Who here has made a home brew with maple syrup? Advice? Lessons learned?

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dhouse

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Hi everyone. I'm a relatively new brewer with about a half dozen successful brews under my belt. I'm planning on tinkering with a porter recipe kit to make a maple porter, and I've been scouring the Interwebs for advice on how to incorporate maple syrup in a way that will add a nice subtle maple flavor but won't dry out my beer too much.

I found this forum very shortly after I started brewing, and I often search through the forum archives if I have a question about something. I've never felt the need to start a new thread here, since every question I've had so far has already been asked and answered. And there are already a lot of maple syrup threads here. The problem I'm having is that the advice is not very consistent: some people say adding syrup to the boil dries out the beer without adding much or any maple flavor, while other people advise adding up to a gallon near the end of the boil. Some people say priming with maple syrup doesn't add any flavor, while others caution that priming with maple syrup will add too strong of a flavor. Some people say the way to go is adding the maple during secondary.

I realized that some of the responses I was reading were coming from people who hadn't brewed with maple syrup but were giving their best guess based on their experience and knowledge of brewing, and that that might be why I was finding so much conflicting information. So my question is: who here has brewed with maple syrup? How did you use it? How did it come out? I'm interested in hearing the details of your maple brew success stories, but I'm also interested to learn what you tried that didn't work.

Thanks in advance!
 

rockfish42

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I put a pound into a one gallon cider experiment, there was almost no appreciable flavor added.
 

permo

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I used a couple pounds in a early beer. Stuff was relatively expensive, and there was no flavor contribution. I would recommend against it.

If you want maple flavor, find some maple extract flavoring.
+1


I think if you want the flavor, either add to secondary, or use maple syrup as priming sugar.
 

oregone

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I second that neither boiling, nor addition to secondary will give you much aroma or flavor having recently tried both. I don't have experience at bottling with it, but suspect it would be more effective as well. Good luck!
 

the_bird

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Be careful with extract, though. I've had beers at a local brewpub that tasted like fermented Aunt Jemima's, which is bad enough but it's practically criminal when said brewpub is in Vermont.
 

gianakis

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I had the bright idea to replace my brewing water with maple sap once......bad idea.

I also brewed with maple syrup and found that it dried out during fermentation almost completely.

I haven't been brave enough to try it in another beer since.
 

BasementBrewmistress

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Interesting question. My noobish understanding was that you could add it at flameout like with honey, and that its contribution to flavor depended on which grade was used.

Interestingly, my LHBS sent out a Maple Syrup Amber recipe this week. Going to be adventurous and give it a whirl. Can let you know how it turned out.
 

JeepDiver

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I added 12oz to secondary from my Autumn Maple clone and it did dry the beer out, but there is also a faint maple hint to it.

I'd say anything other than secondary is a waste
 

raiderswolverines

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I'd recommend 100% real maple extract. Worked very well in the secondary with a little cinnamon for a smoked porter. I wish I hadn't gone a little overboard and add a little more at bottling. I'm now letting it age a little to see if it fades back down.
 

ao125

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Just spoke to a friend of mine and he suggested grade B or C syrup so that the end result is less cloyingly sweet.
 

Boy

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I use brown sugar for priming on porters and stouts and I could swear it contributes a slight syrupy flavor
 

skibb

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Lower grade maple syrup will be less fermentable but it will contribute more towards flavor. Unfortunately, lower grades of maple syrup tend to be much more expensive, you usually have to purchase them at health food stores like Whole Foods, Earth Fare, etc.

That being said, I once brewed a brown ale with grade B maple syrup - it accounted for a bout 10% of my fermentables. I mashed high (I brew AG) so that my beer would have enough dextrins to not be overly dry in the end. If you are a partial grain brewer, I would recommend adding some carapils or dextrin malt to your recipe to achieve the same effect. Though, even at 10%, the maple flavor was there but quite subtle. It worked well for the beer.
 
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dhouse

dhouse

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I had the bright idea to replace my brewing water with maple sap once......bad idea.
That's interesting, since I see that recommended a lot, although I've never heard any feedback about it. What was wrong with it?

I'm trying to use maple syrup and not maple extract, since my uncle has a maple syrup farm and I have, as a result, copious amounts of free maple syrup on hand.

Has anyone ever primed with maple syrup?
 

acuenca

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I actually used it to bottle and used Grade B for the reason listed above in terms of stronger flavor. At my local grocery store in FLA it was the same price as the GRade A....I used 8.5 oz to prime a stout for bottling and 3 months in the bottle, the flavor is finally coming through in a subtle way but certainly noticeable... I didn't have enough at the time but I shoulda used 12 oz or so and will do next time...
 

phished880

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+1 on grade B
If you have trouble finding grade B i would suggest a nice Vermont vacation. it's almost ski season..... And the could use a little boost from tourism. Oh yeah, they have a few breweries to hit up as well.
 

kbuzz

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I'm lazy, I haven't read all the posts...so sorry if any of this has already been addressed...but...I used maple syrup in a beer a while ago and I would recommend making sure that the structure of the beer can hold up to it. My beer was cloying as hell...the most overly sweet beer I've made to date. I would recommend plenty of malt backbone for it as well as plenty of IBUs to balance out the sweetness. I think I made carbonated syrup water...been reluctant to use it since...definitely use plenty of hops for sure...
 

the_bird

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I'm lazy, I haven't read all the posts...so sorry if any of this has already been addressed...but...I used maple syrup in a beer a while ago and I would recommend making sure that the structure of the beer can hold up to it. My beer was cloying as hell...the most overly sweet beer I've made to date. I would recommend plenty of malt backbone for it as well as plenty of IBUs to balance out the sweetness. I think I made carbonated syrup water...been reluctant to use it since...definitely use plenty of hops for sure...
... something else must have been going on, maple syrup is extremely fermentable, if the beer was cloyingly sweet you must have had an issue with fermentation or possibly somewhere else in the recipe (too much crystal malt, something along those lines). Adding any kind of simple sugar, be it corn sugar or Belgian candi sugar or maple sugar, isn't going to add any appreciable sweetness (assuming a healthy fermenation) until the total ABV gets highj enough to kill the yeast.

And adding hops - I wouldn't do anything other than a bittering addition, and be conservative with that. The flavors of most hops are not going to be terribly complementary to the maple, and if you add too much you'll never even notice the maple.
 

gianakis

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dhouse said:
That's interesting, since I see that recommended a lot, although I've never heard any feedback about it. What was wrong with it?
It takes about 30 gallons of sap to make a gallon is syrup so 7 gallons in your brew kettle doesn't amount to very much syrup.

They also filter out the silt before bottling.

There was such an off flavor from what I could tell was due to the mineral rich sap.

If you live near any sugar houses who use RO (reverse osmosis) machines you might be able to get some sap after it has been proccessed through the RO machine.

It will have a higher sugar content but also higher minerals I suppose.
 

ao125

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... something else must have been going on, maple syrup is extremely fermentable, if the beer was cloyingly sweet you must have had an issue with fermentation or possibly somewhere else in the recipe (too much crystal malt, something along those lines). Adding any kind of simple sugar, be it corn sugar or Belgian candi sugar or maple sugar, isn't going to add any appreciable sweetness (assuming a healthy fermenation) until the total ABV gets highj enough to kill the yeast.

And adding hops - I wouldn't do anything other than a bittering addition, and be conservative with that. The flavors of most hops are not going to be terribly complementary to the maple, and if you add too much you'll never even notice the maple.
Might also want to check to make sure it was 100% pure maple syrup with no added funky preservatives or artificial sweeteners.
 

BullGator

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I brewed the A to Z brown Ale in the Extreme Brew book from the dogfish head brewery owner guy yesterday. It calls for 8oz of maple syrup to be added to the primary after the vigorous fermentation has subsided. The wife told me I had to get Grade B maple syrup because it had more maple flavor. Is that what everyone used or did you use Grade A? Grade A is the stuff that is in every supermarket. It is boiled down more and is not a mapley strong.
 

acuenca

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BullGator said:
I brewed the A to Z brown Ale in the Extreme Brew book from the dogfish head brewery owner guy yesterday. It calls for 8oz of maple syrup to be added to the primary after the vigorous fermentation has subsided. The wife told me I had to get Grade B maple syrup because it had more maple flavor. Is that what everyone used or did you use Grade A? Grade A is the stuff that is in every supermarket. It is boiled down more and is not a mapley strong.
I used grade b for the same reason...the wife is from vt and her family used to make it...
 

bstux

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Lower grade maple syrup will be less fermentable but it will contribute more towards flavor. Unfortunately, lower grades of maple syrup tend to be much more expensive, you usually have to purchase them at health food stores like Whole Foods, Earth Fare, etc.

That being said, I once brewed a brown ale with grade B maple syrup - it accounted for a bout 10% of my fermentables. I mashed high (I brew AG) so that my beer would have enough dextrins to not be overly dry in the end. If you are a partial grain brewer, I would recommend adding some carapils or dextrin malt to your recipe to achieve the same effect. Though, even at 10%, the maple flavor was there but quite subtle. It worked well for the beer.
I used grade b for the same reason...the wife is from vt and her family used to make it...
Very true. My Family has a farm with maple trees in Virginia that a family friend taps each year and gives us maple syrup as a thank you. I had good results with about 12oz of grade B for 5 gal of brown ale added to the wort after flame out. I did not cold crash all the bottles as I wanted to see what character they picked up over time. It went from a refreshing light on the pallet beer with maple after taste to a not too special brown ale that was a bit over carbonated after three months of bottle conditioning.
 

librewer

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I added 12 oz. of grade A dark amber (just what I happened to grab off the shelf) to a brown ale. I added it late in the boil, around 10 minutes left, and it added a subtle hint of maple (not sweet... more of a dry earthy thing). I might try this again next fall and use 8 oz. late boil and 8 oz. at either flame out or directly in the fermentor, possibly trying the grade b.
 

RhoadsRunner

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Hi there -

I'm wondering if exclusion of the maple would effect anything else? Does a recipe including the syrup account for having the extra sugars for fermentation? and therefore you'd need to add something else to give it the right gravity?

WjR
 

dirtybulkales

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I agree with everything written here. I boiled golden syrup in a recipe for 5 mins before flame out and the beer came out dry. My mates think it tastes syrupy from the golden syrup but I believe not. It might add texture and colour to your beer but not a strong or pronounced flavour. I assume Golden/Maple is very similar when it comes to fermentable sugars.
 

Roypa10

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I have brewed thrice with maple syrup and will be brewing with it again soon. :rockin:
The amount of maple flavor you will end up with depends completely on the maple syrup grade you use, anything higher than B and the remaining tastes will dry out.
If your lucky and know some maple syrup producers, ask them for their last run of the year, usually the darkest you can get and I can testify that you will be getting great flavours. As for additions, I add it after 24 hours of primary fermentation kick-off (I add 2 kg's to a 5 gallon batch, approx 2 liters or a little bit more than half a gallon) and find it compliments my version of a maple weizenbock extremely well. Ended up with a og of 1.078 after boil of the weizenbock before maple addition, and beersmith estimated it at 1.104 with the extra 2 kg's (4.4 lbs) of maple syrup ( I couldn't get a true gravity after addition of maple syrup since fermentation had already started). Estimated FG was 1.016 and ended up with a true fg of 1.034, leading me to think what hadn't completely fermented was the maple syrup which was high in un-fermentables due to the low grade... and my taste palate can confirm.
 

Qhrumphf

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Wow. Several times necro thread.

I've actually never used maple syrup in beer. I did, however, try making a "Maple Wine" using only grade B maple syrup (you can get it at Trader Joes for a reasonable price). Nothing but water and maple syrup. Used Lalvin EC-1118 and treated it just like a mead in terms of nutrient additions, and never heated, just dissolved the syrup into warm water and then topped it up with cold water. It fermented BONE dry, 1.090 to 0.990, slightly dryer than the few other meads/wines/ciders that I've done. But did have a percieved sweetness in the flavor. Tastes almost like whiskey up front, but still a good blast of maple on the back. But I could see the character easily getting overshadowed in a beer. It's fairly subtle.

Don't know if I'd try it again, but it was an interesting (albeit expensive) experiment. I have a few bottles left, and they're certainly drinkable.
 

Roypa10

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Maybe the grade was slightly higher, never tried brewing with store bought, I always try and get a few gallons of the last run of the season from my uncle, he has a sugar bush in Maine.
As for grade B, there are no grades under this. It is considered anything less than 44% translucent. Demand for the darker grade B's have also gone up due to their flavor contribution on pancakes or recipes which leads to distributors blending grade B's with grade A's until they reach the grade limit (or very close to 44% translucent).
Therefore findind store bought blended grade B will most likely result in higher limit grade B's with more fermentables than say a grade B coming directly from a producer..


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marcagio

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I used maple syrup in a few brews and if you put it in primary it's a waste 'cause you won't taste it. Priming works, you won't taste the sugar but there will be a are subtle maple wood taste. I liked the result.


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Roypa10

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What kind of beers were these? And what was your yeast attenuation when added in primary?

Re-doing a 10 gallon batch of weizenbock next week with 2 liters (or close to 4.5 pounds) of very low grade maple syrup added in primary right after krausen goes up. By low-grade i mean very dark, darker than the storebought B.

I did the same method in May 2013, had an estimated OG of 1.104 and it finished at 1.030, and it still tastes like maple syrup after over 7 months of bottle conditioning.

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marcagio

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I remember a wheat and it was a kit with everything in a bag like festabrew. I threw 3 cups of maple syrup in primary, nothing in the carboy and 3/4cup for priming. It was a galon i got from a friend and it was very dark, probably like the one you gonna use. The darker, the better. You'll end up with a lot of maple wood taste. I have never been able to keep maple's sweetness in a beer tho... Maple is ultra-fermentable.


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marcagio

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And yeah, i need to turn off c'te maudite signature là.


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Roypa10

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Kk i might do a thread on the weizenbock in that case, and mine definately has a nice woody touch to it as well, but still retained the maple syrup taste.


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Roypa10

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PS judging from la signature en français, if you're in Québec i'd recommend the Weizenbock from Les Trois Mousquetaires, had an interesting talk about adding Maple Syrup to beer with their staff at a beer festival in Gatineau and it's what inspired me on making a maple beer.


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marcagio

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I heard of les trois mousquetaires, never tried. I live in quebec city, we have la voie maltée, le corsaire, les trois brasseurs, l'innox, l'archibald... Only to name a few. On l'ile d'orléans, there is a micro that brews la "Suzane Marceau" i think it´s an Ipa with a very very strong maple presence. Maybe i should try to hang aroud there and talk to these guys.
 
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