Dextrose - Brewing Sugar
Dextrose brewing sugar, often referred to as "corn sugar" or "glucose" can be used in place of white sugar "sucrose" in either your fermentation or for priming your beer when bottling or kegging. Dextrose is faster to dissolve than white sugar and 100% fermentable. Dextrose often referred to as Corn Sugar: Probably the most common of the sugars discussed in brewing, Dextrose or corn sugar is made up almost entirely of glucose/dextrose. It will ferment completely, contributing more alcohol content than a similar amount of malt extract, and will lighten the body and flavor of the brew. Corn sugar will also ferment very rapidly, and will thus shorten the time your beer will need to spend fermenting. The most common use of corn sugar is as a priming sugar during the bottling process.
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Alternative Brewing SugarsThe bulk of the fermentable sugars in beer come from malts and malt extracts - that's what makes it beer. However, there are a number of other sugars that, when used in smaller quantities, can impart their own distinct characteristics to your brew. Here, we'll discuss the major alternative sugars, the effects they may have on the finished product, and the best ways to use them. Sugar is a simple carbohydrate. That is, it is a single molecule made up of some configuration of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Starches are complex carbohydrates, which means that they are made up of chains of sugar molecules bonded together. The breaking of these chains by various processes or enzymes converts the starches into their component sugars. The amylase enzyme in saliva is a good example of this. A common grade school science experiment is to take a saltine, place it in your mouth and chew it slowly 100 times. By the time you're done, you'll notice that the normal starchy, floury cracker taste has been replaced in part by a sweeter flavor. This is your saliva breaking down the starch chain into sugars. The mashing process affects malted barley in the same way, which is how malt extracts are made. These extracts are composed primarily of a sugar called maltose. Chemically, maltose is one of five major types of sugars. Sucrose is the name for common table sugar, which is usually derived from beets or sugar cane. Fructose is the sweetest tasting of the sugars, and occurs naturally in fruit, and to a lesser degree in malt. Glucose and dextrose are molecularly the same, and most commonly sold as syrup and dry crystals, respectively. Finally, lactose is a sugar which is naturally present in milk. Fructose, dextrose and sucrose are all very easily and rapidly fermentable by beer yeast. Maltose is obviously fermentable as well, but the process takes somewhat longer, and lactose is not fermentable at all by normal beer yeasts alone. Certain wild yeasts can ferment lactose, and various enzymes can be introduced which will help beer yeast ferment it as well. While there are a wide variety of sugars available to the homebrewer, it should be kept in mind that excessive use of any non-malt sugar will detract from its characteristic flavor and make your beer considerably less beer-like. In general, these sugars should not make up any more than 25% or so of the total sugar content of your wort. Some sugars also contribute strong flavors to your beer, or have other special considerations.
Sauces of Brewspiration and Further Reading for You:
- John Palmer Brewing Sugars & How to Use Them BYO.com
- Dextrose | Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine
- Kunze, Wolfgang. Technology Brewing and Malting, 2nd ed. Berlin: VLB Berlin, 1999
- Alternative Brewing Sugars | Aussie Homebrewer