Author Topic: Maple "Mead?"  (Read 2399 times)

Offline noopy51

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Maple "Mead?"
« on: May 20, 2011, 11:52:19 AM »
I started thinking about mead and the process of turning honey, water and yeast into a delicious alcoholic beverage. Then a thought crossed my mind. If you could turn what's basically sugary honey water into alcohol, couldn't you do the same thing, but instead of using honey, you used real maple syrup? I see many similarities with honey and maple, and I know maple syrup is used in brewing all the time, so I don't think I'm too far out in left field. I was wondering if any of you have thought about this, or maybe even tried brewing a batch of 'maple mead' on their own!

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Offline theDarkSide

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Re: Maple "Mead?"
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2011, 11:57:35 AM »
Acerglyn.

Here's a place in NH that uses Maple Syrup, although I don't think the use 100% syrup and no honey.

http://www.saphousemeadery.com/Themeadery.php
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Maple "Mead?"
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2011, 12:43:58 PM »
Have not made it. have wanted to for quite a while. expensive. More expensive than honey, Organic honey can be had for about 3-5 bucks a pound and good maple syrup runs more like 10-12. and you need more of it. but if you are so inclined and do it, send me a bottle.

I have read that it has a very nice sherry like character.
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Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Maple "Mead?"
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2011, 12:50:43 PM »
I started thinking about mead and the process of turning honey, water and yeast into a delicious alcoholic beverage. Then a thought crossed my mind. If you could turn what's basically sugary honey water into alcohol, couldn't you do the same thing, but instead of using honey, you used real maple syrup?

A guy in our local HB club taps his own maple trees and uses the sap as brewing liquor for what he calls a "maple wine." It's quite good, but it's not a true mead. I keep telling him to throw a cup or so of honey into it so he can enter it in competition as a specialty mead.

I've brewed with maple sugar a few times, but only to make beer. The maple character is relatively delicate, so you're better off using lower grade maple syrup (paradoxically, Grade B maple syrup has more maple flavor and aroma than the "better" stuff). I've never done it, but I'd imagine that you could get nice maple notes if you used it as a priming sugar.

Unless you're tapping your own trees, given the expense of maple syrup, I'd do a mead using mostly neutral-flavored honey, then "feed" the fermentation with maple syrup so that the maple dominates flavor and aroma.

Finally, only use pure maple sugar. Artificial maple sugar has a base of corn syrup, which produces "cidery" notes when fermented. Artificial maple flavorings tend to be one-dimensional. If you want to create "maple-like" flavors and aromas, add fenugreek seeds instead - they're used to make artificial maple.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Maple "Mead?"
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2011, 12:55:29 PM »
I have a BW in bottles for about a month now that was brewed with about 2 lbs of maple syrup and bottle primed with another 6 or so ounces (not enough by the way). There is a VERY subtle maple character, however like with honey, alot of what we think about as maple flavour is so closely associated with the sweetness than when the sweetness is removed by fermentation it's hard to pin down the 'maple' or 'honey' as the same thing you taste on your waffles.

and +1 on the 'lower' grade syrup. Lowest grade, darkest amber you can find. The grading system arose when maple was used as a sugar substitute and those using it didnt' want that backwoods flavour in their cakes.
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Offline roxanne

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Re: Maple "Mead?"
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2011, 04:33:45 PM »
I have brewed with 100% maple syrup.  I did a starting gravity of about 1.110 (similar to a standard mead).  Maple syrup is less concentrated than honey - so 1 gallon of maple syrup makes about 3 gallons of fermented maple (similar to 1 gallon honey making 4 gallons of mead at the same gravity).  The fermentation finished at about 1.015.

It was a very intereting product - fairly bland for the first 6 months or so.  Then it went into an odd phase for a while (some described it as 'soy-like').  After about 2 years it reached the sherry like stage, with noticeable maple notes.  Make sure to use grade B maple syrup.

It can't be entered (yet) - but I have been thinking it's time for an "alternate fermentables" category.  I've also played with 100% agave nectar (as have others), 100% date palm sugar (odd aroma, but it dissipates in about 5 minutes to a great taste), brown rice syrup (don't bother), and hope to do a few others.  I start with 1 gallon batches with these 100% fermentations to see what they are like.  It's a great way to learn about the flavors that a different sugar will impart to beer or mead - and you create some interesting products on their own.
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