Invert Sugar

Sugars, finings and anything else

Invert Sugar

Postby Good Ed » Sun Apr 13, 2014 18:07

When I first started brewing, I frowned at recipes that used sugar and followed the general advice to just substitute the sugar with more malt. So it wasn't until I started to look (research is not quite right) at old recipes, courtesy of Ron Pattinson (he does the research) that I realised that sugar, or invert sugar has a long history with brewing. Now I don't know why it was introduced, but I'm now trying it out with some of these old recipes. The names from the old brew logs are quite interesting; Gartons, Martineau, Hay, Pale Trint, No.3 F, Luscious Priming, S&M, and they came in grades of colour; No.1 25-35EBC, No.2 60-70EBC and No.3 120-140EBC. Some of the sugars were also a sugar caramel mix. They would have added colour and flavour to the beer and also dried it out somewhat.

So how to make it, this isn't a "how to" but there is a very good post by Lucky Eddie on Another Place in the "how to" section for making candi sugar (I'm not posting a link) and also a good one from Kristen England here http://www.unholymess.com/blog/beer-brewing-info/making-brewers-invert. So the important thing is to use unrefined cane sugar because it's the impurities that give it flavour.

This is my experience from last week making some No 1. I used Billingtons unrefined golden granulated sugar (from Waitrose) and you will need a non stick saucepan, wooden spoon and a jam thermometer. I followed Kirsten's recipe and used Fahrenheit as it was easier. The first lesson to learn is to use the minimum amount of water you can, I used too much and you then have to boil that off before the temperature will rise, as you want to get to 240F. Otherwise it went ok, but this is only No.1 and I think No.3 will be a bit more of a challenge standing at the stove for 3 hours.

So just to summarise, use unrefined sugar with minimum water, I used citric acid at 1/4 level spoon for 1kg sugar (you can go into this a bit more and also use CaCl at the end to neutralise the acid), careful with the boil as it can boil over or rise over the temperature you want, handy to have a dish of cold water that you can spoon in if required. But then you just maintain temperature of 240F (this is marked "soft ball" on my thermometer) for the required time. No.1 EBC 25-35 20 mins, No.2 EBC 60-70 90-120 mins, and No.3 EBC 120-140 150-240 mins. When you have reached your colour add some cold water a spoon at a time and when settled down a bit, reduce it with more water to get a light syrup (otherwise you will end up with a rock) and store. I ended up diluting mine to give a total of 1200ml for 1kg sugar.

Sugar

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Start of boil at 240F

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colour after 5 mins

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about 15 mins in

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Final colour on a dish

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Final product 1kg of sugar in a 1200ml syrup, colour seems alright to me at an average of 30 EBC

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Re: Invert Sugar

Postby Good Ed » Sun Apr 13, 2014 18:10

this is 300ml or 250g of sugar before adding to last week's brew

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Re: Invert Sugar

Postby krazypara3165 » Sun Apr 13, 2014 18:18

Looking forward to seeing the results of this one!

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Re: Invert Sugar

Postby Frogfurlong » Sun Apr 13, 2014 18:19

Nice tutorial :thumb:

People assume that Brewing is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big glass of wibbly wobbly... beery weery... stuff.
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Re: Invert Sugar

Postby Dennis King » Sun Apr 13, 2014 18:21

:clap: Nicely presented.
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Re: Odp: Invert Sugar

Postby zgoda » Tue Apr 15, 2014 07:51

How such diluted syrup stores? Stone hard stores for a year in dark without problems.
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Re: Invert Sugar

Postby EvansTheSteam » Tue Apr 15, 2014 09:05

Very interesting article, but is there a problem with a well known Golden Syrup?

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Re: Odp: Invert Sugar

Postby Good Ed » Tue Apr 15, 2014 09:13

zgoda wrote:How such diluted syrup stores? Stone hard stores for a year in dark without problems.


I would imagine it's a bit like jam, and would store for a year or more. I keep it in a cool cellar

EvansTheSteam wrote:Very interesting article, but is there a problem with a well known Golden Syrup?


Nothing wrong with that Jim, I'm just doing a bit of alchemy :D

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Re: Odp: Invert Sugar

Postby EvansTheSteam » Tue Apr 15, 2014 09:59

Good Ed wrote:Nothing wrong with that Jim, I'm just doing a bit of alchemy :D

Ta for that Ed, I was actually being serious for a change!

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Re: Invert Sugar

Postby BarnsleyBrewer » Tue Apr 15, 2014 10:02

I normally add some sugar if I want a beer that's thinner on the mouth, maybe around 3%. :thumb:

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Re: Invert Sugar

Postby itbrvilla » Sat Jun 14, 2014 00:54

What does the colour mean as I've seen online stores selling light and dark candied sugar? What effect does this have with on the beer?
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Re: Invert Sugar

Postby Good Ed » Sat Jun 14, 2014 10:38

itbrvilla wrote:What does the colour mean as I've seen online stores selling light and dark candied sugar? What effect does this have with on the beer?


Well it's the same as malt, some are light and some are dark. Same with the sugar, which will colour your beer accordingly depending on how much you use (which is not much in the scheme of things). You would also get more bit more flavour from a darker sugar, but it all depends on what beer you are making.

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Re: Invert Sugar

Postby BarnsleyBrewer » Sat Jun 14, 2014 10:53

EvansTheSteam wrote:Very interesting article, but is there a problem with a well known Golden Syrup?

That's what I thought... :scratch:

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Re: Invert Sugar

Postby itbrvilla » Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:25

Good Ed wrote:
itbrvilla wrote:What does the colour mean as I've seen online stores selling light and dark candied sugar? What effect does this have with on the beer?


Well it's the same as malt, some are light and some are dark. Same with the sugar, which will colour your beer accordingly depending on how much you use (which is not much in the scheme of things). You would also get more bit more flavour from a darker sugar, but it all depends on what beer you are making.

Thanks for the reply. Does the colour reflect the inverted sugar content? And does this effect the amount of sugar that can be fermented?
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Re: Invert Sugar

Postby Good Ed » Sat Jun 14, 2014 21:03

itbrvilla wrote:Thanks for the reply. Does the colour reflect the inverted sugar content? And does this effect the amount of sugar that can be fermented?


No the colour comes from Maillard reactions when boiling the sugar, the longer the boil the darker it becomes. There are many types of sugar involved in brewing and it can get a bit complicated and above my pay grade, but brewers yeasts evolved to ferment maltose which comes from mashing malted barley, whereas invert sugar takes cane sugar and inverts it to glucose and fructose which are also able to be fermented by the yeast. Historically invert sugar started being used by UK breweries in the second half of the 1800's for colour along with caramel, with No.1 & 2 being used in pale ales, No.2 & 3 in mild ales and No.3 in porters and stouts. Candi sugar is also used in the production of Belgian beers.

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Re: Invert Sugar

Postby EvansTheSteam » Sat Jun 14, 2014 21:32

I always thought that yeast had to invert sugar its self before it could make alcohol.
Using invert sugar just saves it a job.
I could be wrong again.
+ I thought it was citric acid that was used for inversion.

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Re: Odp: Invert Sugar

Postby zgoda » Sat Jun 14, 2014 21:53

I make invert sugars with lactic acid, it's much easier to dose.
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Re: Invert Sugar

Postby Good Ed » Sat Jun 14, 2014 22:43

EvansTheSteam wrote:I always thought that yeast had to invert sugar its self before it could make alcohol.
Using invert sugar just saves it a job.
I could be wrong again.
+ I thought it was citric acid that was used for inversion.


That's correct Jim, cane sugar is sucrose and on a homebrew scale a little citric acid or cream of tartar or lemon juice will do the trick to invert it, and as Z does other acids will also be good. Commercially they use acid for the process of inverting and then neutralise the acid with alkali when finished.

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Re: Invert Sugar

Postby jkp » Sun Jun 15, 2014 04:05

What is the advantage of using inverted sugar as opposed to different coloured sugars? Just seems like a lot work when you can already get white, light brown, dark brown sugars.

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Re: Odp: Invert Sugar

Postby zgoda » Sun Jun 15, 2014 15:20

Less effort for yeast, it's already inverted. And flavours, although some disagree. ;)
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Re: Odp: Invert Sugar

Postby Aleman » Sun Jun 15, 2014 18:04

zgoda wrote:Less effort for yeast, it's already inverted. And flavours, although some disagree. ;)

Sure do ;) . . . Yeast (propagated properly) are ready to ferment maltose (which is another hydrolysis reaction), and our wort is rich in that, ok so it takes a bit of time to switch on the gene to produce invertase, but the yeast is already chewing up maltose so it hasn't actually delayed fermentation. . . . Invertase production is generally pretty quick to switch on as well , as a lot of yeast already have 'stores' of it for propagation . . . which leaks across the cell wall during rehydration. .. . Some claim that hangovers from drinking homebrew are caused by invertase which has leaked out of the cell wall . . .No it's caused by drinking alcohol which leave you dehydrated :doh:

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Re: Invert Sugar

Postby EvansTheSteam » Sun Jun 15, 2014 18:32

I get the bit about dehydration, but the rest...................... :scratch:

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Re: Invert Sugar

Postby Good Ed » Sun Jun 15, 2014 19:18

jkp wrote:What is the advantage of using inverted sugar as opposed to different coloured sugars? Just seems like a lot work when you can already get white, light brown, dark brown sugars.


You are able to get more subtle and luscious flavours from the sugar than you would from just using plain sugar. The impurities in unrefined cane sugar provide flavours that are beneficial to the beer, this is enhanced by the maillard reactions that take place during the process of boiling the sugar. I've made some No.3 (probably between No.2 & 3) which has a lovely toffee caramel flavour, whereas if I used a dark sugar of similar colour I know I would get more of a molasses flavour. Breweries have been using invert sugar for over a 100 years rather than just using sugar itself for that very reason.

Making it yourself is just part of home brewing imho, I've only started experimenting since brewing a few historical recipes, and it may take a bit of time to do, but then that's what a hobby is all about.

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Re: Invert Sugar

Postby EvansTheSteam » Sun Jun 15, 2014 21:25

It's great with sponge and custard!

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Re: Invert Sugar

Postby itbrvilla » Sun Jun 15, 2014 23:05

Lots of interesting stuff here. Got a Brewferm Grand Cru and Triple waiting for brewday, what colour invert sugar should I be aiming for in these brews?
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