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Old 09-01-2010, 05:03 PM   #1
Jan 2010
Hudson, WI
Posts: 107

I had a friend ask about adding maple syrup to a brown ale for the fall. I was curious as to the affect it would have to the beer and when the best time to add it would be. My searches were fairly inconclusive.

As a newer brewer, I recently brewed a DIPA and added 1# of pure honey to the boil thinking " a nice honey flavor would be nice" i think this is a common misconception that a lot of new brewers have. Honey is highly fermentable and can dry your beer out.

My question is does maple syrup act the same way? If I want to get that nice sweet maple taste without drying the beer out, when is the best time to add it? If I add it in secondary will that spark a secondary fermentation? Or is it best to add it to during bottling?

Thanks all!
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Old 09-01-2010, 08:55 PM   #2
Mar 2009
Posts: 2,607
Liked 25 Times on 23 Posts

adding honey or maple syrup will give you flavor in the end product. but not sweetness since you are right that the yeast will eat all the sugars and produce a drier beer. but there is more to honey/syrup that sugary sweetness. there are other flavor molecules that the yeast wont touch. if your looking for that sweet taste then you will have to either add unfermentable sugars like lactose or add something like potassium sorbate and force carbonate. the potassium will prevent the yeast form fermenting and result in no carbonation if you try to bottle condition.

you can add the honey/syrup at flame out or at bottling time. if you add it at bottling time it may be a good idea to heat it up to about 150-160F for a few minutes to sanitize it. also if you add it at bottling time you wont need any priming sugar and will have to do the math on how much to add so you don't over/under carbonate your beer. adding it at bottling time will give you more of the flavor/aroma of the honey/syrup. if you add it during the boil the boil will dive off some of the more fragile aroma/flavor compounds.

now as far as adding it during fermentation it wont start secondary fermentation. it will restart primary fermentation. a common mistake with new brewers is that they confuse secondary fermentation with a secondary fermenter. primary fermentation is when the yeast convert the sugars to alcohol and CO2. secondary fermentation happens at the same time and continues after primary fermentation. during secondary fermentation the yeast are basically cleaning up after themselves removing off flavors. that's why we recommend letting your beer sit for 2-3 weeks in the primary/secondary. if you add new sugars in the form of honey or syrup the yeast will start primary fermentation again and convert the sugars to alcohol and CO2 then clean up again.

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Old 09-01-2010, 09:11 PM   #3
david_42's Avatar
Oct 2005
Oak Grove, Oregon, USA
Posts: 25,599
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One word: Don't. Maple syrup ferments out, maple flavor without any sweetness is not nice.

Do keep some handy and drizzle a little around the rim of your glass before adding the brown ale.

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