Homemade Belgian Candi Syrup

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Homemade Belgian Candi Syrup

Postby RubberToe » Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:50 pm

So I'm really just discovering Belgian styles and am about to brew my first dubbel. While researching recipes and ingredients I came across an article on making Belgian Candi Syrup. This intrigued me so I dug further... I found articles on making candi sugar, candi syrup, and the differences between caramel and maillard syrups.

You can just cook sugar and water to make a caramel syrup, and also add an acid to help invert the sugar. You can cook it to various temperatures to make a hard candi or a syrup.

Well it turns out that true Belgian candi syrup (or sugar) is based on a maillard reaction. This process needs the presence of nitrogen for the reaction and we can use DAP (Di-Ammonium Phosphate) yeast nutrient for that. When the DAP breaks down at a certain temperature we are left with acid + nitrogen. The acid also helps with the inversion process. I had some DAP from a few years ago when I bought some to add to a hard cider so I was in luck. I think they carry it at Noble Grape.

I found an old thread on HBT and read for a couple of hours to get a decent understanding before starting the process. I was originally going to make an amber syrup but things were going great with no burning at all so I took it all the way and made a nice dark syrup. The HBT thread is here if you want to read it... it is long and I went through it all. The recipe is in the first post (light, amber, dark, etc). The OP got much of the information in the book 'Brew Like a Monk' which I have not read.

Some notes and amendments:
- Open the window and get the fan going, there's lots of ammonia evaporating in the beginning.
- Take it slow. It's not worth burning it and wasting your efforts. You will be rewarded. I use a glass top range and had the dial between 2 and 3 most of the time. There's a stall around 240F just be patient.
- Don't keep stirring it. If you do you may get crystallization which you don't want. I only stirred in the beginning and when doing the water additions.
- When adding the water to cool just ad a bit at a time and stir. This will prevent crystallization.
- After the final water addition bring it back up to 240F and pour into pre-heated mason jar(s).
- It tastes awesome! Strong plum and raisin notes. Don't burn your tongue, I came close a couple of times.

I did a dark syrup but kept it under 290F by a couple of degrees. I did one pass up to 287F or so, cooled with 1 cup of water, then back up to 270F, cooled again with only about 200ml water, then back up to 240F (past the stall). That's when I poured it into heated jars (oven). The whole process took me 1.5 - 2 hours. I didn't set out to make a dark syrup but things went great so I pushed it a bit. I tasted it at 10 degree intervals and loved the flavour development.

And now for some Belgian candi syrup porn:

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Ready to Make Belgian Candi Syrup by Hot Pepper Daddy, on Flickr

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Candi Syrup Starting to Boil by Hot Pepper Daddy, on Flickr

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Candi Syrup Turning Rose Colour by Hot Pepper Daddy, on Flickr

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Candi Syrup by Hot Pepper Daddy, on Flickr

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Candi Syrup Almost Done by Hot Pepper Daddy, on Flickr

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Nice Colour by Hot Pepper Daddy, on Flickr

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Candi Syrup Rainbow by Hot Pepper Daddy, on Flickr

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Finished Dark Belgian Candi Syrup by Hot Pepper Daddy, on Flickr

I'm going to brew with the large jar and save the small one so people can taste it at the meeting this week.

If anyone tries this let me know and we can also compare!

-Rob
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Re: Homemade Belgian Candi Syrup

Postby HPhunter » Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:02 pm

Looks awesome Rob. The only thing I can suggest is being careful of burning sugar on the surface of your glass stove. It can pit the glass, I did it to mine making jam.
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Re: Homemade Belgian Candi Syrup

Postby CorneliusAlphonse » Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:28 pm

i made some like this last winter. brought it slowly up to like 240 or 250 or something once, light golden colour. twice, reddish brown colour. three times, black and tasted acrid. woops. make sure you don't go too far or else you'll just up with tangy, burnt sugar syrup. gross.
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Re: Homemade Belgian Candi Syrup

Postby mr x » Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:46 pm

I've done that before with citric acid, and it was nothing like the belgian candi syrup we buy from NCM. Maybe the DAP fixes that.
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Re: Homemade Belgian Candi Syrup

Postby RubberToe » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:45 pm

Yeah I was really careful around the glass stovetop.

I made an Abbey Dubbel with it this evening, using about 800g of it, late addition with around 10-15 minutes left in the boil. I pitched a decent sized starter of 1214 and expect it will be raging by the morning. The OG ended up being 1.062.

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Boil Size: 28.0 l
Post Boil Volume: 24.0 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 22.0 l
Bottling Volume: 20.0 l
Estimated OG: 1.060 SG
Estimated Color: 22.6 SRM
Estimated IBU: 23.5 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 77.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 80.5 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes
Ingredients:
------------
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
3700.0 g Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 68.0 %
700.0 g Special Aromatic (MFB) (4.0 SRM) Grain 2 12.9 %
120.0 g Caramunich Malt (72.0 SRM) Grain 3 2.2 %
120.0 g Special B Malt (180.0 SRM) Grain 4 2.2 %
42.0 g Saaz [4.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 5 20.2 IBUs
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining 6 -
14.0 g Saaz [4.00 %] - Boil 15.0 min Hop 7 3.3 IBUs
1.0 pkg Belgian Abbey (Wyeast Labs #1214) [124.2 Yeast 8 -
800.0 g Candi Syrup, Dark (130.0 SRM) Sugar 9 14.7 %

Mashed at 64.5C/148F (thanks to Andrew for the info there) but my temp dropped bad so I decided to to a step up to 153-155 for a while at the end (after an hour at the lower temp). I ended up with 84% mash efficiency. I'm not sure what my brewhouse efficiency was this time as Beersmith doesn't do the best job with sugar additions (maybe I just need to set it to partial mash).

I cooled and pitched at 68F. It just so happens that my ESB is at that temp now so their both in my ferm cabinet. I might take the Belgian out and let the temp rise after the yeast kick in. The wort tastes good, here's hoping...
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Re: Homemade Belgian Candi Syrup

Postby RubberToe » Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:45 pm

Just a quick update, this brew finished at an FG of 1.010. In another week I'll cold crash then keg.
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Re: Homemade Belgian Candi Syrup

Postby amartin » Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:14 pm

I also made some of this last weekend for a winter warmer (thanks to Rob for the tech support). I stopped at 283ºF, instead of of 280ºF because I wasn't paying attention, but it was easier than I figured. I plan on doing this for more beers stopping at different colours, since I tend to brew with sugar fairly often anyway.
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Re: Homemade Belgian Candi Syrup

Postby Stusbrews » Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:38 pm

Thanx for posting this! I finally had a crack at making syrup, and took the first one too far (295) of course...wow it goes from fruity to burnt really quick! I stopped at 285 for the second batch tho and it tastes good! Might need to put on another dark strong now...
I only took it up to temp once tho. Looks like you did it twice? Do you think it made any difference?
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Re: Homemade Belgian Candi Syrup

Postby RubberToe » Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:41 pm

Awesome. Yeah I think you can get it darker and more complex without burnt flavours with the double cook. Take it slow.

Sent from the brew timer.
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Re: Homemade Belgian Candi Syrup

Postby gm- » Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:02 pm

Looks good, nicely done. I made a few kilos of amber candi sugar to add to my dubbel, s looking forward to taste it, it is currently aging in the bottles. I used Cream of Tartar instead of the DAP, worked pretty well.
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