Fundamentals in Grading: Flavor (Video by UVM Extension)

The below video was produced by maple experts at the University of Vermont Extension, and narrated by fellow sugar maker Mark Isselhardt. The video covers the basics of judging flavor in maple syrup and how the different grades of syrup tend to differ in taste.

Tips From This Video

  1. Darker syrup tends to be stronger in flavor
  2. When tasting a syrup sample:
    • Make sure the sample is at room temperature
    • Smell the syrup before taking a sip
    • Allow the syrup to hit all areas of your tongue before swallowing it
    • After swallowing, note any lingering flavors or sensations (a.k.a. mouthfeel)
    • Note the texture (Was it waxy or gritty or oily?)
    • Note the thickness (Did it seem too heavy or too runny?)
    • Note any unexpected, unpleasant or foreign flavors (Off flavors)
  3. UVM has developed a free, downloadable flavor evaluation chart called “Map of Maple
  4. Taste test every batch of syrup you produce to ensure quality
  5. When trying to identify the cause of an off flavor, keep in mind that there may be more than one cause

Please note that not all equipment shown in this video is Smoky Lake brand equipment. However, the information is still valuable and the video is a great educational tool. Many thanks to the University of Vermont Extension who offers a vast library of resources/tutorials at no charge. It’s definitely worth checking out!

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