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General Category => Ingredients => Topic started by: nateo on March 30, 2011, 12:01:34 AM

Title: My dark candi syrup
Post by: nateo on March 30, 2011, 12:01:34 AM
During the recent D2 shortage, I tried to make my own candi syrup. There are a lot of recipes for homemade candi syrup, but I made and was disappointed by all of them. After chasing windmills for at least a few dozen hours, I've come up with a reasonable substitute for D2. It's close enough that I doubt I'll buy D2 again, but your mileage may vary.

Temps were at 5280ft above sea level, water boils about 10 degrees cooler here. You may need to adjust your temps accordingly.

Also, don't turn the heat up past medium. It should take about 45minutes from start to finish. If you heat it up too quickly it will behave poorly.

Small pot with tall sides
Digital thermometer

3oz Dextrose (corn sugar)
13oz Sucrose
1/2tsp DAP
1/2tsp KHCO3

Add sugars to pot.
Add 1c H2O
Stir well

Bring to a boil. At boiling add:
1/2tsp DAP
1/2tsp KHCO3
Stir well to dissolve

Heat mixture to 320*
Add1/2c H2O
Stir well

Heat mixture to 310*
Add 1/2c H2O
Stir well
Pour in mason/ball jar

Be careful when adding water as it will spit quite a bit at first. Only stir when adding ingredients, otherwise leave the pot alone.

I measured PPG and got 1.046 at the given concentration, and maybe 40SRM. Total batch weight was 515g. If your batch is a lot heavier/lighter than that you'll get a different PPG number.

Variation: Add 1c instead of 1/2c at the end if you want a thinner syrup that's great on French toast.

If you want to see the whole progression of this recipe, go here:
Title: Re: My dark candi syrup
Post by: tschmidlin on March 30, 2011, 05:08:29 AM
That's cool, thanks for posting it. :)
Title: Re: My dark candi syrup
Post by: euge on March 30, 2011, 06:16:06 AM
I've never had D2 but have made a facsimile. Thanks for the link nateo. That's a lot of work there.
Title: Re: My dark candi syrup
Post by: nateo on March 30, 2011, 02:20:52 PM
If anyone makes this syrup, please let me know. Candy making is sensitive to elevation and humidity, so I'm curious if the recipe still works at lower/wetter locations.
Title: Re: My dark candi syrup
Post by: gordonstrong on March 30, 2011, 03:15:38 PM
I thought in candy making you were heating sugar above 212F after all the water boiled off.  I mean, it's not like temperatures are different at elevation, it's just that water boils at a lower temperature.  But hot sugar at 250F is the same at 5000 feet as it is at 0 feet.  All the various stages happen to sugar after it is above 212F.  Right?
Title: Re: My dark candi syrup
Post by: nateo on March 30, 2011, 04:06:14 PM
I came across this when I was looking into candy making:

From another website: "If you are cooking candies, you can decrease the cooking temperature in the recipe by 2ยบ for each 1,000 feet of elevation. The candies concentrate much faster at higher altitudes, therefore lower temperatures and shorter cooking times are required."

So at sea level, I would estimate that the terminal temps in my recipe need to be increased by 10*, but I'm not sure how much of a difference in the flavor it would make.
Title: Re: My dark candi syrup
Post by: narvin on March 30, 2011, 04:11:21 PM
Interesting, thanks for the info.  I've never tried using corn sugar because all of the syrups from Belgium claim to be pure beet sugar (sucrose).

What is the rationale behind using the DAP and potassium bicarbonate?  Usually something acidic like citric acid or cream of tarter is used when inverting sugar.
Title: Re: My dark candi syrup
Post by: gordonstrong on March 30, 2011, 04:12:28 PM
Interesting.  Thanks for that link.  I thought the physics of sugar would be simply temperature-dependent.  Do the same tests work (soft ball, hard crack, etc.) for the different stages, just at different temperatures?
Title: Re: My dark candi syrup
Post by: nateo on March 30, 2011, 04:47:17 PM
When I made the syrup, I based my work on a couple of assumptions, along with some work done by people like Mosher and other homebrewers over on the homebrewtalk board. The DAP is a just a source of nitrogen. Free nitrogen increases the rate of the Maillard reactions. The potassium bicarbonate is used to increase pH. PH affects the rate of reaction and the type of Maillard byproducts. More on that in a minute.

There is a lot of myth and misunderstanding in the homebrew community about how candi syrup is made. I am not an expert on candy making, nor do I have any firsthand info on how candy is made on an industrial scale, but I do have some insight on candy making on a stove-top.

Industrial producers "invert" their sucrose, probably because it's easier to handle as a syrup than as crystals. Once sucrose is inverted, it is no longer sucrose. It becomes dextrose and levulose (glucose and fructose). You can invert sucrose a number of ways, through any combination of heat, pressure, time, and acidity. Once the sugars are inverted, the candy maker would be able to precisely control the dextrose/levulose ratio. That is the end goal, I believe, and the fact they started with beet sugar is immaterial. They could have just as easily used cane sugar or corn starch, but I think because of the import tariffs they have in Belgium, it is more cost effective to use local beets than imported corn or cane.

Almost every homemade syrup recipe I found called for the addition of acid to invert table sugar. Sometimes they recommended quite a bit of acid. Acidifying the sugar does invert the sucrose, and that method works fine for making a light-colored invert sugar. You can also invert most of the sucrose in a short amount of time with just heat, like when making a simple syrup. So acid is not strictly necessary, since if you have enough heat and enough time almost all of the sucrose will invert. The problem with using acid to invert is that when trying to make darker syrups, the pH and dex/lev ratio becomes crucial.

Roasted grains are more acidic than base grains. Roasted grains are a product of Maillard reactions. So something happens in the Maillard pathway that lowers pH. The darker the product, the lower the pH. In my first trials with just DAP, dextrose, and heat, the pH on the finished product was below 4. How far, I'm not sure, since I have narrow-range pH strips, but the strips showed a strong and quick response on the lowest end of my strips. If I had added acid beforehand, the pH would have been even lower. The syrups also didn't taste very good.

Inspired by Dutch-process cocoa, I tried using an alkalizing agent added after making the syrup. The flavors became softer, more rounded, and overall "better." The pH of the corrected syrups was in the 5.2-5.6 range. A commenter on my original thread at homebrewtalk directed me towards some baking resources where they examined the effect of pH on bread. Alkalized bread browned differently than acidic bread. That gave me the idea to try adding the KHCO3 at the same time as the DAP. The Maillard reactions that happened in the 5.2-5.6 range tasted a lot better than the <4 reactions.

I also found that dextrose yielded much stronger/darker Maillard reactions than levulose. When using just dextrose, the syrups came out much too "flavorful" with a lot of negative roasted/burned character, and not enough of the softer "chocolate" type roasted character. When trying to make syrup with just sucrose, I got a lot of nice dark fruit/caramel flavors, but not enough of the roasted character. Through trial and error, I came upon a good mixture of dextrose to sucrose that yields a syrup with the proper amount of both types of flavors.

Title: Re: My dark candi syrup
Post by: nateo on March 30, 2011, 04:49:23 PM
Gordon: I've found, when trying to make candy going by the regular chart, that you hit the same stages, just at different temps. Sometimes I've had the temps vary by +/-5* or so, depending on the day.

Since this syrup ends up being diluted down so thin at the end, the specific stages don't matter much. They'd only matter if you tried to make rock candy out of the syrup, which you could do, but I've found syrup is easier to handle and store.
Title: Re: My dark candi syrup
Post by: richardt on April 04, 2011, 02:03:25 AM
Ideally, beer caramel is type III caramel, made with ammonium compounds (e.g., DAP).
Here are some links to supplement what is already offered here and from Mosher's thread if you're interested.

http://www.ddwilliamson.com/EditorUpload/File/mso29F.pdf (http://www.ddwilliamson.com/EditorUpload/File/mso29F.pdf)

http://www.ddwilliamson.com/a-125-229-Colouring-the-World-Caramel.aspx (http://www.ddwilliamson.com/a-125-229-Colouring-the-World-Caramel.aspx)

http://www.caramel.com/EditorUpload/File/EU-brew%20tips-10-08-2010.pdf (http://www.caramel.com/EditorUpload/File/EU-brew%20tips-10-08-2010.pdf)

http://www.caramel.com/a-156-297-The-Basics-of-Caramel-Colors.aspx (http://www.caramel.com/a-156-297-The-Basics-of-Caramel-Colors.aspx)

http://www.aaccnet.org/cerealfoodsworld/pdfs/W03-0205-01F.pdf (http://www.aaccnet.org/cerealfoodsworld/pdfs/W03-0205-01F.pdf)

http://www.inchem.org/documents/jecfa/jecmono/v20je11.htm (http://www.inchem.org/documents/jecfa/jecmono/v20je11.htm)
Title: Re: My dark candi syrup
Post by: nateo on April 05, 2011, 09:40:16 PM
I'm currently drinking a beer made with only pale malt and 15% by weight of my syrup H (click through the link to homebrewtalk in my first post), and it tastes better than the quads I've made with D2 syrup.

The recipe I posted here is very close to D2, but may not be the best recipe to make beer with. I plan on doing more extensive testing to determine the best syrup for brewing.

The moral of the story is that it's easy and cheap to make syrups that produce as good or better beer than the commercially available syrups.