Saturday, March 12, 2011

Brewing sugar experiments: Part 2

EDIT 09Feb2012

For some more advanced thinking/experiments w/ DIY candi sugar on par with commercially produced stuff, check out the post on over at Ryan Brews.


Its been a bit tedious making all these sugars and only doing forced ferments with them...I really am kind of skittish to a entire batch to the experimental sugars, without knowing more. Though others report nice results, I needed a little more empirical data about fermentability.

The first round was like running in to a brick wall...none fermented at all with beer or bread yeasts. Ultimately, I attribute the lack of fermentability to the temps running too high, creating a very high percentage of caramel and maillard compounds.

I did save a bit of the stuff to see what would happen if I let the house bug blend run wild. Knowing how slowly they can work with anything but simpler sugars, I gave it 2.5 months to ferment out.
Sugar 1 (tartaric acid, 300F x 3) SG: 1.050 FG: 1.014 (71%AA)
Sugar 2 (tartaric acid, DME, 300F x 3) SG: 1.052 FG: 1.030 (41%AA)
Sugar 3 (Yeast Engergizer, 300F x 2) SG: 1.060 FG: 1.058 (3% AA)

...side note, did get some mold growth on Sugar 2, I would expect that drove down the FG a little more than the intended bugs alone would have on their own.

So, the data suggested that with more nitrogren in the cooked sugar, and resultant maillard compounds, results in reduced fermentability, even with the enzymatically superior wild bugs.
Before having these results, I decided to modify a single variable (temperature) to see if I could improve the fermentability, but retain the rich complex flavors found in the D2 syrup. Same quantities as Sugar 3 from the first round, but cooking steps reduced to the following:

B2, Sugar 1: 255F, 245F SG: 1.068 FG: 1.028 (57%)
B2, Sugar 2: 265F, 255F, 245F SG: 1.066 FG: 1.040 (38%)
Significant improvement in fermentability, but I also noticed that the flavor and aroma compounds didn't approach the levels of Sugar 3 from Batch 1. They were pretty similar to one another, actually, and somewhere between the amber and regular dark syrup from Dark Candi. Also noted, after about 1.5 weeks of storage, sugar crystals began to form in Sugar 1 (the more fermentable of the 2),
I did perform a control this time to clean up the results a little more (water + sugar + tartaric acid + just enough heat to dissolve the sugar). Cooled, diluted to 1.040. Fermented to 0.990 (126%AA).
I do have an as yet unfounded theory that the D2 (and perhaps the other darker syrups) are really just various combinations of some smaller percentage of very dark (thus, unfermentable) maillard syrup that's created from cooking unrefined beet sugars and a higher percentages of very lightly cooked inverted sugar (100% fermentable) to get the targeted flavor, color and fermentability profile.
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