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Old 01-14-2013, 03:49 AM   #1
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Default Unexpected priming screwup! Sugar hardened in pail.

Today I bottled my first batch (5 gallon extract Fat Tire clone).

I made a 'simple syrup' by boiling water with my dextrose priming sugar in a small saucepan. I boiled it for a while, and the sugar was obviously 100% dissolved in the water. I think the total volume was ~ 1 cup. I poured 3/4 of the priming solution into the empty bottling bucket, then I siphoned my beer on top of it.

After siphoning about 1/2 the beer I went to pour in the 2nd half of my priming solution, but it had hardened up into gooey sugar candy ! I went to my stove and re-boiled this portion of the priming solution, then added it to the beer.

After siphoning all the beer into the pail I did some stirring with my big plastic paddle. To my horror I could feel the original priming sugar I had poured into the pail stuck to the bottom of the pail. I scraped it with the paddle and pulled up a bunch of clear gooey runny sugar candy .

I used the paddle to scoop up all the sugar from the bottom of the pail and get it back into my saucepan (being careful to stir slowly and not aerate the beer). I went back to the stove, added more water than I used the first time, and re-boiled it.

Originally I had only used 4 oz of priming sugar but in the re-boil I added another 1oz in case I had lost some sugar that remained stuck to the pail.

After boiling again I added this solution to the beer, stirring well (while trying not to aerate).

When I finished bottling I couldn't see any sugar stuck in the pail .

I have no idea how this beer is going to turn out now! Over-carbonated, under-carbonated, bottle bombs galore?! It's anyone's guess. FML

Lesson learned: when you dissolve / boil your priming sugar be sure to use a couple cups of water; not just the minimum to dissolve all your sugar. Also, I no longer like the idea of dumping the priming solution in the empty pail.

My wife suggested adding beer to the hot priming solution slowly (which brings the priming solution up to beer temp) then adding that to the beer in the pail. This is better than pouring warm priming solution into cool beer which could cause it to harden when it hits the beer.

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Old 01-14-2013, 03:55 AM   #2
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How you want to handle priming sugar is boil the priming sugar, all of it then cool it rapidly (in the fridge works) until it's ideally around 80 degrees or so. Then dump all of it into the bottling bucket and rack the beer into it, the swirling action of the siphon will mix it and at room temp it won't harden or anything.

Hot priming sugar can kill yeast, you don't want dead yeast or you won't get carbonated beer.
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:57 AM   #3
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I think you'll be okay. Next time use a pint of water and simmer for a couple minutes. Cool the solution, add it to the bottling bucket then siphon the beer onto the sugar. A few good swirls with your paddle and you'll have 2 cases of perfectly carbonated bottles.
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