I'd like to know a couple of things:

Did you make dark or light?

What procedure did you use/recommend?

Did you try to make rocks or did you just make sheet candy and break it up?

Did you use cane sugar or beet sugar? (although there shouldn't be a difference, sucrose is sucrose)

What was your brewing experience with it?

If any of you could answer all or some of these questions I would be grateful. We've made clear sheet sugar and honestly ended up with a much sweeter/hotter beer than we got with candy sugar purchased at our LHBS.


I think what you are really asking is how to make inverted sugar. This is when you break the sucrose down into fructose and glucose to make a more highly and easily fermented sugar.

I usually do this for my trippel. To make it I measure out the amount of sugar I am going to put in to my recipe, in this case a pound. Put in a sauce pan with just enough water to make it a little liquidy, and not burn to the bottom of the pot. If you add a lot it will just take longer to heat to temperature

Citric acid is required to invert the sugar, at a little bit of lemon juice or citric acid powder. Not much is needed. A pinch or two. I've actually squeezed a whole orange into it to give it an orange flavor.

MAKE SURE YOU USE A CANDY THERMOMETER, otherwise you will burn it.

Heat the sugar to 300F and immediatly pour into a cookie sheet with wax paper on it. This will make clear hard crack sugar. Let it cool and break into shards when hard.

If you would like to make darker sugar hold the temperature of the pan between 260F and 275F until the desired color is reached. Add a spoon full of tap water to prevent the sugar from going over 275 any time it's needed. For dark colors it could take a few hours. Once the color is reached, heat to 300F and pour into pan.

I add the sugar before the boil so that is fully dissolves.

  • If you invert sugar, it remains a liquid (syrup) after inversion. That means that candi rock sugar is not inverted.
    – Denny Conn
    May 25 '12 at 22:13

Don't bother making rock candy. Just put sugar in. It's exactly the same thing. Cane sugar and beet sugar will give you the exact same flavor after it's been refined.

If you want it dark, just caramelize the sugar in a pan before adding it, or add a teeeeeny bit of molasses in with your sugar (since that's what comes out of sugar when it's refined, anyway).

But the rock candy that we buy as "candi sugar" for Belgian beers is not what goes into Belgian beers. They just use sugar sugar. Check out some of Stan Hieromonyous's books on Belgian brewing (especially 'brew like a monk') for more on this.

If I'm making a dark Belgian, I'll usually use Turbinado instead of white sugar.

  • You are of course, correct. But that doesn't really answer the question. I have "Brew Like A Monk" and I know the Belgians use a variety of sugars, mostly standard table or simple syrups. I have been most interested in the darker candy sugar to have it on hand for darker beers. My one experiment making it resulted in dark shard candy, but I am unsure I converted correctly, resulting in a sweet and hot beer. Perhaps I didn't use enough lemon juice. I know I can get around using it, but I would like the ability to make it, at least for my own purposes.
    – TinCoyote
    Dec 18 '09 at 20:22

If what you want is candy syrup, sold as D2 etc in American homebrew stores, then you need to read this explanation of what it really is and how to make it. In Dutch it is "kandizuiker" and this has been mistranslated/misinterpreted as meaning candy sugar, which it is not. It is really a Maillard syrup, made by reacting sugar with amino acids in an alkaline environment, and different colors and flavors are attained by cooking for different lengths of time.

Most recipes you will read are for invert sugar or simply caramelized sugar. (If the recipe includes an acid, such as lemon juice, it will produce invert sugar.) These have quite different flavors and ferment differently than Maillard syrups.

To make Maillard syrup (kandizuiker), mix 1 cup sugar with 1/4 cup water and add 1/2 teaspon of pickling lime and 1/2 teaspoon yeast nutrient. Bring to boil, and cook until the desired color and flavor is achieved. You may need to add small amounts of water from time to time to prevent boilover. You will know the reaction is proceeding in the right direction if you get a whiff of ammonia when the boil starts.

  • I've done this approach, and the result is nothing like D1/D2 candi syrup, in my experience. Other experienced homebrewers I know have said the same thing. If you do try this, perhaps get some D2 as well and compare before you decide which to use.
    – jsled
    Jul 1 '15 at 13:13
  • I have to double check, but I am pretty sure the only ingredient listed on the last bag of candi syrup I bought was beet sugar.
    – Kingfisher
    Nov 19 '19 at 14:29

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