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Differences in Sugar Used for Distilling

Views: 0     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-01-25      Origin: Site

The first step to distill a good spirit is to ferment a good wash! In order to ferment your ingredients properly, you should know where your ingredients are coming from and how they react with each other. This is especially important for the sugar that is interacting with the yeast in your ferment.

Types of Sugar:

There are two main types of sugar: simple sugar and compound sugar.

Simple Sugars are monosaccharides, which means they can’t be broken down to form a simpler sugar. Simple sugars are the easiest for yeast to consume because they are 100% fermentable.

  • Fructose, or Fruit Sugar, is found to be the sweetest part of sugars and is a simple sugar that can be found in honey, fruit, and many root vegetables. Fructose tends to create a sweet flavor.

  • Glucose, or Corn Sugar, is known to be the less sweet part of sugar and is another simple sugar that is often processed from a variety of starches- potatoes, corn, wheat.

Compound Sugars are disaccharides, which means that it is composed of two simple sugars bonded together. Yeast must first break down the bond between the sugar molecules, which can lead to a less efficient fermentation process.

  • Sucrose, also known as table sugar, is a compound of glucose and fructose, mainly found in sugar cane stems or sugar beetroots.

Examples of Sucrose:

As mentioned, sucrose is a compound of sugars that can be found in sugar cane stems and sugar beets, but it has many different names, here are just a few examples:

  • White sugar is a result of the extraction of sugar cane and sugar beets. After collecting sugar cane or sugar beets, the juice from the plants will be boiled down to remove moisture and crystallize the sugar. White sugar itself has some varieties: coarse grain, granulated sugar, caster sugar (in other words, superfine sugar), confectioner’s sugar (Powdered sugar), and lump sugar (Sugar cubes). Each variety has its own different use in baking, cooking, or distilling.

  • Brown sugar is also sucrose sugar. Due to the presence of molasses, the sugar contains a distinctive brown color, which is between 3.5% for light brown sugar to 6.5% for dark brown sugar. Also, brown sugar is a minimally unrefined or partially refined form of sugar and can be collected from the first crystallization process of sugar cane. Therefore, brown sugar normally contains a higher content of minerals than other types of processed sugar.


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Why is This Important?

Sugar is one of the main components in fermenting, it reacts with the yeast to create ethyl alcohol which will later be distilled. Knowing which type of sugar is interacting with the yeast, and how it reacts, allows you to modify your fermentation process to achieve the desired results.

If you’re just starting out fermenting and distilling, the simplest wash to start with is a sugar wash because it is simply a mixture of a simple sugar and yeast. To make sugar wash and depending on what type of spirit you want to make, add a certain amount of sugar into hot water and let it dissolve. Once it’s dissolved and cooled, we add water and yeast into the mixture of liquid.

However, if you are a little more skilled in the fermenting and distilling process, you might want to try getting your sugars from natural sources such as fruits and grains. For instance, good whiskey is fermented with sugars that come from the barley, corn, rye, and/or wheat mixed with water and yeast. Whereas rum gets its natural sugars from fermented sugarcane.

As you are building your spirit recipe, don’t forget to take into account the basic differences in the sugar!

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