Grade B Maple Syrup
Rich maple flavors are at the forefront in Grade B maple syrup. While the sweeter taste of Grade A is subdued, lighter, and used as table syrup, Grade B is primarily used in cooking and baking. Both syrups are highly fermentable and can complement several different styles of beer.
Cold weather is a must for producing maple syrup. Quebec, Canada produces around three-quarters of the world’s maple syrup, while Vermont has the highest output in the U.S., at around 5.5% of the global supply. Minnesota has its fair share of maple syrup producers. Minnesota is among 19 states and three Canadian provinces that produce pure (no artificial flavors, additives, colorings, or preservatives) maple syrup. The harvest season occurs when the temperature drops below freezing at night, and warms to above 40°F during the day. The starch rises from the roots and is converted to a sugary sap. Sap harvest lasts anywhere from four to eight weeks, depending on the weather. The sap run in Minnesota is usually between March 15 and April 20.
After the watered-down liquid is tapped from sugar, red, or black maple trees, the liquid is boiled until the proper sugar content is achieved. Grade B maple syrup primarily consists of sucrose, a highly fermentable sugar. Earlier season harvest of maple syrup tends to be lighter while the later harvest window produces darker, Grade B syrup. The later harvest syrup comes from deeper within the tree and has a pronounced woody, earthy character. This character fits nicely with many Scottish ales. The Wedge sources their bulk Grade B maple syrup from Wood’s Sugar Bush, in Spring Valley, WI, about 40 miles east of the Twin Cities.
Maple 80 Shilling
The syrup was added to the whirlpool of this beer. A whirlpool is used after flameout (end of the boil). The centrifugal force of a whirlpool creates a cone of trub near the center of the kettle, which attracts hop matter and protein. For an interesting experiment, try splitting the quantity of syrup and adding half at flameout and half at the beginning or middle of the boil for a more pronounced earthy character.
This easy-drinking, light-bodied, Scottish session ale pairs well with lighter, crisp, semi-sweet, and earthy foods. Try pairing the Maple 80 Shilling with the earthy butternut squash and wild rice in the Butternut Harvest Rice side dish from the salad case at The Wedge. The sweet and herbal flavors in The Wedge-made chicken sausage will also pair well. If you have breakfast for dinner, try Grade B maple syrup on some waffles, while enjoying a Maple 80 Shilling. The use of non-typical brewing ingredients is a great way to try something different in your homebrew. Grade B maple syrup from The Wedge is the perfect fermentable addition for a Scottish Export ale.