Add sugar or not?

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Well-Known Member
Feb 17, 2009
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Hi all,

Trying to put together a decent recipe for my first extract brew.

I can only do a 3 gallon boil so will have to top it up to 5 gallons unfortunately.

Stupidly I listened to the person in the homebrew shop who said that I would only need 1 tin of extract for a 5 gallon brew but I hadn't intended to use any sugar in this batch.

should I:
a) Just use 1 tin of extract and settle for weaker (2%ABV) brew?
b) Wait until next week and buy another tin of extract (4.5%ABV)
C) Add 1kg (2.2lb) of sugar to bring it up to 4.4%ABV?
D) Add a tin of dark malt extract - I originally wanted a pale ale...

At the moment, I'm thinking of probably adding the sugar - will this make my brew taste icky? (I LOVE a sweet pale ale)

Using either the water or the sugar is going to end you up with some watery beer. Think Bud Light.

Patience is probably the #1 most important skill to have in this hobby of ours. Wait for good beer, or rush for crap beer. Your call.
Thanks for the advice! I've given it a bit more thought and have decided to go with a smaller first batch; I'll now be doing a 15 litre (just over 3 gallons) batch.

I'm going for a sweet, pale ale around 4%ABV
Here's my recipe:

1.5KG (3.3LB) Cooper's Light Liquid Malt Extract EBC:5.3
500gm (1.1LB) sugar
40gm (1.4 ounces) Fuggles hops for 60 minutes
10gm (0.35 ounces) British Goldings Hops for last 15 mins
10gm (0.35 ounces) Fuggles hops for last 5 mins
0.5tsp irish moss last 15 minutes
1 packet Munton's Gervin English Ale Yeast

Beersmith says:
OG: 1.043
FG: 1.010
Colour: 5.6EBC (VERY Pale, almost blonde)
ABV: 4.29%
IBUs: 26.3

1 week in primary
Minimum of 2 weeks in Cornelius Keg Kegerator

Could you guys critique my recipe and let me know if I'm going wrong with something?
Looks ok, you've got the sugar down to about 1/4 of the mix.

I'd plan on 3 weeks in the fermenter, since you are kegging.
Ok quick change to that recipe - my girlfriend's agreed to drive me to my nslhbs (not-so-local homebrew shop) to buy another tin of the pale extract! (my car's off the road due to the ministry of transport I'm going to use two thirds of the second tin in place of the extra sugar.

David thanks for the advice; does beer not age/mature as well in a keg then? I was hoping that I could age it in the keg and then start a new batch to age in the primary?

H (been on somewhat of a pubcrawl tonight!)
Give it longer than one week in the primary, I think the statement was meant more like "since you're going right to the keg instead of a secondary, you should wait three weeks for fermentation to be done in the primary." Nothing to do with kegs or aging, just a statement that 7 days is probably not enough time if you're going to be going right to the carbonating/serving vessel afterward (whether bottles or kegs).