Sugar in IPA grain bills

Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:21 am

Still trying to perfect the IPA. I have noticed that about 10% of the IPA recipes I run across do add sugar to the grain bill to 'dry' out the end fermenation result (See Pliny the Elder).

Do you feel this makes a better IPA?

Is this the effect I am going for, less body but maintain the fermentables?

Purpose of the sugar?

It is the final step or question to my next recipe. Thanks!
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Re: Sugar in IPA grain bills

Fri Jan 13, 2012 11:11 am

The soul purpose of adding sugar to an IPA is to add gravity/alcohol without adding body. If you use an english type ale strain to brew an IPA I think its a good call to add 5% cane sugar to help dry the beer out, this will help drive the hops and make for a more drinkable IPA. Don't overdo it though.

I would say if you are using a Cal Ale type yeast than adding sugar probably isn't necessary.

Hope this helps
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Re: Sugar in IPA grain bills

Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:36 pm

The funny thing is that Pliny also adds CaraPils, which AFAIK adds to the body with residual unfermentables. My sense was that the combination of corn sugar and carapils kind of evens out and you end up getting a higher-gravity beer than you would normally be able to fit into your mash tun.

I don't use sugar in my IPAs, just grain. I ferment usually with a CalAle (right now I have a WL001 strain going into its third generation), mash at about 152F and end up with an ipa that's got a decent mouthfeel but is restrained enough to be quaffable.
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Re: Sugar in IPA grain bills

Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:21 pm

It all depends on what mouthfeel means me to you. To me, in an American WC style ipa or IIPA there is no mouthfeel. I like them bone dry, 1.010 or 1.009 really let's the hops come through IMO. 5-8% sugar seems to be about right, even with cal ale at 151-152 or so. You have to find what you like, as all systems are different.
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Re: Sugar in IPA grain bills

Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:01 am

Vinnie mentioned in one of the early Sessions that he added sugar to make up for a low gravity and liked the result. I think he also said he likes their hoppy beers to get to 1.012 or lower.

That said, I think if you could get to 1.012 without sugar and maltodextrin and hit your desired ABV you'd be fine. If your terminal gravity is a little high, substitute some sugar for malt until you get it dialed in.
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Re: Sugar in IPA grain bills

Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:50 am

Were is the sugar addition uaually applied to this affect. At what point in the boil? Or in the primary fermentor?
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Re: Sugar in IPA grain bills

Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:28 pm

Could be either or both places. I think most people add the sugar at the end of the boil for sanitization.

If you're looking at large percentages of sugar, like for a Belgian Golden Strong ale (15-25%), it would be better to add it during fermentation before fermentation peaks.
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Re: Sugar in IPA grain bills

Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:55 am

I would guess the carapils helps smooth out the bitterness, without adding sweetness so that hops shine through. I made a 11g batch of low gravity pale ale with a pound of cascade adding almost all the hops at 30, 10, and 5min and it was ridiculously bitter despite the Rager formula only calculating 40IBUs. I didnt have any crystal malts in the grainbill. I believe I only used pils and munich. My sulphate to chloride ratio was probably 1.1 or so. The beer fermented down to 1.007-1.008 and tasted like it had 100 ibus. Bells 2 hearted clone has 70 IBUs and it was not even close to as bitter as my beer was.

Anybody know why you would add carapils and sugar?
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