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    I'm with ya queen. 1 cup is my limit. e secondary needs at least 1 month to completely ferment out at 60 degrees F. That's the temp of my cellar. Higher temps, or different yeasts may quicken the ferment, but like I said, if you want beer on pancakes use more than 1 cup.
     
  37. vrbulldog22

    vrbulldog22 Disciple (395) Sep 5, 2010 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    It doesn't take long for gas to form, but it takes longer for it to balance out / finish.
    can better show what my words are failing at describing.

    was there anything else that could have added sweetness (kind of coffee maybe)? that seems like an extremely small amount of syrup, and at a higher grade (gives less flavor because more sugars ferment out).. maybe you're just extremely against sweetness in beer? i'm not doubting you, I'm just surprised at that reaction from those amounts :slight_smile:
     
  38. QueefLatina

    QueefLatina Initiate (0) Mar 19, 2015 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I used Kona Coffee, the beer was 5.5% abv. I think I still have a bottle of it if you really wanna try it haha.
     
  39. MWolverines66

    MWolverines66 Devotee (420) Mar 13, 2013 New York
    Beer Trader

    Well it's been a long time since I started this, but finally got my brewing buddies some good morning for inspiration and we are going to tackle this late next October, will let you all know how it goes.
     
    rockernino likes this.
  40. pants678

    pants678 Crusader (793) Jan 26, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    no boiling or any treatment before adding? did you prime as usual or let the maple take care of that?