Thursday, December 20, 2007

11 Differnet Sugars, 1 Great Tasting

Last weekend I got a bunch of my friends together to do a big tasting of my sugar experiments. The 1st experiment was brewed in the summer of 2006, so some of the bottles were starting to show some oxidation, but the amount of oxidation ranged significantly. I am not sure if this variation can be traced to the sugar, or if it was a result of bottle to bottle variation. The 2nd experiment was more than a year younger, certainly closer to its prime, but probably still a bit young.

We tasted the beers blind and in a random order that wasn't revealed until we finished the last beer. I asked every participant to write down three words or short phrases that they thought captured each of the beers. Here is a list of the general sentiments on each batch.

1. Homemade Candi Syrup (White Sugar held at 285 for 3 hours) (New)
-Drinkable, fruity, well balanced

2. Muscovado (Old)
-Mild Oxidation, tropical, mead-like

3. Lyle's Golden Syrup (New)
- Smoky, long finish, amber, syrupy, alcohol

4. Dark Candi Syrup (Old)
- Strong oxidation, pineapple, faint cherry

5. Homemade Caramel (Corn Syrup and DAP) (Old)
- Tart, caramel, thin, apple cider vinegar

6. Agave (New)
- Spicy, fusel, more bitterness, like Delirium, grapefruit in nose

7. Dark Soft Candi Sugar (Old)
- Cider, aromatic, strong, orange in the nose, smooth

8. White Sugar (Fermented hotter than the rest) (Old)
- Apple, flat, watery

9. Date Sugar (New)
-Very dry, bubblegum, very Belgian

10. Gur (New)
- Alcohol, fruity, smooth, a bit thick, light bubblegum

11. Amber Rock Candi (Old)
- Grape/wine , Farmhouse, dry


  1. It's interesting to me to see that the homemade caramel syrup came out tart and vinegary. A bit discouraging to the idea of making it at home.

  2. Really cool experiment.

    How has the homemade candi syrup held up over time?

    Is it worth the trouble when compared to dextrose?

  3. The beer held up fine as far as I remember. What sugar you use will depend on what flavors you are looking for. Dextrose won't add any character.

    Honestly I haven’t made that recipe for candi sugar again, the commercial stuff has a lot more character.

    I just picked up the 90 and 180 from that I am looking forward to using on my next dark Belgian beer.

  4. I have heard that coooking the sugar multiple times adds more character if this was the case would it be more worth it to make it for your next batch?