Late maple syrup color is very light compared to syrup a couple days earlier

Asked April 1, 2019, 12:53 PM EDT

I tapped my two maple trees for the first time this year, from March 18 - 27. The sap was clear and the trees had not budded during this time. My first couple batches of syrup turned out a very nice medium - dark amber with great maple flavor and syrup consistency. All batches since have only cooked to a very light gold color at 218 degrees. I tried cooking further, which just made for overly thick product of the same color. The flavor of the light colored syrup is only slightly maply, mostly just tastes sweet. The consistency of this later syrup is not as thick as the earlier, darker stuff either. Question: is this normal for sap from same two trees over the course of just a few days to produce such different syrup? I had read that syrup can change over the season, but thought the lighter syrup occurred first, and product would darken over time, not the reverse as in my case. Thanks for any info.

Kalamazoo County Michigan forestry maple syrup maple syrup production

1 Response

I did some searching on the internet and found that others have experienced the same phenomenon in the past. Temperature, light, boiling depth and the fact that mother nature likes to throw curve balls were listed as reasons. Here is a blog that discusses the point (in 2011):
This article describes how the color is attributed to microbes and tree physiology.
With hopes this helps to put your mind at ease. It's not something you did, just the natural way of things.
With hopes you enjoyed your maple tapping experience and that you try again next year!
Take care,