with the occasional rant about tin openers...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sugar! I don't like it in my tea...

... and it turns out I’m not that fond of it in my beer!

Something I may have mentioned in the first couple of posts is the overly fruity or cidery feel to the beer I’ve been brewing. Thinking that it was the yeast that was to blame, and I’ve been looking online for different strains.

But, it turns out that the current system of one tin and one kilogram of sugar is the problem. A beer that has sugar in a ratio greater than 2 parts malt, 1 part sugar, tends towards my unwanted cidery flavour. In fact, it is recommended not to use any adjuncts to a greater extent than 20% of the fermentable sugars. For example: if I use a 1.6kg tin, I ought not add more than 400g of your ordinary everyday sugar, far less than the kilogram I've been putting in. The amount of water used would then have to be reduced, of course, to keep the intended specific gravity, but the result would be a nicer beer, I’m led to believe… though unfortunately a little less of it!

In fact, according to homebrewblog.co.uk, your everyday household sugar (sucrose) "needs to be broken down initially into fructose and dextrose [...] fructose can leave a somewhat apple-like aftertaste". Brewing sugar, which is just dextrose, doesn't. Another person, elsewhere, goes on to say the appley taste diminishes with conditioning.

I'm sure most homebrewers don't mind the taste, but this is the next step for me. Or maybe I could go further; two tins of malt, and no sugar, for 40 pints. It would push the price up to a whopping 45p per pint, but it'll be worth it.

So, there I go! I can either fork out more for my ingredients, or wait a little longer for my beer...

All this information, and so much more, can be found in Charlie Papazian’s book, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing.

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