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Sugar in IPA grain bills

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Re: Sugar in IPA grain bills

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:12 pm
by LukeD23
krizwit wrote:
Anybody know why you would add carapils and sugar?

Vinnie from russian river is the originator of this idea in double IPAs. He talked about his reason for doing this on the Session back in 2010. He said it was out of necessity of his brew system. The mash tun was to small so they had to add sugar to get the gravity high enough, he then added carapils to keep some body in the beer.

I think sugar gets the beer to finish dry on the palate, carapils helps bring a bit more mouthfeel and these two together make for a really drinkable yet not to watery beer. Just my opinion though.

Re: Sugar in IPA grain bills

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:54 pm
by Kbar
What kind of sugar? And pound for pound, how much can I replace the base malt (2-row US) with the sugar (ratio)? Thanks!

Re: Sugar in IPA grain bills

Posted: Tue Jul 28, 2015 1:14 pm
by Benjaminbeer
It’s not just a matter of adding sugar. The end product will be influenced by the mash temperature that you choose. If you mash at a temperature closer to 158 than you will have more non-fermentable sugars to balance the perceived hop bitterness. If you add sugar you will change the ratio of fermentable to non-fermentable sugars. The alcohol level goes up but the non-fermentable sugars will still be there to balance the perceived bitterness.
If you mash closer to 148 there will be fewer non-fermentable sugars in the wort and perceived bitterness will increase. If you then add sugar it will increase alcohol level AND the finished beer will still be very dry.
If you ferment at or above 70 you will get fast yeast growth and more fusel alcohols increasing the alcohol bite of the beer. Malt character will be less perceived and bitterness will seem higher.
Lastly if you hop at 60 minutes you’ll get more hop bite (below the ears in the throat). If you mostly hop near 30 minutes it will take more hops but the bitterness will present on the tongue and mouth.
Bottom line – It’s not just one thing. Look at the entire picture. You’ll need to experiment to develop your own set of rules for a given grain bill and yeast but I would limit sugar to less than 10% of fermentable sugars unless you are doing a Belgian.

Re: Sugar in IPA grain bills

Posted: Thu Jul 30, 2015 9:35 am
by Benjaminbeer
Concerning what type of sugar to use if you are a permitted brewery, the TTB has explicitly exempted Brown sugar (a sucrose sugar) and candi sugar (an invert sugar) from triggering a recipe approval. Invert sugars are a mix of glucose and fructose usually made by splitting a sucrose sugar into the two parts with the enzyme invertase. Brown sugar is usually a mix of white/table sugar and molasses. The ruling does not specifically exempt table sugar (a sucrose sugar). I don’t know if the TTB considers table sugar and candi sugar to be the same. See the TTB website at for Ingredients and Processes Exempt from Formula Requirements under 27 CFR part 25”.

Brown sugar will add color and a caramel/molasses flavor. Candi sugar if made from beets instead of cane could add a flavor that you may not wish in your beer. Also since invert sugar is easier for the yeast to metabolize than brown sugar, it will more completely use the candi sugar and leave less residual sweetness in your finished beer.

I didn’t mention water which could also affect the dryness of your finished beer.
Per John Palmer and his “water” work, the following rules apply:
• Sulfates bring hop character forward.
• Chlorides bring malt forward.

By adjusting the Sulfate to Chloride ratio you can alter the beer balance; ratios of 1:2 will bring forward the malt character while 2:1 up to 9:1 brings forward the hop character and will dry the beer out. So when adding salts for use calcium sulfate to increase hop bitterness; use calcium chloride to increase malt character.

At the Benjamin Beer Company we usually develop a recipe first and get it as close to perfect as we can. After that if we wish to add sugar, we’ll experiment with the different kinds of sugar to tweek it to the final product. Just keep in mind that if you use too much sugar you risk having it taste like an overdone extract brew with that distinctive “winey” character.

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