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Maple syrup primer

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by yinzer, Dec 6, 2012.

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  1. yinzer

    yinzer Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Looks like I'm going to a farmers market next weekend (15th) in VT. Something tells me that they might have some maple syrup there and I intend on buying some to HB with. I've looked through some threads and it looks like people have mixed results.

    First, any points on what type to buy? Some people say to use cheap stuff and other say no. It would seem to me that since the sugars ferment out that the flavor would have to be important. Which grade? And if you don't know it looks like VT and NH have their own system.

    Is there a shelf life?

    Also Oldstock did some some soaking of oak cubes in maple syrup. Anyone else try this? Seems promising.

    I know that this is a very general post, but any thoughts will be appreciated.
  2. GatorBeer

    GatorBeer Initiate (137) Feb 2, 2010 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    I'm in the same boat as you. I have a breakfast stout I want to add maple too. I've read a ton and it seems like its very hard to get the flavor in the finished beer because it gets fermented out. But I'm going to try and here's what I think.

    First off I hear that Grade B is a must to have.

    One of the best breakfast stouts is made by Intuition in Jacksonville, FL and I emailed their brewer asking how they got the huge maple flavor in their finished product:

    "Thanks for contacting us about our beers.

    We add the Grade B Maple Syrup in the brite tank prior to Carbonating and kegging.

    We do it by taste as we are still fiddling with the recipe.

    Hope this helps!"

    So I think I'm going to add to secondary or prime my bottles with it, haven't decided yet. Good luck and keep us posted
  3. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,335) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Flavor, other than the sweetness from the sugars in the syrup, can't ferment out, i.e. those flavor compounds are not fermentable. Some of them could be volatile though, and could therefore be scrubbed away by CO2 during fermentation.
  4. FATC1TY

    FATC1TY Moderator (1,229) Feb 12, 2012 Georgia
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    I did a Maple Nut Brown that was wayyyyyyyy maple-y.

    I fermented it out, once krausen was dropping and clearing, I added maple syrup, Grade B. it kicked up a bit, and finished fermenting out.

    When I kegged, I added syrup to the keg, and racked into the syrup. Gave it a swirl, purged, chilled and carbed.

    Save for the fact I used a yeast that got warmer due to my screw up, I got a fruity nut brown that wasn't appealing to me. However, the maple aspect was almost.... too much.

    If you keg, the syrup won't ferment at that low of a temp, and it mixes really well in the beer, no stratification. so you get to keep all the aspects of the maple syrup, without it fermenting out.
  5. nathanjohnson

    nathanjohnson Initiate (0) Aug 5, 2007 Vermont

    If you are going to the Lawson's farmers market on the 15th, you could just ask Sean Lawson himself. He knows a thing or two about brewing with maple.
  6. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,335) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I would have agreed with this up until about a year ago. I had a starter that I cold crashed prematurely. It kept right on going in the fridge. I forget the exact strain, but I'm thinking it might have been the wyeast Duvel strain. I'm sure the temp did slow it down considerably though.
  7. FATC1TY

    FATC1TY Moderator (1,229) Feb 12, 2012 Georgia
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Fair enough. We all have different experiences. I'm sure the yeast doesn't completely stop, thats why beer will evolve over time, slower when colder.

    Just tossing that out there if you keg. If you want a pronounced maple flavor, add it at kegging.

    Bottling, I'm no help, and my way doesn't work.

    RBCORCORAN Aspirant (239) May 18, 2009 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    1. shelf life = can last a good long time but once opened will / can mold if not refrigerated.
    2. sticker shock = because of the labor and amount of reduction needed to turn sap into syrup it is pricey. 25ish per quart . My suggestion would be to look for 100% maple sugar , same thing with all liquid removed and runs around 15-20 bucks a pound. because it's been reduced the flavor is more pronounced I think you'll have more flavor in the final product.
  9. yinzer

    yinzer Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2006 Pennsylvania

    I might look into the sugar. Yeah, I know how expensive the real stuff is. And while I like it better on my flap-jacks, it does have a milder maple flavor. Actually if you were isolate it a lot of people won't recognize it as maple. That's where I think that the sub-categorizes might come into play.

    And I will be getting some of Lawson's beers. I do plan on asking but just in case a brewer isn't there or might not want to divulge secrets ( honestly, it's happened with a new local brewer) I wanted to do some homework.
  10. koopa

    koopa Poo-Bah (1,825) Apr 20, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    There is usually a stand at the Montpelier Farmers Market on Saturdays that sells maple products including maple sugar. Not sure if that Farmers Market is up and running this time of year though.
  11. inchrisin

    inchrisin Defender (654) Sep 25, 2008 Indiana

    Are you a kegger? Lefty1881 might have just made a honey stout that he is backsweetening in the keg. Maybe a similar process would be more fruitful and cheaper for you. He might be more insightful too. :slight_smile:
  12. yinzer

    yinzer Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2006 Pennsylvania

  13. MrOH

    MrOH Defender (651) Jul 5, 2010 Maryland

  14. yinzer

    yinzer Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Well I finally picked out my best pair of overalls and flannel shirt, I'm ready!! Let the madness begin!!!
  15. koopa

    koopa Poo-Bah (1,825) Apr 20, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

  16. nathanjohnson

    nathanjohnson Initiate (0) Aug 5, 2007 Vermont

    Overalls? Please. Carhartt all the way. :wink:
    MrOH likes this.
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