How to Use a Maple Syrup Hydrometer
Hot Test for Maple Syrup:
- Syrup should be tested directly from the boiling pan. Do not let the syrup sit or cool.
- Place syrup sample in a sample cup at least 8" deep. (Hydrometer Cup)
- Hold the hydrometer cup over a pail or your boiling pan and slowly lower the hydrometer into the syrup. Be sure to hold onto the hydrometer tightly until it is floating on its own or resting on the bottom of the sample cup. A hydrometer released in lightweight syrup can hit the bottom of the cup and crack the glass. This is a VERY fragile instrument.
- The hydrometer should float so that the top Hot Test red line is even with the surface of the liquid.
If the red line floats above the syrup surface, your sample is too heavy. Add a small amount of hot sap to your
syrup to thin it and retest. Add small amounts at a time so you do not thin your syrup too much.
If the red line is buried in your sample, the syrup is too thin and further boiling is required.
Cold Test for Maple Syrup:
- The hydrometer is calibrated for 60º (room temperature) syrup. Proceed as above, except use the lower Cold Test red line on the hydrometer.
- Allow some time for the hydrometer to stabilize in the cold syrup.
Some Causes of Test Variations Are:
- Syrup temperature is significantly different than the hydrometer's calibration temperature.
- Sugar sand deposits on the hydrometer (carefully remove by scraping with a knife blade.)
- Syrup sticking to the stem above the red line. (This and no. 2 above both add weight to the instrument and vary its reading.)
- The paper scale inside the hydrometer stem has loosened or shifted position. This is rare but does occur from time to time.
- Syrup sample is not properly taken from the whole lot and therefore not representative of the whole batch.