How to make Belgian Candi Syrup

2010/12/01 at 10:34 am 11 comments

In a previous post I have discussed the benefits of Belgian Candi Sugar and have walked through the simple process of making your own. Using the adjunct in your brews usually involves adding the sugar 5 minutes before flameout. However, when adding the sugar at this stage time is needed before the solid mass fully dissolves and incorporate itself into the wort.

One way to to lessen the amount of time needed to incorporate the candi sugar into the wort and subsequently retain as much of its characteristics as possible is to preprocess the belgian candi sugar into a syrup form. The good news is that once you have in your possession some belgian candi sugar converting it to belgian candi syrup is a very simple task that we will walk through in the following tutorial.


Since the belgian candi sugar we made in the previous tutorial (or that you have purchased from your local homebrew shop) has already been cooked to candy’s hard crack stage it will not revert back to the previous stages of consistency once heated. Therefore we simply need to dissolve the candi sugar in a minimal amount of water to create a viscous syrup.

For this tutorial we will be utilizing the previously concocted candi sugar in its entirety to create 2 pounds of amber-colored belgian candi syrup.

Step #1 – Add water to candi sugar

Place the cooking pot over medium heat and add half of the candi sugar. Note that you could go ahead and add all of the sugar to the cooking pot at this point, but in the early stages of dissolving the syrup you may end up with an overly viscous mass that can be difficult to work with.

As noted in the belgian candi sugar tutorial it doesn’t take a lot of water to dissolve a fairly large amount of sugar. This is good since we don’t want to end up adding too much water to the wort when adding the candi syrup and inadvertently messing with the target gravity of the brew.

For this example we will add one (1) cup of water to the sugar and begin stirring.

Step #2 – Heat mixture while stirring

With the mixture over medium heat stir constantly until the mixture dissolves into a smooth syrup.

Be patient and don’t be tempted to raise the heat to speed up the process- you don’t want the mixture to boil or even obtain a simmer. Things may seem to proceed at a glacial pace but for the most part it won’t take that long for everything to properly dissolve.

Step #3 – Add remaining candi sugar and stir until dissolved

Once you have a smooth syrup in your cooking vessel we will and add the remaining candi sugar and stir until completely dissolved.


When the remaining sugar is incorporated you will have your finished belgian candi syrup. If the mixture is too thick for your needs incorporate a bit of water until you have achieved your desired consistency. However, make sure to only add what is absolutely necessary as to avoid subsequently adding too much water to the wort when adding the syrup.

Step #3 – Store it

If you’re an obsessive pack-rat like me then you likely have some spare jars just waiting to be used for storage. For this example I am using an old jar from Wal-Mart that once upon a time many years ago contained some tasty black bean and corn salsa.

While the mixture is still hot go ahead and pour it into your container. Taking a cue from canning aficionados you can invert the jar for 30 minutes to an hour to aid in sealing the jar.

Note that if your container is not glass I would recommend letting the mixture cool before pouring off and storing.

Congratulations! If you have been following the tutorial up to this point you now have your very own cheap and customized belgian candi syrup. If not what are you waiting for? Now that you know how easy it is to make get thee to the kitchen and whip up your very own batch of belgian candi syrup.

Your beer will thank you.

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How to make Belgian Candi Sugar Yeast Slant Failure #1

11 Comments Add your own

  • […] a future post I will go over the simple process by which this belgian candi sugar can be further processed into […]

    Reply
  • 2. Linda  |  2011/04/16 at 6:16 pm

    Dude, I knew I couldn’t be the only one who figured breaking down some sugar molecules isn’t some mystical secret of the universe. I had already planned to make my own candy when I found this post. I am still not clear about the role of the citric acid and I am still more inclined to use lemon and lime juice instead of cream of tartar. Citrus fruity for beer…..grape poop for wine. If I ever get to hang out and find your site again I will let you know how my Belgian Duddel turns out. I love brewing beer.

    Reply
    • 3. Josh  |  2011/04/18 at 10:30 am

      You are very much correct. Once you get down to the basics of how the processes and methods of brewing and its associated activities work it’s just not that complicated. I mean, humans have ben doing this for thousands of years now, and even the most basic of modern kitchens are sanctums of magical wonder by early brewer’s standards so there’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to duplicate history’s methods very easily.

      As for why I use citric acid as opposed so any other culinary acid it’s mostly because of the fact that my wife is an awesome baker so we always have some on hand. Using lemon or lime juice should work just as well since any acid present during the inverting process will act as an accelerant to allow for the heat to more effectively invert the sugar molecules.

      Good luck with your belgian dubbel. Let me know how it turns out!

      Reply
  • 4. Steve Amey  |  2012/04/02 at 3:04 pm

    Thanks for the info! Did my first Amber Candi Syrup today. Pretty slick. Now that I have it in the jar (that I sanitized prior to putting the magma in it…), how long do you think you can store it? Should it be in the refrigerator? I absolve you from all legal… just want to have some guidance on your experience. Thanks again

    Reply
    • 5. Josh  |  2012/04/02 at 3:12 pm

      Honestly I haven’t held on to any syrup I’ve made for more than a few weeks. Usually if I’m making the candi or syrup it’s for a specific upcoming brew so it doesn’t sit on the shelf for very long.

      Since it’s really just converted sugars I’d imagine it’s probably good for at least 3 months. Although if everything is nice and sterilized I’m sure you’re probably good for 6 months to a year and likely even beyond.

      Reply
      • 6. Steve Amey  |  2012/04/02 at 5:35 pm

        Thanks. The plan is to use it in an Orval clone. But was just wondering if I do it in the future, I might do a double batch.

  • 7. Dave  |  2012/05/16 at 7:12 am

    Thanks for this great post! One question though. Is there a reason for starting with crystalized candi sugar in making syrup? Could one just stop after inverting and caramelizing in the process you presented in your earlier post (ie not bringing it to hard-crack temp)?

    Reply
    • 8. Josh  |  2012/05/17 at 9:32 am

      Honestly I was looking to only make the candi sugar at first. However I decided to create some candi syrup in order to ensure that integration in the wort would go much faster.

      As far as getting candi syrup from reconstituting candi sugar with water or stopping before the hard crack temperature is reached – I don’t think there’s that much difference as the different stages typically denote water content of the substance and sugar crystal arrangement. When in the hard crack state there is roughly 99% sugar content to water when reconstituting the candi sugar into syrup you have to reintroduce water to the substance anyway- so it may be a moot point.

      Reply
  • 9. Dennis  |  2013/06/18 at 10:11 pm

    Interesting approach.. If you’re interested I did a two part post on the science behind these sugar reactions and some of my various attempts at making a syrup here:

    http://lifefermented.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/diy-belgian-candy-syrup-1-sugar-science/

    Nice to see another fellow engineer in the brewing and syrup business…

    Oh, and to Steve- the syrup should basically be the equivalent of honey (actually fairly similar is sugar composition too) so long as its thick enough. The key factor to long term storage is “water activity.” If there is very little water and a lot of sugar, cells will be unable to regulate what gets past their cell membranes and will be unable to function (the osmotic pressure is too great). No need to sanitize anything, just keep the water level down and it should keep as long as honey. This is also one of the reasons it is very difficult on yeast to brew extremely high gravity beers.

    Reply
  • […] This work was based on some great experiments done over at Ryan Brews and Nate O.’s Brew Log.  And another source, from another engineer. […]

    Reply
  • 11. Rab McEwan  |  2014/02/16 at 2:30 am

    good work man, this goes great in my ginger beer…

    Reply

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