When to add sugar to your beer?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by AGbrewer, Jul 29, 2020.

  1. AGbrewer

    AGbrewer Well-Known Member

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    Sugars being plain table sugar, candi syrup, candi rock, dextrose, honey, and any other simple sugar you can think of. When do you add them to your wort (e.g. sparge, boil, flameout, whirlpool, primary, secondary, etc.)?
     
  2. Frankenbrewer

    Frankenbrewer Well-Known Member

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    It depends on what your recipe calls for and how you plan to carbonate. Usually, I should say for me, sugar is a late boil addition say 15 to 20 min left in the boil.
     
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  3. Blackmuse

    Blackmuse Well-Known Member

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    So, I have done it at the end of the boil and it worked fine.
    However, I believe that @Nosybear mentioned in the past that simple sugars like this are sometimes best saved for high krausen or just thereafter to keep your yeast from getting lazy. I assume it will depend on the amount and the beer style...

    Maybe he can speak more on it.
     
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  4. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Now THAT's a quite complex simple question. Short answer, any time as long as there are active yeast to ferment it. Long answer, depends on what I'm trying to do with the sugar. If all I want to do is thin body (and add alcohol), it goes into the boil. Technically I could add it to the mash but then I'm leaving some of it in the draff. If I'm really thinking about it, I wait for high krauesen and add it then, generally by making a syrup, boiling it to sanitize, cooling it and dumping it in. I've added fruits (sugars) to secondary and of course, there's priming. So there's really no simple answer. If you'll tell us specifically what you'd like to do, we could likely give a few more targeted opinions.
     
  5. AGbrewer

    AGbrewer Well-Known Member

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    I worded this question as is on purpose even though I knew it would be a bit vague. My goal is to understand the different ways people add sugar to include the various recipes types and what they are trying to achieve by adding sugar.

    i do have a recipe that I will be brewing up tomorrow. So for the sake of conversation, let's use that as the first example. By all means, if you have other recipes or styles that you add sugar in different manners, please share.

    https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/1030507/belgian-saison-001
     
  6. AGbrewer

    AGbrewer Well-Known Member

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    Hopefully it made you chuckle a bit!
     
  7. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    There are some Belgian styles I make that call for sugar to increase the OG. I add the sugar with about 5 minutes left in the boil. This ensures the sugar is sanitized and completely dissolved before adding to the fermenter.
     
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  8. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    If I have a recipe that needs sugar for higher ABV, I often add during fermentation to give the yeast a bump in activity. With some yeasts, I'll add sugar specifically for the purpose of yeast feeding and do it as soon as krausen slows.
    If it's sugar that's intended to add flavor like dark candi sugar, I'll add as late kettle addition.
     
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  9. AGbrewer

    AGbrewer Well-Known Member

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    why a late kettle addition rather than in the fermenter?
     
  10. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Cut it 50-50 with water, boil (or hold at 170 degrees for a few minutes to sanitize), add to the fermentor. And my reaction....
    [​IMG]
     
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  11. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    When it's a flavor addition and I'm not necessarily interested in yeast stimulation and attenuation, it's just easier to add in the kettle and be done. Adding to the fermenter can be a little more hassle, depending on the type of addition.
     
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  12. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    I have a couple of recipes that get late boil additions. One is a black IPA, it gets some dark belgian candi syrup late. Purpose is to thin it out, and dry it out a bit so it doesn't come across as an over hopped porter. The other is a Christmas Ale, it gets a pound of honey late for much the same reason. I could likely change the honey to turbinado sugar and get the same result on this one. It is a recipe that I poached from I forget where though, and I am hesitant to mess with success.
     
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  13. AGbrewer

    AGbrewer Well-Known Member

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    Have you noticed a discernible flavor difference when adding to the kettle versus adding to the fermenter?

    It seems that folks believe that feeding the yeast simple sugars at high krausen reduces the risk of yeast stalling out. I'm now wondering if there is any flavor difference in the final beer when adding simple sugars to the kettle vs. the fermenter. Of course, there is the potential for maillard reaction in the kettle which could produce some flavor difference, but I wonder if there is anything else. For example, leaving behind more of the grain sugar flavor vs. the table sugar / honey / candi syrup when adding to the fermenter. Or possibly leaving behind more of the honey aroma when adding it to the fermenter.
     
  14. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    While on the topic of sugar and the above mentioned honey...has anyone ever seriously tasted a difference or specifically, a honey flavor when adding honey? Maybe my taste buds are too old and broken, but I have never picked up any honey flavor when added. Even commercial or craft beer when they use honey as an ingredient. I always feel like it's just a selling tactic but maybe I'm wrong or have used the wrong type of honey. Just curious.
     
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  15. AGbrewer

    AGbrewer Well-Known Member

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    I really haven't noticed much of a difference in flavor or aroma to be honest. But I've only added it to the boil kettle so far. I'm brewing a Saison today and will add the honey to the fermenter at high krausen to try and avoid the Saison Stall. Also going to ferment with aluminum foil loosely covering the airlock hole to keep back pressure to a minimum.
     
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  16. Megary

    Megary Well-Known Member

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    I agree completely. I think it's easier to get a honey flavor from the grain bill (I get a bit of honey from C120) than it is from honey itself.
    Maybe this should be its own thread, but a very interesting tangent...
     
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  17. Megary

    Megary Well-Known Member

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    Another tangent...

    I've never experienced a "Saison Stall". Not that I brew a ton of them, but every one has gone the distance for me with no problem. Curious if you have experienced this firsthand and if so, what yeast did you use? I've only ever used 3711 and Belle Saison.
     
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  18. AGbrewer

    AGbrewer Well-Known Member

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    This will be the first beer I've made with a Saison yeast, so I can't speak to personal experience yet. I'm using WLP-568 (Belgian Saison).
     
  19. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Like you, I've generally found honey to be a high-priced simple sugar. My sugars of choice are raw sugars such as piloncillo, molasses, pure cane sugar. But questions of addition: You can add sugars to the boil if you're not interested in preserving flavors, although raw sugars have been boiled and the flavors are still there.... The risk in adding them to the boil is that yeast can become lazy if exposed to too much simple sugar too early and not complete the job of fermenting the maltose. The other reason for adding sugars to fermentation is to preserve flavors. As you observed, honey flavor is very delicate, so delicate I've never noticed anything other than a faint mead-like note in the lightest of beers - honey porter will overwhelm all but the strongest of honeys, I guarantee it. In general, I save my honey for mead. If I want honey flavors, honey malt does a much better job.
     
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  20. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    I have only ever added sugar as a late boil addition, I have nothing to compare it to. You really don't get any honey flavor from honey, it truly is just an expensive simple sugar.
     
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