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08/16/10 01:31 PM  
Belgian syrups
Ok, so I'm trying to wrap my head around the D2 syrup. I've been making different syrups for my Belgian beers for a while, but I'm stuck on a few question.

The first way I started with syrups was I believe is called caramel syrup. I took sucrose and water, inverted it with citric acid, and kept at a certain temperature range until it darked, then added water to build into a syrup. The flavors I get with this are more buttery.

Next I tried another method which I believe is called candi syrup. Sucrose and water were combined with DAP providing nitrogen and heated to around 290. This was a bit different as the color change was faster, but if the temperature got too high the syrup would burn and get really bitter. This syrup provided a bigger variety of flavors, but I'm still getting some odd flavor that is hard to describe in my beers with it.

I picked up a packed to D2 and was really amazed. More chocolate notes than my "candi syrup". Anyone have an idea on how they make this or close attempts to replicate it? On their website they list it as "the repeat heating and cooling of sugar", and I believe I've read before that they don't add any acid to it.

and more
08/16/10 01:34 PM  
Re: Belgian syrups
whew, ran out of room there.

Also, on the Dark Candi website they list the "D Syrup" as having Fructose, 30% Sucrose, and Glucose, so this probably means it's not completely inverted. I think boiling will partially invert the sugars, so it sounds like they leave the citric acid out.

Ok, so I'm rambling. Anyway. Anyone had luck replicating D2 with just "repeated heating and cooling". Any idea on temp ranges for doing so? I'm going to try some experimenting on this now that I have some D2 to compare.

08/16/10 05:04 PM  
Re: Belgian syrups
You will never be able to replicate what can be done with industrial processing of sugars with indirect heating. Just buy the D & D2 and enjoy.
08/16/10 05:40 PM  
Re: Belgian syrups
Well shit, that was helpful. Say I wanted to try?
08/16/10 09:20 PM  
Re: Belgian syrups
Well I have never done this, but since your looking for suggestions. The candi syrups are a byproduct of the sugar refining process, so why not start with a partially refined sugar. Turbinado, Piloncillo, Demerra, or Jaggery/Gur. Some other sources you may want to consider and mix in are date syrup and grape molasses.

If I had to pick, I'd proably start with the piloncillo.

Another thing you might want to try is make sure you have a syrup and then pressure can the syrup. I know my wort darkens considerably when I pressure can it.

08/16/10 09:58 PM  
Re: Belgian syrups
The Dark Candi syrups are not a by product of sugar processing like molasses.

Make some syrup, then buy some D2 and compare.


08/16/10 10:30 PM  
Re: Belgian syrups
Per the crew at Dark Candi the syrups are just plain white sugar and water, the D2 being made by "repeated heating and cooling".

Tonight I'm trying a method I read about on the Mad Fermentationist, in the comments on reader mentioned bringing the sugar water mix up to 300 on the stove, then inserting it in an oven till it darkens to the correct level. I've got it in the oven now at 290, aiming for around an hour. I know this isn't "repeat heating and cooling", but I wanted to try this out anyway as it's pretty set and forget. I have some D2 to compare, so I'll report back.

08/16/10 10:33 PM  
Re: Belgian syrups
Here was a thread with Brian from Dark Candi's response, also some other good info.


08/17/10 12:25 AM  
Re: Belgian syrups
So after 1.5 hours at 290 I pulled the sugar out and added some water back to it. It got to about a dark mahogany, not nearly as dark as the D2. Flavor wasn't close, still like the buttery mashmellow. I may try this again giving it longer to see what happens.
08/17/10 09:22 AM  
Re: Belgian syrups
I do not know how it is made but man, I want to use some on my french toast. It has those chocolate notes that are just so yummy. D2 Really is the trick to making that

dubbel ring home.

08/17/10 12:26 PM  
Re: Belgian syrups
"Just buy the D & D2 and enjoy."

I make my own because commercial imported sugar syrup costs 10 times more than it does to make it yourself.


I believe that the trick is simply temperature and time. Figure those out and you're good to go. DAP should accelerate the maillard reaction (i.e. more color with less heat). Keep the temperatures lower. The last time I made a near black syrup the temperature never got higher than 260 degrees. In that instance I cooked the sugar for 3-4 hours.

The basic procedure: Water plus sugar over low heat. Once I got the mixture to about 210 degrees, I set the burner low enough to slowly raise the temperature from 210 to 260 over the next 4 hours. After it reached the color I was looking for, I added a cup of water to make it syrup.

Here is an example of what I'm calling amber and black syrups:


I believe the amber syrup was at 245 degrees.

I've only used my syrups in English style beers so far so I can't say how my syrup compares to commercial syrups used in Belgian beers.

08/17/10 12:40 PM  
Re: Belgian syrups
Adrian, thanks for the info. I think I'll try that tonight. I've done the DAP before with decent results, but I've never ended up with the chocolate notes that D2 provides, it always comes out with big dark fruit notes, and a bit overwhelming in the beer.
08/17/10 07:21 PM  
Re: Belgian syrups
I was going from memory when the D was released. I checked the website and found this for the D syrup, "CandI syrup is a liquid obtained as a by-product of the candi sugar production." Obvisously, I misunderstood this statement. I assumed they were starting with unrefined or partially refine sugar to produce candi sugar.


08/17/10 08:17 PM  
Re: Belgian syrups

From my reading so far it sounds like that is how D is made, they pull crystals out of it making the rock candy, then centrifuge small solids out for the powder, then the remainder is the D syrup.

The D2 has a different description, making me wonder if it's a different process that could hopefully be replicated. I know in the linked forum above Brian from Dark Candi stated that it was pure sucrose and water, so I imagine it's refined plain old table sugar.

08/17/10 08:20 PM  
Re: Belgian syrups
I's agree, pure sucrose would lead me to believe plain table sugar. I love the chocolatey aroma and dark color of D2, but actually enjoy the flavor D better. Next time I plan to blend the two.
08/18/10 06:32 AM  
Re: Belgian syrups
Not suggesting it replicates the D2 syrup but I have had better success making flavoursome syrups by cooking the sugar down dry (stir and watch closely) until it melts before adding the water.

It will spit so be careful but it's quicker, the flavour is intensified and depending on various factors, you can retain a syrup when cool instead of a hard rock of toffee.

Maybe this method might approach the D2 a little more if you started this way then cooled, heated, cooled, heated etc. Not sure if adding more water each time might help retain the syrup - something I might try.

The d2 syrup definitely does have some amazing flavours but the price is a killer and the challenge is a good one.

08/18/10 11:30 AM  
Re: Belgian syrups
reading a couple things on the dark candi website and another I cant seem to find right now

Besides the repeated heating and cooling, they say that the syrup is a byproduct of candi sugar making, and that when it cools and crystals form these are centrifuged out, this seems like it could be a critical step

08/18/10 11:30 PM  
Re: Belgian syrups
There is a great thread on this topic at homebrewtalk.com


I have not tried any of these myself, but will give it a shot soon...please share your experiences here or on that thread.

08/19/10 12:51 AM  
Re: Belgian syrups
Yojimbo > I've used most of the different syrups from that thread and have been happy with the results.
08/19/10 09:27 AM  
Re: Belgian syrups
"There is a great thread on this topic at homebrewtalk.com"

Very interesting stuff. He used WAY more DAP than I did and got the temperatures much higher. However, I feel his experiments are incomplete as he left out how long he took to heat the solution.

I feel this a *very* critical part of the equation. My "black" syrup never got anywhere near 300 degrees but was just as dark as this:


08/19/10 10:06 AM  
Re: Belgian syrups
I've used that method from that thread a number of times, the syrups turn out really flavorful, tons of dark fruit, but not really comparable to the dark chocolate notes of the D2.

I've also noticed that I get an odd taste that I don't really care for if I use more then a pound in a 5 gallon batch. Also, take not using that method that if you try the double or triple cooked method you have to step down your peak temperature each time. So for example the first time you bring it up to 290, next I recommend only like 275. The burning point gets lower each time, and the syrup gets really burnt and bitter if it starts to smoke. Although I did notice a bit of this bitter burnt candy flavor in a recent Westmalle Dubbel.

08/22/10 12:32 PM  
Re: Belgian syrups
I have never attempted making my own syrup. After reading through this I am glad that I haven't, as I REALLY like the D2 syrup.

Anyways, I did a side by side tasting yesterday with 2 of my Belgian Dark Strongs:

#1 (brewed Dec 2008)

15.25 lbs 2-row

.5 lb melanoidin

4 hour boil

3 lbs D2 syrup added towards end of boil

OG 1.098

FG 1.015

#2 (brewed March 2010)

15 lbs 2-row

1 lb special B

3-hour boil

2.2 lb demerara added towards end of boil

OG 1.091

FG 1.009

Both of these are really nice beers, but completely different beasts. I purposely brewed these 2 to see the impact of D2 vs using specialty grains.

The Special B/demerara beer is not quite as dark in colour as I would have liked, it has a ton of rummy dark fruit, but no chocolate notes. In hindsight, I should have added 2-4 oz of chocolate malt. As is, it is like a bigger, bolder and better version of Unibroue Maudite.

Although it is a bit too dark in colour, I prefer the D2 beer with the chocolate notes, and despite the higher FG, it finishes drier.

The D2 beer made it to the mini-BOS at this year's 2nd round NHC. I also included this beer at a 3-way tasting this spring as part of a BJCP class with Rochefort 10 and Trois Pistoles. There were 6 of us at the tasting, and we all agreed that mine had the best aroma, but the Rochefort 10 had a more well rounded flavour, was slightly better overall. The Trois Pistoles was dead last in all aspects.

Like I say, these are both pretty nice beers, but in my opinion, the D2 is mandatory. So I'm gonna try this for my next batch:

15.5 lbs 2-row

.5 lb melanoidin

2 lbs D2 syrup

1 lb demerara

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