PDA

View Full Version : Brewing maple syrup



NeedForMead
10-19-2011, 09:27 PM
Hi, I have a crazy idea... I'm aware there's meads out there that have maple syrup mixed in, but has anybody ever tried brewing wine out of just straight maple syrup, water and yeast? I know this wouldn't technically be a mead anymore, but perhaps you kind folks would humor me anyway.
Would the same rules apply as for mead? Does it taste as good as I would imagine it would be? Just curious, thanks!

Guinlilly
10-19-2011, 09:48 PM
Hi, I have a crazy idea... I'm aware there's meads out there that have maple syrup mixed in, but has anybody ever tried brewing wine out of just straight maple syrup, water and yeast? I know this wouldn't technically be a mead anymore, but perhaps you kind folks would humor me anyway.
Would the same rules apply as for mead? Does it taste as good as I would imagine it would be? Just curious, thanks!

Yeah, there is maple wine out there. It usually ferments out dry, is very strong and tastes like Bourbon. And yeah same rules apply as for mead.

ZwolfUpir
10-19-2011, 09:51 PM
*cleans the drool off his key board and checks his calendar for the next trip to visit family in Vermont*

I've been wanting to do this, but at the cost of real maple it'd almost be cheaper to buy a gallon of 50 year old Bourbon... And just out of curiosity, whats the general age out time on something like this? Comparable to mead or...?

Guinlilly
10-19-2011, 09:59 PM
*cleans the drool off his key board and checks his calendar for the next trip to visit family in Vermont*

I've been wanting to do this, but at the cost of real maple it'd almost be cheaper to buy a gallon of 50 year old Bourbon... And just out of curiosity, whats the general age out time on something like this? Comparable to mead or...?

Aging time is comparable to mead - about a year.

NeedForMead
10-20-2011, 12:04 AM
Sweet, that's simper then I thought. And the price of maple syrup isn't that bad is it? You can buy 1 kg bottles of 100% pure maple syrup from Superstore for about $20. That's not much more then a really good grade uncommon honey, right?

AToE
10-20-2011, 12:19 AM
Ok, I've done a fair bit of this and let me give you a word of warning - if it goes dry it's not going to taste the way you expect, so you may find yourself wanting to backsweeten. Frankly it tastes a bit like paint thinner smells. :(

I've got a fair bit of maple wine I've been aging for a couple of years, I'll have to crack another bottle soon but I'm not expecting big things - if it ever recovers it's maple flavour (the way honey character eventually comes back in dry mead) I'm expecting it to be between 3-5 years.

AToE
10-20-2011, 12:22 AM
Sweet, that's simper then I thought. And the price of maple syrup isn't that bad is it? You can buy 1 kg bottles of 100% pure maple syrup from Superstore for about $20. That's not much more then a really good grade uncommon honey, right?

Actually maple syrups is way more expensive - that's about double what really expensive (note I say expensive, not good necessarily) honey costs, and quadruple what really good honey that isn't overpriced costs (ie: from a beekeeper). ;)

$20 per kilo means you're looking at one hell of a lot of money to make a decent sized batch - if you find some you can buy direct from a maple syrup farmer you'll get a WAY better price (and often better quality). The best stuff I've had in my life I got from a farm in Ontario for $60 per 4L jug, insanely good price, but still far more expensive than honey.

EDIT: Note that for us up in Canada you're right when it comes to buying extremely small quantities of varietal honey from other countries though, I've seen a kilo of orange blossom going for $14 or $15 before, but that's not what that stuff really costs, that's the price for people who don't go look into buying bigger quantities and having it shipped to them from the states (still expensive, but nowhere near that expensive).

TheAlchemist
10-20-2011, 10:52 AM
Only acerglyn I've tried is Buckwheat Pancakes (in the MeadLog). So much advice on here suggests that this batch will take a l o n g time to get ready, that I'm just ageing in bulk, benignly neglecting her. Definitely my most expensive batch to date, and I can't tell you if she's worth the investment yet.

YogiBearMead726
10-20-2011, 12:27 PM
This all just makes me want to brew a batch with birch syrup...now if only I had the money for something that costs ~$20/8oz, I'd be set. :p

Chevette Girl
10-20-2011, 12:41 PM
I usually cut my maple syrup with honey for cost reasons, I like my simple acerglyn recipe, 1 kg honey to 1 can maple syrup, starting gravity 1.125, usually ends around 1.030 and is quite nice in a year (check the mead log, that batch is due for bottling soon). I once had a dry maple mead and as AToE said, it's not as nice as you'd think. I have also had a maple wine that they backsweetened or overfed, it was a really nice sipping liqueur and I'd estimate the sweetness at around 1.015. I'm pretty sure it had some age to it as well, not sure about the alcohol content.

Bugleman
10-21-2011, 12:23 PM
Suggestion: You could work with a small producer and get them to evaporate to a selected brix and then bucket for you. That should be a lot cheaper.

AToE
10-21-2011, 03:50 PM
Yeah if you could find an operation small enough that that wouldn't be such a hassle that it would make them want to charge you extra that'd be a great option, skip a couple of steps. :)

Bugleman
10-24-2011, 01:30 PM
Yeah if you could find an operation small enough that that wouldn't be such a hassle that it would make them want to charge you extra that'd be a great option, skip a couple of steps. :)

Hop on CL in the selected maple syrup states and you will find many small artisan producers who pride themselves in things other than the dollar.

HumanBlockhead
10-27-2011, 07:35 PM
Yeah, there is maple wine out there. It usually ferments out dry, is very strong and tastes like Bourbon. And yeah same rules apply as for mead.
Bourbon? *drool* I know what I'm doing when I have a spare gallon jug.

AToE
10-27-2011, 11:50 PM
I think that might be pretty batch-specific an outcome to be fair, maybe crazy amounts of oak would help the bourbon character? Also, is bourbon totally dry or does it have some sugar left?

Bugleman
10-28-2011, 04:51 PM
Bourbon? *drool* I know what I'm doing when I have a spare gallon jug.

Yeh me too. I have syrup and maple honey produced by my bees. :D

TheAlchemist
10-28-2011, 07:03 PM
Yeh me too. I have syrup and maple honey produced by my bees. :D

Maple honey!?!
Suuuuweeeet!

AToE
10-28-2011, 07:12 PM
I've had honey from a farm with a large sugar bush (maple tree stand for those not in the know) and it was spectacular, but they were also surrounded by orchards, a vinyard, had alfalfa on their land (despite being generic sounding, alfalfa makes honey that's super useful for mead making in my opinion, mouthfeel like nothing else I've tried). The also claimed they saw the bees getting into the sap buckets... but who knows. (Also it was hands down the best and by far the cheapest maple syrup I've ever had, haven't been able to get my hands on it the last year or two, which makes me very sad!)

I think I could taste a tiny hint of maple in it, but might have just been my imagination.

I'd love to try honey that was almost entirely from maple blossoms though.

Bugleman
10-29-2011, 08:49 PM
I have 5 gallons of honey from the blossoms of the Big Leaf Maple tree, not from the sap, we don't have whether for sap production. It is hard to get but I know how. The blossoms are yellow and are a MAJOR nectar flow in Western Oregon. It is hard to get honey in the supers because it is wet and rainy in April the bees usually just brood up or swarm on the Acer Macrophilum bloom.

I also have about 2.5 gallons of Maple/Dandilion honey mix. I really want to do a batch of mead from both.

Yes AToE. The honey tastes a bit like maple syrup but has a lot of body. B4 I was a bee keeper we had a 2.5 gallon bucket of maple clover honey and when I became a bee keeper I had my Girlfriend smell the blossoms which smell like maple syrup and said, "it smells like honey". :)

DonMcJr
08-22-2013, 01:40 AM
Hello all! Benn reading here and even posted a few times but just getting around to making my 1st 6 gallons of mead this weekend.

I make Maple Syrup and I have 4 Bee Hives and I want to make an Acerglyn that will showcase both so I have 3 great products from my property and hard work! (And to get drunk next spring during the long boiling hours making the Syrup lol!)

I have a medium show mead recipe that calls for 12 lbs of Honey.

The OG: 1.094-1.112 and FG 1.010.

I only have a quart of my Maple Syrup left to use so my question is how much honey should I cut out if any?

I would like a sweeter product that gives ya a good buzz lol cause im not much of a drinker usually but this mead making may change that lol.

Thanks!

DonMcJr
08-22-2013, 02:46 AM
Of course I had to sit here and figure it out...

I think if I shoot for the same OG and FG with 7 lbs of honey and 2 pints of Maple Syrup I think I will end up with a final product that is on the sweet side...am I right?

TheAlchemist
08-22-2013, 09:45 AM
You could just make a traditional mead and back sweeten or step feed with the syrup.

Chevette Girl
08-22-2013, 07:47 PM
Don, watch it with show meads, "show mead" means you don't add any nutrients or energizer or anything other than water, honey and yeast and they can take a really long time to finish. And you may consider saving a cup or so of the maple syryp to backsweeten with in case it goes dry, the maple flavour gets lost in dry wines. I've done the step-feeding thing too, it works out well.

For one gallon, I use 1 kg honey, 540 ml syrup, nutrients and energizer, and my acerglyns start at 1.125 and finish around 1.020, but depending on your yeast selection, honey and syrup, you may get very different results.

DonMcJr
08-24-2013, 03:06 AM
Ok thanks. This is going to be a learning experience for sure I just don't wanna waste my honey on something that's gonna taste bad!

I'm gonna make my 1st 6 gallon batch of mead tomorrow. The more I think about it I may just make the Mead with just Honey. The "Show" Mead is the recipes in Ken Schram''s Book and I can't remember if there were any Nutrients or energizers and the book is in my truck so I can't look.

I was trying to use the 2 pints of my Maple Syrup to cut down on the amount of Honey because my Bees only made me 41 lbs of Honey so far this year.

So if you had 2 pints of Syrup and Honey and were trying to use the least amount of Honey to make a sweet mead and it was your 1st Batch what Recipe would you use?

UKTony
08-24-2013, 08:26 AM
Search the forums for Acerglin, which is the term for a honey/maple mead. It's not uncommon, and you'll probably find something. I'm on an iPad so I can't search the forums while I'm writing this. If you're a patron also, you may find more info in the patron section but again, I don't know because I've not looked, but I will once I've hit the send button on this post

UKTony
08-24-2013, 08:37 AM
Ok, after a quick forum wide search, the first thing to note is hat there's some confusion as to whether its Acerglin or Acerglyn. So try both.

I see a few people trying this, most notably, ChevetteGirl seems to have walked this path a few times and there are few on here as experienced as her in walking off the beaten path so speak

I also note that at least 50% of the OG must come from honey, otherwise it's a maple wine, not a maple-mead or acergl(y/i)n.

I know this isn't the answers you're looking for, but I'm hoping it gets you a step closer to you goal.

The reason I'm particularly interested is that, Acerglin is on my todo list, and a metheglin too.

Tony

DonMcJr
08-24-2013, 01:48 PM
Thanks! I ran into the mead calculator by JamesP last night and it's pretty cool.

Since I have 2 Pints I decided I am only gonna use one and save one incase I need to back sweeten.

I'm assuming my Og for a sweet Acerglyn should be around 1.100.

14 lbs of Honey and 1 pint of Maple Syrup will give me a Target Gravity of 1.111 SG...(Which is OG I believe)

So that is 14.49% ABV but what should my FG be to make sure I have a Sweet Acreglyn?

I'm kinda looking at it like the Honey is the Main and the Syrup is just adding as a sweetner because most Acerglyn have a lot more Syrup...

It just seems that with that calculator 14 lbs of Honey plus 1 pint of Syrup seems like a lot of Honey Still...

UKTony
08-24-2013, 02:02 PM
Yes,

OG and FG are both SG's... OG is the SG reading before you pitch yeast. FG is the SG reading once you've stopped fermentation or the yeast have.

With regards to how to make it sweet, the generally accepted ranges are as follows, target your FG for the appropriate range that you want it to finish in.

Dry: 0.990 – 1.006
Medium: 1.006 – 1.015
Sweet: 1.012 – 1.020
Dessert: 1.020+

So with an OG of 1.100, and an approximate FG of 1.016 (putting right in the middle of sweet), you need a yeast that will drop you about 84 points (11.24% ABV)... which isn't a huge feat.

So pick a yeast that suits the temperature of the brewing environment, that is good for at least 12% ABV. Just remember, yeast do what they want, not what you think they should!!

If you want higher ABV, either start out with a higher OG, and a yeast to suit, or ferment dry and backsweeten. Alternatively you can step feed too... all of these methods are used by different folks on here, and all are a separate subject in and of themselves.

Hope this helps.

Cheers

Tony.

joemirando
08-24-2013, 02:14 PM
Thanks! I ran into the mead calculator by JamesP last night and it's pretty cool.

Since I have 2 Pints I decided I am only gonna use one and save one incase I need to back sweeten.

I'm assuming my Og for a sweet Acerglyn should be around 1.100.

14 lbs of Honey and 1 pint of Maple Syrup will give me a Target Gravity of 1.111 SG...(Which is OG I believe)

So that is 14.49% ABV but what should my FG be to make sure I have a Sweet Acreglyn?

I'm kinda looking at it like the Honey is the Main and the Syrup is just adding as a sweetner because most Acerglyn have a lot more Syrup...

It just seems that with that calculator 14 lbs of Honey plus 1 pint of Syrup seems like a lot of Honey Still...

I think you already know this, but just in case someone new reads and doesn't 'get' the initials we tend to throw around....



SG = Specific Gravity - the density of whatever you are checking
OG = Original Gravity - The Specific Gravity BEFORE fermentation
FG = Final Gravity - The SG of the finished product, after fermentation has completed


You should have seen my confusion trying to figure out what DAP and KMeta were. Boy did EYE feel stupid. <G>


Good luck,

Joe

DonMcJr
08-24-2013, 02:16 PM
Ok one more question before I am going to start my batch... do the yeast packets tell you how many points they drop?

or is there a chart somewhere? I think I may have read about that in Ken Schram's book too so if it's in there I'll know in a lil bit once I get it from my truck...

danr
08-24-2013, 02:49 PM
Strains of yeast have different alcohol tolerances, rather than a number of points that they drop the specific gravity. The Yeast Table linked on the Site Menu lists typical ABV tolerances for most yeasts used for mead, although these are based on wine and can be influenced by a variety of factors. Generally, it is often easier to get the desired sweetness by using a starting gravity that will ferment dry at your desired ABV, then stabilizing the mead and back sweetening to taste.

joemirando
08-24-2013, 02:51 PM
Ok one more question before I am going to start my batch... do the yeast packets tell you how many points they drop?

or is there a chart somewhere? I think I may have read about that in Ken Schram's book too so if it's in there I'll know in a lil bit once I get it from my truck...

I've come to see that even the best charts are guidelines at best. What is important is that you not push the yeast beyond its comfort zone so as to avoid off flavors, etc.

Most yeasts are 'good' to 14-16% ABV. Choose a yeast based more upon the flavors it leaves or doesn't, instead of how much alcohol it can tolerate.

Champagne yeasts, for example, will usually produce up to 18% alcohol, but deplete the mead of flavors. Montrachet yeast can leave off flavors under some conditions (or so I have been told), and some strains cannot be left on the lees (the sediment/dead yeast on the bottom) because they will break it down and leave nasty flavors.

There are people here much much more knowledgeable than I who can help much more, but there is a listing of common yeasts available in the yellow block to the left on this page.

The best practice, in my opinion is to choose a yeast that gives you a good mix of abilities (letting your fruit or spices come through, acceptable fermentation time, temperature tolerance, and lastly alcohol tolerance) and 'construct' your must accordingly.

For instance, if you want medium-sweet mead with an ABV of around 12%, you might decide to start with around 2.5 lbs of honey, let the yeast ferment it dry, stabilize it and then add honey to it a couple of days later, checking sweetness as you add.

I recently made a batch of traditional mead that I wanted to end up with 12% alcohol using yeast that was good to 14% alcohol, but I added enough honey for about 16% alcohol. So when it got to 12%, I "cold crashed" it, which is putting it in the freezer for a couple of hours to bring the temp down fast, then put it in the fridge for a week. What this did was to stop the yeast without killing them, and they all settled to the bottom for me. Then I siphoned (racked) the clear, 12% mead off into another jug with a campden tablet and potassium sorbate, and then used the dormant yeast in another batch right away. The mead came out right at 12%, right where I wanted it, and with just a touch of sweetness. After aging, it will be exactly what I had wanted. A first for me! <lol>

This is the way fatbloke recommended I do it, and I'll tell you, I'll have a very hard time doing it any other way now.

I guess that's a long winded way of saying "alcohol content ain't everything, and if I can do it, anybody can!"


Good luck,

Joe

DonMcJr
08-24-2013, 02:52 PM
Ok I have like 6 Packs of Red Star Montrachet Yeast (yeast, emulsifier:sorbitan monostearate (E491)

I also have 2 Bottles of Tannin, Acid Blend, Fermax Yeast Nutrient, Campden Tablets and pectic enzyme Solution.

Is that yeast ok for this? I am gonna go get Ken's book out of my truck and start reading hopefully it's in there and I can compare answers here to what I read...

https://sphotos-a-ord.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc1/1005813_10151538841385936_1197680167_n.jpg

DonMcJr
08-24-2013, 03:03 PM
Ok the yeast I have says to 13% and with 13 lbs of honey the alcohol is 13.66 % on the Mead Calculator....

Am I ok or should I drop it to 12 lbs of honey to get just below 13% (12.82%)

If I drop to 12 lbs my OG will be only 12.097 and it might not be the sweetness I want unless I backsweeten...

Or should I run to the local Brew Shop and get different yeast?

Edit: Called the local brew shop he has Lavin Ec-118 which is good for up 18%... do I need to run and grab some of that or am I good with the Montrachet 13%?

UKTony
08-24-2013, 03:25 PM
Ok the yeast I have says to 13% and with 13 lbs of honey the alcohol is 13.66 % on the Mead Calculator....

Am I ok or should I drop it to 12 lbs of honey to get just below 13% (12.82%)

If I drop to 12 lbs my OG will be only 12.097 and it might not be the sweetness I want unless I backsweeten...

Or should I run to the local Brew Shop and get different yeast?

Important note: please refer to point one of my top 10

The yeast are in control, not you. They are unpredictable little monsters overall; trying to get an exact finish point, based on an OG and a performance expectation of yeast, is a bit like trying to nail jello to a wall.

Far better to use the method Joe outlined or step feeding method, outlined by FatBlokes here: http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=21487 (in post #5)

Which is my preferred method. Otherwise you may miss the mark on getting the results you want.

Tony

DonMcJr
08-24-2013, 03:58 PM
Well I can't Stabilize with Sufate because I am allergic to Sulfides...

Blah!

So what I am thinking is this yeast I have is good up to 13% so it will stop fermenting before all the sugar is used up so then if I want to back sweeten I should be good to go... I hope! But there still will be sugar left too so I am thinking I am good...?

I think I am gonna go for it with 13 lbs of honey and a pint of Maple Syrup and the 13% yeast and see what happens....

(5 gallon Batch BTW)

joemirando
08-24-2013, 05:52 PM
Well, EC-1118 is a champagne yeast. It will indeed tolerate around 18% alcohol. The problem is that it, in addition to the sugar, eats up the flavors and aromas, leaving a fairly tasteless brew behind (ever had flat brute champagne?).

I would recommend just about anything BUT a champagne yeast (this includes Priemier Curvee, Pasteur Champagne and EC-1118) unless you want to stabilize and backsweeten with whatever you want for flavor.

Something like 71B would be good, as would Cote Des Blancs (but it ferments more slowly). I am still thinking that making the must to ferment at, say, 13 or 14 percent, let it ferment dry and let the lees settle out and clear some, then cold crash it hard, letting as much yeast as possible settle down to the bottom, then racking it carefully and letting it sit so you can see if there's any activity. You're kind of screwed if you can't use sulfites to stop the yeast. I'm trying to remember exactly what the sorbate does... I'm sure someone will chime in wtih that info.

But anyway, after a suitable amount of time (usually about 3x as long as you want to wait <grin>), you may be able to backsweeten it with syrup or syrup and honey, but you'll have to watch it for a long time and check hydrometer readings to make sure its not active.

And even then, its not a sure thing. I had one batch that I racked three times to get rid of sediment, let sit in a gallon jug for three months, then bottled, and it was three months AFTER ALL OF THAT that the little single celled bastards decided to go active again. Luckily, I noticed it before I had glass grenades going off in the cellar.

I know this is kind of convoluted, but I'm kind of working it out for myself too. Before too long, someone who REALLY knows what they're talking about will come along and say "forget what he said, just do <this>, <this> and <this> and you'll be okay". <grin>

Maze on,

Joe

UKTony
08-24-2013, 06:05 PM
Well I can't Stabilize with Sufate because I am allergic to Sulfides...


My wife is too, that's why I'm using FatBlokes method of continual feeding until the yeast just quit. I don't plan to use any additives to stop fermentation, I plan to just keep fermenting lower than where I want to be; then topping back up to where I want FG to be. So I ferment down to 1.000 for example then top up with honey to 1.010 etc, repeat ad nauseum, until they quit.

I'm not focused on the ABV because yeast are unreliable, I'm focused on the finish (on the dry side of medium). I know my yeast (WLP720) have a label that says 15% ABV, but they've gone past that now, 'cause they couldn't read the package. But soon enough they'll run out of steam, and the FG should be exactly where I want it. Then I'll rack it off and bulk age it. Simple!

joemirando
08-24-2013, 06:13 PM
Alternatively, you could add filtered grain alcohol or something relatively tasteless like vodka to kick the ABV well up over its tolerance.

DonMcJr
08-24-2013, 06:34 PM
Well I did it! Just got done and it's sitting in the basement waiting for fermatation to start!

The OG was almost right at 1.110.

Time will tell...