Everyone loves maple syrup drizzled over morning pancakes. But there are more uses to this golden brown syrup. You can use it to make maple mead and wine. But how?
Can you ferment maple syrup? Yes, you can ferment maple syrup. Maple syrup fermented with honey makes maple mead. If you want to skip the honey and ferment only the maple syrup, you will end up with maple wine.
Continue reading to learn all about fermenting maple syrup and how it’s done to make maple mead and wine. You will also learn what fermented maple syrup tastes like and if you can ferment fake maple syrup.
What Is Maple Syrup Anyway?
Maple syrup is a staple ingredient in any kitchen. It is a commonly used sweetener and the most popular pancake topping.
Aside from its uses in sweet dishes, maple syrup is also used in savory recipes. You can use it to make delicious sauces and glazes.
But notwithstanding its popularity, not everyone knows what maple syrup is made of.
Maple syrup is made from maple tree sap. The sap of the maple tree is boiled until the water content evaporates, leaving behind a mass with a high concentration of sugars.
The sugars then caramelize which leads to the golden brown color of maple syrup.
All-natural maple syrup has a rich sweet flavor resembling the taste of brown sugar. The darker the syrup, the more robust is the flavor.
Can You Ferment Maple Syrup?
You can ferment maple syrup. Unlike maple sap that is not high enough in sugar to ferment, real maple syrup can be fermented.
This is because when maple sap is cooked, the concentration of sugar in it rises which creates a suitable environment for fermentation.
You can ferment real maple syrup to make an alcoholic drink called acerglyn. You can also ferment maple syrup to make wine and ale.
Alcerglyn is maple mead. As you may know, mead is honey wine. It is produced by fermenting honey and water.
When making maple mead, or acerglyn, a part of honey is replaced with pure maple syrup. For maple mead, you can use orange wedges, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and even raisins to add warm notes to the drink.
While many people think maple mead and maple wine are the same thing, there is a huge difference. There is no honey used in the making of maple wine.
How To Ferment Maple Syrup
There are different methods for fermenting maple syrup depending on the drink you want to make.
But whether you are making maple mead or wine, you need to make sure you have a good amount of pure maple syrup and all the needed equipment.
We recommend getting a home brewer’s kit. These usually include fermenters, airlocks, a thermometer, a hydrometer, yeast, as well as various containers, bottles, and siphons.
How To Make Maple Mead (Acerglyn)
To brew maple mead, you will need the following ingredients:
- 2 pounds clover honey
- 12.5 ounces Grade B pure maple syrup
- 1 gallon dechlorinated water
- 1 packet white wine yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon yeast nutrient
Here are step-by-step instructions for brewing maple mead (acerglyn) at home:
- Start with sanitizing all your brewing equipment. Even the scissors you will be using to open the yeast packet should be sanitized.
- Pour 1 gallon of dechlorinated water into a jar.
- Next, pour the honey into the water using a funnel.
- Add the maple syrup into the water and honey mixture.
- Shake the jar to aerate the mixture to aid the fermentation process.
- Add the white wine yeast and yeast nutrient.
- Now it’s time to use your hydrometer. Take a gravity reading and make sure it is in the range between 1.042-1.090.
- Install the airlock and the stopper.
- Let the mixture ferment for 30 days. Make sure the temperature of the room is between 66-76°F.
- Give the mead a taste test after 30 days. If you find it to be too sweet, continue fermenting for another week.
- Bottle the mead when it’s ready.
Can You Make Maple Syrup Into Wine?
If you don’t want any honey in your drink, you can only ferment maple syrup. Doing this will produce maple wine.
Here’s everything you need to ferment maple syrup into maple wine:
- 5 pounds pure maple syrup
- 1 gallon distilled water
- 3 teaspoons malic acid
- 1/4 teaspoon wine tannin
- 1 ½ teaspoon tartaric acid
- 1 teaspoon yeast energizer
- 5 grams champagne yeast
How To Make Maple Wine
Here’s how to make maple wine out of maple syrup:
- Start with sanitizing all the tools you will be using. Whether it’s maple mead or wine you are making, sanitizing your equipment is key.
- Add 1 gallon of water into your brewing container.
- Then pour in the maple syrup.
- Stir to combine the maple syrup with water. Mixing will create bubbles in the water which is good for the fermentation process.
- Take the gravity reading. If you get 1.100 it means that the maple wine will have a 10% or higher ABV.
- The next step is adding the additives. Add the malic acid and tartaric acid. These two prevent the mixture from going bad. They also impact the flavor of the finished wine.
- Then add the wine tannins. This ingredient affects the mouthfeel of the drink. Tannins are naturally found in wood and bark.
- After you have added the wine tannins, add the yeast energizer. These are nutrients that support the yeast added into the drink. Adding yeast energizer is necessary as the sugars in maple syrup are not enough to support the fermentation.
- The last ingredient to add is the yeast.
- When you have added the yeast, shake the mixture aerate it.
- Cover the container and put the airlock on.
- Let the mixture sit in a cool dark place for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, take another gravity reading to learn about the alcohol level of your drink. Bottle the wine when you are happy with the flavor.
What Does Fermented Maple Syrup Taste Like?
The flavor of fermented maple syrup may vary depending on the method of fermentation as well as the type of maple syrup you are using.
Maple mead, for example, has a dry yet refreshing flavor. As mead makers claim, maple mead fermented from grade B maple syrup produces mead with a richer flavor.
The flavor of maple wine can be affected by different factors too. If you age maple wine in whiskey barrels it may taste similar to bourbon. Adding lemon juice into the maple wine, on the other hand, tones down the sweetness of the drink.
In general, though, maple wine is sweet but not sugary.
What Is Imitation Maple Syrup And Can You Ferment It?
Imitation maple syrup, also known as fake maple syrup, is the artificial counterpart of this sweetener.
Imitation maple syrup doesn’t contain real maple syrup. The ingredient list of fake maple syrups may vary from brand to brand. One of the most common ingredients used to produce imitation maple syrup is high-fructose corn syrup.
The latter is not particularly good for you as consuming it in large amounts or too often may lead to high blood pressure, insulin resistance, as well as weight gain.
With certain brands, it may get worse. Some imitation maple syrups contain artificial additives for better color and flavor alongside food additives for improved consistency and shelf life.
So, real maple syrup is healthier than fake maple syrup as far as the ingredient lists are concerned though both contain a significant amount of sugar.
Now the question is can you ferment fake maple syrup? The answer is yes. You can ferment fake maple syrup so long as it contains any kind of natural sugar. Another question is if it will turn out well?
The maple flavor in artificial maple syrups is rather flat. When fermented, you may end up with overpowering cidery notes.
If you do decide to ferment imitation maple syrup, try adding fenugreek seeds. They produce a better maple-like flavor and aroma than artificial maple flavorings.
How Do You Use Fermented Maple Syrup?
If you have fermented maple syrup into wine or mead, you can obviously drink it as is.
But if you have a bottle of this syrup in your pantry and it has accidentally fermented, don’t discard it immediately. First, check it to see if is still good to use. Give the syrup a sniff test.
If it has a beer-like mild yeasty smell, it is still good for consumption. You can use fermented maple syrup in hot sauces and chutneys.
As a bottle of fermented maple syrup is not enough to make maple mead or wine, it is best to use it as an additive for other drinks.
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