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Old 01-27-2011, 03:27 AM   #1
DannPM
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We all know that Belgians produce great beer and often use simple flavorless sugar to boost abv without creating a heavy body in brews like a tripel. My question is why can't you substitute rice for these simple flavorless sugar syrups?

Is it just the stigma of budweiser brewing with a rice adjunct that keeps homebrewers from ever using it or am I missing something that Belgian candi sugar has over another neutral (and cheaper) adjunct like rice?

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Old 01-27-2011, 03:31 AM   #2
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Candi sugar costs a lot more, which means it's better! Or at least that's what people who own LHBSs will tell you. I've used simple table sugar with great success in my Belgians, although turbinado and other less-refined sugars definitely bring unique contributions to the flavor party.

And you're right about stigmas in the homebrew world. Some people still look down their nose at sugar, and think it has to make everything "cidery." Cidery flavor from sugar additions is the result of mis-managed fermentations, IMO. I've used sugar up to 20% in my Belgians without them being "cidery."

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Old 01-28-2011, 03:15 PM   #3
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I just use table sugar and add to the boil. No candi for me.

I'm not so sure about substituting rice though. While rice gives you a nice flavorless starch, I don't think it would give you the same dryness and heat that sugar imparts to Belgian style ales. Starch >< Sugar. I would feel pretty confident subbing most any sugar for belgian candi sugar.

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Old 01-28-2011, 03:27 PM   #4
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Another good adjunct to use in Belgiums is Sugar in the Raw. Will boost the ABV and be much cheaper than Belgian sugar especially if bought in bulk.

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Old 01-28-2011, 06:40 PM   #5
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Check out the Bruery's Tripel that uses rice.

I just use plain table sugar (except for something like a dark strong that may utilize dark candi syrup) in my Belgians. I would say that plain sugar is probably cheaper than the rice.

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Old 01-28-2011, 07:58 PM   #6
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I invert table sugar with citric acid and add in stages after high krausen.

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Old 01-29-2011, 01:27 AM   #7
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I brewed a clone of the Bruery Tripel with 12% flaked rice. Had nice body and the rice added a creaminess to the mouthfeel.

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Old 01-29-2011, 01:40 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by DannPM View Post
We all know that Belgians produce great beer and often use simple flavorless sugar to boost abv without creating a heavy body in brews like a tripel. My question is why can't you substitute rice for these simple flavorless sugar syrups?

Is it just the stigma of budweiser brewing with a rice adjunct that keeps homebrewers from ever using it or am I missing something that Belgian candi sugar has over another neutral (and cheaper) adjunct like rice?
No, the myth is that adjuncts like rice and corn are CHEAPER than simple sugars....This is SO historically inaccurate, and has so long since been disproven that it is ridiculous that people still buy this BS.....This myth that we beer geeks have been rubbing like kinky butter all over to make us feel SO superior to "the stupid BMC drinkers" was blown out of the water by Maureen Ogle in her book Ambitious Brew.

When Bud came out with it's corn and rice adjuncts, that you claim cut the costs, it was the most expensive beer on the market in the US.

Maureen Ogle proved that in Ambitious Brew it actually made the cost of a bottle of Budweiser cost around 17.00/bottle in today's dollars. Gee I've paid 17 dollars for a bomber of beer before...not too much difference there, eh?

When AH released Budweiser with it's corn and rice adjuncts in the 1860's it was the most expensive beer out there; a single bottle retailed for $1.00 (what would equal in today's Dollars for $17.00) this was quite difference when a schooner of beer usually cost a nickel.

This is the part that blows the "cost cutting" argument out of the water. In order to use those adjuncts you have to process them separately from the rest of the mash, and then add it to the mash. You either have to do a cereal mash to pr-gelatinize them or you have to roll them with heat to make them flaked...either way, besides the labor and energy involved to grow and harvest those plants, you expend labor and energy to make them usuable. If you are using grits for example, you STILL have to boil them in a cereal mash. That's another couple hours of labor and energy involved in the cost of the product.

Bottom line, sugar is cheaper.

Have you actually gone to a homebrewshop and priced already processed corn and rice, or rice syrupm solids compared to a 5-7 pound bag of generic grocery store sugar?

If you want to learn the truth about Bud, and it's use of adjuncts, as opposed to the myth we believe to feel so much better than bud drinkers, I outlined it here; http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/beer...5/#post2569323.

The Belgians were very practical in their use of sugar...also the idea of using adjuncts like corn and rice (as outlined in what I linked) wasn't used in brewing til the mid 1800s (right around the time of the development of the American Lager) wheras the Belgians had been brewing for centuries before.....
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Old 01-29-2011, 01:46 AM   #9
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Candi sugar costs a lot more, which means it's better! Or at least that's what people who own LHBSs will tell you. I've used simple table sugar with great success in my Belgians, although turbinado and other less-refined sugars definitely bring unique contributions to the flavor party.
And the Joke on us is, that "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.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/quic...dubbels-99971/

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/cand...essity-148786/

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f12/cand...0/#post1445241

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.
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Old 01-29-2011, 02:45 AM   #10
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Ambitious Brew is a great book. A-B and Pabst (and a few others) invented adjunct lagers because the people preferred them over what we would call real beer. The brewers of the time noticed that Americans didn't want to sip and enjoy they wanted to guzzle and quench. Still holds true today for the majority of the population.

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