View Full Version : candi sugar vs cane sugar

04-27-2004, 12:53 PM
I am going to be brewing soon and was going to be using belgian candi suger (50 lbs, or about 5% of the grist bill) to increase my gravity. However, I have read a few things about substituting cane (table) sugar instead but nothing substantial. I was wondering if anyone has done this, and the results. I worry about getting a cidery taste that is associated with the fermentation of table sugar, and if in this small of a quantity that shouldn't happen. The price difference is just to much for me not to wonder :)

Thanks in advance,

04-27-2004, 09:07 PM
I can't speak in terms of large (>.5 bbls) brews, but I know for a fact that using table sugar vs. candi sugar in any Belgian ale recipe I've developed has led to a cidery or somewhat tart/sour taste and nose. I'm not keen on the specifics in the chemistries of table sugar against those of the Belgian candi sugars, but the proof in my pudding has been in the results.


scott isham
04-28-2004, 03:13 AM
You can safely use up to 10 or 15% table sugar with out getting any hint of a cidery flavor. I regulary use up to 10% of beet sugar in my tripel and have never had any problem. I think that beet sugar and candi sugar are very similar, chemicaly. I've used both in my recipe and find the finished product to come out pretty much the same regardless of which sugar I use. Use the table sugar and save some money

David Quinn
04-28-2004, 05:26 AM
I have heard that belgian candi sugar is crystallized beet sugar, and table sugar is a derivative of sugar cane. Some people have suggested to me that putting plain table sugar alone in a sauce pan , cooking it until it forms a syrup, then adding that to boiling wort. I tried it only once, and was not terribly impressed with the results. Since then when belgian candi sugar is not available for small batches I use light brown sugar. It seems to have more of the qualities of belgian sugar without fermenting with the aforementioned "sour" taste. It also seems that different yeast strains react differently with these types of adjuncts, and belgians are more suited to eating more complex sugars, I could very well be wrong.

04-28-2004, 06:19 AM
Last summer I brewed a 10 BBl batch of a Belgian Golden Ale not very strong at 14.5 P, to prop the yeast up for a nice strong Dubbel. I used 50 lbs of table sugar with no ill effects. I used White Labs Belgian Abbey. Belgian Candi sugar is awful expensive but I never used it so I can't comment on its contributions. Table sugar won't really give you much in terms of flavor but it will help you boost alcohol and keep the body lighter and the beer drier.

06-22-2004, 12:03 AM
Guys and Girls,
Just a quick note on Candii sugar, and it's differences from that of normal table sugar (sucrose). Firstly making candii sugar is to understand what it is and how it is different from sucrose or normal sugar. Candii sugar is invert sugar, in that its constituents are broken down by "inversion", simply put, splitting its atoms (how cool does that sound?). To make invert sugar or candii sugar, you are basically making toffee, by heating a sugar syrup to a high tempreature with a bit of citric acid to help the inversion along. The sugar is processed to make candy sugar. And candy sugar has a number of effects on a beer. It has been caramelised, and this gives nice complex flavours, including a nice sweet edge, a distinct aroma, and most importantly, a dense mousse-like head that is so characteristic of Belgian beers.
So let's say you want to make 500 grams of candy sugar. You weigh 500 g of white sugar and into a small pot. Add enough water to make thick syrup. Add a pinch of citric acid (I will explain why later). Now bring to a boil and keep the temperature between hard ball and soft crack (127-135 C). As evaporation will cause the temperature to rise, have a small amount of water and add a tablespoon every now and then.
The colour will gradually change from clear to light amber to deep red as the boil proceeds. Light candy sugar is a very light pee colour (yes, that type of pee). This can take only 15 minutes. Dark candy sugar is very deep red. This can take hours. Once you are at the colour you desire (and a lot of that is on taste), you let the temp go to hard crack (150 C). Once it hits hard crack, turn off the heat and pour it into some greaseproof paper. As it cools it will go rock hard. I then put it in the freezer until I'm ready to use it.
Now why add citric acid? This is to 'invert' some of the sugar. Simply put, cane sugar (sucrose) is made up of two other sugars (glucose and fructose) joined together. Yeast must spend time and effort breaking the joining bonds to allow them to get at the simple sugars they need for metabolism. This can also be done chemically in an acid environment with heat. The citric acid supplies the acid, and the heat is there when you make the candy sugar. Invert sugar tastes a bit sweeter than regular sucrose.

06-22-2004, 05:58 AM
I work for a rum distillery , we us plenty of < cane >
daily. if you choose to use cane syrup , or cane products
make sure the syrup - or sugar is 80 brix or higher
cane products under 80 brix / when purchased will
definetly sour with fermentation ,

this is for reasons of lack of fermentable sugars from the mollases/ cane syrup
good luck and cheers

Ted Briggs
06-22-2004, 11:15 AM
REV- Nice bit of info on candi vs cane. I have done the same thing in the kettle. Dumped 50 lbs of sugar in the kettle (during the mash), added some water and sitirred while heating. Not for a Belgian then, but it added a nice touch to a Scotch Ale! Next Ill try adding the citric acid for a tripple. Is there a more exact amount?? 0z per pounds of sugar or something?

07-26-2004, 12:17 AM
cheers mate. There's not really much more to it than I had said, if you want to make a pounds worth, then meassure out a pound, plus the liquid equivalent in water. I've got it easy since we use litres down under, as 1L = 1kg. If you're doing any large amounts, I'd suggest getting a huge candy thermometer, though.

Best of luck,

TIM Thomas
Head Brewer
Five Islands Brewing Co
Wollongong, Australia