In Vermont, Grade A maple syrup is divided into four distinct color classes. Those classes are Golden, Amber, Dark and Very Dark. The lightest grade of syrup, Golden, has the most delicate flavor. A lot of the time it will be made at the beginning of the season. Air temperatures are cooler, sap is quite clear and you end up making a lighter color syrup. As the season progresses and air temperatures become a little bit warmer you will start to make darker colored syrup. The end of the season almost always ends with Very Dark colored syrup. Each grade has to fit within the same range in density. Sometimes it can appear that lighter colored syrup is less thick than dark syrup but it's actually not true. They are all the same density. The flavor of the syrup is closely tied to its color. Lighter syrup will be more delicate in flavor and the flavor will get stronger as you go darker in color. So your personal preference will really determine which grade of syrup you like the best. And if you are trying to cook with it, you will probably want a syrup with a stronger flavor because the flavor of the maple will come through better than some of the lighter grades of syrup where the flavor is a little more delicate and not as strong.