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01/15/09 05:06 PM  
An experiment
Next week I am planning an experiment.

I am going to brew 13 gallons twice to end up with 4 - 5.5 gallon carboys.


One batch is going to be pale malt hopped with styrian goldings at 25 IBU with hops added at 90 and 20 min. The OG for the 13 gallons have a target of 1.081. Once the batch is cooled I plan to add honey to one carboy and C & H white sugar to the other. The final OG will be 1.090 with about 10% of the fermentables from the simple sugars.


The second batch is pale malt at the same OG of 1.081 with D2/white sugar in one 5.5 gallon and "SUGAR X"/white sugar in the other 5.5 galons. The hops will be styrian goldings at 34 IBU at 90 and 30 min.

My plan right now is to put the 1.5 pounds of Dark Candi D2 and 1.5 pounds of "SUGAR X" in 2 quart jars mixed with water and pressure cook it for 20 min at 15PSI. This is the same procedure I will use for the honey and C&H for the Golden.

That way once the brew day is over I can pour the sterile sugar and water mixtures into the carboys to bring the OG up to the correct level.

The yeast is WLP530 grown up on a stir plate and pitching rates will be the same for all carboys.

The temperature for the ferment will start at 64 then allowed to ramp up to the 70's or very low 80's if they get that warm.

So the hopping will be very close, the sugars will be the main difference between the 4 carboys.

Comments, concerns or questions?

01/15/09 08:44 PM  
Re: An experiment
Looks reasonably well thought out - go for it!

Mike Mraz
01/16/09 01:51 AM  
Re: An experiment
I have added sugar later to a few of my beer with good results. I just made a Golden Strong that started at SG 1.056 added sugar to get to 1.075 and the FG ended up at 1.007

The only problem I see is using the pressure cooker to sterilize your sugars with. When you use the pressure cooker to boil your sugars it will add color and Melanoidins to your sugars. You will be boiling you sugars at 240 not 212. I have done this and It does not take long at 240 to add some extra flavors you did not expect too. Sometimes good sometimes not so good

To add my sugars I use an Erlenmeyer flask. Add sugar and just enough water to dissolve the sugar and heat to 190 on the stove. Then cool it in a water bath to around the fermentation temp then add. Then stand back and watch fermentation at its best (you might need a blow off tube).

01/16/09 08:26 AM  
Re: An experiment
+1 on Mike's suggested pasteurization technique. Or if you do can the wort, maybe just do it at pasteurization temps, no need to nuke it!
01/16/09 10:21 AM  
Re: An experiment
Pressure cookers are good at sterilizing clean surfaces by contact with hot steam (IF the air is vented out of them first). Pressure cookers are also good at sterilizing liquids by getting them to a uniformly high temperature. But that doesn't mean everything you put in a pressure cooker for 20' necessarily comes out sterile.

For instance, on the inside of a table sugar crystal it's dry. Dry heat sterilization requires hours at temps around 300F. I don't know about thick syrups--they're kind of between "liquid" and "dry".

I think the key is to add enough (dechlorinated!) water to each sugar that it gets pretty liquid, at least at 240F. And of course you probably want to add the same amount of water to each sugar. At that point you can boil or pressure cook with confidence. Antifoam sounds nice, too.

01/16/09 10:24 AM  
Re: An experiment
(I meant all of that just from the standpoint of sanitiation, BTW. Mike's concerns about flavor changes in the pressure cooker are interesting.)
01/16/09 10:38 AM  
Re: An experiment
I think it is reasonable to just boil your sugars with a little water then cool and add to the fermenter. The pressure cooker is over kill and it might slightly alter the sugars at such a high temperature (I've never tried anything in a pressure cooker so go with Mike's advice). Plus it will save you some more processing time.
01/16/09 11:58 AM  
Re: An experiment
The main reason for the pressure cooker with this project is I could get it ready at work. That way the little woman would be that much happier.

For now I am just going to heat all the sugars up on the stove in the flask and add them to the fermentation that way.

At a lab I was part of we used to pressure sterilize all the medium for the tubes and plates. So I am kind of used to doing that for liquids. For all my starters I can up 1500mls of wort and use that. Really nice to have 6000mls made up if you are growing up lots of yeast.

Thanks for the insights.

Mike Mraz
01/16/09 03:26 PM  
Re: An experiment
I have played with wort and sugars in pressure cookers before. I got the idea from canning wort for my starters and saw that the color was much darker if I cooked it longer.

I used it to my advantage from time to time. There is a local competition that you have to make the same beer with a kit and then they judge then all. I like to see how far out of the box I can get with just the ingredients in the kit. Most of the time they think Iím cheating but Iím not. Iím just using the ingredients to the bestÖ

By the way you can make a great Barley Wine with 100% dme and a pressure cookerÖ

01/17/09 12:25 AM  
Re: An experiment
I like the idea of the pressure cooker. If sterilization is the sole concern then it makes little sense. But the candy sugars do some interesting things based on how you use them. Add them at knock out and you get a totally different effect than if you boil them for 20 minutes. And different again if you boil them for 45 minutes. Who knows what they will do if heated past the boiling point of water. I would not expect anything, but then I did not expect dark syrup to add a cherry character if boiled for a long time either. B-Dub, I like your spirit. Love to hear what happens under those conditions. Steve
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