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Maple Grade School: Where All Syrup Is Above Average

By Cook's Illustrated Published January 2009

Grade inflation has trickled down from school to syrup: Although there are four grades of maple syrup set by the U.S. government according to color, three of them are A and the lowest is B. Vermont used to have grades A, B, and C but got ride of C and added a new grade called Fancy. Keeping a maple syrup report card can be confusing because individual states have their own standards and Canada bucks the trend with grades as low as D.

The federal grades are:

Grade A Light Amber: Very light gold, with mild maple flavor; in Vermont, also known as Fancy.

Grade A Medium Amber: Slightly darker, with more maple flavor.

Grade A Dark Amber: Even darker, with a stronger maple flavor.

Grade B: Sometimes called "cooking syrup," very dark, with intense maple flavor.