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Back-sweetening beers with different sugars

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Gustatorian

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I've used brown sugar, molasses, treacle while brewing with variable success. Usually I'll add them during the boil or very early in fermentation, but I've never back-sweetened (post cold-crash) a beer with them. Anyone have any luck with this?
 

Gnomebrewer

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Even after a cold crash there is plenty of yeast left to ferment whatever new sugar is added. If you add sugar and then bottle with whatever sugar you'd normally use for carbonation, you'll get bottle bombs. If you keep things cold and keg (force carbonate) you'd probably be OK with the sugar in there.

But then the more important question.....why would you want to sweeten beer in the first place? Unlike cider and mead, most beers taste awful with any residual simple sugars - they are just too sweet. Sugar sweetness tastes quite different to residual malt sugar (eg. dextrin) body (which is nowhere near as sweet). The only beer style that I can think of that uses some added sweetness is a milk stout - it uses lactose which is not fermentable by brewers yeast. Again, lactose doesn't taste anywhere near as sweet as sucrose/glucose/fructose. Before you try this with a batch of beer, try adding some dissolved sugar to a glass of beer - it does not taste good.
 
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Gustatorian

Gustatorian

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Even after a cold crash there is plenty of yeast left to ferment whatever new sugar is added. If you add sugar and then bottle with whatever sugar you'd normally use for carbonation, you'll get bottle bombs. If you keep things cold and keg (force carbonate) you'd probably be OK with the sugar in there.

But then the more important question.....why would you want to sweeten beer in the first place? Unlike cider and mead, most beers taste awful with any residual simple sugars - they are just too sweet. Sugar sweetness tastes quite different to residual malt sugar (eg. dextrin) body (which is nowhere near as sweet). The only beer style that I can think of that uses some added sweetness is a milk stout - it uses lactose which is not fermentable by brewers yeast. Again, lactose doesn't taste anywhere near as sweet as sucrose/glucose/fructose. Before you try this with a batch of beer, try adding some dissolved sugar to a glass of beer - it does not taste good.
Totally get what you're saying. So if a stout/porter was overly bitter, do you think adding lactose to the fermentor would assist in balancing the beer out?
 

Lefou

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Bitterness is a perception best cured by choosing the right yeast and hops. I always do my hopping for a malty style using a BU/GU ratio of .5 or lower. Beers that are overly sweet can become over-carbed if you're not careful, but lactose addition can help in the heavier, darker beers. I'm not a fan of adding extra sugar to beer, especially lighter-colored ales. If I want sweet, a sangria or table wine might do.
A safer way to get a perceived sweetness would be to use less diastatic crystal or specialty grains leaving unfermentable sugars in your beer. Malted oats, Gambrinus honey malt, or Belgian//German caramalts would be a good substitute.
 
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