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Old 10-14-2008, 10:54 AM   #1
mr_goodwrench
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Default Maple Syrup!

So, there is a serious shortage of maple syrup around these parts. The grocery store where we normally shop has been out of their store-brand syrup for nearly 3 months. Recently, they got a temporary replacement in to the tune of $23/qt!

My work-SWMBO grew up in northern NY where a large percentage of this state's maple syrup production takes place. I recently asked her to grab us some syrup next time she went home for a visit. She went up north this past weekend and brought back a gallon of grade A dark amber for $30!!

My next few batches of beer are likely to all be APAs as I'm working on getting my AG process down, so I probably wont use any of that for beer. It will be put to good use though: we will be able to start eating pancakes, etc since I refuse to eat fake syrup.

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Old 10-14-2008, 01:56 PM   #2
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Yeah most 'syrup' is basically corn syrup glop. Yuck. Maple Syrup is awesome. It's unbelievable the reduction ratio for sap to syrup...something like 60:1 iirc.

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Old 10-14-2008, 02:03 PM   #3
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Go for the B grade next time, waaaaay better maple flavor than grade A (plus I think it may be cheaper).

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Old 10-14-2008, 02:08 PM   #4
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The ratio is 40:1 (roughly - varies somewhat with particular trees)

Grade B is definitely better flavor than grade A (Grading is by color, not flavor).

Grade B often costs the same as Grade A.

Made 17 gallons on my best year back in high school (I had time and trees).

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Old 10-14-2008, 02:23 PM   #5
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I've lived in VT most of my life, and never even thought about the gradings - Medium amber was just always what I preferred. Learn something new every day! Of course, I forget 4 or 5 things every day, so at this rate I'll have forgotten everything I have ever learned in another couple of years!!

From massmaple.org:

Grade A Light Amber, is very light and has a mild, more delicate maple flavor. It is usually made earlier in the season when the weather is colder. This is the best grade for making maple candy and maple cream.

Grade A Medium Amber, is a bit darker, and has a bit more maple flavor. It is the most popular grade of table syrup, and is usually made after the sugaring season begins to warm, about mid-season.

Grade A Dark Amber, is darker yet, with a stronger maple flavor. It is usually made later in the season as the days get longer and warmer.

Grade B, sometimes called Cooking Syrup, is made late in the season, and is very dark, with a very strong maple flavor, as well as some caramel flavor. Although many people use this for table syrup; because of its strong flavor, it's often used for cooking, baking, and flavoring in special foods.

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Old 10-17-2008, 01:00 AM   #6
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Wow, growing up and living in New England, I never thought it was possible to go without 18 different kinds of real maple syrup at the store. My friend lives on an old farm, and a local guy comes around and taps all the trees. He's fairly industrial though, runs surgical tubing from the taps in the trees and runs several of them to big barrels to collect the sap. I always wondered how difficult it would be to make syrup. I mean, basically you just boil down the sap into syrup right? I saw it once on Good Eats, actually they use a hydrometer to test the sugar content of the syrup. Anyone done this?

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Old 10-17-2008, 04:02 AM   #7
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If you want to make it for sale you need to use a hydrometer.

I've made perhaps 100 gallons or so over the years, and all of it was done simply by boiling until the temperature was 217F (I suppose it would have to vary with altitude, but probably not by much for most of the terrain where you'd be likely to boil). You can also take it up to 235-238 F and make sugar.

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Old 10-17-2008, 04:05 AM   #8
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My buddys dad does it some years. Its as simple as just collecting buckets and buckets and just boiling it down. I thought about it this year but Im defiantly going to do it next year!

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Old 10-17-2008, 12:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ecnerwal View Post
The ratio is 40:1 (roughly - varies somewhat with particular trees)
Ok, I knew it was high. We made it growing up as well, but that was a long time ago. I do have Sugar Maples, I should eventually tap those trees.
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