Forgo crystal and use only invert?

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cire

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View attachment 736995

This one. I actually don't know how this translates correctly into English but my best guess is raw cane sugar. It is only centrifuged, not fully refined so it is slightly brown-ish. The picture gives a good idea.

To my knowledge, that's what's actually being used by the companies that produce brewer's invert the traditional way.
That should do a perfect job, but Ragus, the UK firm that makes Invert for brewers, start with refined cane sugar as described half way down this page.

I actually didn't heat it strongly before it went into the oven, I only dissolved everything and now the oven does the rest. Takes forever though... It was around 70c when it went into the oven.
Now 70C is the precise temperature Ragus invert their sugar, but that is done at < pH 1.6. I tried that pH while simmering and the result was a total disaster with over half the sugar destroyed.

I use double the weight of sugar to water, heating it to 70C when it will nearly all dissolve. The an amount of acid is added to the mixture with heat is still applied,. The amount of acid is that which would reduce the pH of the water used (without sugar) to between pH 2.2 and 2.0. It is then simmered as described here, watching the color change from white to pale a yellow/brown tinge. For darker invert, rather than cooking it further, such as molasses/blackstrap or Black Treacle is stirred into the mix to obtain the desired color/flavor. To stop the process, a small amount sodium carbonate or precipitated chalk is carefully stirred in and the resultant product allowed to cool.

I have no doubt all the processes previously described produce excellent products for making beer, but just wanted to describe the process I use, using Tate and Lyle refined cane sugar which costs me the equivalent of about 20 cents a pound.
 
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Erik the Anglophile

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^ This.

I often brew historic English beers and collected dosens (if not hundreds) of old recipes. My general impression is that addition of crystal malts is comparatively recent innovation. While inverted sugars of various shades have been, in contrast, a solid staple since long ago. So, that's not just an ok approach, it's well grounded historically.

Just don't use beet sugar. I tried it many times, bot inverted and straight, and it always gave a cidery twang to my beers. No such problems with cane sugar.
I've been thinking about trying to do a bitter with only invert as flavour/colour agent besides the basemalt(MO ofc) do you have any basic guidelines I should follow? Any other adjuncts such as maize to help the body from thinning out too much?
 

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I don't pretend to be any approximation to an expert in old English brewing, I just like the styles of the epoch and often practice brewing them as authentically as I can. I think, a typical "generalized" English Best Bitter of the end of the 19th century would include about 7% inverted sugar and about 7% maize, have about 30 IBU and OG around 1.050, less or more. There's plenty of wild variations of course, but these numbers were very typical.

Maize won't help body, it will rather thin it out along with sugar. As I understand, they added adjuncts (sometimes up to 20%) because back then they used far less attenuative yeasts than what we use now. 60% attenuation was a norm. So, economical reasons aside, they just should thin their beer out. If we use same adjunct percentages AND our higher-attenuating yeasts, we risk getting somewhat watery beer. So, to get the authentic taste profile, it's better either to lower wort fermentability or to diminish adjunct percentage.

Personally me, I think that your initial recipe of MO for base, 4% Biscuit and 10% CANE sugar is right on spot. (If I brewed this recipe, I'd swap Biscuit for Amber, but that's not a lot of a difference). And since it's a strong Old Ale of 1.075, I think it will benefit if you add 8-10% of maize.
But for a lightrer Bitter, I wouldn't add grain adjuncts (although it was very typical in old recipes).
 

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First taste test, still lots of lemon flavor and no invert flavour. This takes time. I know this from the method with the pot, takes usually only half an hour to an hour till the lemon flavour is gone. But I might actually have used more then usual this time.
So, how's it going?
 

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I do double batches in a 3L pot made of thick steel, 2 pints water, 2 lbs sugar and 2 ml citric acid, let simmer until 115-120c and then chuck it in the oven preheated to 130c. This usually get me a not too stiff syrup at about 80-85% sugar content.
Just let it sit for a few days before use though, as the citric acid can give a little tang that goes away in a few days- a week.

I've been experimenting with raw cane sugar and the oven method. I acidify but then neutralize with baking soda near the end. It has worked out really well and thr invert adds a lot of flavor.
 

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So, how's it going?
Due to uneven heat distribution in the oven, I got everything from number two to the dark Knight:
IMG_20210728_062745.jpg


Taste was good, actually, the darker the better. One really dark one started to develop a slight bitterness, that was the point when I decided to pull them all out. It took seven hours to get there but overall, success!

The lightest ones still have a little bit of lemon taste, I hope that will fade away and/or not transfer to the beer.

The dark one taste really nicely like burned sugar and caramel.
 

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I just buy invert from my local chems place. They use it in producing all kinds of bacterial soaps and stuff. Very cheap, and the syrup caramelizes in under an hour to a rich brown on the stovetop. I always remove it from the heat BEFORE it's as dark as I want because it darkens further off heat. I then slowly drip water down the side, little by little until it just starts to dissolve the caramelized sugars and then when it's cooled down to the point where the water no longer boils when adding it, I'll stir it up properly and use it.

As a PS: The store bought invert has sulphurs added as a preservative, but it doesn't bother me. Tastes awesome.
 
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Erik the Anglophile

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@Miraculix have you, or anyone else for that matter, noticed that the dark invert seems to have a rather low fermentability for being a sugar product?
I have used it together with a touch of crystal and never mashed above 68c, but it still doesn't drive down the FG nearly as much as you would think it would do.
Not a problem for me since I like the taste it leaves behind, but it interresting.
Do the high amount of caramellisation create a large amount of complex sugar chans akin to maltotriose that the yeasties can't eat? And would more attenuative strains be able to eat them?
 

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@Miraculix have you, or anyone else for that matter, noticed that the dark invert seems to have a rather low fermentability for being a sugar product?
I have used it together with a touch of crystal and never mashed above 68c, but it still doesn't drive down the FG nearly as much as you would think it would do.
Not a problem for me since I like the taste it leaves behind, but it interresting.
Do the high amount of caramellisation create a large amount of complex sugar chans akin to maltotriose that the yeasties can't eat? And would more attenuative strains be able to eat them?
That is interesting. I read about it, but I never experienced it myself. But I also only brewed once with dark Belgian candi syrup, so I actually don't know. I mainly brewed with Lyle's golden syrup.

I think I wanted to try this out in a ginger beer, to leave some residual sweetness but I actually never tried.
 

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I did a test brew a while back where I used 12% invert sugar (#2 or #3) in one brew and same with table sugar in another. Used S-33 (which I know now I don't like). Both brews ended up with 79% attenuation.

Edit: should mention this was with extract.
 

Toxxyc

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Caramelisation will affect fermentability. Caramelisation is a chemical reaction where the sugar physically changes to other stuff (lots of papers on the matter), of which lots are not fermentable. The darker, the more the change (until you get to black and you pretty much have just carbon left, which will not ferment for ****).

Keep in mind people typically don't include lots of it in their brews so it's not really a deal breaker and I wouldn't personally worry about it.
 

cire

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Caramelisation will affect fermentability. Caramelisation is a chemical reaction where the sugar physically changes to other stuff (lots of papers on the matter), of which lots are not fermentable. The darker, the more the change (until you get to black and you pretty much have just carbon left, which will not ferment for ****).
True, while small amounts of those darker products might be used for color and flavoring together with larger quantities of lighter ones for their more subtle flavors and alcohol potential.

My first attempts at low pH (~1.6) and prolonged high temperature conversions produced some less suitable products, which I keep as a reminder, but they didn't spoil a brew. It is why I now mostly invert refined cane sugar to a light color and add other, less refined or the byproducts of refining, to add depth and color.

Keep in mind people typically don't include lots of it in their brews so it's not really a deal breaker and I wouldn't personally worry about it.
Yes, most people don't use large amounts of invert in their brews, but the journey to greater proportions can be a very rewarding one. My latest brew has more than 15% invert with just the right touch of black treacle in a pale beer that doesn't show in color, just a complimentary hint in the taste that others wonder what it might be.
 

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I'd like to learn more about using simple sugars like invert in my beers, to be honest. I've been using regular brown sugar in some beers to mimic a sharp bite that I pick up in some commercial beers that is actually quite refreshing. I've done it with success in a few pale lagers, had it fail on me in some beers and slightly, SLIGHLTY overdone it in an IRA recently, so what it actually contributes would be great to know.
 

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There is a huge difference between what dark sugar contributes and what properly done invert contributes.

In dark sugar, it is basically just molasses that gives the dark colour and flavour compounds. It can go, when fermented, from liquorice to metallic and anywhere in between.

Invert however gets its colour and flavour from maillard reactions/caramelisation of the sugars. Completely different story.

Probably everything has it's own place in brewing but trying to mimic dark invert with dark sugar has to fail because their nature is really different.


It is possible to use a bit of brown sugar in the invert production however, if you boil it long enough, it's flavour will change. Away from the liquorice to something which I would describe as cigar like our something coming from that direction. But it really takes time for this to happen. I think I used something like two tablespoons of untreated dark sugar on one pound of unrefined but centrifuged raw cane sugar or something like that. Went into a barley wine which turned out really well.
 
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Miraculix

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Is this the type of caramelization than happens to malt extract during the boil?
Depending on what's also in the solution, which proteins, which pH, which ions etc. The exact type of reaction differs, but generally speaking, yes, same type of reaction.
 

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^ This.

I often brew historic English beers and collected dosens (if not hundreds) of old recipes. My general impression is that addition of crystal malts is comparatively recent innovation. While inverted sugars of various shades have been, in contrast, a solid staple since long ago. So, that's not just an ok approach, it's well grounded historically.

Just don't use beet sugar. I tried it many times, bot inverted and straight, and it always gave a cidery twang to my beers. No such problems with cane sugar.
Crystal malt only became common in Bitter after WW II. I don't think I've seen a single example from before WW I.
 

cire

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I'd like to learn more about using simple sugars like invert in my beers, to be honest. I've been using regular brown sugar in some beers to mimic a sharp bite that I pick up in some commercial beers that is actually quite refreshing. I've done it with success in a few pale lagers, had it fail on me in some beers and slightly, SLIGHLTY overdone it in an IRA recently, so what it actually contributes would be great to know.
Refined sugars are usually sucrose, dark sugars are either refined sugar with additives or partially refined sugar. Yeast cannot ferment sucrose, but must first break sucrose into glucose and fructose, which it can digest, using an enzyme called invertase.

When light is passed through a sucrose, that light is angularly rotated, but when passed through glucose and fructose solution will rotate in the opposite direction, hence the term invert. Ragus, the name of the company that has for many years produced invert for breweries in UK is so called because that is the word sugar, inverted.

A solution of sucrose and water heated will slowly invert to glucose and fructose, and the rate of change increases as the temperature increases. When acid is added to the solution the reaction will be further speeded, the rate of conversion in some way proportional to the higher is temperature and lower is pH.

A simple and effective method is to add 2 lbs of sugar to a pint of water (US measures) in a pan and heat while stirring to get the suar to dissove. At about 70C/160F it will mostly be in solution and by adding a teaspoon of citric acid crystals will be seen to completely clear as the inversion begins by releasing molecules of water as sucrose divides. Continue heating until the mixture simmers gently, when the heating should be eased to keep a very gentle simmer until the mixture (if from pure white sugar) will slowly color a light yellow, when the heat should be removed. Inversion will continue until the mixture is cool or the acidity neutralized with sodium carbonate or precipitated chalk. Sodium bicarbonate can be used, but stand well back and protect valuables. Up to about 8% of other, particularly darker, sugars to this now mostly pure invert sugar will add extra flavor and/or color. Then adding about 15% dextrose will seed crystallization and form a solid block, but don't then store in a jar as it won't easily come out.

Try that to compare with your usual sugar additions.
 

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Refined sugars are usually sucrose, dark sugars are either refined sugar with additives or partially refined sugar. Yeast cannot ferment sucrose, but must first break sucrose into glucose and fructose, which it can digest, using an enzyme called invertase.

When light is passed through a sucrose, that light is angularly rotated, but when passed through glucose and fructose solution will rotate in the opposite direction, hence the term invert. Ragus, the name of the company that has for many years produced invert for breweries in UK is so called because that is the word sugar, inverted.

A solution of sucrose and water heated will slowly invert to glucose and fructose, and the rate of change increases as the temperature increases. When acid is added to the solution the reaction will be further speeded, the rate of conversion in some way proportional to the higher is temperature and lower is pH.

A simple and effective method is to add 2 lbs of sugar to a pint of water (US measures) in a pan and heat while stirring to get the suar to dissove. At about 70C/160F it will mostly be in solution and by adding a teaspoon of citric acid crystals will be seen to completely clear as the inversion begins by releasing molecules of water as sucrose divides. Continue heating until the mixture simmers gently, when the heating should be eased to keep a very gentle simmer until the mixture (if from pure white sugar) will slowly color a light yellow, when the heat should be removed. Inversion will continue until the mixture is cool or the acidity neutralized with sodium carbonate or precipitated chalk. Sodium bicarbonate can be used, but stand well back and protect valuables. Up to about 8% of other, particularly darker, sugars to this now mostly pure invert sugar will add extra flavor and/or color. Then adding about 15% dextrose will seed crystallization and form a solid block, but don't then store in a jar as it won't easily come out.

Try that to compare with your usual sugar additions.
Adding darker sugars to inverted sugar after boiling had finished basically leaves the darker sugar as it is, in other words you could add small amounts of molasses instead, same outcome.

It's the maillard reactions that need to take place, not the colour of the sugar that defines the flavour of an inverted sugar syrup. And your version basically is just adding molasses without the possibility to alter it on a chemical level via maillard reaction.

It will certainly give you some additional flavour and it even might fit very well into your beer, but it won't give you the same flavour that an invert gives you that got it's colour purely from heat and time.
 

cire

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Invert and caramel are different products. Invert sugars are glucose and fructose as is included in the subject title. Pedantic maybe, but I've stuck strictly to the subject matter here, else the people may read and adopt the opinion that inverts sugars are a product of the Maillard reaction which in fact creates another product FROM sugars.

There is lots to be said about the Mailard reaction and what it can add to beer, but it does not make sugar.
 

Miraculix

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Invert and caramel are different products. Invert sugars are glucose and fructose as is included in the subject title. Pedantic maybe, but I've stuck strictly to the subject matter here, else the people may read and adopt the opinion that inverts sugars are a product of the Maillard reaction which in fact creates another product FROM sugars.

There is lots to be said about the Mailard reaction and what it can add to beer, but it does not make sugar.
Yes true, but in my experience, when talking about invert number 1-4 in the UK in the context of beer brewing, an invert is ment that derived it's colour from maillard reaction and not from the addition of darker sugars after the inversion took place. Same goes for Belgian Candi syrup, although the process of it's creation is a different one.
 

cire

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Ragus are as far as I know, currently the only commercial producers of Invert sugars for brewers in UK. I have in the past bought their products through their agent, Bako. However, as they are sold in 25kg, it isn't practical, so I make my own.

The Ragus site is very informative, but it seems to frequently altered with little consideration of what other information it contains. However, this page includes a section titled, "How is brewing sugar produced?"

It is somewhat brief, but the highest temperature during the process is 70C, unlikely to produce much of a Maillard reaction.

There is no technical reason to not invoke a Maillard reaction, but it isn't essential to make invert sugar for brewing.
 

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Ragus are as far as I know, currently the only commercial producers of Invert sugars for brewers in UK. I have in the past bought their products through their agent, Bako. However, as they are sold in 25kg, it isn't practical, so I make my own.

The Ragus site is very informative, but it seems to frequently altered with little consideration of what other information it contains. However, this page includes a section titled, "How is brewing sugar produced?"

It is somewhat brief, but the highest temperature during the process is 70C, unlikely to produce much of a Maillard reaction.

There is no technical reason to not invoke a Maillard reaction, but it isn't essential to make invert sugar for brewing.
That is strange. Maybe it was used to be done but not any more?

Maybe @Northern_Brewer wants to chime in here? Do you got any information regarding that matter?


I know the taste difference from personal experience and maillard reaction darkened invert tastes completely different than one that has been coloured by adding molasses.
 

cire

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There is no reason not to include products from a Maillard reaction in beer to add flavor or color.

The Maillard reaction would be prevalent in beers from directly heated coppers, while steam would unlikely cause it.

No doubt in the past there wasn't the technology or instrumentation to closely control inversion of sugar as can be done today and in 1900 there was the famous arsenic poisoning incident. Back in those times, there were many more sugar producers than today.

There is a lot of variation in molasses, which has significant variation on its taste in beer.
 

cire

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IMG_20210811_180234140.jpg


Brewed on Thursday using a mix of commercial and homemade inverts. Back right is 500g, a little over a pound, of Ragus #1 Invert cut from a 25 kg block to show its color and thought it might be helpful to show

In the foreground is unmalted barley that has been washed and absorbed some water in the process. This is spread on the glass turntable in a microwave a handful at a time to be torrified. This takes about 2 minutes at full power for the water to turn to steam, gelatinize and burst the corn, as seen in the jug, back left.

Unmalted adjuncts added to the mash pair well with invert, possibly because the long chain carbohydrates they produce help balance the higher fermentability of invert sugars in the beer.

The recipe, if of interest.

50 litres 1043 OG
2 hour mash, 2 hour sparge to 1003.
3 kg Dutch Pale Malt
1.5 kg Irish Pale Malt
1.5 kg Vienna Malt
0.5 kg Flaked Maize
0.4 kg Torrified Barley
0.15 kg malt extract.
0.5 kg #1 Solid Invert by Ragus
0.8 kg #2 Invert Syrup homemade

20g Northdown 90 mins
40g First Gold 90 mins
60g First Gold 10 mins
40g Hallertau Hersbrucker @ 80C and steeped for 30 minutes.

The malt extract was some that was getting old and needed using, although it was a common ingredient by many breweries to increase production or gravity when already at capacity. Known as DCL it was produced n times past in large volumes in Scotland for distillers, brewers and health of individuals. DCL was Distillers Company Limited.

Edited to correct the omission of the word extract.
 
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cire

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A picture of the beer from the above recipe, three days into bottle conditioning. It spent a week in the FV before being racked into a plastic pressure barrel for 2 further weeks.

XP.jpg


It shows how the commercial Ragus #1 invert adds little or no color, as it also seems to be the case with my own #2 in this case, to be also used in pale ales.
 
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