Bropsa Bripsa Palm Sugar Bitter

I came across some Thai palm sugar at a grocery store recently, so I decided to follow Randy Mosher's advice and try adding it to beer.


Batch size: 1 gallon.

Grain bill:

  • 1.5 lb Gambrinus ESB

Other stuff:

  • 0.25 lb Thai palm sugar


  • 0.5 oz Willammette (4.8%) @ 75 minutes
  • 0.25 oz Willammette (4.8%) @ 10 minutes



December 12, 2009: The BropsaBripsaSouredStout was overflowing, so I opened it up and harvested some of the kreusen and some of the beer -- maybe 125ml in all. This went into a sanitized mason jar and into the fridge. And since I've got some yeast, I might as well make some beer, right?

This was also a chance to try a small batch again after the stout; I wanted to see if I could get the proportions right, now that I was figuring on losing 1/2 a gallon in the boil.

Brew Day

December 13, 2009: 1.5 gallons strike water at 155F/68C to start the mash, but the temp ended at 149F/65C. Mash time was a few hours while I did other things. Yield was 1.25 gallons, 1.034 gravity.

I added 0.5 oz Willamette while bringing the wort to a boil, then 0.25 oz Willamette @ 5 mins. Final volume was 2.75 quarts, or about 0.7 gallons. I added the starter and then topped up with plain water; I calculate that the final gravity should have been about 1.060.


Fermentation started nice and quick, and was quite vigourous. Ambient temps were about 12-14C during the first few days, then down to 5-8C after that. (Fermentation is done in a room with a window open to the outside, so the temperature can vary.)

Bottling day

December 27, 2009: Moved this out from cold (14C or so) to warm (well, 18C) 24 hours in advance as a sort of diacetyl rest. No idea if it actually needed it...

Final gravity was 1.007, so about 7.2% ABV. This would make it about 88% attenuation, which seems high for the yeast (73-77% range according to Wyeast). However, I guess the sugar changes the balance.

Nice tan colour, lovely taste -- moderate bitterness, lovely bitter/ale flavour. Yield was 7 Grolsch bottles, though I had to swap volumes a bit to fill up the last one. 20g dextrose for priming.


January 6, 2010: HOLY CRAP was this ever good. This is easily the best beer I've made so far. And after only ten days in the bottle, too. It's just wonderful: smooth as hell, perfect balance between the hops and the malt, and a lovely aroma that I can only describe as creamsicle-like. Just amazing.

January 26, 2010: This has changed a lot. It's still thin-bodied and crisp, but not quite so smooth-tasting as before; the bitterness has come out much more, almost like a Pilsner Urquell. (Strong comparison, but I'm just talking about the flavour here.) Still very clear, nice golden colour, frothy head that disappears quickly. A bit of wheat might be nice here. I like it, but the creamy flavour has gone. Hmm.

February 20, 2010: Yep, the creaminess is still gone and the replacement flavour (heavy on the bitter) is here to stay. I posted to about this, and got this suggestion: unfinished priming, resulting in residual sweetness from the unfermented dextrose and lower carbonation (and therefore lower carbonic acid bite). The suggested remedy was lower carbing, and/or some light crystal to bring in some unfermentable sugars and a bit more sweetness.