Here you'll find a guide to the four grades of syrup produced by Fortune Farms here in Lanark County, Ontario.
Maple syrup is graded based on its colour or light transmittance. All grades have the same sugar and mineral content, but the flavour changes. Here is a description of flavours and grades.
Golden Maple Syrup
Golden syrup has a delicate flavour and a light transmission of 75% or higher. This syrup is used as a table syrup and for topping on ice cream or glazed carrots. It is the best syrup to use for making maple butter and maple candy. This syrup has a very sweet creamy flavour with hints of nuts. Golden syrup is usually made in the early season when the sun is less intense and the weather is cooler. The sugar in the sap is at that time is almost 100% sucrose. Golden grade is the favourite for the Fortune Family.
Amber Maple Syrup
Amber syrup has a robust flavour and a light transmission of 50% to 75%. This is the most popular grade of maple syrup. It is used as a table syrup as well as cooking. The flavour intensity decreases as the light transmission increases. Lighter amber syrup typically has a buttery flavour with nutty notes with stronger tones of caramel as the syrup darkens. Because of the wide range of flavours in the amber syrup we sort into amber syrup into light amber and medium amber which correspond to Light and Medium of the previous grading system.
Dark Maple Syrup
Dark syrup has a strong flavour and has a light transmission between 25% to 50%. The higher the light transmission the lighter in colour of the syrup and the lighter the flavour. Dark syrup typically exhibits a strong caramel and smoky flavour as well as earthy notes. It is used as table syrup, for cooking and for marinating. Dark syrup is usually made towards the end of the syrup season as the weather warms and the sunlight increases in intensity. The sugar molecules in the sap change from almost 100% sucrose to sucrose and fructose. The fructose in the sap as well as increasing microbial growth contribute to the darker colour and the strong flavour.
Very Dark Maple Syrup
Very dark syrup has a very strong flavour and a light transmittance of 25% or less. The flavour is widely variable due to the complex changes that are occurring in the sap as the maple trees come out of dormancy. Typically the core flavour of very dark syrup is heavy caramel and licorice with notes of dark chocolate. Very dark syrup is usually made during the last few days of the syrup season. It is challenging to make and sometimes difficult to filter. This syrup is used as table syrup for those people who like a very strong flavour. It is also good for cooking for such dishes a maple baked beans.
We have a limited supply of very dark grade.