Frequently Asked Questions

What sets Beyers Maple Syrup apart from others?

At Beyers Maple Farm are very attentive to detail due to our Marine background and we take great pride in our high quality Maple products. Our sap is used within 24 hours of collecting it. Fresh is best when it comes to sap. With fresh sap comes higher quality syrup since microbes can start to grow once sap is removed from the tree. We triple filter our syrup to provide the best clarity and taste. We abide by the state regulated density standards and also use a grading kit to provide the best clarity, density and flavor of our syrup. We use a wood fired evaporator which is a traditional method that aids in the distinct "old fashioned" flavor of Maple Syrup. Some producers will blend light and dark grades of syrup together to achieve a desired color blend. We don't blend our syrup because we know that doing so could cause the syrup to have an off flavor which would decrease it's quality. Every ounce of syrup that we make is overseen and made by Mark and I. We are committed to selling only the highest quality Maple Syrup products to our customers.  
How is Maple Syrup made?

First we have to collect sap from a Maple tree, usually the Sugar Maple, Red Maple or Black Maple. We make a "taphole" by drilling a hole in the side of the maple tree and then gently driving a tap or spile into the hole in the tree. The term spile comes from the word "to spill", essentially "spilling" the sap out of the tree. The sap runs through the tap and into a bucket where it is collected. Sap looks like water; it's clear and has a slightly higher density than water. If you taste it in this form, it will taste like water with a hint of sweetness. When the buckets are full, we empty them into a transfer tank, transport it back to our sugar shanty and then pump the sap into a large storage tank. The storage tank is plumbed to our evaporator. Gravity allows the sap to flow into the evaporator from our storage tank and is controlled by valves. The job of the evaporator is to boil the sap, evaporating off the extra water and condensing it into Maple Syrup. Evaporators come in different sizes and efficiency. The more efficient the evaporator is the shorter the time it will take to evaporate the sap. A shorter evaporation time, will substantially increase the quality of syrup. On average, it takes approximately 40 gallons of sap to produce 1 gallon of syrup.
What are ideal conditions for sap to flow?

For a strong sap flow to occur, temperatures need to be below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit) during the night, and above freezing during the day. The temperature fluctuations cause a positive pressure to develop inside the tree, creating a strong flow of sap.
Does tapping hurt the tree?

As long as the correct technique and equipment is used, tapping trees does not harm them. We use 5/16 taps rather than 7/16 taps because the smaller hole prevents microbial contamination and less damage to the tree. The best quality syrup is made from sap that is free of microbial contamination. The amount of sap collected from each tree is minimal compared to how much a tree produces, therefore the amount of sap we collect does not hurt the tree. Tapholes in healthy trees will usually close within 1-3 years.
Why does Pure Maple Syrup cost so much compared to fake syrup?

There are quite a few reasons why Pure Maple Syrup is more expensive than fake syrup: first and foremost, it's a lot of hard labor and takes a lot of time and energy to achieve quality syrup. From washing all the equipment (buckets, bags, taps, pans etc), to tapping trees, collecting sap and boiling, there's a lot of preparation involved even before any syrup is made. And although Sugaring Season is a few short weeks, getting ready for the season takes all year long. We have to cut, split and stack wood so that it is dry by the time the season arrives. It takes a whole year for the wood to dry so we have to cut and split the wood the year before. We get our wood by pruning the Sugarbush (our Maple Trees) and removing dead limbs and trees so that the Maple Trees don't have to compete for sunshine and nutrients. With all the humidity in the shanty from the evaporator, repairs and maintenance to the sugar shanty need to be made like putting a new roof on our shanty for example. The equipment for making Maple Syrup is quite expensive. Evaporators alone can cost thousands of dollars. Taps, buckets, lids, tubing, pumps, storage and transfer tanks can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the size of the operation. Each year we upgrade and buy new equipment which makes our business run more efficiently and also makes for better quality syrup. Of course rising gas prices play a part in the cost as well since we use chain saws, wood splitters, a tractor, truck and an all terrain vehicle to get the sap and wood out of the Sugarbush. Last but not least, with the amount of mud that comes with the Sugaring Season, we have to maintain the trails that go through the Sugarbush. This consists of drainage, gravel, fill and planting different kinds of grasses that will help keep the soil intact.
How is Maple Syrup graded and what's the difference between the grades?

New York State Maple Syrup has 4 different grades classified by color. This information was revised from the International Maple Syrup Institute. The grading system changed as of Jan 1, 2015.
NY Grade A Golden Color Delicate Taste: Pure maple syrup in this class has a light to more pronounced golden color and a delicate taste or mild taste. It is the product of choice for consumers preferring a lighter colored maple syrup with a delicate or mild taste. Maple Cream and Maple Candy are generally made from Golden Color. 
NY Grade A Amber Color Rich Taste: Pure maple syrup in this class has a light amber color and a rich or full bodied taste. It is the product of choice for consumers preferring a full bodied tasting syrup of medium taste intensity. It is the most popular grade for table syrup.
NY Grade A Dark Color Robust Taste: Pure maple syrup in this class has a dark color and a more robust or stronger taste than syrup in lighter color classes. It is the product of choice for consumers preferring a dark colored syrup with substantial or robust taste. It is great for table use or cooking and baking. Dark Color also makes great Maple Sugar. 
NY Grade A Very Dark Color Strong Taste: Pure maple syrup in this class has a very strong taste. It is generally recommended for cooking purposes but some consumers may prefer it for table use.
The beginning of the season is when we get lighter grades of syrup. As the season progresses, the syrup naturally gets darker. We use a grading kit to achieve the correct color and grade.
How should Maple Syrup be stored?

During production, Maple Sap is heated and boiled to evaporate water from the sap, thus condensing it into syrup. Heating it also kills any microorganisms that might otherwise be present in the sap. Since Maple Syrup and other Maple products have no preservatives in them, bacteria, mold and yeast can grow if not properly stored. To maintain the highest quality Maple Syrup, unopened containers at the very least, should be stored in a cool, dark place where there aren't major temperature and humidity fluctuations. The absolute best way to store Maple Syrup is in the freezer. The syrup won't freeze solid due to the high sugar content. Another benefit of storing it in the freezer is that the color and flavor are maintained for a longer period of time. Once a container of syrup is opened and the seal is broken, store the amount you will use in a 2 week period in the refrigerator and then store the remainder in the freezer. If by chance bacteria, mold or yeast are present, skim off all visible growth, reheat the syrup to 180 degrees and store in a clean container.