Here is a post from a different board , originally posted by Randy Mosher. I found it interesting ....
OK, one more time...here are some posts from HBD on candi sugar. Notice how Randy Mosher talks about Belgian brewers laughing at Americans for buying candi sugar.
"Invert sugar is produced from sucrose by adding invertase and/or acid
and heat. This breaks down sucrose (disaccharide) into its two
components: fructose and glucose (monosaccharides). Pure invert sugars
do not normally crystalize. Belgian candi sugar, which is crystalized,
is NOT pure invert sugar. It is derived from sugar beets, as are many
European table sugars. Thus, it might be argued that Belgian candi sugar
tastes subtly different from American table sugar, which in most cases
comes from sugar cane.
I have heard that Unibroue (Quebec) uses regular table sugar (sucrose
from sugar cane) in its Belgian style beers. They still taste pretty
good to me! IMHO, Belgian Candi sugar (sucrose from beets) at $4 per
pound is a waste of money when you can get table sugar (sucrose from
cane) for much less.
Peter A. Ensminger
"There is a tremendous amount of confusion on this subject among us
homebrewers right now. I think a lot of the problem is related to the
translation difficulties, and Belgian and American brewers assuming each
knows what the other is talking about.
Having just done the tech edit on Stan Heironymous' new book, Monk Brews,
this subject came up a number of times, and I think we finally got it
pounded into submission. Here goes.
"Candi" sugar may refer both to rock candy (which is what we Americans tend
to think it is) but also to a cooked liquid caramel syrup. In my experience,
this is more often to be case when a Belgian is talking. On old Belgian
labels and in brewing books, candi sugar invariably refers to the caramel
syrup. Properly made, this is a class III caramel and is made from invert
sugar combined with ammonium carbonate or similar source of nitrogen. The
rock candy is definitely not inverted, as invert sugar won't crystallize.
The two are not interchangeable. Caramel syrup has a considerable amount of
both color and flavor, and the flavors are of a distinctly rich caramelly
kind, quite different from semi-refined sugar. Here's a link to the Web site
of a sugar company in Belgium that sells both:
The white rock candy is a waste of money. Sure, it's shiny and cool, but it
is identical in chemical composition to grocery store sugar. Cane or beet
does not matter--the molecules are the same (although your grocery store
probably has beet sugar if it makes you feel better). In Belgium, the rock
candy is not so expensive, which is why it's used. Jeff Sparrow (Wild Brews)
says the Belgian brewers laughed out loud when he told them how much we were
paying for the rock sugar.
I tried a little experiment and ground up some of the white, pale and "dark"
rock candy, and tried to tell the difference. The white and pale (yellowish)
ones were absolutely identical, and I think I might have been able to detect
the slightest hint of character in the "dark." I plan on getting this blind
in front of some judges and see what results I get.
For most brewing purposes, I prefer turbinado or similar semi-refined sugar,
or ethnic "concrete" sugars like piloncillo, jaggery and others. These were
widely used in brewing in England, Belgium and France less than a century
ago, so they're not such a bad fit with tradition.
- --Randy Mosher"