One of the reasons I got into homebrewing was to make authentic British beers. The selection and freshness of these types of beers in FL is disappointing. So, why not make them myself.
One of the best sources on the web about brittish brewing is Shut Up About Barclay Perkins!; On his site Ron Pattinson features a Let's Brew! post every Wednesday. One ingredient that comes up quite often is invert sugar. It is impossible to buy this stuff unless you want to buy a metric ton. So again, you gotta do it yourself.
I followed the instructions here to make my invert number 2 and brew up a batch of Kidd XXX from 1934.
I took a couple pounds of demerara sugar mixed with some water, lactic acid, and a glob or two of corn syrup and boiled it for 4+ hours. I didn't quite get as dark as I wanted because I was
afraid of scorching the stuff. The directions I was following said to keep the sugar around 240 and wait for it to darken, but at 240 I didn't even see any bubbling on the surface. After the first couple of hours there was no real color development. Next time I'll let it get up to 250 or 255 F
and make sure there is some surface disturbance to make sure I'm getting the reactions I need
to darken my sugar.
Having to work the next day, I gave up on the color at around 3 a.m. when my syrup looked
liked this. 3 a.m. isn't that bad. I've stayed up all night brewing before. When you have a passion for brewing you do some pretty stupid stuff.
I decided to buy some canning jars to store my sugar. Even though I was going to use the sugar in a couple days, I figured storing it in a sanitized airtight container was a good idea. Botulism is odorless and flavorless after all. With such little moisture content, I doubt anything can live in this invert sugar though.
A couple days later I brewed up the 1934 Kidd XXX recipe from Ron & Kristen. That will be
described in my next post.
The demerara is from sugar cane grown a few miles from my house in south florida. I love that I get to use a local ingredient for making an old world brewing tool. Best of both worlds.