What Can I Use Instead of Brewing Sugar?

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Brewing sugar is one of the essential ingredients in beer brewing. It provides the yeast with the food it needs to create alcohol and carbon dioxide gas. However, there are times changes need to be made in the recipe. So, what can I use instead of brewing sugar?

What Can I Use Instead of Brewing Sugar?

You can use any sugar that is fermentable by yeast in place of brewing sugar. The most common type of sugar used in beer brewing is white sugar, also known as sucrose. It is made up of glucose and fructose molecules that can help create a higher alcohol content.

Many Brewers like using this type of sugar since it can be easily measured and dissolved. It also helps in producing cider-like and wine-like flavors. Therefore, whenever you want to have an alternative to this sugar, white sugar is a better option and it will not affect the taste of your beer.

A close-up image of a honey

Other Available Options

Brewing is fun when you have different options to select from. There are other types of sugar that can be used as an alternative to brewing sugar. The following are the other options that you can use.


Honey is a natural sugar that is made by bees. It can be used as a one-to-one replacement for brewing sugar. The only difference is that it will add a unique flavor to your beer. The sweetness and floral notes of honey will be quite noticeable in the final product.

If you want to use honey as an alternative, make sure to add it at the end of the boil. This will help preserve the flavors and aromas of honey. Also, use less amount of honey as compared to sugar since it is sweeter.

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is another natural sweetener made from the xylem sap of sugar maple, red, or black maple trees. It is one of the alternative options that can be used in place of the common sugar you use for brewing. The final product made with maple syrup will have a unique flavor.

The sweetness of maple syrup is not as intense as sugar. Therefore, you will need to use more maple syrup as compared to sugar. It is advisable to add it at the end of the boil to preserve the flavors.


Molasses is a by-product of sugar production. It is quite viscous and has a dark color making it ideal for brewing. The beer made with molasses will have a unique flavor that is different from sugar.

Most brewers use molasses at the end of the boil. This helps in preserving the flavors and aromas. You can also make molasses syrup which can be used in place of sugar and honey in recipes.

An image of what can I use instead of brewing sugar

Corn syrup

Corn syrup is a type of glucose syrup that is made from corn and contains a high level of fructose, maltose, and oligosaccharides. It is often used in processed foods as a sweetener.

Brewers use corn syrup as fermentable sugar. It can be used in place of honey or cane sugar. The beer made with corn syrup will have a light sweet taste.

White Grape Juice Concentrate

This one is probably the most common sugar alternative for making wine. It is made from, you guessed it, white grapes. It has a high sugar content and is very easy to use. You simply add it to your must (unfermented grape juice), and it will ferment along with the rest of the sugars.

If you want to favor a dry wine, you will want to use less of this concentrate. For a sweeter wine, add a bit more. You can also find this same concentrate made from red grapes.

Benefits of Using Other Types of Sugar

Trying other alternatives to sugar can be fun and rewarding. It will also help you to understand the brewing process better. Some of the benefits of using other types of sugar are as follows:

  • You will be able to make different types of beer with unique flavors.
  • You will understand the brewing process better, as each sugar may require a different brewing method.
  • You will be able to experiment with different recipes and find the perfect one for you.
  • You will be able to find the right sugar for your beer since each sugar has its own unique flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Types of Sugar Can Yeast Ferment?

Maltose is the primary type of sugar that yeast ferments during the brewing process. However, yeast can also ferment other types of sugars such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose.

Can I Use Brown Sugar Instead of White Sugar?

Yes, you can use brown sugar instead of white sugar. It is a type of sugar that has molasses. It can be used as an alternative to normal sugar. The beer made with this sugar will have a unique flavor.


There are alternatives to brewing sugar that you can use to sweeten your beer and all of them will impart their own unique flavor. So, whenever you don’t have the normal sugar you use for brewing on hand, don’t hesitate to try one of these substitutes.