October 23, 2018

How to Make Invert Sugar

Ever feel like your brewhouse could use more science nerdery? Try making invert sugar!

Invert sugar is used in brewing many British and Belgian styles, and you can make it at home. You may know it as Lyle's Golden Syrup or Belgian Candi syrup, but those are little more than treated sugar. You can make it for less than half the cost and impress your friends with some mad 19th-century-ish-candy-making skillz. Here's what you need:

  • 1/2 pound cane sugar (not table sugar; cane sugar imparts more flavor than plain white table sugar) I used "Sugar in the Raw" which is available at most grocery stores.
  • 1/2 gram (about 1/8 teaspoon) citric acid
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Pot for boiling

Just dissolve the sugar in the water, add citric acid, and simmer for anywhere between 20 minutes and 2 hours. You will want to simmer at a low heat and stir frequently to prevent scorching. For a very light sugar, like Lyle's Golden, simmer for 20 minutes. To create something similar to dark candi sugar, boil for close to 2 hours.

During longer boils add water as necessary to prevent burning. Invert sugar can be added right to the boil, or prepared in advance. Because of the inversion that takes place, invert sugar is very stable and lasts a while. To make the light version on brew day, I start simmering during the sparge, and then add it during the last 20 minutes of the boil.

This is the finished, light-amber product.

Note: attempting to extract dinosaur DNA from said amber could result in a clashing of eras that was simply not meant to be. Use with caution.