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Old 10-03-2010, 05:17 PM   #1
crc32
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Default Homemade Syrup Concentrate

This is a bit of a tangent to TomSD's thread ("Two kegs in and I'm sold using syrups for variety rocks!"). There, Tom is using purchased syrup concentrate to flavor carbonated water. His experience sounds great, but I'm not one to buy my syrup, as I am very partial to my own recipes...

So, does anyone know how to make a syrup concentrate that is stable, similar to the commercial variety, so that TomSD's setup could be replicated with home-brew syrup? I am particularly interested in adapting my ginger-ale recipe.

My rough thoughts are that one would have to extract water from the syrup, but, of course, though boiling is nice, it also drives off good flavors. And, since we're super concentrating sugars (and hopefully refrigerating), sterilization issues are lessened (have you ever seen anything grow on super-concentrated syrup that's been refrigerated? 2x Simple Syrup is generally shelf stable).

Therefore, I think that vacuum evaporation or freeze concentration may be the way to go.

So, has anyone attempted anything like this, or know where I should look for more information?

PS: Yes, I am aware that this may be considered by some to be overboard, but I may be looking at scaling this up for friends/family who have the soda penguin, and I like to buy my ginger when it's cheaper.

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Old 10-04-2010, 12:45 AM   #2
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Just don't add a lot of water...

Either start with corn syrup (~70% solids) or just make a concentrated sugar solution (again, something like 70% solids) as your base. You are also going to want to add some citric acid to drop the pH below 4. The high solids and low pH should keep most bugs at bay.

If you really want to go simple start with light Karo syrup (corn syrup that can be found in the baking section of any grocery store) since it already has properly dosed preservatives in it.

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Old 10-04-2010, 12:50 AM   #3
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I'm actually looking into this too. The commercial variety was just for a bulk/get right into it kind of thing.

My understanding is you make a base of 1# sugar to 1 pint of water. From there you add different herbs/seasonings to achieve the desired type of soda. Also, you can take most "homebrew soda recipes" and reduce the water to achieve the same thing I would imagine.

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Old 10-04-2010, 01:34 AM   #4
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Initially, that is what I had thought, and if I was doing simple herb extractions, that might be enough... but there is actually a significant amount of water in the raw ginger root (5-6oz of root / gallon of finished soda), plus the suspended root solids and pulverized spices pose a problem if left in the syrup. Then again, I could always just see if they settle out on their own... (in a few days)

Regarding the Karo syrup, I'm actually focusing on using splenda, as my wife likes the diet soda. I've used a 50-50 blend of splenda and agave, which worked pretty well.

I've been filtering them out with cheesecloth and such, leaving me with a light syrup, probably about a 1:1 (v/v). Perhaps I need to do some alcohol extracts to make clear ginger/spice extracts for addition... The nitrogen cavitation setup explained here might be of use too...

EDIT-Addition:
I think what I'll do for now is just prepare a quart of syrup, and try to get it the thickest and clearest that I can, and let it sit in a sealed jar for a couple of weeks and see what happens. I have to get more equipment for phase 2 anyway...

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Old 01-31-2011, 01:21 AM   #5
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Is there an update to this?
I recently made a syrup based off of r2eng's recipe where I used 3 cups of sugar (most of it turbinado and some white since I ran out of turbinado and didn't have any brown or molasses on hand) and 3 cups of water (to create a simple syrup). I heated this up and tossed in the grated zests of a lemon and a lime, then followed that up by slightly filtered juice. And turned off the heat to let it steep. (Makes me want a rotovac)

I also added a pinch of allspice since I couldn't find any whole ones in my spice drawers.
Finally I followed this up with about a pound of ginger that was processed through a juicer and I added just the juice.

I then filtered this through a nylon bag and into a torani syrup bottle.

I let this cool and there are still quite a few items that settle down to the bottom. We've also determined that what settles down to the bottom seems to be the ginger flavor while the top part seems to be most of the sugar.

It's working well so far but it's only a day old, but I still have to shake up the settled parts to get ginger flavor before I add it to my carbonated water. I'd like to see if the longevity of the syrup and when the flavor falls off, if ever to see if I should make it in larger quantities.

Great link though. I have an isi whipper from a few years back that I mostly use for just whipped cream. I'll try that with chocolate nibs for a beer of mine.

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Old 02-01-2011, 06:37 PM   #6
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I make flavored simple syrups using extracts or spices. I buy 2 liter Seltzers and use a seltzer gun, found in the soda aisle, to serve it fountain style. My daughter had great success using Pomegranate Molasses as a base, Pomegranate soda!

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Old 02-03-2011, 12:44 AM   #7
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I am making a Tamarind Syrup tonight and want to add it to my rootbeer. The only recipe for the tamarind syrup I could find called for vinegar. Will this kill the yeast in my natural carbed root beer. There isn't much, but I don't want to risk it.

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Old 12-26-2011, 03:10 AM   #8
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Default DIY concentrates

I was interested in doing a similar thing, making my own concentrates from fruit. After much investigation it seems like freeze concentration is the way to go. Unfortunately there is a lot of complicated equipment involved. From what I saw it was much more of an industrial job than I was ready to take on. Also the vacuum evaporator is essentially like boiling/distilling but at much lower temperatures, so you still might loose flavor that way.

Of course simple freeze concentration for large quantities of juice is still doable. Just freeze a large plastic jug (not glass it could break) then set it upside down to drain into another container. Let it thaw slowly. The water will be the last part to melt, so at some point just throw that away. It's inefficient but very easy to do.

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Old 02-16-2012, 01:27 PM   #9
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I make cordials which are roughly 4:1 / 5:1 dilution ratios.

I take the sugar and use two parts sugar to one part water in a pan, heat it up til the sugar dissolves then add lemon & orange juice and zest and then let it stay at about 75 centigrade for an hour. The heat kills the germs and allows the flavour from the zest to infuse in to the sugar. There's no detriment to the taste by heating it at this temp.

When making elderflower cordial the same thing applies, the longer you leave it the better it tastes. I leave mine for 5-7 days after heating it for an hour in the pan - I transfer it to a 25 litre drum with an airtight lid. Once the elderflowers have no scent left in them it's done. Reheat to 75 centigrade on the stove for 2 minutes and put in to bottles etc and it will keep like that for a couple of years as it's now pasteurised.

Sugar is a great flavour absorber.

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Old 02-16-2012, 04:31 PM   #10
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Have you considered making unsweetened concentrate and then blending in honey as a sweetener/preservative?

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