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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > Priming method for big beers or long aged beers
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Old 12-19-2009, 07:02 PM   #1
Matt Up North
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Default Priming method for big beers or long aged beers

I have a pretty simple method for priming beers that are high in alcohol or that have been hanging around in the carboy long enough that the yeast has gone dormant or just dropped completely. It isn't anything new that I know of, but people seem to be asking the same questions over and over and over, so if this helps them then cool. There are other methods out there, but they don't seem to get consistent results like this does. This uses a "high gravity" starter to acclimatize the yeast to the condition of the high abv beer. The old pinch of dry yeast to each bottle just doesn't seem to work for me, so I did this and haven't had problems yet.

Dependant on style, you will have to figure out the amount of priming sugar that you need. For this let's just use a nice and easy example of a 5 gallon batch that you are using the typical 3/4cup (6oz) of sugar.

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What you need:

6oz Sugar weighed out
1/2 cup of water
Pyrex container (microwavabvle) or a pot (for the stove)

3.25 oz DME (93 grams technically)
500ml Water
1 Packet Champagne Wine Yeast (11g or 14g)
Starter jar/flask/bottle

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Day one:

Take the DME and 500ml of water and bring to a boil, cool and put into your starter vessel. Add the wine yeast. This should be a 1.070 solution (roughly). Let ferment until all sugar is used up, about 2 days depending on setup. I use a stirplate and it takes about that much time depending on the time of year. Just go until it is stopped fermenting. The yeast won't fall out of suspension as quickly.

Day two or three:

When the starter is finished, put the 6oz of sugar and 1/2 cup of water into your heating container and heat till dissolved. I use the Pyrex in the microwave and go a minute on high, then stir, then a minute on high, then stir...keep going till the syrup is clear all the way with no more granules, about 3-5min. If using the pot and stovetop method, you stir as it heats and once clear, you turn off the burner. We aren't trying to make candy, just dissolve sugar.

Put the chilled syrup into your bottling bucket and rack beer on top. Then add the liquid part of the starter. You can use the yeast that has fallen to the bottom as well, but as mentioned before, I use a stirplate and the yeast is really in suspension. Don't chill this starter, you want it the same temp as the beer. Be sure the yeast it completely incorporated into the beer and bottle away. Once finished, the wine yeast can carbonate all the way at 40*f, but if you can keep it mid sixties to seventies you will get a quicker carbonation. I have a 10% beer that took 2.5vols carbonation in two weeks just fine this way. I plan on using this on my barleywine that should be bottled within a month or so.

Good luck!

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Old 12-24-2009, 09:34 PM   #2
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Thanks man! A good read since I haven't gotten to any big beers yet.

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Old 12-31-2009, 07:59 PM   #3
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I am just about to use this on my cider to get a lot of carbonation and have a really sparkling cider. Should be tasty in about a week or so I will do this up.

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