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Old 09-07-2009, 11:58 PM   #1
kanzimonson
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Default Add some flavor to your beer with caramelized sugar

I've recently made a couple brews with a slightly interesting ingredient - caramelized sugar - and I thought I'd share the love on the forum.

I was looking for an interesting adjunct to experiment with, but was having some problems deciding what to use. I don't like the taste of molasses, don't like how the flavor of honey disappears in the final product, maple syrup is too strong, etc, etc. But I was only thinking of stuff I could buy, until I realized I could caramelize my own table sugar for some extra flavor.

I first tried it with an English Mild. It turned out amazing - it has these soft raisiny, toffee flavors, and a surprising richness for such a light bodied beer. I only used 4oz in a 12gal batch.

Today I brewed 6gal of Imperial Stout and caramelized a whole pound of sugar. It smelled amazing when I poured it into the boil and the whole garage was filled with the aroma of a candy shop. I'm looking forward to the final product.

How to do it: add your sugar to a VERY clean saucepan, with enough water to barely cover the sugar. Add a spritz of lemon or lime juice. Cook on high until the sugar melts and rapidly boils. Be careful, it's over 300* at this point. If you were making this for food presentation, you might use a brush to drip small amounts of water down the sides of the pan to discourage crystalization. But since this is all going to be dissolved into a beer, sugar crystals aren't that much of a concern. Continue cooking on high until it begins to brown. To distribute the color in these early stages, lift the pan off the burner and slightly tilt it around. Cook until it gets to the desired darkness.

If you immediately add this boiling sugar your brewpot, be careful because the superhot sugar will cause rapid boiling of the wort. If you prefer to make this and then add later, you can put the bottom of the pot in an ice bath for 10-20 seconds.

Good luck!

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Old 09-08-2009, 12:00 AM   #2
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What you describe is the process for making an approximation of Belgian Candi Sugar, a common ingredient in Belgian ales.

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Old 09-08-2009, 12:04 AM   #3
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Ah, see I've never had this explained to me... for some reason I thought candi sugar itself was finer-ground sugar that you would use to make caramel (or other sugary treat), not actually caramelized sugar.

I am a rube.

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Old 09-08-2009, 12:10 AM   #4
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A link that describes the process and product in a little more detail: Making your own Belgian Candi Sugar or Syrup

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Old 09-08-2009, 12:15 AM   #5
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I've done this before in an ESB with great results. I've got a mild comming up next I think i'll throw some in that. Thanks for reminding me.

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Old 09-09-2009, 05:15 AM   #6
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that is awesome man. How do you think this would fare as an adjunct in an apple cider. I want to add a caramel component and was looking at some crystal malt, but this may be the ticket

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Old 09-09-2009, 06:49 AM   #7
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Can you use Starsan as the "low flavored acid"? One of the instruction sets in Yuri's post mentions Phosphoric acid. Anyone?

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Old 09-09-2009, 01:35 PM   #8
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I've seen Randy Mosher talking and he really gets into the sugars and other adjuncts and I've been wanting to try some different stuff, but not until I nail my process down better. I never thought of adding to a Mild or Bitter though. It sounds pretty good!

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Old 09-09-2009, 01:39 PM   #9
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I discovered this wonderful flavor a little over a year ago
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f64/full-owl-esb-55408/

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Old 05-11-2014, 11:37 PM   #10
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So...how do you think a Belgian Dubbel with 1.5# of caramel in it will end up? Did I just create a bomb, or did I just muss things up?

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