Commercially made sucrose typically comes from either sugar beets or sugar cane. In either case, the plant material is first macerated in hot water, pulverized, and separated from the sugar-rich liquid. That liquid is then boiled and centrifuged several times to form and extract the sugar crystals. During this extraction process different grades of molasses are formed as well. Cane and beet derived sucrose are almost indistinguishable from each other and can be substituted freely.
Table sugar has several uses in beer making.
- Brewers will often add a cooled simple syrup made with table sugar to the bottling bucket. The amount varies by what level of carbonation is desired. The yeast still in suspension in the uncarbonated beer reactivate and digest the sucrose, producing alcohol and CO2.
- Brewers can use sucrose to lighten the body and color of a beer without greatly affecting the beer's flavor.
- Some brewers attempt to raise the alcohol content of their beer with sucrose; however, doing this will reduce the quality of the beer by adding a cider taste.