Skip to content
Photo of maple syrup bottles with white caps

Know Your Syrup: Making the Grade

Whether you buy Branon Family Maple Orchards’ pure Vermont maple syrup by the 55-gallon drum, a plastic gallon jug, a decorative glass container, or in our unique Maple to Go! pouches, you should know that every batch meets strict quality standards and is graded on four characteristics: color, clarity, density, and flavor.

The “Maple Syrup Standards for Grades of Maple Syrup” are guidelines established by the U.S. government to define the quality and flavor of different grades of maple syrup. These standards are used by producers to ensure that their maple syrup meets certain criteria, and by consumers to choose the type of maple syrup that best suits their needs.

In the United States, there are four grades of maple syrup recognized by the USDA. We produce all four grades.

Golden Color

With a delicate taste, this grade was once referred to as “fancy.” It has a more subtle maple flavor than the other grades and has a lighter color.

Medium Amber

Featuring a rich taste, this is the most popular for all-around use. It can be used in cooking, poured over pancakes, used in cocktails, or as a base for dressings and sauces.

Dark Amber

Another all-around all-star, dark amber has a robust maple taste and can be used in cooking and baking as well as simply poured over waffles or ice cream. Its full-bodied flavor makes for a great coffee sweetener.

Very Dark

Featuring a strong maple taste and a darker hue, this is perfect for cooking and baking. Very Dark provides a strong maple flavor in bread, cookies, ice cream, or barbecue sauce.

Generally, the lighter grades are produced earlier in the season when the sap is less concentrated and has a milder flavor and lighter color. The darker grades are produced later in the season when the sap is more concentrated and have a more robust flavor and darker color.

Remember to always refrigerate your syrup after opening. Also, it can be frozen to preserve maple’s fresh flavor and maintain its color characteristic. Place in the freezer and remove any number of times – syrup does not freeze it just gets deliciously thick. Just remove it from the freezer and place it on the shelf or sink, let it sit out for a short time before use. It can be placed back in the freezer.

Back To Top