PDA

View Full Version : Sugar and Belgain



jjs
03-09-2009, 12:32 PM
What's the opinion of using sugar in a Belgain Tripple? I can't afford Belgain candi sugar. Beet? Cane? pros and cons? I'm thinking 10-15 % Beet sugar. Ideas? Thanks.

ucbrew
03-09-2009, 12:58 PM
I've used corn sugar in award winning strong golden ale and saison. Try piloncillo in abbey, delicious!

drewseslu
03-10-2009, 06:54 AM
I have had good results with Cane sugar in Tripels and BGSAs. Palm Sugar has worked nicely in the Tripel, as well. I currently use Turbinado sugar in my Dubbel, along with Belgian Dark Candi Syrup.
I would say to use Beet or Cane, whichever is available and cheap.

william.heinric
03-10-2009, 07:42 AM
Belgian candy sugar is basically an invert syrup that has been caramelized to a certain degree. You can make that by hydrolyzing a solution of sucrose (cane or beet sugar). Basically boil it with a small portion of acid, and then appropriately neutralize said acid.

That being said, I've heard good things from some of the better Belgian-style brewers in the country that dextrose is the way to go. I'd say go for the corn sugar if you don't want to make the invert syrup yourself.

wiredgourmet
03-10-2009, 08:52 AM
Just caramelise the sugar yourself, sucrose or glucose. I use a 36L stock pot with a heavy bottom and a long paddle. I prefer sucrose to glucose when caramelising. It's easy, and you can get just the colour you want. There is a very pleasant bitterness in the darker ranges. Always add some water at first to ensure good heat distribution. Once the sugar melts, the water starts to evaporate and it's easy to avoid problems by stirring.

Caramel is a *lot* hotter than boiling water, so handle with care! It sticks to the skin and insulates itself in a sense, and keeps burning. Keep a pot of icewater nearby and be prepared to plunge your hand or any other body part into it without thinking, panicking, screaming or freaking out. You won't have time for that. The only way to deal with a caramel burn is to chill the caramel on the skin asap, before it does serious damage.

It's not necessary to invert sucrose; all you would be doing is splitting it into glucose and fructose, and yeast can do that for themselves. I would wonder if the lemon juice or other acid could alter the flavour during the cooking, so I would not bother.

The flavours you will create will more than overwhelm any subtle flavour differences in the type of sugar you start with (cane, beet, etc). The source of the sugar is irrelevant; just use what's most economical.

Some say that fermenting fructose leads to headaches, but I have never seen any reliable info on that. Whether you invert it or the yeast do, you still get the same amount of fructose from sucrose.

I find that sucrose tastes better than glucose when caramelised. Perhaps the fructose fraction produces some different Maillard compounds that taste good. I've done comparisons, and sucrose is superior.

My understanding is that real Belgian candi sugar is made from sucrose. Sources disagree on whether it is unrefined or caramelised. Perhaps both types are in use, which leads to the confusion. I honestly don't care what the Belgians do; I prefer the flavour of caramelised sugar to the flavour of unfrefined sugar, and that's all that matters to me.

Good luck, whatever you decide to do.

beertje46
03-10-2009, 09:13 AM
If you are going to make it yourself it's a good idea to use a candy thermometer and shoot for a constant 330 F, Above 330 F,you'll be in caramel candy range.

wiredgourmet
03-10-2009, 09:57 AM
Good point David. I've been at this for decades and can look at the colour and know what the flavour will be. I should have added some info.

Hard crack, no colour: 315 F
Light caramel: 330 F
Medium caramel: 330 - 340
Dark caramel: 340 - 350 F
Ruined: < 350 F

To judge colour, drop some on a white glazed surface.

beertje46
03-10-2009, 12:10 PM
Good point David. I've been at this for decades and can look at the colour and know what the flavour will be. I should have added some info.

Hard crack, no colour: 315 F
Light caramel: 330 F
Medium caramel: 330 - 340
Dark caramel: 340 - 350 F
Ruined: < 350 F

To judge colour, drop some on a white glazed surface.

Mom taught me without a candy thermometer just like her Mom taught her. She'd dip a spoon into the boiling mass and drop into a clear glass of cold water. With practice you can determine all stages from soft ball to hard crack just by looking at the drop of caramel/sugar as it falls thru the water. Of course we were making candy not beer, but same process.

wiredgourmet
03-10-2009, 02:43 PM
Mom taught me without a candy thermometer just like her Mom taught her. She'd dip a spoon into the boiling mass and drop into a clear glass of cold water. With practice you can determine all stages from soft ball to hard crack just by looking at the drop of caramel/sugar as it falls thru the water. Of course we were making candy not beer, but same process.

What a coincidence; that's exactly how I taught my Mum to do it :)

william.heinric
03-10-2009, 03:00 PM
There is one thing that I would say about using sucrose. Letting the yeast invert the sucrose will take away metabolic energy from fermentation. If its all the same, it seems to make more sense to me to help the yeast along. I'm sure that there are some fermentation flavors that change from different types of fermentation, but I don't know what they'd be.

Heat will partially invert the sucrose to fructose and glucose anyway, but the addition of some citric or tartaric acid to the mix will take care of most of the sucrose.

Happy Brewing
Bill

wiredgourmet
03-10-2009, 03:36 PM
Bill, do you think that the wort pH would be low enough during the boil? I would always recommend boiling any sugar the full time, and I wonder if kettle conditions could cause inversion?

On a side note, I think if you are not looking for Maillard flavours, simply adding glucose to the boil would be best. It will ferment out faster. I only suggest sucrose because it makes a tastier caramel.