Thursday, September 24, 2009


I'm no expert on British ales, but I can't think of any American versions that recreate a fundamental character shared by beers like Fuller's ESB, Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout and Old Peculier. Oxidation of the British beers is definitely a contributing factor, but it doesn't tell the whole story. Thanks to Ron Pattinson, who shares his research of European brewery logs online, I've learned that a lot of British beers are made with inverted sugar at various stages of refinement. In one of today's posts, he calls out American brewers for applying an all-malt philosophy to British beer recipes.

Not knowing where to buy British brewing sugars, I've been using Belgian Dark Candi Syrup as an alternative. So far, the results have been promising. My latest Old Ale was a step in the right direction, and I brewed a mild last week that I'm pretty excited about. Unfortunately, I won't have anything to compare the mild with because British session beers are too fragile to sell in the states. Maybe I'll be able to visit England in ten years or so, when I've recovered from the financial trauma of trying to open a brewery.


Grinder said...

Interesting - I made a Fullers ESB clone and used 1.5lb of corn sugar - it was really good and got raves.

I might go with 1.5lb of Belgian Dark Candi Sugar = expensive though - especially the syrup ($8.99 for 1.5 lbs OUCH)

Joe said...

I'd use a combination of dark candi syrup and corn sugar. Otherwise, your beer will be black death - the stuff is dark! Or you can try to find the amber or clear syrups made by the same company. I haven't seen them around here, but Northern Brewer sells them.

Anonymous said...


Mix water and C&H sugar in a pan cook it down to the color your looking for, basicly that's your Belgian Candi Sugar. Mess yes, cost $.065, bragging rights priceless.

Grinder said...

Anonymous - sounds like caramelized sugar. I made an American Brown with it once (sort of a Indian Brown I suppose).

Anonymous said...

ya, you do have to be careful the color changes quickly, I cheat and have a second batch of warm sugar mix ready to blend.

here is a link

good luck