There is a sugar bush on the family farm. Growing up we would tap the maple trees, collect the sap, boil it and make our own maple syrup every spring. I’ve moved away, but I still make the trip back every year to help out. The last couple years I’ve also convinced a few of my friends to go up and help out too. Not only is it a great chance to get out of the city and enjoy some nature and good physical labor, we also get to take home some of the best maple syrup around.
You are probably wondering what all this has to do with beer. Well last year I made an effort to grab some of the last runnings specifically to put into a beer. I wanted some of the last runnings because the sap starts to get more impurities and the syrup becomes darker. This should be good for beer because it should result in more ‘maple’ flavor shining through into the end product.
After getting the syrup, the next part was coming up with a beer recipe that would be worthy to add it to. I knew it had to be something more than just a maple brown or porter. This was when my girlfriend came up with the fantastic idea for ‘French Toast Beer’! We spent several weeks defining and tweaking the recipe, and yesterday we brewed it. The base could probably best be described as a lightly hopped, light brown ale, with bready/toasty malts. To that we added some cinnamon, a little nutmeg, and some vanilla. We used Wyeast British Ale yeast to ferment, and we’re waiting until after primary fermentation completes before adding the syrup.
I’m really hoping this beer is good, for several reasons. 1, it’s the first beer I’m making with maple syrup, stuff that I helped make myself, and something I’ve been doing since I was a kid. B, this is first beer that I’ve made together with my girlfriend, it was a fun brew day. And third, my brother is also making a maple syrup beer, for a little good-natured competition.
You can check out the recipe here: 6GB – French Toast Beer