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Old 03-12-2008, 04:09 PM   #1
nihiles
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Default corn sugar or corn syrup?

fairly green to the world of brewing and here as well. my first batch (red ale) is bottle conditioning and will be tried sometime this weekend -but not until i brew up another batch!

i picked up and IPA true brew extract kit (it was either that or brown ale). im not really a fan of IPA but like i said, my choices at the time were limited. plus its still my first batches so i dont mind so much if i mess it up.

reading through charlie papazians complete joy of homebrewing i came across a chart in the beginner section for flavor characteristics (pg22). based on this chart i want to add corn sugar for experimentation and higher alcohol content (since im not an ipa fan i figure i might as well make it as strong as possible).
my question is this:
the chart says corn sugar which im assuming is powdered dextrose. but what if i used karo corn syrup? i know i have a jar of that from my pecan pie making phase and was wondering how that would affect the beer. would it adversely affect flavor? would it increase the alcohol? would it totally ruin it?

any thoughts and suggestions are greatly appreciated. i am going to try tweaking the ingredients one way or another, just not sure with what. thanks in advance!

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Old 03-12-2008, 04:29 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nihiles
fairly green to the world of brewing and here as well. my first batch (red ale) is bottle conditioning and will be tried sometime this weekend -but not until i brew up another batch!

i picked up and IPA true brew extract kit (it was either that or brown ale). im not really a fan of IPA but like i said, my choices at the time were limited. plus its still my first batches so i dont mind so much if i mess it up.

reading through charlie papazians complete joy of homebrewing i came across a chart in the beginner section for flavor characteristics (pg22). based on this chart i want to add corn sugar for experimentation and higher alcohol content (since im not an ipa fan i figure i might as well make it as strong as possible).
my question is this:
the chart says corn sugar which im assuming is powdered dextrose. but what if i used karo corn syrup? i know i have a jar of that from my pecan pie making phase and was wondering how that would affect the beer. would it adversely affect flavor? would it increase the alcohol? would it totally ruin it?

any thoughts and suggestions are greatly appreciated. i am going to try tweaking the ingredients one way or another, just not sure with what. thanks in advance!
The only thing I would caution you against is that the corn syrups seem to have preservatives in them, which I think might be bad for the yeast. I would stick to corn sugar, or even brown sugar if you want a little bit of molasses-y taste. Adding sugar, however, can really thin out the final product, so if you are going to do it don't add more than 15-20 % sugar (by weight).

Jason
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Old 03-12-2008, 04:41 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nihiles
my question is this:
the chart says corn sugar which im assuming is powdered dextrose. but what if i used karo corn syrup? i know i have a jar of that from my pecan pie making phase and was wondering how that would affect the beer. would it adversely affect flavor? would it increase the alcohol? would it totally ruin it?

any thoughts and suggestions are greatly appreciated. i am going to try tweaking the ingredients one way or another, just not sure with what. thanks in advance!
Stick with corn sugar on this. As mentioned corn syrup is only 15-20% dextrose, as a result it will ferment much differently then the straight up corn sugar. Giving you different results. You won't get as much alcohol in the final product, and it could possibly produce some off flavors from the additives in the corn syrup. If anything the final product may be sweeter.

I commend you for your ingenuity. I would stick to the basics until you get a for more batches under your belt. Keep up the good work, and take good notes on your beers!
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Old 03-12-2008, 04:50 PM   #4
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thanks guys.

yeh i was wondering about the preservatives mostly. wasnt sure if they would boil out or something else completely. i was kind of banking that the taste would be sweeter and i prefer sweet beers (mmm ciders) over anything else. thats what got me thinking about the corn syrup.

i did some searching to see if anyone else had questioned about corn syrup before i posted and came across lyles golden syrup a couple of times. gotta check to see if my grocer has this stuff and maybe ill play around with that in the future.

thanks for the support! and the bug has bit pretty hard so i most certainly will be keeping it up!
cheers.

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Old 03-12-2008, 05:00 PM   #5
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I agree that corn sugar is better, but if you are in a pinch the corn syrup will work. I've used up to a pound of it in pale ales and IPAs without any discernable off taste. Of course, you can get away with a lot in those styles because the hops can cover it up.

I would suggest not altering the kit at all this time since you're new at this. That way you'll have a base from which to judge if the changes you make next time make the final product better or worse.

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Old 03-12-2008, 06:08 PM   #6
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If you want to raise the ABV with a common household product consider using honey, there are some major breweries which use it in their double IPA's. Keep in mind that if you raise the alcohol level you will likely need to raise your total IBU's to balance the beer out. Adding fermentable sugars such as corn sugar, honey, and probably corn syrup (probably since I have never used it) won't make the beer sweeter, in fact it will result in a drier beer since they are highly fermentable. Sweeter can only be accomplished by using non-fermentable sugars (e.g. lactose.). Don't spend too much time looking for Lyle's Golden Syrup at your grocery store (My LHBS doesn't even carry it).

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Old 03-12-2008, 06:31 PM   #7
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excellent! i have fresh honey from the comb. know a guy who raises bees for farms and an obvious by product is honey. pure honey. i was planning to eventually work up to a honey wheat and use the pure honey for that. but maybe ill try throwing it in this batch just for the hell of it.

driftless-
i most likely will not be making another ipa. i prefer red or even brown ales, the ipa was an impulse buy so theres no need to have a final product for comparison. the way im thinking is that i would rather experiment on a beer i dont necessarily care about than ruining a batch i was looking forward to drinking. since it was an impulse buy i figure i have nothing to lose by messing with it so long as i learn something from the messing. look at how much ive already learned just by pondering out loud what im thinking about doing to this batch.

thanks for all the responses. really appreciate it. you guys are definitely expanding my thoughts and ideas.

cheers!

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Old 03-12-2008, 07:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by batesjer
Don't spend too much time looking for Lyle's Golden Syrup at your grocery store (My LHBS doesn't even carry it).
I've seen it at the local grovery in the "ethnic" section, whatever that means.

However, its just inverted Cane Sugar. You can just invert your own Cane Sugar for 1/10th the price. Then call your IPA a "Belgian Dubbel IPA".

nick
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Old 03-14-2008, 01:07 PM   #9
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hp lovecraft:
thanks for the suggestion. i looked into inverting cane sugar and found that honey is mostly inverted sugar so i will just use that. lyle's syrup interestingly enough is less than 60% inverted, so it seems the honey will be the better ingredient. i also read that inverted sugar is created when making jams. i was glad to see that because i was wondering about a future batch using fresh jam from vermont.

so im probably going to run with this tonight and cook up the ipa with a healthy serving of honey for fun. need to do a bit more research today before i do but im thinking no more than 1/2 pound of honey.

thanks again everyone!

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Old 03-14-2008, 02:46 PM   #10
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I don't have experience with your particular kit but many times, the only difference between IPA and Pale Ale is the ammount of hops they give you.

You say you're not a huge IPA fan; I would imagine that means you prefer a crisp flavor over a more bitter one, in general? If that's the case, you can simply cut the hops down accordingly. Use Charlie's "HBU Calculator" to approximate according to your taste. You don't have to get it exact so don't worry too much.

Alternatively, use all the hops and boost the gravity with sugar, like you intend. The bitterness and hop flavors will be less pronounced when you up the ABV. Either method should work to give you a beer you like. I'd say about one pound of either dextrose or honey in a 5-gal batch should change the character enough.


As for corn syrup, it's mostly fructose, as has been mentioned. It won't ferment all that well.

I would imagine that a vigorous boil would break down most of the (organic) preservatives, though.

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