Author Topic: Brewers caramel & Invert Syrup  (Read 10222 times)

Offline OCurrans

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Brewers caramel & Invert Syrup
« on: October 27, 2015, 02:11:42 PM »
I have been looking into a lot of Mild recipes,recently, and a lot of them include Brewers Caramel (mostly for color?) and Invert Syrups #1,#2 and#3. What are these, and what are they used for.
I would like to add each as an ingredient to BeerSmith, but don't know where to look for the specifics (SRM, potential, yield, etc.). Should it be entered as a sugar or an extract? Should they be added pre-boil or post-boil.
I am not looking to incur the wrath of some of the British brewers here, ;) but, if I am not too concerned about authenticity, can a grain be substituted to approximate each of these?
Does anyone know where to buy these ingredients in the USA?

Cheers & Sláinte,
Howard
Oviedo, FL

Offline brewfun

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Re: Brewers caramel & Invert Syrup
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2015, 06:37:27 PM »
Brewer's Caramel is simply caramel coloring, in other words, caramel syrup. This is easily made at home and there are a lot of recipes out there. Sinamar is a readily available all malt "caramel color" from Weyermanns, made from their Carafe malt.

Personally, I'd rather use caramel (crystal) malt, dark enough so that 1 lb creates the right color for 5 gallons. That way, I get the added benefit of the body and head retention it'll contribute, along with richer flavor.

Invert sugar is a process of converting sucrose (table sugar) into fructose and glucose. It can be made by boiling cane sugar with a little cream of tartar or citric acid. But, wort also has the right acidity to create invert sugar from sucrose in 10 to 15 minutes of boil time.
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Offline OCurrans

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Re: Brewers caramel & Invert Syrup
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2015, 04:46:17 PM »
So......
*For Brewers caramel, I can just add Sinamar, until I get the SRM, or add caramel (crystal) malt to the SRM and remove base malt to keep gravity.
*For invert sugar, I can just add table sugar in place of Invert Sugar, and add Sinamar to achieve SRM.
That's easy enough, and no extra fuss and muss to make them. ::)
Thanks!

Cheers & Sláinte,
Howard
Oviedo, FL

Offline Kevin58

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Re: Brewers caramel & Invert Syrup
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2017, 06:53:11 PM »
This reply is very late but something needs to be made clear for those searching for brewers caramel and finding this thread:

With all due respect to brew fun, brewers caramel is NOT syrup. It is not sugar... it has no fermentables... it adds no flavor. It is simply coloring.

In the 1800's right up into the early 20th century, brewers all over the UK and continental Europe used brewers caramel to adjust the color of their beers. It is not easy to find in the US but you can still find it in the UK. I bought some from this site: https://www.hopandgrape.co.uk/brupaks-brewers-caramel.html

Brewers caramel is not like Sinamar and is not like crystal/caramel malts because both of those will add some kind of additional flavor profiles to your beer. Brewers caramel will not add anything except color.

As for Invert sugar - it is another common ingredient used by British brewery's in the 1800's. You can only buy it in large quantities so unless you know a commercial brewer or baker who will sell you some you are stuck with making your own.

Yes you can make invert sugar at home but again, with all due respect to brewfun,  NO you can not make it with table sugar! You must use "sugar in the raw" to start with. There is Invert #1, #2, #3 and #4. One being the lightest in color and 4 the darkest.

It is basically sugar in the raw, water and citric acid and you heat it at specific temperatures to get the color you want. According to my research and the way I have them entered in my Beersmith ingredient profiles Invert #1 is 15 SRM, #2 is 35 SRM, #3 is 70 SRM and #4 is 275 SRM.
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Offline brewfun

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Re: Brewers caramel & Invert Syrup
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2017, 09:33:16 AM »
With all due respect to brewfun, brewers caramel is NOT syrup. It is not sugar... it has no fermentables... it adds no flavor. It is simply coloring.

Thanks for your important insights. It's appreciated. I'm happy to add detail to my comments.

You've described the current state of caramel coloring, which is indeed technologically advanced enough to be flavorless. In that way, you join a long history of brewers extolling the latest technology.

Caramel coloring as you've described isn't usually desirable for brewing. It is usually stabilized for emulsification and colloidal properties, as well as to limit or eliminate the typical foam positive qualities of caramelized sugars. To say that brewer appropriate caramel color sources have no fermentables assumes a level of precision that, in my opinion, is more of an engineered barley product than a real beer.

I much prefer a less processed source for color and that brewer's select for the appropriate flavor contribution. I don't agree with an assertion that color should be attained without expectation of flavor. There are certainly lower flavor impact options, but none is just inappropriate for real brewers. Think Lowenbrau Dark vs. Kostritzer Schwarzbier.

Quote
In the 1800's right up into the early 20th century, brewers all over the UK and continental Europe used brewers caramel to adjust the color of their beers. It is not easy to find in the US but you can still find it in the UK. I bought some from this site: https://www.hopandgrape.co.uk/brupaks-brewers-caramel.html

Could you cite an original source for that, which supports the non-fermentability aspect? I honestly don't know of that characteristic in that time frame.

The earliest European patent for caramel coloring, I could find online, happens to relate to beer: http://tinyurl.com/y9lozla8 

This is not the earliest that I'm aware of, though. That distinction belongs to UK Patent #2625 (1809) which involved evaporated wort. Other patents seemed to include the darkening of malt husk and, of course, burning sugar.

All of these were supplanted by patent #4112 (1817) for making black (patent) malt. As far as I know, that patent is the first to infer a reduction or elimination of fermentability. 

Quote
Brewers caramel is not like Sinamar and is not like crystal/caramel malts because both of those will add some kind of additional flavor profiles to your beer. Brewers caramel will not add anything except color.


Non malt sources of color are not acceptable in some brewing traditions or at many small breweries around the world. Sinamar is classified as a malt based caramel color. Weyermann states it's derived from Carafe malt, in a process that harkens to patent #2625. Everything old is new again!

Quote
As for Invert sugar - it is another common ingredient used by British brewery's in the 1800's. You can only buy it in large quantities so unless you know a commercial brewer or baker who will sell you some you are stuck with making your own.

Yes you can make invert sugar at home but again, with all due respect to brewfun,  NO you can not make it with table sugar! You must use "sugar in the raw" to start with. There is Invert #1, #2, #3 and #4. One being the lightest in color and 4 the darkest.

It is basically sugar in the raw, water and citric acid and you heat it at specific temperatures to get the color you want. According to my research and the way I have them entered in my Beersmith ingredient profiles Invert #1 is 15 SRM, #2 is 35 SRM, #3 is 70 SRM and #4 is 275 SRM.

Here we are in agreement. As table sugar, I meant cane sugar, but wasn't aware that beet sugar has nearly 60% of the North American market. Beet sugar has different caramelization properties than cane, darkening faster and taking on burnt qualities that don't seem to happen with cane sources.

Your point of molasses content in invert #1 to #4 is correct and an omission of mine. However, molasses is not required to create invert sugar. Ironically, Belgian candi sugars are invert and often use beet sugar as their source. There's exceptions to every rule, but it doesn't really apply to this thread.

We've used invert #2 in some of our cask ales and it has a delightful depth as well as light honey and fruit characteristics. It's an important flavor component to those beers. I wish it were more available. We would buy it in 25 kg increments, then our supplier discontinued importing it. We've successfully substituted light brown cane sugar and know that it inverts in the kettle after about 15 minutes.
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Offline Kevin58

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Re: Brewers caramel & Invert Syrup
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2017, 12:21:40 PM »
I use brewers caramel from the website I offered. https://www.hopandgrape.co.uk/brupaks-brewers-caramel.html it is through discussions with them that I stated that the product adds no fermentables. I may have been wrong about flavor but I detect no addition to the flavor profile. Then again, I am only brewing 5gallon batches and use no more than 1 to 2ml in a batch.

Ron Pattinson, in his blog; shut up about Barclay Perkins also mentions caramel quite a bit as a coloring agent. One such passage states:
"Caramel was often added to make colour adjustments to even pale beers to get the colour range specified for a beer. Barclay Perkins sometimes added caramel to all their beers for this purpose. They also used caramel to produce dark versions of their Milds, which were a deep amber colour as brewed. At the

And I never said there was any molasses content in invert sugar. As a matter fact, I never talked about molasses at all. I also never mentioned sugar beets. I said "sugar in the raw".

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Offline brewfun

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Re: Brewers caramel & Invert Syrup
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2017, 07:44:04 AM »
And I never said there was any molasses content in invert sugar. As a matter fact, I never talked about molasses at all. I also never mentioned sugar beets. I said "sugar in the raw".

You didn't have to. Unprocessed or lightly processed cane sugar (aka turbinado, sucanat or muscovado) contains the natural molasses of the plant, itself. "Sugar in the Raw" is a specific brand of lightly processed cane sugar.
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Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Brewers caramel & Invert Syrup
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2017, 12:28:27 PM »
Quote
As for Invert sugar - it is another common ingredient used by British brewery's in the 1800's. You can only buy it in large quantities so unless you know a commercial brewer or baker who will sell you some you are stuck with making your own.

Yes you can make invert sugar at home but again, with all due respect to brewfun,  NO you can not make it with table sugar! You must use "sugar in the raw" to start with. There is Invert #1, #2, #3 and #4. One being the lightest in color and 4 the darkest.

It is basically sugar in the raw, water and citric acid and you heat it at specific temperatures to get the color you want. According to my research and the way I have them entered in my Beersmith ingredient profiles Invert #1 is 15 SRM, #2 is 35 SRM, #3 is 70 SRM and #4 is 275 SRM.

Here we are in agreement. As table sugar, I meant cane sugar, but wasn't aware that beet sugar has nearly 60% of the North American market. Beet sugar has different caramelization properties than cane, darkening faster and taking on burnt qualities that don't seem to happen with cane sources.


To be a little more clear:  Beet Sugar and Cane sugar are both sucrose.  And they are 99.5% chemically identical.  When heated with acid they will BOTH invert.  It is chemically incorrect to state that you CANNOT make invert sugar with Sucrose derived from beet sources. 

There ARE some small volatile compound differences (that last 0.5% difference), that can be detected by professionally trained tasters, in PURE (or nearly pure) forms such as plain sugar, simple syrup, and pavlova (sweetend meringue).  However, even these professionals could not distinguish between more complex items (tea, whipped cream, cookies) made with sugar from either source. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25308166
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25124655

I know brewfun, and I trust his comments regarding carmelization differences between the sources, even though I could not find ANY references myself.  So, if one is attempting to make a #3 or #4 invert sugar on the stovetop in pure form, more research might be required to ensure that a pleasing tasting product is produced.  I'm still suspicious of the claim. 

However, the specific recommendation in this thread was to simply add the sugar to the last 15 minutes of the boil where the acidic environment is also correct for inverting the sugar...essentially resulting in invert #1.  Noting the above pubmed article that the super tasters couldn't distinguish between TEA with beet vs. cane sugar, I find it HIGHLY unlikely that anyone can tell a difference in an ALE (even a Mild) with a complex malt bill, hop profile, and deeply complex yeast flavor profile. 
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Offline brewfun

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Re: Brewers caramel & Invert Syrup
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2017, 09:10:22 AM »
Hi Tom! Great insights.

I could not find ANY references myself.  So, if one is attempting to make a #3 or #4 invert sugar on the stovetop in pure form, more research might be required to ensure that a pleasing tasting product is produced.  I'm still suspicious of the claim. 

The "evidence" is anecdotal, though that's true with many things in food, flavors and beer. That was enough for me to acknowledge Kevin58's assertion that inverts are best made from cane sugar.

The definitive article that most recent postings reference is from the SF Chronicle in 1999 and is linked, here:
http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/SUGAR-SUGAR-Cane-and-beet-share-the-same-2939081.php

I would just like to point out that the article included a picture of Creme Brulee with cane on the left and beet on the right.

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Offline Baron Von MunchKrausen

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Re: Brewers caramel & Invert Syrup
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2017, 11:39:31 AM »
A very interesting and informative discussion.
I've recently began experimenting with smaller batches of vintage beer and have not yet tackled inverts.
Ron Pattinson's book, "The Home Brewers Guide to Vintage beer" has a section specifically describing how to make inverts. FWIW he specifies cane sugar - not table sugar.
Frankly, I'm undecided whether to stay true with the authenticity of the old recipes or simply add crystal.
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Offline Ck27

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Re: Brewers caramel & Invert Syrup
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2017, 01:16:53 PM »
A very interesting and informative discussion.
I've recently began experimenting with smaller batches of vintage beer and have not yet tackled inverts.
Ron Pattinson's book, "The Home Brewers Guide to Vintage beer" has a section specifically describing how to make inverts. FWIW he specifies cane sugar - not table sugar.
Frankly, I'm undecided whether to stay true with the authenticity of the old recipes or simply add crystal.

Stay true :) you will get better beers. And vintage beer is better

Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Brewers caramel & Invert Syrup
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2017, 02:52:03 PM »
Hi Tom! Great insights.

I could not find ANY references myself.  So, if one is attempting to make a #3 or #4 invert sugar on the stovetop in pure form, more research might be required to ensure that a pleasing tasting product is produced.  I'm still suspicious of the claim. 

The "evidence" is anecdotal, though that's true with many things in food, flavors and beer. That was enough for me to acknowledge Kevin58's assertion that inverts are best made from cane sugar.

The definitive article that most recent postings reference is from the SF Chronicle in 1999 and is linked, here:
http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/SUGAR-SUGAR-Cane-and-beet-share-the-same-2939081.php

I would just like to point out that the article included a picture of Creme Brulee with cane on the left and beet on the right.

I DID see the SF article in my initial search.  However, I was looking for something a little more definitive (eg, controlled).  Cooking is hardly a bastion of rigor, or even science based practices.  Quite the opposite really.  Lots of voodoo, magic fairy dust, and what not.  for all I know each of those sample recipes were made by different cooks, with no ABA, double-blind, triangle-tests or other methods used to control for variation and subjectivity.  I just can't take something seriously that simply says, "we tried some stuff, and people thought it was different".  The nih study I linked would specifically refute the SF claim on cookies---there was no statistical difference in the sugar cookies amongst the super-tasters.  A result I find far more credible than the SF. 

I think the cr?me brule test to be almost laughable.  Anyone who has made brule with a blow torch knows how sensitive that approach can be to subtle differences in the torch, size of flame, distance from the brule, rate of movement.  there's also the factor of the "amount" and evenness of the granular sugar prior to starting the torching / brule process. 

So, while I don't expect an entity like SF Chronical to be held to these standards...in a case like this where it is a FACT that the chemical makeup of the two sugars only differs by 0.05%...it might be beyond a periodical's ability to discern statistically significant differences from process control issues, random chance, and subjectivity. 

Making baked goods might not be the best way to determine differences at this level.

I'd go try it myself...but, I think the same basic thing applies to me, my cookware, my stove, etc.

So, I'll acknowledge that it is POSSIBLE there is a difference in certain circumstances...I stop short of believing that the SF Gate article is a seminal work.

« Last Edit: December 05, 2017, 02:54:53 PM by tom_hampton »
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