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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: theoman on August 14, 2010, 10:02:16 AM

Title: Corn Syrup?
Post by: theoman on August 14, 2010, 10:02:16 AM
Has anybody ever used corn syrup in a beer? I have some laying around that I don't intend to use for anything else, so I thought I might use it in a tripel-ish recipe. Any reason why I shouldn't?
Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: MDixon on August 14, 2010, 11:26:33 AM
It has vanilla added, so be prepared for that flavor...
Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: weithman5 on August 14, 2010, 12:14:45 PM
let us know.  the little amish general store near my ma's farm has some cheap, as well as pure fructose and some interesting varieties of wheat and oats that may be worthwhile now that i think of it.
Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: theoman on August 15, 2010, 12:06:21 PM
I just checked the ingredients: Glucose, glucose-fructose, water, refiners' syrup, salt. Hm, could be fun to try, could be a mistake.
Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: dean on August 15, 2010, 01:11:16 PM
I've used it a few times, in fact I'm going to make a batch or two with it again.  Its somewhat similar to using honey but doesn't finish quite as dry imo.  As MDixon said, most have vanilla added so be prepared for that flavor to come through to some extent, use a recipe you'd want some vanilla in it and you're good to go.  I've used it in PA's and Stouts and I've liked them all.  I don't know about using it in an IPA... might be good with the right hops etc.
Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: tschmidlin on August 15, 2010, 04:50:09 PM
I just checked the ingredients: Glucose, glucose-fructose, water, refiners' syrup, salt. Hm, could be fun to try, could be a mistake.
Isn't refiner's syrup sort of like molasses? Is this dark corn syrup?  I don't know if I'd want to add the color or flavor to a tripel.  Have you checked out Ted Hausotter's article on the sugars of tripel?  He gave a presentation at NHC and there was on article in Zymurgy July/Aug 2008

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/attachments/0000/4805/Sugars_of_Tripel-Ted_Hausotter.pdf
Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: The Professor on August 16, 2010, 02:45:00 AM
Light KARO syrup (and similar products) have vanilla added...the dark ones don't seem to.

I've used KING and ALAGA syrups in some brews with interesting results.
Sorghum syrup, if you can find it, is VERY interesting  as a sugar adjunct in some beers.
Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: MDixon on August 16, 2010, 11:52:18 AM
Thanks for pointing that out, it is indeed the light syrup which has vanilla. I just assumed the original poster was using light since they were attempting to make a tripel...

theo - I would not use dark anything in a tripel  ;)
Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: denny on August 16, 2010, 03:50:38 PM
Isn't refiner's syrup sort of like molasses? Is this dark corn syrup?  I don't know if I'd want to add the color or flavor to a tripel.  Have you checked out Ted Hausotter's article on the sugars of tripel?  He gave a presentation at NHC and there was on article in Zymurgy July/Aug 2008

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/attachments/0000/4805/Sugars_of_Tripel-Ted_Hausotter.pdf

As much respect as I have for Ted, my experience is that his results are only valid if you add sugars during fermentation like he did.  If you add them to the kettle, as most of us (and most Belgian brewers) do, I don't find that his results correlate.
Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: tschmidlin on August 16, 2010, 05:13:57 PM
Isn't refiner's syrup sort of like molasses? Is this dark corn syrup?  I don't know if I'd want to add the color or flavor to a tripel.  Have you checked out Ted Hausotter's article on the sugars of tripel?  He gave a presentation at NHC and there was on article in Zymurgy July/Aug 2008

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/attachments/0000/4805/Sugars_of_Tripel-Ted_Hausotter.pdf

As much respect as I have for Ted, my experience is that his results are only valid if you add sugars during fermentation like he did.  If you add them to the kettle, as most of us (and most Belgian brewers) do, I don't find that his results correlate.
That's an interesting point Denny.  But it's a much harder experiment to do when adding sugar during the boil as opposed to fermentation, so I don't really fault Ted for doing it that way (and I'm sure you don't either).  Unless you have your system totally dialed in, you will probably have enough batch to batch variability that could cause any differences noted, at least for the sugars that are similar.

So what are your findings Denny?  What I remember from when we tasted these beers at Ted's judging class in Hood River was that the brown sugar one was the worst tripel, the corn sugar and table sugar were better and similar to each other, and the candy sugar one was only slightly preferred.  It's been a while though.
Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: denny on August 16, 2010, 05:19:14 PM
That's an interesting point Denny.  But it's a much harder experiment to do when adding sugar during the boil as opposed to fermentation, so I don't really fault Ted for doing it that way (and I'm sure you don't either).  Unless you have your system totally dialed in, you will probably have enough batch to batch variability that could cause any differences noted, at least for the sugars that are similar.

I completely understand why Ted did it that way, but to me it has no relevance to the way I (or many others) brew.  If I don't add sugar to the fermentation, it will have no bearing on my results.

So what are your findings Denny?  What I remember from when we tasted these beers at Ted's judging class in Hood River was that the brown sugar one was the worst tripel, the corn sugar and table sugar were better and similar to each other, and the candy sugar one was only slightly preferred.  It's been a while though.

I wasn't there, but I in no way question the results you guys got.  It's something I discussed with Ted.  Although I haven't done a rigorous experiment like he did, my observations on using sugar in the kettle are that I've found no difference in corn, cane, brown, or candy sugar in the amounts I typically use (10-20% of total fermentables).
Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: tschmidlin on August 16, 2010, 05:27:15 PM
So what are your findings Denny?  What I remember from when we tasted these beers at Ted's judging class in Hood River was that the brown sugar one was the worst tripel, the corn sugar and table sugar were better and similar to each other, and the candy sugar one was only slightly preferred.  It's been a while though.

I wasn't there, but I in no way question the results you guys got.  It's something I discussed with Ted.  Although I haven't done a rigorous experiment like he did, my observations on using sugar in the kettle are that I've found no difference in corn, cane, brown, or candy sugar in the amounts I typically use (10-20% of total fermentables).
Oh, I just put down what we got for comparison's sake.   :)

I've heard similar things about the sugar form not mattering, but it makes me wonder if there is more batch to batch variability to overcome than differences in the sugar.  When you've done it was it that you can't tell the difference, or there is just no preference?

It would be good if someone did testing in the boil, but it would be a total PITA.  And then you'd have 20 or gallons of tripel, which is good or bad depending on how much you like the style.  :)

Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: denny on August 16, 2010, 05:39:55 PM
Oh, I just put down what we got for comparison's sake.   :)

I've heard similar things about the sugar form not mattering, but it makes me wonder if there is more batch to batch variability to overcome than differences in the sugar.  When you've done it was it that you can't tell the difference, or there is just no preference?

It would be good if someone did testing in the boil, but it would be a total PITA.  And then you'd have 20 or gallons of tripel, which is good or bad depending on how much you like the style.  :)



The closest I've gotten is doing back to back batches of tripel with different sugars.  I know for a fact that I didn't have a preference, but I couldn't swear there was no difference...although that's my recollection.  I make quite a few batches of tripel and have a standard recipe and technique dialed in, so there shouldn't have been much variation in the beers.  Although as you say, that's damn hard to do.
Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: tschmidlin on August 16, 2010, 05:45:24 PM
The closest I've gotten is doing back to back batches of tripel with different sugars.  I know for a fact that I didn't have a preference, but I couldn't swear there was no difference...although that's my recollection.  I make quite a few batches of tripel and have a standard recipe and technique dialed in, so there shouldn't have been much variation in the beers.  Although as you say, that's damn hard to do.

Cool Denny, thanks for the detail.  Personally, I usually use palm sugar when I feel like adding gravity to a beer.  I don't really have a good reason for doing it though. :D
Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: denny on August 16, 2010, 05:50:30 PM
I recently made my standard tripel recipe using demarara....there was a big difference that was readily noticeable.  A much richer, more caramelly flavor.  It took it out of style for a tripel, but was delicious.
Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: dbeechum on August 16, 2010, 05:51:56 PM
Yeah, to me, some of the darker sugars carry particularly punchy rummy notes that carry across into the beer. One of my favorites, for darker beers, is Billington's Dark English Brown Sugar. Big molasses smoky punch.
Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: denny on August 16, 2010, 05:53:47 PM
Haven't seen that one around, but I definitely get those "punchy, rummy notes" from the dark and D2 syrups.
Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: tschmidlin on August 16, 2010, 05:58:09 PM
I like to use Lyle's Golden Syrup in my English Barleywine, that beer always turns out really nice.  I used dark brown sugar in my first batch ever, but don't think I have since.  I might have to throw some in next time I do a porter.  Hmmm .  . .
Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: gordonstrong on August 16, 2010, 06:44:35 PM
I thought piloncillo sugar had a smoky almost burnt flavor to it.  Very dark.

Some of the unrefined sugars are interesting: turbinado, demerrara, muscavado. Varying darknesses and flavors.

Watch out for supermarket brown sugar; check the ingredients -- it could be just white cane sugar with molasses added. If you're going to do that, you might as well just add those ingredients separately.

Lyle's is interesting; I thought it had a toasted marshmallow flavor to it.

Scour whatever ethnic markets you have to see if they have unusual sugars; jaggery from India is nice.

Never used corn syrup, though. I don't like it as a sweetener in food, so I didn't think I'd like it in beer.
Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: tschmidlin on August 16, 2010, 06:52:17 PM
Lyle's is interesting; I thought it had a toasted marshmallow flavor to it.
I agree, but it doesn't come through in the beer.  I get more caramel notes.

Scour whatever ethnic markets you have to see if they have unusual sugars; jaggery from India is nice.
I agree, really good stuff plain and in beer.  The palm sugar I get is from Thailand, and says "Pure Palm Sugar.  Ing: Fresh natural juice from coconut flower" :)
Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: denny on August 16, 2010, 07:01:23 PM
Gordon, do you generally add sugar in the kettle or the fermenter?
Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: gordonstrong on August 16, 2010, 07:43:53 PM
Depends on whether I'm using it for flavor or to compensate for undershooting gravity and not catching it early enough  ;D

I usually add in the kettle in the last 5 minutes or so, maybe at knockout if I'm afraid it will scorch.  My kettle has a false bottom, so if I use liquid sugars I don't like to just pour them in while the flame is on.

If add them to the fermenter, it's near the start of fermentation. 

Adding sugars at the end of fermentation sounds like priming to me.  Yeah, I've done that...  Sometimes you want to add interesting sugars for priming when you want maximum flavor carryover.  De Dolle Stille Nacht primes with honey, for instance.  I've also primed with Lyle's, brown sugar, molasses, treacle, etc.
Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: denny on August 16, 2010, 09:10:37 PM
Thanks for the explanation.
Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: theoman on August 18, 2010, 05:52:34 PM
Thanks for the tips, all. The stuff I have is definitely light and no vanilla. It's some Canadian stuff, Beehive or something. What I guess I'm most concerned about is the salt that's in it and how much to use. Any idea how to calculate the fermentables?
Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: beveragebob on August 28, 2010, 12:31:54 AM
Iv'e used Karo Syrup in a Tripel about 10 years ago and it was quite good. Everyone was saying that drank it "I'm getting a hint of something but, it's pleasant......could that be vanilla?" I'm going to have to do it again. Conversely, I've used Dark Karo in Dubbels and Dark Belgian Strong Ales with good results. This was way before we had access to the D2 etc syrups.
Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: BrewArk on November 01, 2010, 11:16:13 PM
Just scored a 5 gallon pail of low DE corn syrup (Cleardex 25/42).  The spec. sheet says:

 7% dextrose
 8% maltose
11% maltotriose
74% higher saccharides
This appears different from the "sweet" corn syrup like the Karo you'd buy in the store that are only about 25% higher saccharides.

I'm thinking that I need to include it in the mash, not the boil kettle (or fermenter).

I plan to dissolve it in the water that I'm heating for the mash (kinda like a mead?), and go from there.  Since it was free, I may play around with it to see how a ratio of "in the mash" and "in the kettle" works out over several batches.

Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: tschmidlin on November 01, 2010, 11:24:46 PM
That sounds like it will be fun to play with.  You can treat it with amylase to make it highly fermentable and then add it straight to the boil, or do a mini-mash with some 6-row to convert it and add it to the boil.  Adding it to a full mash would probably be less efficient, but that doesn't mean it's a bad idea. :)  It could also be good to add body to a beer that got higher attenuation than anticipated.

I think I would start by making up a small batch of nothing but the low DE syrup and seeing how it attenuates.  You'd expect to get 26% RDF, but you never know.
Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: BrewArk on November 02, 2010, 04:57:37 AM
<snip>

I think I would start by making up a small batch of nothing but the low DE syrup and seeing how it attenuates.  You'd expect to get 26% RDF, but you never know.

There is virtually no protein at all.  Do you think that would affect the yeast's ability to consume all the fermentables? Start w/a fairly high inoculation?
Title: Re: Corn Syrup?
Post by: tschmidlin on November 02, 2010, 06:48:20 AM
<snip>

I think I would start by making up a small batch of nothing but the low DE syrup and seeing how it attenuates.  You'd expect to get 26% RDF, but you never know.

There is virtually no protein at all.  Do you think that would affect the yeast's ability to consume all the fermentables? Start w/a fairly high inoculation?
Yeah, blast it with yeast or add a little nutrient and keep it warm like you're doing a forced ferment.  You're looking for information with this test, not flavor :)