Templeton Farm

Contact Us

Templeton Farm
3410 Center Road
East Montpelier, Vt. 05651

802-223-0169 or 802-461-5352
Email Us

Maple Syrup Grades

There is no debate: pure maple syrup is delicious. The real question, especially among Vermonters is which maple syrup flavor is best — the lighter or stronger varieties? This, of course, is a matter of personal taste. Not sure? Our guide to maple syrup grades is here to help.

Before 2014, pure maple syrup was graded, Fancy, Grade A Medium Amber, Grade A Dark Amber, Grade B and Grade C. To some customers they believed Grade A maple syrup was somehow more refined and of a higher quality than Grades B and C. In fact, the quality of the syrups was exactly the same. The only differences were color and taste. Syrup made from sap collected early in the season has a lighter color, while syrup made later in the season, when the weather is warmer, is darker. The darker the syrup, the stronger the flavor.

In 2014, Vermont (the state with the highest production rate of maple syrup) introduced new, less confusing guidelines for maple syrup grading. In short, all syrups would be lettered “A,” but with more descriptive names.

In 2015, the Vermont system was officially adopted by the USDA, meaning you should now expect to see many maple syrup producers changing their labels. Here’s a guide to the four new maple syrup grades, along with their “old” names.

How is maple syrup graded?
Maple syrup is graded using four criteria: color, flavor, density and clarity.

Which grade is the best?
That depends on your taste!  Eash grade has the same density and clarity, but the color and intensity of flavor varies. Light syrup has subtle flavors, dark syrup has stronger flavors.

Why are some syrups lighter or darker?
The differences in color and flavor between grades is a result of a number of physical and chemical changes which occur during the collection and the evaporation process. Generally light syrups are made early in the season and darker syrups late in the season.

Which grade is the sweetest or thickest?
All maple syrup grades have the same amount of sugar (~66.9%) and are equally thick.

How can I be sure this is a Vermont syrup?
The best way is to look for a Vermont grade sticker or buy from a local producer.

What type of container should I choose?
Plastic containers are very durable so they ship and travel well. Plastic maintains syrup flavor very well for extended periods. Over time a slight darkenign of color may occur.
Glass is an excellent choice for gifts and allows you to see the product sparkle. Glass retains maple flavor the best, but syrup in glass exposed to light may darken over time.
Metal has a traditional appeal and maintains syrup color very well. Syrup should not be stored for a very long period in an open metal container, to avoid a "metallic" off-flavor.

How should I store maple syrup?
After opening, maple syrup should always be refrigerated or frozen. When you purchase our delicious maple syrup keep a small amount for daily use in the container and “refrigerated”. For the remainder of the syrup, long term storage 3-6 months or longer put maple syrup in a separate glass or plastic container and store in freezer. Take out what you need and refreeze the remainder. Freezing syrup will really maintain the flavor and quality for several years. Be sure to use only clean & odor-free storage containers.

Description of Maple Syrup Grades

OLD: “Fancy” or “Vermont Fancy”
NEW: Grade A Golden with Delicate Taste
This is the lightest of the new maple syrup grades. Light golden color with a mild, delicate taste. Excellent as a table syrup or over ice cream or yogurt

OLD: Grade A Medium Amber, Grade A Dark Amber
NEW: “Grade A Amber with Rich Taste
A light amber color and full bodied flavor, this class of syrup is the product of choice for many consumers who desire the classic maple syrup flavor.

OLD: Grade A Dark Amber & Grade B
NEW: “Grade A | Dark with Robust Taste
A dark amber color with a more pronounced maple flavor, will satisfy those consumers who desire the strong flavors of what has been known as Grade B

OLD: Grade C
NEW: “Grade A Very Dark with Strong Taste
Nearly black, this syrup has a strong flavor that translates well to cooking, where the maple flavor will carry through to the finished dish