Author Topic: White Table Sugar  (Read 3254 times)

Offline liquidbrewing

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White Table Sugar
« on: March 25, 2012, 04:01:30 PM »
So, I searched the forum a little and couldn't come up with much.  Honestly, I have a hard time searching what I want on this forum.  I can never find posts with what I am exactly searching, so sorry if I'm repeating something I missed.

I read recently that using white sugar is absolutely fine and will not produce any off (cidery, etc.) flavors in beer.  I only want to use about a pound in a new IIPA, to lighten the body and help dry it out.  Is this acceptable?  Estimated OG is going to be around 1.083 and 1# of sugar will be 6% of the "grist" for this beer.
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Offline corkybstewart

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Re: White Table Sugar
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2012, 04:48:23 PM »
One of the hardest things I had to make myself accept was that table sugar and corn sugar are interchangeable, at least in small quantities.  I haven't used corn sugar for anything in probably 15 years, table sugar and demerara are what I use now when I need sugar in a beer.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: White Table Sugar
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2012, 06:03:35 PM »
table sugar and corn sugar are interchangeable, at least in small quantities.

I use table sugar all the time, up to about two or maybe 2.5 lbs in a 5 gallon batch, depending on gravity.

Unless you need a dark candi sugar, table sugar is just fine.  I've used demerara, sucanat, etc. and haven't noticed any significant difference between them all.

As long as it's not too great a % of your fermentables, no worries.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: White Table Sugar
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2012, 06:11:05 PM »
First off, I think we are a friendly group and we will be happy to answer any question regarding brewing as many times as necessary. So feel free to ask away. I never understood the forums that demanded you "search" first. A live an active forum thrives on people asking questions - even the same questions - and more importantly: answers change over time.

The cheapest sugar you can find, up to 15-20%, is absolutely fine. Belgian brewers use beet sugar up to those amounts and I don't hear too many complaints about their beers.
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Online mtnrockhopper

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Re: White Table Sugar
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2012, 06:44:12 PM »
I never understood the forums that demanded you "search" first.

They probably don't drink enough beer. Oh, and table sugar is fine. I imagine the 'cidery' reputation comes from recipes for thin beer being thinned even further, probably coupled with poor yeast health which is compounded by the fact that sugar has no nutrients. Most of that is no longer a worry.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: White Table Sugar
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2012, 07:02:08 PM »
Don't hesitate to ask any questions. We aim to please. You may or may not not like the answers, but you're going to get them. Varying as they may be, but at least you'll have choices.

I use table (cane or beet) sugar to help dry out the beer. It helps reduce the final gravity as it is 100% fermentable. I often use 1-2 lbs in a 5 gallon batch depending on how much attenuation I want to achieve.
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Offline gmac

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Re: White Table Sugar
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2012, 07:18:07 PM »
When I did my first extract brews 20 years ago I always got cider and I blamed the sugar because that's what I read caused it.  I think that's totally false.  For me, I'm 100% sure my cider flavours came from the fermentation temps and in particular the yeast strains I was getting.  I know I could make the same beer today and not have any cider.

Anyway, I use 1 lb of white sugar in saisons and it's not detectable at all.  Go for it.

Offline euge

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Re: White Table Sugar
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2012, 10:13:34 AM »
Just make sure you don't overplay or overdo the sugar. Even one pound can dry your beer out and leave you with a harshly bitter and alcoholic tasting brew. You want to balance the hops, malt and alcohol to create a harmonious combination.


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Offline mabrungard

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Re: White Table Sugar
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2012, 10:58:36 AM »
I am in general agreement with respect to white sugar or corn sugar...there is little difference.  When you get into the less refined sugars, then you are talking about flavor nuances that can be desirable. 

Another aspect that came up at my club's meeting on Saturday was the issue of "Inverting" the sugar with heat and an acid.  The thought was that you are saving the yeast from having to enzymatically invert the sugar prior to consumption.  It seems easy enough, but is it needed or necessary in brewing and fermenting?
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: White Table Sugar
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2012, 11:03:44 AM »
I get what I'm looking for without the extra step of inverting the sugar.  So I've never tried.

As for the nuances from less-refined sugar, in my experience the nuances can be so subtle as to be imperceptible.  Thus, I've chosen to save a few dollars lately and have been using plain ol' table sugar.

But I did run through just about all the less-refine sugars at the health food store to arrive at this decision.  Of them, my recollection is that I like the flavor from sucanat the most, but not enough to pay the price of organic sugar.
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Offline denny

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Re: White Table Sugar
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2012, 11:20:53 AM »
I have found no difference in the end result between using inverted or non inverted sugar.  It seems to be an issue where theory is overwhelming simply tasting the beer and deciding.
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Online morticaixavier

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Re: White Table Sugar
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2012, 11:27:45 AM »
I get what I'm looking for without the extra step of inverting the sugar.  So I've never tried.

As for the nuances from less-refined sugar, in my experience the nuances can be so subtle as to be imperceptible.  Thus, I've chosen to save a few dollars lately and have been using plain ol' table sugar.

But I did run through just about all the less-refine sugars at the health food store to arrive at this decision.  Of them, my recollection is that I like the flavor from sucanat the most, but not enough to pay the price of organic sugar.

you should give coconut sugar a try if you haven't already. I used a couple lb of that in a giant saison and it is really present in the aroma and the taste, At least in the samples.

**EDIT**
one comment to the OP, and it may be entirely moot, but if you or any of your friends who share your brew are hardcore vegans or vegetarians you may want to look carefully when selecting the white sugar to use (brown sugar to probably, and possible corn sugar I don't know) as much of it utilizes bone char as a final fining step to get that blinding white color. (some of) those that don't are labeled as Vegan
« Last Edit: March 26, 2012, 11:30:58 AM by morticaixavier »
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: White Table Sugar
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2012, 11:41:29 AM »
Coconut - my wife hates coconut.

When I buy mixed chocolates, I have to be sure there's no coconut.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline nateo

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Re: White Table Sugar
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2012, 12:55:00 PM »
I have found no difference in the end result between using inverted or non inverted sugar.  It seems to be an issue where theory is overwhelming simply tasting the beer and deciding.

The only reason I'll invert my sugar is for ease of handling. I really can't tell a flavor difference between invert and plain. I have noticed a difference between dextrose and sucrose, though. A large amount of dextrose with phenolic yeast (I've only tried it with T-58 so far) gives the beer more clove. This is only apparent in large amounts (like 20% of fermentables). I might be completely wrong and it's just coincidental.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2012, 01:09:25 PM by nateo »
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Offline snowtiger87

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Re: White Table Sugar
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2012, 09:28:07 AM »
I am out in wilds of Afghanistan and don't have my notes, but I thought the general concept of "inverting" the sugar alleviates the problem of yeast spitting out a particular phenol when it has to convert the sugar itself - or perhaps when it eats non-inverted sugar?  Any of the chemists out there please chime in.

In Colorado it is easy to get beet sugar at the grocery store - it is sold as regular table sugar. That is what I use in all my recipes that call for sugar. However, I sill use corn sugar for bottling - mainly Belgian-inspired beers. Just habit I guess.
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