Thursday, January 5, 2012

Inverted Sugar

Introduction: Inverted sugar, invert sugar, or belgian candi sugar is a mixture of glucose and fructose that is made by heating regular table sugar with a little water and lemon juice (for acidity). It's most famous for being used in beer brewing, but works wonderfully in winemaking as well, especially for fruit wines. The pictures I've included are a batch of amber candi sugar that I made for beer brewing.

How to make Belgian Candi Sugar:

2 cups water
5 lbs sugar
2 tbsp. lemon juice (or 1 tsp citric acid)

Heat the mixture to around 260 degrees Fahrenheit and hold it around there for about 20 minutes. Do not let it go over 275 or it will take on a darker, caramel color and flavors (if you want this, then by all means go for it brewers!).

The very last step is to heat the mixture up to 300 degrees, then pour it out onto a cookie sheet where it can harden as it cools. When cool, break it up and store in plastic bags! It can be used when wine recipes call for sugar!

Ramble: What's the point? Using sucrose, plain old table sugar, in your wine can lead to very slight sweet flavors left over, or (some believe) an increase in the wine's body. It also requires the yeast to synthesize the enzyme invertase so that they can convert the sucrose to glucose and fructose. It saves the yeast energy, nutrients, and some lag time to do this for them! I use this especially in light bodied wines like my lemon wine (recipe to come soon), but it's not an absolute requirement. It's definitely fun, and a lot cheaper than buying the stuff at the homebrew store!

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