how does priming work? isn't yeast dead? What about extracts?

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jigidyjim

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I just bottled my 3rd brew and realized that I don't really understand what is happening when I put in priming sugar.

I mean, I get that the yeast eats the sugar and lets of c02, which the bottle cap keeps from escaping so the co2 gets trapped in the beer.

But shouldn't the yeast be dead by this point? If not, when does yeast die.

Also, In this 3rd brew I added a hazelnut extract when priming. I'm assuming the extract has sugar in it (though maybe it doesn't). But the recipe didn't say anything about using less priming sugar than normal. Is it possible things will over-carbonate because of the extract?

Thanks!
 

SumnerH

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Yeast is not dead at this point.

Some of it is almost always alive when you drink it; it can survive in dormant state for quite a while (people culture up the yeast out of many commercial beers to use in brewing similar styles; this'll work with anything from Sierra Nevada ESB to many unusual Belgian beers), though something like Bud which is pasteurized won't have live yeast.

Yes, you could over-carb because of the extract. To play it safe, either figure out how much sugar is in it and adjust the priming accordingly, or add the extract long enough ahead of time that it ferments out in the secondary.
 

Yooper

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I just bottled my 3rd brew and realized that I don't really understand what is happening when I put in priming sugar.

I mean, I get that the yeast eats the sugar and lets of c02, which the bottle cap keeps from escaping so the co2 gets trapped in the beer.

But shouldn't the yeast be dead by this point? If not, when does yeast die.

Also, In this 3rd brew I added a hazelnut extract when priming. I'm assuming the extract has sugar in it (though maybe it doesn't). But the recipe didn't say anything about using less priming sugar than normal. Is it possible things will over-carbonate because of the extract?

Thanks!
The yeast aren't dead- if being freeze-dried and packaged and kept in your fridge doesn't harm them, being in beer certainly doesn't! They are tough little buggers. Once your beer carbs up and there are no more priming sugars to eat, they once again becomel dormant and will fall to the bottom of your bottles. They aren't dead- just sleeping. You can reculture yeast from commerical beers that are bottle conditioned, by pouring the dregs into some fresh wort.

I'm not familiar with the extract you mentioned. I would bet it doesn't have sugar in it, just the flavoring and maybe something like splenda but I'm not sure. What extract brand did you use?
 

The Pol

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You know how long that yeast packet of your has been around? Yeast goes dormant... it is dormant when you buy it, and it is dormant in your beer.

When you prime, you give it food, it wakes up, scratches its little yeastie nuts and eats again. Once that is over, it goes dormant, again.

Yeast die, but for all intents and purposes, it is dormant.

The hazelnut extract may not have any sugars, and if it does, they may not be fermentable.
 

llazy_llama

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There's no science behind it. Every time you brew, the magical beer faries come down and sprinkle their magical beer dust (we call it Nottingham) to carbonate everything. ;)

Some of the yeast are dead, some are resting in suspension throughout the beer. All of the yeast won't die unless you pasturize the beer, or heat it up to ~150 degrees for 15 minutes or so. Even if you froze the beer, you'd only be losing about 10% of the viable yeast.

Sorry, but I can't answer your second question. Hopefully someone with some experience in flavoring extracts can chime in here.

Edited: 3 people beat me to the punch. That's what I get for watching a movie while I lurk. :D
 

newbeerpig

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You are right and wrong with the yeast, some are dead by now but others are dormant and just waiting for more sugar so they can get back to work. As for the extract you do need to be careful about sugar, most extracts for brewing are alcohol based and don't contain a significant amount of sugar but some extracts have sugar and it is possible to over prime if you don't take that into account.
 
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jigidyjim

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I'm not familiar with the extract you mentioned. I would bet it doesn't have sugar in it, just the flavoring and maybe something like splenda but I'm not sure. What extract brand did you use?
I'm not exactly sure, it came in a Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar kit from homebrewers.com:
Rogue Hazelnut Brown Beer Kit

Maybe it is this one:
Hazelnut Natural Flavoring - 2 ounces

I guess I just assumed it had sugar in it, since extract is in general sweet, but it makes sense that not all sugars are fermentable, especially since a lot of them of already been fermented, right?
 
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