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Thread: Barrel-Aged Syrup QUESTIONS???

  1. #1
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    Question Barrel-Aged Syrup QUESTIONS???

    We are experimenting with barrel-aged syrup for the first time. I know a lot of you have perfected this already, so I have a few questions.

    1. Labeling -- Does the nutrition label change at all?
    2. Is it required to add "may contain trace amounts of alcohol" to the ingredient list? If we heat the syrup before bottling, after it comes out of the barrel, doesn't that take any trace amount of alcohol off, leaving only flavored syrup?
    3. Has anyone ever used a barrel other than one that had contained bourbon? For example, rum or whiskey?
    4. Any other insider tips you'd be willing to share?

    THANK YOU!!!





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  2. #2
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    My opinion is that the nutrition labeling need not change at all for barrel aged syrup, but I don't know for certain and I don't think anyone has done the testing as far as I am aware. I have looked at several large producers labels and they all seem essentially the same as straight up maple syrup.

    You should look into how your state handles the "trace alcohol" factor. I believe New York does require something on the label but Vermont does not currently. There doesn't seem to be a consistent approach to this.

    People use all sorts of different used barrels for aging syrup in. I have only used bourbon barrels but if you do some market research you'll find lots of different possibilities.
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  3. #3
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    I'm lazy so I just bought a 55 gallon barrel from a large packer. They do it a little different than most. They only fill their barrels 1/3 full and then lay them on their side and let them turn for 24hours. Gives them a good flavor because of increased contact with surface. Now they are taking that and putting it in stout barrels to giving it a different flavor. They put on their label less than 2% alchol. They also go to Kentucky and get barrels the same day they are dumped and put syrup in them winthin 48 hours.

  4. #4
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    I've tried bourbon barrels,rye barrels and whiskey barrels and they all tasted good. I'm not a whiskey drinker so the all tasted the same to me.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by upsmapleman View Post
    They also go to Kentucky and get barrels the same day they are dumped and put syrup in them winthin 48 hours.
    Maybe a dumb question, but I wonder how much of the flavor comes from sitting on contact with the wood versus just the small amount of residual bourbon in the barrel. In other words, could you get a similar product by simply adding a small amount of bourbon to your syrup prior to bottling?
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrgagne99 View Post
    could you get a similar product by simply adding a small amount of bourbon to your syrup prior to bottling?
    yes, I have done this and it tasted good. Not as strong as barrel aged though and when the alcohol was dissipated off, the bourbon flavor was weaker yet.
    Matt,
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by minehart gap View Post
    yes, I have done this and it tasted good. Not as strong as barrel aged though and when the alcohol was dissipated off, the bourbon flavor was weaker yet.
    How much did you add (ratio)?

  8. #8
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    I used 4 oz. Woodford Reserve single barrel bourbon in 1/2 gallon of syrup. Everyone I talked with mentioned that the higher quality the bourbon, the better the taste.

    Stirred the two together while syrup was 160 degrees. Tried it cold too but the ingredients didn't mix as well.

    Keep in mind, you are adding an ingredient so it is no longer pure maple syrup. And, added ingredients might violate your food license.
    Last edited by minehart gap; 06-11-2021 at 08:13 AM.
    Matt,
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  9. #9
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    I've had good success making bourbon barrel aged maple syrup. I heat the syrup to 190-200, then pump it into a recently emptied barrel and then when full I seat the bung. I seem to do it a little differently than many others. I spray the barrel with a mist of clean water 2-3x a day for 7-10 days, then I cut back to 1x a day for 10-14 days, then every other day for about a week and then 2x a week until the aging is done. As I spray it I turn the barrel. I do this by setting it on a frame much like a moving dolly but the wheels are all rigid. I do that to keep the barrel staves swelled to keep any leakage to a minimum.
    I age a 5 gal bbl 3-3.5 mos, a 10 gal 6-7 mos, and a 15 gal 9-10 mos.. About 2 weeks before the times stated I open the bung and get a small sample. It has never been ready on that first test. I then get a new sample every 7-10 days until the taste is a perfect balance between maple and bourbon flavor.
    Once I decide it's ready I pump it into my finisher and heat it to about 190F. Then I shut if off, place the cover on the finisher and let it set overnight. The next day I heat it to about 175-190, send it thru the filter press and into my water jacketed bottler. There I heat it to 185-187F and let it set overnight leaving it at that temperature. The next day I bottle it. I've tried a few different bottles but the flask shape seems to be what everyone wants. I pack in 2 different sizes of flask shaped bottles.
    I had labels made, which state "less than 2% alcohol". I never had it tested, but my thinking is that the 2 heats would have boiled off any alcohol that might have been in it as pumped from the oak barrel.
    The method I've used gets a very high return customer rate to buy more. I have had a few customers who said they had tried others but they usually said the liked mine better, they never said they liked the other one better.
    Ever since my first batch my bourbon barrel aged syrup has been a major component of my yearly sales. In 2017 I packed my first 2 batches, and dollar wise it was about 1/3 of my years sales even though the first barrel was bottled in late August. In 2018, and 2019 it accounted for 49-52% of my years sales. In 2020 it fell back to 41% but that was because my regular syrup sales shot up significantly. So far in 2021 I haven't yet calculated it, but it looks to be about 50% of my dollar sales. I won't determine the final until January 2022.
    Dave Klish about 400 taps, down from much more. Retired from collecting and boiling in 2021. Mostly because of a bad hip.
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