Homemade Belgian Candi Sugar
In creating my recent Belgian Dubbel (recipe here), I decided that I wanted to make my own candi sugar for the brew. After some quick Googling, I was able to piece together a fairly simple process that seemed like it would get the job done. Using this process the candi came out as well as I could have hoped, pretty much exactly like an unflavored Jolly Rancher. As for the beer, though the final gravity came in low (meaning a drier beer) it’s tasting good and headed into the cold crash stage, about to be bottled with more candi sugar this weekend. I put together this step by step photo tutorial mainly so I’d remember how I did it, but also so anyone can make their own candi sugar to brew with.
What you’ll need:
– Sugar and water, in a ratio of 1/2 cup of water for every pound of sugar. Use the same amount of sugar as Belgian candi sugar you want to end up with.
– A food acid, like Cream of Tartar.
– A candy thermometer. Lucky for me, when I was starting to brew I bought one by mistake to watch mash temps – unfortunately it didn’t go low enough to watch the chill temp, but I hung on to it anyway.
– A pot for boiling and a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil for cooling.
Make a sludge of sugar and water, using the same weight of sugar as you want your finished product to weigh. Water can be used in a ratio of a half cup per pound of sugar; I used 1.5 lbs of sugar and 3/4 cup water. It’s gonna be thick.
Bring it to a boil once the sugar has been completely dissolved.
Once boiled, add your acid, in this case Cream of Tartar. I used a quarter teaspoon. The acid allows some science to happen that will lead to the desired result.
Bring the temperature to 260º-275ºF range, and do your best to hold it in there. This was tough on an electric stove. Technically speaking, right now we are in between the hard ball and soft crack stages of candy making.
Let it boil for a while, and keep checking the color.
The longer you allow the mixture to boil, the darker the sugar will be.
It’s pretty cool to watch it keep getting darker…
This looks good to me! Once you’re happy with the color, raise the temperature to 300ºF, which brings us into the hard crack stage of candy making.
Pour it into a lined pan as soon as the temperature hits 300ºF.
Let it harden, and hulk smash it to pieces.
Bag it up and save it until brew time! It does get a bit sticky, but is easy enough to break apart into chunks sized the way you need.