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7 Non Fermentable Sugars Perfect For Brewing!

As a brewer, you are always looking for ways to enhance the flavor of your beer and offer variety to your customers. One way to do this is by using non-fermentable sugars in your brewing process.

Unlike fermentable sugars, which are consumed by yeast to produce alcohol, non-fermentable sugars remain in the beer, adding sweetness, body, and flavor.

But what are some of the best non-fermentable sugars to use in brewing?

That’s what we’ll explore in today’s post.


First up on our list is lactose, a sugar derived from milk that is commonly used in milk stouts.

Lactose is a great choice for brewers because it adds a creamy sweetness that balances out the bitterness of the hops. Plus, it’s easy to use. Just add it to your wort during the boiling process, and you’re good to go.

Lactose is used to sweeten milk stouts and other sweeter beer types!

When I first started experimenting with lactose in my brews, I was amazed at how it transformed the taste and texture of my beer. It gave it a rich, velvety mouthfeel that was incredibly satisfying.

1. Maltodextrin

Next up is maltodextrin, a polysaccharide that is produced from starch. Maltodextrin is relatively flavorless but adds body and mouthfeel to your beer.

This makes it an excellent choice for beers that are meant to be light and refreshing, as it won’t overpower the other flavors.

I remember the first time I used maltodextrin in a brew. It was a light, summer ale, and the maltodextrin gave it a wonderful, smooth texture without adding any unnecessary sweetness.

2. Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is often used as a sweetener in foods and drinks. It has a similar sweetness level to sucrose, but it doesn’t ferment, making it an excellent choice for brewers. Plus, it doesn’t have a bitter aftertaste like some other sugar alcohols.

I’ve found that xylitol works best in darker beers, where the sweetness can balance out the bitterness of the malt. I’ve used it in a few of my porter and stout recipes, and it’s always been a hit.

3. Sorbitol

Another sugar alcohol that is worth considering is sorbitol. Sorbitol is about 60% as sweet as sucrose and adds a pleasant, subtle sweetness to your beer. It also contributes to a smooth, creamy mouthfeel.

In my experience, sorbitol is versatile and can be used in various beer styles. I’ve particularly enjoyed using it in my amber ales and brown ales, where it enhances the malt’s natural sweetness.

4. Erythritol

Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that is about 70% as sweet as sugar but has almost no calories. It’s a great choice if you want to add sweetness to your beer without adding too many extra calories.

I’ve found that erythritol works well in fruit beers, where it enhances the natural sweetness of the fruit without making the beer too sweet or cloying.

5. Isomalt

Isomalt is a sugar substitute that is about half as sweet as sugar and is often used in sugar-free candies and chocolates. It adds a subtle sweetness to your beer and contributes to a full, satisfying mouthfeel.

I’ve used isomalt in several of my stout and porter recipes, and I’ve always been pleased with the results. It adds just the right amount of sweetness without overpowering the other flavors.

6. Mannitol

Finally, we have mannitol, another sugar alcohol that is about half as sweet as sucrose. Mannitol adds a gentle sweetness to your beer and contributes to a smooth, creamy mouthfeel.

In my brewing experience, mannitol works best in lighter beers, where its subtle sweetness and smooth texture can really shine.

7. Sucralose

Sucralose is a popular artificial sweetener that is around 600 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar) but contains negligible calories. It is often used as a sugar substitute in various food and beverage products, including soft drinks, baked goods, and desserts.

Due to its intense sweetness, only a very small amount of sucralose is needed to achieve the desired level of sweetness, making it a cost-effective option for manufacturers looking to reduce sugar content without sacrificing taste.

In the context of brewing, sucralose can indeed be used as a non-fermentable sweetener. One of the challenges in brewing is achieving the right level of sweetness without adding fermentable sugars that yeast can convert into alcohol during the fermentation process.

This is particularly important in styles of beer where residual sweetness is desired, such as certain types of stouts, porters, and some fruit beers.

Sucralose’s non-fermentable nature makes it a suitable candidate for achieving this goal. Brewers can add sucralose to the beer after the primary fermentation is complete, ensuring that the sweetness remains stable and doesn’t get consumed by yeast during subsequent fermentation phases. This enables the brewer to control the sweetness level of the final product with precision.

When using sucralose in brewing, it’s crucial to consider a few factors:

  1. Dosage: Sucralose is significantly sweeter than sugar, so only a small amount is required to achieve the desired level of sweetness. Overuse can lead to an overpowering sweetness and off-flavors.
  2. Blending: Some brewers might choose to blend sucralose with other sweeteners or sugar substitutes to achieve a more balanced flavor profile, as excessive use of sucralose alone can sometimes lead to a metallic aftertaste.
  3. Testing: It’s important to conduct taste tests and trials when incorporating sucralose into brewing recipes. The sweetness perception can vary among individuals, and finding the right balance for a specific beer style is essential.
  4. Labeling and Transparency: If you’re planning to commercialize a beer that uses sucralose, make sure to follow labeling regulations and inform consumers about the use of artificial sweeteners.
  5. Stability: Sucralose is generally stable under normal brewing and storage conditions. However, some experimentation and testing might be needed to ensure its stability over longer periods.

As with any ingredient in brewing, the use of sucralose should be approached with creativity, experimentation, and a commitment to maintaining the overall quality and integrity of the final product.


In conclusion, there are plenty of fantastic non-fermentable sugars out there that you can use to enhance the flavor, sweetness, and body of your beer, cider or mead.

Whether you choose lactose, maltodextrin, xylitol, sorbitol, erythritol, isomalt, or mannitol, you’re sure to create a brew that is unique and delicious.

Here are the top 10 facts about non-fermentable sugars in brewing:

1. Non-fermentable sugars add sweetness, body, and flavor to your beer.
2. They remain in the beer after the brewing process, unlike fermentable sugars.
3. Lactose adds a creamy sweetness that balances out the bitterness of hops.
4. Maltodextrin is flavorless but adds body and mouthfeel to the beer.
5. Xylitol works best in darker beers, where its sweetness can balance out the bitterness of the malt.
6. Sorbitol adds a pleasant, subtle sweetness and contributes to a smooth, creamy mouthfeel.
7. Erythritol enhances the natural sweetness of fruit beers without making them too sweet.
8. Isomalt adds a subtle sweetness and contributes to a full, satisfying mouthfeel.
9. Mannitol adds a gentle sweetness and contributes to a smooth, creamy mouthfeel.
10. Using non-fermentable sugars is an excellent way to experiment with and enhance the flavors in your brews.


What are examples of non fermentable sugar?

Examples of non-fermentable sugars include sugar alcohols like erythritol, xylitol, and sorbitol, as well as artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame, and saccharin. These sugars are not metabolized by the bacteria in our mouth or gut, making them non-fermentable and less likely to contribute to tooth decay or increase blood sugar levels.

Is monk fruit a non fermentable sugar?

Yes, monk fruit is a non-fermentable sugar. It contains natural compounds called mogrosides, which are not metabolized by yeast or bacteria during fermentation processes.

What is a non fermenting sugar for wine making?

A non-fermenting sugar for winemaking refers to a sugar that is not converted into alcohol during the fermentation process. This can be achieved by using non-fermentable sugars such as lactose or artificial sweeteners. These sugars are often added after fermentation to sweeten the wine without increasing its alcohol content.

What are the negatives of monk fruit sweetener?

Monk fruit sweetener, also known as Luo Han Guo extract, is generally considered safe and has several benefits. However, there are a few potential negatives to consider. Firstly, monk fruit sweetener can be quite expensive compared to other sweeteners. Additionally, it may have a slightly bitter aftertaste, especially when used in larger quantities. Some individuals may also experience digestive issues like bloating or diarrhea if consumed in excess. Lastly, while monk fruit sweetener is considered safe for most people, those with a rare genetic disorder called phenylketonuria (PKU) should avoid it, as it contains a small amount of phenylalanine.

Are all sugars fermentable?

No, not all sugars are fermentable. While many sugars can undergo fermentation, there are certain sugars that cannot be fermented by common microorganisms. For example, sugars like raffinose and stachyose are not easily fermentable by most bacteria and yeasts. Additionally, some sugars like erythritol and xylitol are not fermentable by most microorganisms.

What sugars are non fermentable?

Some examples of non-fermentable sugars include erythritol, xylitol, and stevia. These sugars cannot be metabolized by yeast or bacteria, making them suitable for individuals who need to limit their sugar intake or follow a low-carbohydrate diet.

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