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Acerglyn - When to add the Maple Syrup?

BobbyValentine

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May 10, 2020
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I am currently brewing my first mead, an acerglyn and I have read conflicting accounts about when to add the maple syrup. Many have commented that maple syrup flavour is lost in the primary ferment and advise only back sweetening, which is the direction I have opted to take, yet so many recipes include maple syrup in the must and I have just come across this Reddit post, where the user curgoth writes...

"... four different batches of acerglyn... Two were fermented with a blend of maple and honey, one with just honey, one with just maple. All were then stabilized and back-sweetened up to 1.020. The all maple batch tasted much, much more maple-y than the others, and the one that only met maple at back-sweetening isn't all that maple flavoured"

I just want to make my acerglyn the best it can be! Any input would be greatly appreciated.
 

EricHartman

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Mar 4, 2019
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That is a difficult question as the answer is best determined by your tastes. You will likely have to repeat that experiment you quoted and figure out which one of those you like the best. There will be much more to learn from 4 batches of 1 or 1/2 gallon than a 5 gallon batch; especially when you don't know what you want it to taste like. Personally I don't like the maple flavor so I suspect we would land at very different happy places if we were to both run that experiment. I would likely prefer an undertone at best whereas you might want it boldly punching your mouth!

We all get super excited at the start of this process and we want to make enough mead to intoxicate the majority of the nearby population. A larger number smaller batches has a bunch of advantages over fewer larger ones. You get to practice and hone your protocols more, transfers/racking are less complicated; because you have reduced expense per batch you gain more flexibility & less risk with experimentation. Once you really like how a small batch turned out then you can confidently scale up to 5+ gallons and not have to worry that you are making $300 of mud mouth.
 
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Foothiller

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Apr 1, 2015
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Agreeing with and adding to Eric’s response, another dimension to try in this experiment is the level of sweetness to backsweeten to. My experience with maple is that it loses a lot of its flavor in fermentation, like the reputation is. But that is with my general preference being off-dry to semi-sweet meads, and I suspect that sweeter levels might bring the maple flavor back. With the 1.020 that you referenced being a middle point with each of these formulas, you could backsweeten some samples to less than that, and others to more. I’d enjoy reading about your results.