Choose Your brewing Sugars Wisely...
If you are brewing up a beer kit or a wine kit that needs extra sugar, or if you just want some extra ABV in your homebrew, you may think to just add sugar that you use in your cup of tea, but did you know that there are different sugars and that they can change the way your finished brews taste and feel?
Supermarket Sugar - is usually Glucose & Fructose. This is what makes it taste sweet, but it can leave this sweetness in your finished beer and wine.
Brewing Sugar - is Dextrose which usually comes from maize (think sweetcorn) and has very little residual sweetness.
Brown Sugar - Is the same as white sugar, but it hasn't been refined, so it still has some molasses which can help add treacle type flavours to your beer, but remember it will leave your finished beer sweeter than if you had used dextrose.
Spray Malt - is basically powdered wort. It is like you used more grain in the mash, so you get a richer, fuller bodied beer. As wort has unfermentable sugars, adding a lot of this can add some extra sweetness to the finished beer.
Beer Enhancer - is a 50/50 mix of Brewing Sugar & Spray Malt, so you get some extra richness, and flavour, without adding too much body.
Liquid Malt Extract - is basically concentrated wort, so again, it's like you have added more grain to your mash. Like Spray malt, this can add body, flavour, colour and also add a little extra sweetness to the finished beer.
Lactose - is a non fermentable sweetener (from milk) that adds a slight sweetness and a creamy body to your beer. This is what is added to a stout to make it a milk stout.
Artificial sweeteners - are to be used with caution, 1 drop too many can cause your beer to be extremely sweet, but great if you want to make extra fun beers like a Strawberries & Cream IPA. mmmmm
The same goes when adding sugar to a wine, whether you are making a wine kit that needs extra sugar, or are making a wine from grapes, apples or fruits and flowers from the hedgerow. Choosing the right sugar can make a huge difference to the taste of the finished wine.
Now, you probably don't want to think about using beer enhancer, spray malt or liquid malt extract in a wine, but you do need to think if you want to use granulated sugar or dextrose, or a combination of the two. In most of my homebrew wine recipes, I suggest using a mix of both brewing sugar and granulated sugar to give the finished wine a slight sweetness, but at the same time, not being too sweet.
Hope this helps so you can choose the right sugar to add to your beers and wines.
Remember to watch our YouTube Video for lots more information - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QM0eWFyHG38