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Old 03-10-2011, 01:09 AM   #211
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Thanks so much again for sharing your knowledge. It seems that most people out there think that candi syrup can be easily recreated at home and it frustrates me to no end because the recipes don't even taste the same (gas chromatography aside). My LHBS even tried to sell dark rock candy sugar when I asked them if they had D2 claiming it was the same thing and I didn't need to pay more for an import.

What are you using as a standard to test your syrups against? Are you comparing with the syrups from dark candi? Have you been able to get other Belgian syrups imported? Do they vary in composition too and if so, how can you tell which ones are actually used by the brewers in Belgium?

I'm not a chemist either but I'm interested in learning more about it (and pretty much anything that could make my Belgians taste better) so I'm going to take a look at those books (they are way out of my price range on amazon but fortunately I've located them in libraries nearby). Do you think they would be accessible to someone with a strong science background but no particular chemistry past intro college-level chem (not organic)?
gio, great observations. We use three variants to baseline. The Dark Candi D and D2, the Dutch Kandij Sirop, (from Kandico), and Sirop Kandi, (an off Belgian import). The Dutch has the highest percentage of Maillard compounds and is richest in flavor and results in the best Ale of the imports. Our D180 exceeds the Kandij Sirop in flavor and Maillard compound density. I use only our syrups now just because they simply make the better ale and I'm very perfectionistic about my Belgians

The texts are a combination of organic chem as it relates to food science and some biology as well, (who knew right?). These are the textbooks my partner uses and I have become comfortable with them. After Intro Chem I had one semester of Organic Chem in my undergrad I hated chem after that. There's a section on the Maillard process that is worth the effort though. It won't help create a kitchen version of the syrups but will sure give a great snapshot of the complexity of what we had to go through to get where we are today.
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Old 03-10-2011, 01:25 AM   #212
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Originally Posted by gio View Post
Thanks so much again for sharing your knowledge. It seems that most people out there think that candi syrup can be easily recreated at home and it frustrates me to no end because the recipes don't even taste the same (gas chromatography aside). My LHBS even tried to sell dark rock candy sugar when I asked them if they had D2 claiming it was the same thing and I didn't need to pay more for an import.

What are you using as a standard to test your syrups against? Are you comparing with the syrups from dark candi? Have you been able to get other Belgian syrups imported? Do they vary in composition too and if so, how can you tell which ones are actually used by the brewers in Belgium?

I'm not a chemist either but I'm interested in learning more about it (and pretty much anything that could make my Belgians taste better) so I'm going to take a look at those books (they are way out of my price range on amazon but fortunately I've located them in libraries nearby). Do you think they would be accessible to someone with a strong science background but no particular chemistry past intro college-level chem (not organic)?
Thanks gio, when is your first tasting date for your Westvleteren clone? I just tasted a 7 month bottle that I stored under my house, (45-50F), and it makes the wait well worth it. If it gets any better I'm going to stop telling people I have any left. I think I should send saq cash just for sharing this recipe
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Old 03-10-2011, 01:47 AM   #213
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Originally Posted by gio View Post
Thanks so much again for sharing your knowledge. It seems that most people out there think that candi syrup can be easily recreated at home and it frustrates me to no end because the recipes don't even taste the same (gas chromatography aside). My LHBS even tried to sell dark rock candy sugar when I asked them if they had D2 claiming it was the same thing and I didn't need to pay more for an import.
gio, I have to say the same frustration of lacking product and the upstream battle of all the myths drove us to this project. For me at least brewing great beer is a very exacting practice. Using substitutes may be OK for some things but not for beer and never for a Belgian.

+1 for gio.
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Old 03-10-2011, 03:32 AM   #214
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gio, great observations. We use three variants to baseline. The Dark Candi D and D2, the Dutch Kandij Sirop, (from Kandico), and Sirop Kandi, (an off Belgian import). The Dutch has the highest percentage of Maillard compounds and is richest in flavor and results in the best Ale of the imports. Our D180 exceeds the Kandij Sirop in flavor and Maillard compound density. I use only our syrups now just because they simply make the better ale and I'm very perfectionistic about my Belgians

The texts are a combination of organic chem as it relates to food science and some biology as well, (who knew right?). These are the textbooks my partner uses and I have become comfortable with them. After Intro Chem I had one semester of Organic Chem in my undergrad I hated chem after that. There's a section on the Maillard process that is worth the effort though. It won't help create a kitchen version of the syrups but will sure give a great snapshot of the complexity of what we had to go through to get where we are today.
I'm trying to get my sister's advice (she used to be a food chemist although she makes cleaning chemicals now). I realize you can't make the good stuff on the stovetop, but that won't stop me from experimenting for the fun of it. I attend a monthly flea market where I can get surplus and used glassware and lab equipment so maybe I'll find some equipment to help me get closer to authentic syrups. I can't wait for the next one - I plan on buying a microscope and hemacytometer so I can accurately measure yeast pitching rates.
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Old 03-10-2011, 03:36 AM   #215
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Thanks gio, when is your first tasting date for your Westvleteren clone? I just tasted a 7 month bottle that I stored under my house, (45-50F), and it makes the wait well worth it. If it gets any better I'm going to stop telling people I have any left. I feel guilty not sending saq cash just for sharing this recipe Well, I could always pay the postage on his 3lbs trial D180!
It's only been in the secondary almost 2 weeks now so I have at least 4 more weeks before bottling. I can't wait. My Rochefort 10 clone is 2 weeks behind that. Next up is a Pannepot clone although I'm even really sure where to begin with that one.
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Secondary 3: Pre-prohibition American Lager
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Bottle Conditioning: Rochefort 10 Clone
Drinking: Westvleteren 12 Clone

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Old 03-10-2011, 11:15 AM   #216
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I'm trying to get my sister's advice (she used to be a food chemist although she makes cleaning chemicals now). I realize you can't make the good stuff on the stovetop, but that won't stop me from experimenting for the fun of it. I attend a monthly flea market where I can get surplus and used glassware and lab equipment so maybe I'll find some equipment to help me get closer to authentic syrups. I can't wait for the next one - I plan on buying a microscope and hemacytometer so I can accurately measure yeast pitching rates.
As I think about it, if you get a chance and are motivated to do it, I would encourage some good market innovation. Maybe you can raise the bar for this industry and the market competition will create a US industry that exceeds the European one? I think the Dutch and Belgians have had their chance and dropped the ball. If you do create a great product, make sure and protect your methods with a patent.
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Old 03-13-2011, 03:46 AM   #217
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gotta brew this

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Old 03-21-2011, 08:55 AM   #218
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Now that you have a patent, can you share the process with us?

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Old 03-23-2011, 02:25 PM   #219
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So I finally ordered the sugar and the yeast today to do the decoction version of this. I'm really looking forward to this one!

I hate making starters though, so I might do a fun little blond to build up a yeast cake for this...Any thoughts about that?

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Old 03-23-2011, 10:38 PM   #220
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I would pitch on the blonde. You need a lot of yeast for this bad boy.

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