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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > Mixing in the priming sugar properly
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Old 05-20-2011, 03:32 PM   #1
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Default Mixing in the priming sugar properly

After having a 2 month course in brewing at our local brew store I'm a little puzzled as to why some bottles carb up ok and some don't. We had a number of volunteers at each class that basically took over all the racking and really only allowed us to help with filling and capping. I was and still am very appreciative of all their help and have since started being a helper myself for the new classes coming up. Now that I can focus on learning the racking process itself it appears we have had several different methods.

1. As soon as the beer is being transferred to the bottling bucket a small whirlpool develops. Start adding the priming sugar at this time so it slowly mixes in. (I think this would be the method that works for most people)

2. Fill the bottling bucket with beer and pour the priming sugar on top in a circular motion. (How in the world would anyone think this would mix properly?) This is what I observed last night.

3. I think my "Primo Stir Plate" in the DYI section could be used on super slow speed to mix this even better. Once the whirlpool starts and there is maybe a gallon in the bottling bucket I would turn on the stir plate to maybe 100 or 200 rpm and start slowly adding priming sugar. Making sure no vortex develops which would add air to the mix.

So what do the pro's here do?

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Old 05-20-2011, 03:39 PM   #2
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First, this is already being discussed this week here.

And I'll just repeat what I wrote there,

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...most folks fail to realize is that most of those supposed "uneven carbonation" issue threads when you follow up like I do, since I probably have answered a few more carbonation questions than all of you combined, is that MOST of those folks who are complaining about uneven carbonation are opening their beer prior to the 3-6 weeks that we recommend on here, and upon followup, after we tell them to wait a few more weeks, most of them come back and say ALL the remaining bottles are perfectly fine.

It's an idiotic notion not to believe that 2 mere cups of liquid are not going to be dilluted by the mere action of the UPWARD swirling of the beer as it is racked on top of it, and rises in the bottling bucket.

Look up the phrase under my name on here, it's there for a reason.....Just because you have a problem and think the cause of it is one thing, and you've totally ignored the observable truth, in this case, that it usually takes 3-6 weeks OR MORE for beer to carb up, and you've opened it before that, doesn't mean that you're right.

You'll find that most folks who have "inconsistant" carbonation when we pursue it further it turns out they're opening their bottles too soon. It's quite easy to blame or assume it's because of something, rather than the truth.

I personally believe the whole "priming sugar didn't get mixed" argument is BS, if you put the sugar solution in the bottom of the bucket and racked your beer, then it couldn't help but be mixed. You're putting 2 tiny cups of liguid into a vessel and dumping 5 gallons into it and the beer is rising as it fills the bucket...believe me, it is mixing.

Most of the time when a beer is acting weired, it's just that it's not fully carbed yet. And if you're below 70, or were below 70 for any period of time during the 3weeks, then the beer hasn't fully carbed yet.

Inconsistant carbonation, simply means that they are not ready yet. If you had opened them a week later, or even two, you never would have noticed. Each one is it's own little microcosm, and although generally the should come up at the same time, it's not an automatic switch, and they all pop on.

A tiny difference in temps between bottles in storage can affect the yeasties, speed them up or slow them down. Like if you store them in a closet against a warm wall, the beers closest to the heat source may be a tad warmer than those further way, so thy may carb/condition at slightly different rates. I usually store a batch in 2 seperate locations in my loft 1 case in my bedroom which is a little warmer, and the other in the closet in the lving room, which being in a larger space is a tad cooler, at least according to the thermostat next to that closet. It can be 5-10 degrees warmer in my bedroom. So I usually start with that case at three weeks. Giving the other half a little more time.

Bottom line, it's not that the sugar's not mixed, it's just that they all haven't come up to full carb yet....Three weeks is not the magic number for finality, it's the minimum time it takes....

How many of you read every thread, and bother to look up the results of threads you've answered in the Past? I PURPOSEFULLY remained subscribed to all the treads I answered questions in. So whether it's the next day or a thread I posted in 4 years ago, if it pops up in my user's CP I follow up.

And guys, just like "infection" threads turn out to be non-issues, a high number of these supposed "inconsistant" carbonation threads turn out to end the same way with the rest of the bottles perfectly carbed.

Just because you open a bottle too soon and it's not carbed while another bottle you grabbed IS carbed, doesn't mean there's something wrong....

I have never stirred my priming sugar in a batch of beer, and I have never had a beer, that when I waited sufficiently long enough, has not been CONSISTANTLY carbed from bottle to bottle. I've had plenty that the first one hasn't been carbed, but then I don't go an open any more beers right away I usually give it another week and try again. But once that first beer is carbed, and it's been 3-6 weeks since I've bottled, I've never had the rest of them NOT perfectly carbed.

But hey, if stirring keeps you warm at night....have at it...but if you open your bottles too soon (and too soon can be 6 months for some beers) and they still aren't carbed up- then what are you going to blame?
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Old 05-20-2011, 03:42 PM   #3
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And a stir plate even at the lowest setting will run the risk of oxydizing your beer. Why do you think we use a stirplate? To add oxygen while the yeast is consuming the sugar...but [i]we're not concerned at all with whether we oxydize the starter liquid or not. It's a tiny amount AND most of the time we decant it off anyway.

Just start the siphon flowing into your bucket, add the solution and let it mix naturally...or if it makes you sleep at night, stir it....gently!

BUT more importantly, the 3 weeks at 70 degrees, that we recommend is the minimum time it takes for average gravity beers to carbonate and condition. Higher grav beers take longer.

Stouts and porters have taken me between 6 and 8 weeks to carb up..I have a 1.090 Belgian strong that took three months to carb up.

Temp and gravity are the two factors that contribute to the time it takes to carb beer. But if a beer's not ready yet, or seems low carbed, and you added the right amount of sugar to it, then it's not stalled, it's just not time yet.

Everything you need to know about carbing and conditioning, can be found here Of Patience and Bottle Conditioning. With emphasis on the word, "patience."

If a beer isn't carbed by "x number of weeks" you just have to give them more time. If you added your sugar, then the beer will carb up eventually, it's really a foolroof process. All beers will carb up eventually. A lot of new brewers think they have to "troubleshoot" a bottling issue, when there really is none, the beer knows how to carb itself. In fact if you run beersmiths carbing calculator, some lower grav beers don't even require additional sugar to reach their minimum level of carbonation. Just time.

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Old 05-20-2011, 04:19 PM   #4
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When I transfer the wort to the bottling bucket, I gently pour in the corn sugar mixture. After it's all transferred, I use my sanitized bottling wand to give it a good flat whirlpool. By flat I mean, just a swirl, no air coming in. Takes all of 15 seconds to get the wort moving.

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Old 05-20-2011, 06:16 PM   #5
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What I read in the original post says nothing about corn sugar being dissolved into some water first, then added to the bottling bucket and the beer racked onto it.

That's the way you do it. boil a cup of water, add the priming sugar so its dissolved. then add this sugar syrup to the bucket, rack on top (no need to stir at all), then fill the bottles.

If you put 4.5oz of sugar in the bottom and just rack without stirring, yeah you can end up not even getting all the priming sugar dissolved.

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Old 05-20-2011, 07:08 PM   #6
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I did mean that the corn sugar is dissolved in hot water. And Thanks Revy for pointing out that it is already being discussed in another section of the forum. Sometimes the title just doesn't really reflect what the main subject is but I missed it. And I have read the Patients thread and understand it. Ruling out the use of my type of stir plate however may be a little overboard since you do not know it has a soft start motor and is completely controllable from zero rpm all the way up thru it's range. The point I'm trying to understand is how a person would even think pouring the Priming solution into (on top of)the beer is going to mix it. I can see how getting the whirlpool started or adding the Priming solution to the bucket first would be the normal way most people would do it.

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Old 05-20-2011, 07:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigbeavk View Post
The point I'm trying to understand is how a person would even think pouring the Priming solution into (on top of)the beer is going to mix it.
I've never SEEN that "instruction (and I use the term loosely)" in any book, article or online discussion about brewing. Everything I've ever seen advocates putting the solution in the bottom of the bucket and racking on top. You're right that won't integrate the solution and the beer, and that's why you won't find any reliable instructions talking about it. It's so illogical to me that anyone would think that works that I've never even entertained they idea that folks do it.
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