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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2008 * Archive through August 26, 2008 * Sugar Addition Experiment < Previous Next >

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Tex Brewer
Intermediate Member
Username: Texbrewer

Post Number: 298
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 216.203.59.252
Posted on Friday, July 11, 2008 - 07:12 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

This is a corollary to the "Bottling Sugar Excess" thread. See that thread for more details.

Ted Haustotter wrote an article for the current issue of Zymurgy comparing the effect of different sugars on a split batch of Belgian tripel. He concluded that there was a significant difference in flavors and that Belgian candi sugar was the best, followed by corn sugar. Regular cane sugar was said to have appley flavors. Brown sugar was at the bottom of the barrel. A number of questions were raised on this board, so I communicated directly with Ted. Here are the questions and answers:

Ted: Glad you enjoyed the article! I was even amazed at the difference in flavors. As I said in the article, I approached this as sugar is sugar. One of my goals was to reduce the variables as much as possible. Prior to adding the sugars, all beers had the FG tested, they were the same and tasted the same. The following is my responses to your questions.

Tex: 1. Were the sugars sterilzed before adding to the secondary? If so, how?
Ted: Yes all sugars were boiled for 5 minutes and then chilled in a covered saucepan to the same temperature, 65į and added to secondary.

Tex: 2. Was a yeast starter prepared and pitched into the whole 15 gallons, mixed, and then split into the 5 carboys, or was 20% of the starter pitched into each carboy?
Ted: The wort was made in a big batch, then split into smaller carboys. Each carboy was then pitched with approximately 20% of the yeast cake. I made a "yeast starter" beer prior to the tripel and used the yeast cake.

Tex: 3. Which yeast was used?
Ted: I used Wyeast 3944 wit yeast. The classic wit flavors are present in the tripel but fade over time. At the last tasting they were very minor.

Tex: 4. Why was the sugar added to the secondary? The recipes at the end say to boil it in the brew kettle. I realize that boiling in the kettle was not possible with 5 different sub-batches, but they could easily have been boiled in a small amount of water and added to each primary.
Ted: I added them to secondary because it was easy. Brewing beer also needs to conform to your schedule. In hindsight, I could have done as you suggest. One advantage of adding the sugar to secondary is it feeds the yeast incrementally helping to increase your attenuation (lowering the FG).

Tex: 5. How does light Belgian candy sugar differ from plain sucrose rock candy? In other words, how is it different from the cane sugar, other than form?
Ted: The Belgian candy sugar from Brewers Garden is a raw form of sugar. It is not as refined as sucrose or table sugar. It is about 2/3 sucrose and 1/3 fructose and glucose. This will give you a different flavor profile than straight sucrose or straight inverted sucrose (1/2 fructose and 1/2 glucose)

Tex: 6. Some people have said cane sugar can result in a cidery flavor. Others say hogwash. Do you think the fruity and apple flavors mentioned in the article are cidery flavors?
Ted: Yes, the cider flavors are a function of sucrose in the beer for the cane sugar beer. I have gotten it in prior batches. All judges could pick it out. It tasted like apple cider was added to the beer. When you do not have a control beer to compare a beer with and without sugar, it is not as easy to pick out.

Tex: 7. How was the judging done? What was the yardstick against which the beers were measured?
Ted: Judging was blind, no one knew which beer was which, other than the base. The base was served first (no sugar added) then the others in random order. We judged the beers against the base beer and then against each other in a mini best of show style. The first judging had (1) Grand Master 3, (1) Master, multiple national judges and many lower ranked judges. All were amazed at the flavor differences.

Tex: 8. Were all three judgings done blind and in the same fashion?
Ted: All the judgings were in the same fashion.

My conclusions:
1. Sucrose may be sucrose, but the Belgian candi sugar used is not just sucrose. It is a mixture of sugars, and that apparently makes a big difference.
2. Plain sucrose added as a major ingredient will create an apple cidery flavor.
3. The splitting of the yeast cake and adding 20% to each batch could have resulted in some variability, but his testing of FG and taste in each of the batches following primary pretty much rules that out.
4. Adding the sugars to the secondary rather than boiling them with the wort may make a difference--unknown.
 

Denny Conn
Senior Member
Username: Denny

Post Number: 6843
Registered: 01-2001
Posted From: 140.211.82.4
Posted on Friday, July 11, 2008 - 07:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've spent years searching for facts about what the Brewer's Garden sugars are. I wonder where Ted got his info?
 

Steve Jones
Advanced Member
Username: Stevej

Post Number: 535
Registered: 08-2001
Posted From: 76.7.159.69
Posted on Friday, July 11, 2008 - 07:29 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Denny, I was just searching for that info. I did find a description saying it was made of beet sugar - made into a 'sucrose syrup' that is heated and slowly cooled. No mention of glucose/fructose or inverting.

If indeed it is 2/3 sucrose, 1/3 glucose/fructose then I wonder if you could make up two sugar syrups (2/3 lb in one, 1/3 lb in the other) in separate pans, add a pinch of citric acid to the smaller one, heat to the desired color, then combine right before cooling?

Or maybe make them up separately, then add 2/3 of one, 1/3 of the other at whatever stage of brewing you desired? Seems like a lot of work to go thru, but if there really is as much difference as Ted claims, it may be worth it.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 9063
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.225.170
Posted on Friday, July 11, 2008 - 07:41 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I believe the Brewer's Garden products are imported and packaged by Steinbart's in Portland. Denny, do you know anyone there who could comment on the composition and origin of the candi sugar?
 

Paul Edwards
Senior Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 1610
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 76.252.18.186
Posted on Friday, July 11, 2008 - 08:01 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would have liked to see domestically produced beet sugar included in the experiment.

Lots of the table sugar in grocery stores is beet sugar of US origin.

Wal-Mart's house brand explicitly says "beet sugar", for instance.
 

Tex Brewer
Intermediate Member
Username: Texbrewer

Post Number: 299
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 70.135.65.20
Posted on Monday, July 14, 2008 - 01:45 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If you add cane sugar to the brew kettle and boil it with the wort, which is presumably in the pH 5-ish range, is that acid enough to cause inversion? In other words, does boiling the sugar in the brew kettle for an hour make a difference as compared to boiling it in plain water for 5 minutes and adding it to the secondary? Sounds like room for another experiment here.

This is just conjecture, but I think "sucrose is sucrose" may be over-simplified. There may be many other variables such as how the sugar is made or the source of the sugar. Maple sugar and beet sugar are both sucrose. But the results are likely different from cane sugar--I know from personal experience that they are different for maple sugar. BTW, Ted has since told me he is going to do another experiment for the AHA Nationals in Oakland comparing beet vs. cane sugar.
 

Dave Witt
Senior Member
Username: Davew

Post Number: 1136
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 71.194.189.126
Posted on Monday, July 14, 2008 - 12:54 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If you add cane sugar to the brew kettle and boil it with the wort, which is presumably in the pH 5-ish range, is that acid enough to cause inversion?

I posed this question to the board a couple months ago and the answer was that the medium had to be below pH 4 to invert the sugar.
 

Paul Edwards
Senior Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 1611
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 76.252.45.76
Posted on Monday, July 14, 2008 - 01:05 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Cane sugar and beet sugar from the grocery store are both very highly refined, where maple sugar isn't. Maple sugar is probably closer to turbinado or Sucanat, in terms of refinement.

Maple sugar is about 90 percent sucrose (most of the rest of it is glucose and fructose), and has a much higher level of "impurities" (the source of the maple flavor) than either refined beet or cane sugar, according to a guy I know who produces maple syrup and maple sugar at his farm in southern Indiana. Maple syrup also varies, depending on when in the sugaring season the sap is collected.

I've used both refined cane sugar and refined beet sugar in things like belgian tripels. I found no diff between them. But, then, in a tripel with the huge flavor contributions from the yeast, any diff would be greatly overshadowed.
 

Denny Conn
Senior Member
Username: Denny

Post Number: 6844
Registered: 01-2001
Posted From: 140.211.82.4
Posted on Monday, July 14, 2008 - 04:20 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Steve, the info you have matches what I've always heard. Where did you find the info?

Bill, the wholesale arm of what used to be Steinbart's is now owned by an Australian co. called Brewcraft. No direct contacts there, but I'll ask around. FWIW, Steinbart's is now a retail only shop.
 

Steve Jones
Advanced Member
Username: Stevej

Post Number: 536
Registered: 08-2001
Posted From: 199.190.8.13
Posted on Monday, July 14, 2008 - 08:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Denny, this description is from www.ebrew.com (Homebrew Adventures):
This imported Belgian sugar is made from sugar beets and is used by professional brewers to produce some of the unique beers styles indigenous to Belgium to enhance flavor, while adding alcohol. The diamonds are formed by the slow crystallization of a highly concentrated sucrose syrup. The degree of color results from natural caramelization during the heating process. No additional coloring of flavoring agents have been added

I also found www.candi.com, the importer of the belgian brewers candi syrup.
They have 4 syrups: Dark, Dark2, Amber, and Clear. The descriptions follow (all are 1.032 PPPG).

D - Original caramelized sugar of traditional Belgian ales. This syrup is deep red/black in color. Itís flavor is full of soft caramel, vanilla, plums and raisins. Highly fermentable. 80 SRM
D2 - Our latest addition. This syrupís flavor is a mix of burnt sugar, figs, ripe fruit, toffee and dark chocolate. Highly fermentable. 80 SRM
AM - Made using the same process as the dark syrup. Lighter in color with a less intense candi syrup flavor. Highly fermentable 40 SRM.
CL - Traditional light colored candi syrup, cooked briefly to achieve high fermentability and to partially invert sugar. Will not add any color to wort. 0 SRM.

That last one is interesting ...
 

Ted Hausotter
New Member
Username: Lagerman

Post Number: 1
Registered: 07-2008
Posted From: 216.104.73.250
Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - 12:15 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Who would have thought that sugar, as USA brewers who shun it, would cause so many questions. I am Ted Hausotter the author of the article, sorry for the delay in jumping in, work keeps me from having all the fun I should.

Brewers Garden Candi sugar is now in a state of flux. It was packaged by Steinbarts and now by Brewcraft that bought out Steinbarts Wholesale. They are in the process of changing the product and or packaging, so the clear is not available at this point on a wholesale basis. My information is direct from Brewcraft.

Steve is thinking about making his own, I do not think it will turn out the same. Issues that will affect the flavor profile is the differing percentages of frutose and glucose, they are not equal. If you make it by inverting sugar, with completly inverted it is 50/50, the Brewers Garden is not and they would not give me the exact ratio. There are also trace elements that affect the flavor.

Paul I will include Beet and Turbinado on my next run. THinking about trying to get it together for NHC in Oakland next June. 30 gallons of Tripel, I like it.

One last item to mention, Brewcraft states they use cane sugar in their product. Many people find that the beet sugar is inferior, I have yet to make a judgment on the issue. My next version of this experiment I am looking at using cane, beet, turbinado, invert cane, belgain candi, corn. As it will be a 30 gallon batch, I have to dump one or the control.

Ted Hausotter
 

The Jolly Brewer
Senior Member
Username: Matfink

Post Number: 1993
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 92.233.31.3
Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - 09:00 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ted,

I read your article last night as my copy of Zymurgy takes a little while to make it to England. It was very interesting. As I mentioned in the previous thread relating to this article, I'm always a little wary of split batch experiments due to the large number of potential variables that could affect flavour. But your article did convince me that all sugars are not equal and that this is a good area for experimentation. It was also very interesting to see the effects of age on the various beers. The light coloured belgian beers I've made with a high proportion of sugar have tasted better when reasonably young. They did not age as well as beer of a darker colour with a similar proportion of sugar. Again, more room for experimentation?
 

Denny Conn
Senior Member
Username: Denny

Post Number: 6845
Registered: 01-2001
Posted From: 140.211.82.4
Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - 03:41 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Steve, thanks for the info. I've used all those syrups, and am looking forward to a shipment od other samples from them of other syrups that may not hit the homebrew market.

And Hi, Ted!
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 9072
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 65.92.52.172
Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - 04:35 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Certainly there's a lot of "food" for thought here. I want to keep an open mind about this, and I await the results of further testing.

I must say I find it very difficult to believe there's any difference between cane and beet sugar. The chemistry indicates that it's all pure sucrose. There would be minor issues due to the differing trace mineral composition of the soil the sugar is grown in, but these would be so small as to have no effect on flavor.
 

Paul Erbe
Senior Member
Username: Perbe

Post Number: 1183
Registered: 05-2001
Posted From: 64.233.251.195
Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - 04:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

There would be minor issues due to the differing trace mineral composition of the soil the sugar is grown in, but these would be so small as to have no effect on flavor.

In France terroir is thought to have a tremendous effect on the qualities of the grape used in wine production. Now sugar is a much more refined product than grape must so i dont know that there is a real corollary here or not.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 9073
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.225.170
Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - 08:07 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Paul, I agree. White sugar is so refined that the terroir factor is inconsequential. I'd defy anyone, for example, to tell the difference between C&H cane sugar from Hawaii and Pioneer beet sugar from Michigan. It's all a commodity, and sucrose is sucrose.
 

Ted Hausotter
New Member
Username: Lagerman

Post Number: 2
Registered: 07-2008
Posted From: 71.222.65.177
Posted on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 - 04:31 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I agree that older blond Belgians do not age as gracefully, that is untill they get old. THey start good young and stay good for about 6 months, fade till 1 year and then start to improve. As to sucrose is sucrose, if I was ding this as a pro, I would run test batches on C & H and Michigan beet, I no longer believe that they are the same till I taste them. Prior to the experiment I would say they were the same.
 

Mike G.
Intermediate Member
Username: Mikeg

Post Number: 292
Registered: 04-2005
Posted From: 64.68.174.74
Posted on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 - 05:27 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

A little late, but here is a picture depicting the rate of inversion versus temperature, and pH:

invert chart
 

Paul Erbe
Senior Member
Username: Perbe

Post Number: 1185
Registered: 05-2001
Posted From: 64.233.251.195
Posted on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 - 03:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I agree that older blond Belgians do not age as gracefully, that is until they get old.

Ted I hope your wife is not a blond of Belgian descent, you could get in trouble for statement like that.
 

Ted Hausotter
New Member
Username: Lagerman

Post Number: 5
Registered: 07-2008
Posted From: 216.104.73.250
Posted on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 - 11:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I dodged that one
 

John Ferens
Intermediate Member
Username: John_ferens

Post Number: 264
Registered: 05-2003
Posted From: 96.236.153.32
Posted on Thursday, July 17, 2008 - 02:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ted - and others, what might honey do in such a test? I'll often use inexpensive Sams club honey in place of sugar in my Belgians.

Cheers!
John.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 9076
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 65.92.52.46
Posted on Thursday, July 17, 2008 - 04:39 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yes, I agree that honey should be part of the sugars experiment. My take on Unibroue's La Fin du Monde uses honey, and I like it quite a bit. (I'm still searching for that elusive flavor of LFDM, but I believe it's a matter of the subtle spices rather than the sugar.)

(Message edited by BillPierce on July 17, 2008)
 

Ted Hausotter
New Member
Username: Lagerman

Post Number: 6
Registered: 07-2008
Posted From: 74.0.106.34
Posted on Thursday, July 24, 2008 - 08:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would give the honey a try also. Not sure I would go with cheap honey, I am a honey snob with many gallons to fit the whim of the day. The small amount of non sugar ingreadients will give it a unique flavor. If you are getting racked on honey prices, go to your bee keepers and taste test their honey and bring what you are using to compare. I have been able to get 5 gallons for $80 to 100. You have to check with a few bee keepers and bring your containers, make it easy for them. Make sure you taste test it first!!!
 

The Jolly Brewer
Senior Member
Username: Matfink

Post Number: 2005
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 213.83.101.254
Posted on Monday, July 28, 2008 - 11:12 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Honey would seem an odd one to use on a sugar experiment. I realise honey is a sugar, but the flavour variations in honey are so wide I can't imagine it really proving or disproving anything in an experiment like this.
 

John Ferens
Intermediate Member
Username: John_ferens

Post Number: 266
Registered: 05-2003
Posted From: 96.236.153.32
Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2008 - 02:06 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

JB, that is a good point and one of the reasons I mention inexpensive store honey - it has been blended to be fairly neutral relative to other specific-flower type honey. True to Ted's point, generic honey lacks much of the flavor that a local honey would provide, but for an experiment like this, it would be the next best thing to neutral and therefore closer to what everyone might expect were they to use honey as opposed to various types of sugar.

John.