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Old 03-18-2008, 02:55 PM   #1
JohnA111's Avatar
Jan 2008
Rochester, NY
Posts: 106

Has anyone succeeded in making a truly good maple beer? This question seems to be more contentuous than "what motoroil to use in a motorcycle?" or "can dirt be made into biodiesel?" or "Does God exist and what is his address?" on other forums I read. How, when and what Maple syrup to use? This is about as straight as I can get the picture:

Priming with Maple Syrup: Some flavor, under over carbing of bottles, sometimes too sweet.

Gallon in the secondary: Little maple flavor, mixing problems at times

Gallon in the primary: Maple wine with little maple flavor as it ferments out dry

Gallon in last 15-20 mins of boil: Super dry beer again with almost non existent maple flavor

Fenugreek: Supposed maple flavored herb where no one seems to have definitive results of end products having used this.

Grade B seems to be the standard "what to use" and I am thinking of using it in the secondary of an Oatmeal Stout that bubbles away on day 4 of primary. Finding it is a more difficult prospect than I imagined .

So has anyone succeeded with a maple beer and how did you do it? Did you get the balance of good Maple flavor at the right sweetness?
Primary: Yard Ale (wild hop)
Primary2: Cascade IPA
Secondary: -
Bottled: Brown Ale
Bottled: Sweet Stout
Kegged: Sweet Stout II
Kegged: Basil Pale
Kegged: Smoked Ale

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Old 03-18-2008, 03:21 PM   #2
GilaMinumBeer's Avatar
Jan 2008
Posts: 58,727
Liked 7526 Times on 6161 Posts

A long time ago I added a bottle (12 or 16 Ounce) Grade B Dark Maple to a 5 Gallon California Common kit. The batch is now about 1.5 years old and it is delicious. A nice woody note in the finish and a little dry.

Maple is good but, it may need some time.

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Old 12-08-2015, 03:57 AM   #3
Nov 2015
Harrisonburg, Virginia
Posts: 755
Liked 117 Times on 102 Posts

I intend to brew a maple porter soon. The trick, from the people who have considered themselves successful in this, is to use the darkest grade of syrup you can find. The best time to add it I've found is after ~24 hours of strong fermentation. That will leave sweetness and the unfermentables in that low grade syrup will leave you body and maple flavor. This is all just based on research, but will soon be put to the test.

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Old 12-08-2015, 05:47 PM   #4
Sep 2015
Posts: 85
Liked 14 Times on 11 Posts

I make maple syrup and use it in every thing. The only way to get maple flavor is to stop the yeast with sorbate and sulfate. Then add the maple syrup and keg

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Old 12-08-2015, 05:59 PM   #5
Hang on, I had something for this
sudbuddy's Avatar
Nov 2014
Libertyville, IL
Posts: 952
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I used maple sap as my brewing water in a smoked pale and that was pretty cool nut not very maple-y. My buddy used his share of the sap as the brewing water for a Belgian pale and it did not have much maple flavor at first. 8 months later, it is now bursting with maple flavor and a really awesome beer. Try aging a dozen bottles and see what they're like in a year. You might be really happy with the result.
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Old 12-09-2015, 06:13 PM   #6
Aug 2014
Northern VA, VA
Posts: 255
Liked 58 Times on 35 Posts

My attempts to use maple syrup have not been successful - if by successful you mean beer with maple taste and aroma. I now use a maple extract prior to legging which works very well. I have used in a maple bourbon Porter and an American maple brown.
Primary: Vanilla Bourbon Porter...
Kegged: Cream Ale, Punkin Ale, English ESB, Independence Pale Ale, Torpedo IPA Clone, Cranberry Apple Cider

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Old 12-09-2015, 06:22 PM   #7
CrimsonYeti's Avatar
Jan 2015
Posts: 166
Liked 17 Times on 16 Posts

I make a French Toast ale. I tried the usual method boil, secondary etc. I now use an extract(maple) from Beanilla at the bottling point. Just pour a little at a time and taste test. 1 4oz bottle made almost 3- 5 gallon batches. Stuff is strong.

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Old 12-09-2015, 08:31 PM   #8
Apr 2014
Posts: 201
Liked 69 Times on 44 Posts

I've now made 3 different beers with maple syrup and/or maple sap.

I wouldn't consider maple to be an overwhelming character in any of them. It's most noticeable I feel in a Belgian Golden Strong Ale I did.

For that one I used no water, 100% maple sap (boiled down already 50%) in the mash. Added a few quarts of syrup to the end of the boil.

Bottled with just regular priming sugar. At first, owing in part to my inexperience at the time the beer was a bit 'hot' on the alcohol side. But, I've had it cellared for 2 years now and now booziness/hotness is gone. Beer has a nice belgian spicy character and in the finish there is a hint of maple character.

That said, it's a hint and I put a ton of maple sap/syrup into that beer. It's nice but I'm unsure if it's really worth the effort.

In the brown ales I did with it, it's almost completely lost, even if you go way over the top like I did here by putting in maple syrup & sap at the boil and pure syrup as priming in a keg. At this point I'd say if you want the maple character do something with a lower hop profile and no roasted malt flavor, otherwise it's too easily lost.

Maybe say a small english bitter for instance or a nice Belgian table beer.

Otherwise, flavor extracts might be your next best option, either to re-enforce what is left after the syrup, or just as the sole means of getting that maple character into the beer.

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Old 12-09-2015, 09:09 PM   #9
Sep 2015
Bay City, Michigan
Posts: 71
Liked 15 Times on 13 Posts

Maple extract is the way to go in my opinion. 2-4 oz at bottling/kegging. Syrup just doesn't leave enough flavor to be worth the price of a gallon imo. Use extract and save the tasty syrup for pancakes.

If that's not cool with you and actual syrup is the only way to go grade B is definitely better for brewing than A. You might be able to find it at one of those hipster "whole foods" type stores. I think grade B maple syrup is an ingredient in a cleanse recipe or whatever. Another place to check would be a farmers' market. I know ours usually has a maple syrup stand with multiple grades available. I used some in a brown I did a few years ago and it did leave a nice woody maple flavor. I added it to secondary. I just didn't like the overall cost of the beer for the result I got.

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Old 12-10-2015, 12:01 AM   #10
Nov 2013
Middletown, CT
Posts: 1,349
Liked 341 Times on 288 Posts

I've done 4 different maple brews, including the one I am currently drinking. My best results were leaving it all in primary and adding 16 oz after main fermentation. It didn't dry out. Part of the reason is that I used the darkest stuff available. It has the most impurities, which keeps it from fermenting too vigorously and leaves more maple flavor behind. Under the new grading system, the darkest is Grade A Very Dark Strong Taste (yes, that's really what it's called). You can find it on Amazon.

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