The existing maple syrup grading system has been changed. The old maple syrup grades were based on what percentage of light will pass through a sample and were as follows:
Grade A Fancy(or Light Amber)–Minimum 75% light transmittance.
Grade A Medium Amber–Light transmittance between 60 and 74.9%.
Grade A Dark Amber–Light transmittance between 40 and 59.9%
Grade B–Light transmittance between 27 and 39.9%
Grade A and B also had to be free of unpleasant “off flavors”: they must taste good.
Commercial Grade–Light transmittance less than 27%, or any unpleasant or “off” flavors.
Both the old and new grading system is based on two factors: color(% light transmittance) and flavor.
Here are the new maple syrup grades:
Grade A Golden Delicate Taste–Identical to Fancy or Light Amber, 75% minimum light transmittance.
Grade A Amber Rich Taste–Similar to Medium Amber, but has a slightly darker minimum color: light transmittance 50-74.9%.
Grade A Dark Robust Taste–Similar to Dark Amber, but also has a slightly darker minimum color: light transmittance 25-49.9%.
Grade A Very Dark Strong Taste–Similar to Grade B, but darker–no lower limit on light transmittance(darkness) as long as good taste: light transmittance less than 25%
Any syrup with objectionable or “off” flavors and/or odors is classified as Processing Syrup and cannot be sold retail–only wholesale in 5 gallon or larger containers.