I have read a lot of the "normal sugar" vs "brewing sugar" questions, and I think I'm there with an answer but I wanted to just get it verified as I'm new to this.

I have a beer kit, with 3kg of malt. It says to then add an additional 1kg of brewing sugar to take the abv from 5.5% to 7%, this is optional.

My questions are:

  1. I'm happy with around the 6% mark, so can I just add 300g of sugar - is there a reason it is 1kg

  2. I don't have brewing sugar, I'm thinking that 1 part normal sugar to 3 parts malt won't matter? Particularly if I reduce it to 300g?

Thanks to anyone that can help.

2 Answers 2

  1. The only reason to add sugar to a beer is to increase ABV and/or "dry" the beer out a bit. You can add none, 300kg, or any reasonable amount.

  2. "Brewing sugar" is any sugar used when brewing. This could be raw sugar, refined white sugar, honey, dextrose, etc etc.

My opinion is that 300 grams is a good amount with your malt ratio. Anytime you get over half a kilo of refined sugars in a 30L batch you're going to get a more "boozy" flavor and lots more green apple.

  • It's worth noting that non-fermentable sugars like lactose and maltodextrin are often added, so increased ABV isn't the only reason for a sugar addition. Sugar is a great way to adjust flavors in bigger beer styles, which is why Belgian candi sugars come in such specific SRM ranges.
    – ruckus
    Oct 10, 2022 at 6:07

"Brewing sugar" could refer to corn sugar, as some brewers believe it is superior to cane, white or table sugar. Or like @Rob said, it could simply refer to any type of sugar. In my opinion, it would not refer to honey, but I don't know that.

I won't say corn sugar is superior, but it is different. I've been brewing hard seltzers lately and in an article I read, someone was discussing which sugars to use and said she had taken to using half and half in her homebrewed seltzers. I've taken up that practice with both my seltzers and my beers. When I add sugar, I add half cane and half corn sugar.

Simple sugar (cane, corn, brown, etc.) is very digestible for the yeast, so I usually use at least a little just to get things off to a good start. But I also like my beers a little on the dryer side than many commercial examples. A typical recipe for me might be 600 grams of malt and 100 grams of sugar in 4 liters. So my ratio is closer to 6:1 rather than the 3:1 your recipe calls for. I agree that that much sugar might cause the beer to taste boozy or vinegary.

In your case, if you don't add any sugar at all, your beer might be a little "malty". I think anything in the 300 - 500 gram range will be just fine.

Good luck!

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