Replacement for Soft Brown Candi Sugar
What's a good replacement for Soft Brown Candi Sugar? (I'm making a Belgian dark strong ale.)
My LHBS didn't have Soft Brown Candi Sugar.
Is regular brown sugar a good surrogate?
I would make your own...its simple:
2 pounds of sugar
1 cup of water (or enough to dissolve sugar)
heat to dissolve sugar in to water
add a 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar and bring to a slow boil (ideal temp is 260, do not get above 275)
Cook for 20 minutes...as the temp rises and gets close to 275, add two tablespoons of water to get back down to 260
After 20 minutes you have completely inverted the sugar...now cook to desired color, adding 2 tablespoons of water as the temp gets close to 275 to bring back down to 260.
After you get your desired color, pour quickly in to a silicon container or a pan covered with foil and place in the fridge for an hour...afterwords crack in to small pieces and bag!
The Joke on us is, "Belgian candy sugar" is really just whatever sugar the monks and Belgian brewers bought in bulk, then inverted and boiled down to whatever darkness they wanted in their beer.
It's not a special magical sugar, grown for them by secret society of castrated elves specially for the monks to brew beer with. It was whatever was reasonably priced in bulk. More often than not it was beet, but it could have been cane, depending on what traders had for them...but "Belgian Candy Sugar" is really just "the sugar that the belgians happened to use." And to me, buying overpriced sugar is ridiculus, especially when you can make your own. I think that the original Belgian Monks would laugh at us silly American homebrewers who pay 3 times as much for it from the LHBS, when we can buy it from bulk food warehouse.
Graham Sanders on the aussie craft brewer radio first brought it up with one of those authors of Beligian Style books, can't recall who.
We've been discussing it for years.
And many even argue that if you're just using "clear" cadi sugar or syrup, then just dump it directly in the kettle, since the sugar theoretically inverts itself during the boil. If you are using darker grades in your recipes, then inverting them with a little cream of tartar, citric acid, lemon juice or vinegar, and pre carmalizing them to the level you want is a good idea. There are "recipes" for making candi in both rock and syryp form. It's really easy. No harder than making Candy.
I think the original Belgian brewers would laugh if they knew how much we silly american homebrewrs actually pay for supposed "gourmet brewing sugar." They sure as heck wouldn't pay what we do. :)
this is very helpful. i guess i've been getting ripped off by my lhbs. but, they're good people and it was great to have support them. i always suspected that the basis for their profits relied heavily on the extras, whether it be candi sugar or spices, rather than the staples, such as grains and yeast.
I get my spices, and sugars from all manner of places, bulk food warehouse/Mr Bulkys, and all the Ethnic Groceries in the metro Detroit area, Asian, Indian, Mexican, heck even Polish/Eastern European markets are a plethora of interesting (and usually dirt cheap) fermentable ingredients. Even the "international foods" aisles of big box grocery stores, like Meijer's or Kroger's have all manner of great stuff that is usually reasonably priced.
Also your spices are going to tend to be much fresher and higher quality than what you can get at the LHBS.
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