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Old 08-11-2009, 06:38 AM   #1
BillTheSlink
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Default Why Belgian Candy sugar and not corn for real Abby Ales

If you can raise your alcohol level with regular corn or table sugar, why is rock and liquid candy sugar used in Belgium? I just did a kit from Listermann's that everyone that has tried it raves about and he gives corn sugar, and I can see why because the kit is reasonably priced. I ask because I am going to do Evan!'s Rochefort 10 clone a little down the road and it calls for clear and dark candy sugar and I was just curious.



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Old 08-11-2009, 07:07 AM   #2
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From what I understand the clear candy is rather bland and not much different from granular sugar. On the other hand the darker the sugar the deeper the flavor it adds to the beer. Many around here actually use Belgian Candi Syrup rather than the hard candy form. The syrup is suppose to be what the actual Belgian Trappist breweries use. There is a good thread around here for trying to emulate the syrups as they are expensive at about $8 for 1.5 pounds and the Westvleteren clone I will be trying would require $3 pounds total making it rather expensive.

Search for $20 pounds of sugar and yeast nutrient and a thread should pop up that describes how to make different colored syrups for these types of beers using water, table sugar and diammonium phosphate (yeast nutrient). Hope that helps.



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Old 08-11-2009, 07:29 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mnm129 View Post
From what I understand the clear candy is rather bland and not much different from granular sugar. On the other hand the darker the sugar the deeper the flavor it adds to the beer. Many around here actually use Belgian Candi Syrup rather than the hard candy form. The syrup is suppose to be what the actual Belgian Trappist breweries use. There is a good thread around here for trying to emulate the syrups as they are expensive at about $8 for 1.5 pounds and the Westvleteren clone I will be trying would require $3 pounds total making it rather expensive.

Search for $20 pounds of sugar and yeast nutrient and a thread should pop up that describes how to make different colored syrups for these types of beers using water, table sugar and diammonium phosphate (yeast nutrient). Hope that helps.
Actually I have read how to make them, but was just wondering why it was done. You have answered the question about the dark, but I wonder about the clear.

This is where I read about making them: http://www.franklinbrew.org/brewinfo/candi_sugar.html
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Last edited by BillTheSlink; 08-11-2009 at 07:32 AM. Reason: added info and link
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:07 AM   #4
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Yes, that is a great link, and the Trappist are kind of stuck on a very old tradition, and corn is something from this new fangled world of the Americas. But sometimes great traditions should not be changed.

Pretty much I have always made my own candi sugar once I learned how, all it takes is sugar, heat, a little water and acid to invert it. I just use the juice from a lemon till I hit the soft crack, and then just add it into the last 15 minutes before I add the nutrient, Irish Moss and my immersion chiller.
Be careful, the very hot inverted sugar can splatter a little hitting the cooler boiling wort.
Here the temp range notes I use.

Inverting sugar with a little acid and water.
* Soft Ball * 115C 239F
* Hard Ball * 127C 260.6F (light)
* Soft Crack * 135C 275F (Med Light)
* Hard Crack * 150C 302F (Very Dark)

Why do I do it, I'm cheap.

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Old 08-11-2009, 03:15 PM   #5
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They grow sugar beets in those parts of the world - cane sugar is actually quite rare and expensive (at least it used to be when I lived in the area).

See Pfeifer & Langen Sugar Varieties and more specifically Pfeifer & Langen Candy Sugar for examples of what is typical in the area.

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Old 08-11-2009, 04:48 PM   #6
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Reading through Brew Like a Monk (BLAM around here) I find that few breweries use the clear candy. Most of the advice in the book was to use plain sugar in place of candy rocks. The dark syrup was an exception and Stan offers some alternatives to buying the syrup even. At the homebrew scale it probably doesn't make a huge cost difference either way though so if the recipe is adamant about it use your own judgement.

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Old 08-11-2009, 06:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craigd View Post
At the homebrew scale it probably doesn't make a huge cost difference either way though so if the recipe is adamant about it use your own judgement.
Sure it does.


4 lbs of Candy Sugar is $20 at BMW, and probably closer to $30 at some LHBS.


4 lbs of home made Dark Candy sugar is $2, and roughly 20 minutes on the stove. If we're talking 2+lbs in a Belgian Dark Strong, we're talking $10 difference, which is about what the rest of the grain bill costs.
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Old 08-11-2009, 06:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mnm129 View Post
From what I understand the clear candy is rather bland and not much different from granular sugar. On the other hand the darker the sugar the deeper the flavor it adds to the beer. Many around here actually use Belgian Candi Syrup rather than the hard candy form. The syrup is suppose to be what the actual Belgian Trappist breweries use. There is a good thread around here for trying to emulate the syrups as they are expensive at about $8 for 1.5 pounds and the Westvleteren clone I will be trying would require $3 pounds total making it rather expensive.

Search for $20 pounds of sugar and yeast nutrient and a thread should pop up that describes how to make different colored syrups for these types of beers using water, table sugar and diammonium phosphate (yeast nutrient). Hope that helps.
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f12/20-lb-sugar-jar-yeast-nutrient-114837/
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Old 08-12-2009, 03:16 AM   #9
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Simply put: If you can't taste the difference between sugar beet hard candy and powdered corn sugar, then it doesn't matter. If you can taste the difference, it does matter.

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Old 08-12-2009, 03:27 AM   #10
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Sure it does.

4 lbs of Candy Sugar is $20 at BMW, and probably closer to $30 at some LHBS.
Well, we all have our thresholds for significant cost I guess. For 5 gallons of a beer like a Belgian Dark strong that you may put down for 6-18 months $10-20 isn't a huge difference IMO. And I'm a cheap bastard... Now for a session beer I would agree. I'd hate to get 18 months down the road and think, "Man, I wonder if this would have been better with the syrup they called for in the recipe?"

That's what I meant by use your judgment.


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