Make Your Own Candi Sugar
In preparing to brew my first Belgian Saison style beer, I came across many references to the use of Candi Sugar
as an adjunct in many recipes. Apparently the term 'candi sugar' is somewhat mistranslated or otherwise
misinterpreted here in the US. Most homebrew shops sell these little rock-candy like crystals of varying
shades of amber that we use here as the candi sugar adjunct. In Belgium, however, they make their own sugar
syrup. As it turns out, this is quite easy to make ...
First off, you're going to need some sugar. Nothing fancy, just plain sugar. Second ingredient is some citric acid. If you have citric acid, great - if not, some lemon juice will be perfect too.
We're going to make a syrup out of your two ingredients so, you guessed it, we're gonna need to cook this up. Now, don't get excited and start digging out your brewpot and burner ... some Medium heat and a smooth-bottomed pan of some sort on the stove should do just fine. Put about 1 cup of sugar and 1 TSP of lemon juice (or pinch of citric acid) together over medium heat and stir (and keep stirring). The sugar will eventually start to melt. This is the part where you need to pay attention and know what style of syrup you're after. I was after a very light one, so I just barely let the sugar turn the palest of yellowish-brown. If you're making a darker beer, let it go a bit more but DO NOT let it burn or, worse, catch fire. Please!
When the sugar is at the right doneness, scrape it from the pan onto an aluminum foil covered surface. Take care as this is HOT and sticky. Not a good combination for exposed skin. Let this cool and harden up. Eat some if you want, it's not great.
Once the sugar is cool, you will need to re-add this to a pan over medium heat and add some water to achieve a consistency somewhere between maple syrup and honey. Let this come to a boil if you want and, voila! - candi sugar syrup the way the Belgian brewers do it.
All Grain Recipe - Saison ::: 1.062/1.012 (5 Gal)
8 lbs. - 2 Row Pale Malt
2.5 lbs. - Munich Malt
1 lb. - Wheat Malt
1 lb. - Candi Sugar Syrup (from above)
Hop Schedule (44 IBU)
1 oz - Northern Brewer hops (60 min.)
1.5 oz - Saaz hops (30 min.)
2 oz - East Kent Goldings hops (5 min.)
White Labs Belgian Ale Yeast (WLP550) - 1800 ml starter
Mash at 151° to 153° for 60 min.
Sparge as usual
Boil for a total of 90 Minutes
Cool and ferment at 65° to 70°
If you are so inclined, you can add orange zest, corriander, chamomile at the end of the boil.