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Old 06-19-2013, 01:59 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Crazy8 View Post
Now with heating up the sugar for a long period of time before adding cream of tarter, I always add my brown sugar and other spices at the last 5 minutes of a boil. Is that long enough? For the sake of the sugar and sweetness, can I add the sugar sooner without any harm done to sweetenss and such?
What I actually do is put my sugar and cream of tartar in a pan, add the water, then start heating to almost the boiling point (if i can see the bottom of the pan, it's ready). So, yes, you can add the sugar sooner w/o any harm. IMO, it's even better.
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Old 06-20-2013, 12:02 AM   #12
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Adding the sugar right at the beginning is the only way to do it. Breaking apart chemical bonds is a very difficult process (on a molecular level). The purpose of heating (and adding cream of tartar) is to facilitate this process.

Here is how I do it:

2lbs 3oz table sugar
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (although I usually use critic acid here - personal preference)

Put all 3 ingredients in a pot that has a good sealing lid. Turn the heat on - med to med/high. Stir the mixture frequently to prevent scorching. Once all the crystals are dissolved and the solution starts to bubble, lid it up. Take it to a full rolling boil for 5 minutes, remove the lid, and stick in a candy therm if you have one. Continue to boil uncovered for an additional 15 mins or so. If you have a thermometer it should read somewhere around 235°f-240°f. Kill the heat, remove thermometer, and put the lid back on while it cools. Once cooled it should have the consistency of corn syrup.

As far as adding other spices and such, I'd steer clear. This is about the process of making sugar. Once the sugar making process is completed, you can then start brewing up your recipe. The invent sugar is pretty much bulletproof at this point, so it does not matter when you add it.

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Old 06-20-2013, 09:07 PM   #13
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I was going to post essentially the same thing as FlyingDucthman, it takes a good amount of heat and time to get the sugar to invert, it's best not to add anything else until it is inverted. You need enough water that the sugars won't caramelize or burn (you'll know if they do, add more water immediately if the solution starts to turn brown), but not so much that it won't get up to 240°F.

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Old 07-10-2013, 05:36 PM   #14
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I was going to post essentially the same thing as FlyingDucthman, it takes a good amount of heat and time to get the sugar to invert, it's best not to add anything else until it is inverted. You need enough water that the sugars won't caramelize or burn (you'll know if they do, add more water immediately if the solution starts to turn brown), but not so much that it won't get up to 240°F.
Great info here. I've just been adding a teaspoon to my ginger brew batches (which include the sugar, ginger, and spices), but will try making the invert sugar first in my next batch, then adding the ginger and spices.

Any guidelines on amount of COT to water/sugar to use? I've been making a 2.5 gallon decoction of ginger as my base, but it sounds like 1 tsp isn't enough for this volume.
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Old 07-11-2013, 12:51 PM   #15
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This Recipe is the best one that I have found so far. It requires a thermometer, but it works well.
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Old 07-12-2013, 07:51 PM   #16
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Wow. Great stuff, MrFoodScientist.

It appears I've just adopted a vestigial ingredient thinking I was being all fancy and making invert sugar, when in reality I've just been making my ginger decoctions slightly more acidic, before adding my lemon and lime juice to it.

My ginger beer never lasts more than a couple weeks and obviously crystallization isn't an issue, so I'm 86'ing this from my future recipes/experiments. So, thanks!

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