How Much Priming Sugar?

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Dean R

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I just started a 2 gallon batch of Octoberfest Lager. Ya, I know it's only April. Lol. I'd like to batch prime this, as I think the carbonation process would be more consistent per bottle. I've done this once before, but it was a long time ago and I don't remember how much sugar I used. Here's my normal process.

After the fermentation process is complete, I transfer the wort into a clean, sanitized fermenter removing to trub. Then add the priming sugar to this fermenter, stir until mixed and bottle to begin the carbonation process. Is this the proper way to batch prime?

I've read that some people batch prime by adding sugar to a small amount of warm water first. Then add this dissolved solution to the wort. But wouldn't that dilute the wort slightly? I also don't know exactly how many bottles I'll use. Normally 12-13 depending on how full I fill them.

Is there a standard amount of sugar to add per volume of wort? My batch is 2 gallons kept at about 70 Degrees F.

Thank you,
~ Dean ~
 

Walking_Target

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The way I do small batch priming for bottle conditioning is to add the sugar to a measuring cup and a small amount of boiling water to dissolve, then I cover it until it's cool enough to add to my bottling vessel. Then I transfer from the fermenter into the bottling bucket - this way the sugar gets evenly mixed in so each bottle has the same carbonation.


As far as carbonation level, there is no one standard answer, I suggest using a priming sugar calculator like this one: Beer Priming Sugar Calculator | Brewer's Friend

For something like a lager, i'd go with around 2.3 volumes of CO2. I'd also suggest making sure your fermentation is done too by getting two hydrometer/refractometer reading a few days apart at an expected finishing gravity, that way you don't make unexpected bottle bombs.

Happy brewing!
 

hotbeer

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Pretty much what was already said.

With the ales and IPA's I do, I've been keeping them on the higher side of the optimal temp range for the yeast I'm using for the 2 week period after bottling.

No idea what will be more correct for lagers and lager yeast.

70°F ferment temp for lager?
 

balrog

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Pretty much what was already said.

With the ales and IPA's I do, I've been keeping them on the higher side of the optimal temp range for the yeast I'm using for the 2 week period after bottling.

No idea what will be more correct for lagers and lager yeast.

70°F ferment temp for lager?
Yes, keep the 70f for a couple weeks after bottling to carb. No diff whether lager or ale, for priming.
 
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Dean R

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The way I do small batch priming for bottle conditioning is to add the sugar to a measuring cup and a small amount of boiling water to dissolve, then I cover it until it's cool enough to add to my bottling vessel. Then I transfer from the fermenter into the bottling bucket - this way the sugar gets evenly mixed in so each bottle has the same carbonation.


As far as carbonation level, there is no one standard answer, I suggest using a priming sugar calculator like this one: Beer Priming Sugar Calculator | Brewer's Friend

For something like a lager, i'd go with around 2.3 volumes of CO2. I'd also suggest making sure your fermentation is done too by getting two hydrometer/refractometer reading a few days apart at an expected finishing gravity, that way you don't make unexpected bottle bombs.

Happy brewing!
Thank you Walking_Target,

The calculator suggests 1.6oz. of table sugar for American Ales & Lagers ~ 2.2 - 2.7. Any particular reason why you would suggest the lower end of CO2 as opposed to the higher? My recipe calls for 12-14 days of fermentation. I always go with 14. This is a Mr. Beer recipe. So it comes with the LME already prepared and the yeast packet.

I bought a 3 scale Proof and Tralles hygrometer a while back. But I don't think it's the right one for brewing beer. And the wort has already been pitched. When do I need to get the readings?

Thank you
 
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Dean R

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Pretty much what was already said.

With the ales and IPA's I do, I've been keeping them on the higher side of the optimal temp range for the yeast I'm using for the 2 week period after bottling.

No idea what will be more correct for lagers and lager yeast.

70°F ferment temp for lager?
Yes,

About 68-70 degrees where the fermenting takes place.
 

hotbeer

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Yes,

About 68-70 degrees where the fermenting takes place.
I thought most of the initial fermentation of lagers was supposed to be at 60°F or below.

But I've never really looked into it closely. I've been happy with ales that can be fermented at the higher ambient temps I have here in the south.
 

Walking_Target

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Thank you Walking_Target,

The calculator suggests 1.6oz. of table sugar for American Ales & Lagers ~ 2.2 - 2.7. Any particular reason why you would suggest the lower end of CO2 as opposed to the higher? My recipe calls for 12-14 days of fermentation. I always go with 14. This is a Mr. Beer recipe. So it comes with the LME already prepared and the yeast packet.

I bought a 3 scale Proof and Tralles hygrometer a while back. But I don't think it's the right one for brewing beer. And the wort has already been pitched. When do I need to get the readings?

Thank you

This one's easy: beer kit recipes, especially those marketed to new brewers are typically extract kits. Extract kits have harder to ferment sugars and I've found that sometimes they still push a bit higher in the bottle. So by going for the low end you give yourself a better margin of error.

As far as your hydrometer, yeah a tralle hydrometer is used in distilling. You want a Brix /specific gravity hydrometer. Or skip the hydrometer all together and get a cheap Brix refractometer. A few bucks more, but it's more reliable and convenient.
 
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Dean R

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I thought most of the initial fermentation of lagers was supposed to be at 60°F or below.

But I've never really looked into it closely. I've been happy with ales that can be fermented at the higher ambient temps I have here in the south.
Ya. The Mr. Beer recipe for this batch calls for temps between 68 and 78 degrees. With the ideal temps at 70 to 72. Seems high to me too. But I keep the fermenter in a room that stays much closer to 68.
 

TwistedGray

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Do it the easy way...

 
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Dean R

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This one's easy: beer kit recipes, especially those marketed to new brewers are typically extract kits. Extract kits have harder to ferment sugars and I've found that sometimes they still push a bit higher in the bottle. So by going for the low end you give yourself a better margin of error.

As far as your hydrometer, yeah a tralle hydrometer is used in distilling. You want a Brix /specific gravity hydrometer. Or skip the hydrometer all together and get a cheap Brix refractometer. A few bucks more, but it's more reliable and convenient.

Do it the easy way...

I'm sorry, Twisted. I don't agree that individually measuring out each bottles sugar content is easier than priming the entire batch in a single operation. I do appreciate the link though, of whom you are the author. :)
I've done both the household sugar and the fizz drops. Each are an extra step that takes time and is not as consistent as having the entire batch with the same concentration of sugar throughout. Cane sugar can be measured incorrectly and fizz drops are "expensive and somewhat unreliable." Your words, not mine.
All the advantages listed in your post I already have with the materials on hand. So only the disadvantages remain. Consistency is my main concern here.
I appreciate your advice. But I've done it all three ways. Batch priming has always been quicker and every bottle carbonates the same. Never had a dud or a bottle bomb. At least that has been my experience. My only question here is how much sugar to use for a two gallon batch and what is the preferred method to batch prime.
 

dmtaylor

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2 tablespoons per gallon.

So, assuming you actually have something close to 2 gallons (1.8-2.2 is close enough), then you need 4 tablespoons, which is 1/4 cup. If you are not sure exactly what the volume is that you will be bottling, find out or try to come up with the best estimate you can. Then use... 2 tablespoons per gallon.

The end.
 
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Dean R

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2 tablespoons per gallon.

So, assuming you actually have something close to 2 gallons (1.8-2.2 is close enough), then you need 4 tablespoons, which is 1/4 cup. If you are not sure exactly what the volume is that you will be bottling, find out or try to come up with the best estimate you can. Then use... 2 tablespoons per gallon.

The end.

THANK YOU! This is exactly what I was looking for. And yes, my batch is exactly two gallons as per the Mr. Beer instructions. I had a few other questions if you don't mind.

Is it possable ~ or recommended ~ to increase the ABV by adding more sugar during carbonation? Or would this be detrimental?

About the Booster Packs that came with my kit. It is basically sugar you're adding during the fermentation process, correct? Why is this necessary in some beer kits but not others? Can Booster Packs be added to ANY beer kit?

And lastly, is there anything I can do with the extra yeast packets I have from kits that didn't use them?

Thank you for your help.

~ Dean R ~
 

hotbeer

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And lastly, is there anything I can do with the extra yeast packets I have from kits that didn't use them?
I used them in pizza dough that I make from scratch. They added a little different texture, crispness and maybe even flavor than the bread yeast I normally use.

Didn't seem to get as much rise out of the one I used for a loaf of bread compared to the same amount of bread yeast.

Mine were ale yeasts. If yours are lager yeast, I've no idea.
 

kartracer2

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Is it possable ~ or recommended ~ to increase the ABV by adding more sugar during carbonation?
I would suggest against that. If you wanted a higher ABV it should be done during the actual fermentation. Adding a large amount of fermentables at bottling may (will?) cause bottle bombs at worst and over carbonation (excessive foaming) at best. Both a waste of beer.
Cheers, :mug:
Joel B
 

Cammanron

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THANK YOU! This is exactly what I was looking for. And yes, my batch is exactly two gallons as per the Mr. Beer instructions. I had a few other questions if you don't mind.

Is it possable ~ or recommended ~ to increase the ABV by adding more sugar during carbonation? Or would this be detrimental?

About the Booster Packs that came with my kit. It is basically sugar you're adding during the fermentation process, correct? Why is this necessary in some beer kits but not others? Can Booster Packs be added to ANY beer kit?

And lastly, is there anything I can do with the extra yeast packets I have from kits that didn't use them?

Thank you for your help.

~ Dean R ~
I started with the Mr Beer kits and they were real good to get your feet wet, but not so good if you wanted to go off script.
If you want more ABV, then you need to add more fermentables during the original mash process. (Mixing for Mr Beer). . Like the booster packs, or dextrose, or liquid/dry malt extract... Even sugar and honey or maple sugar can be used, but some of those adjuncts are pricey with no real flavour advantage.
I started with dry hopping in the LBK fermenters.... Then stepped up to steeping malts then quickly went to BIAB. (Boil In A Bag) all grain... it was a pretty fast progression ...
I still use the Mr Beer kegs to ferment since I make small batches, and they are perfect for my needs.
 

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TwistedGray

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To build off the above, look into the BIAB method. Your local homebrew shop will have recipes for you, and you can start all-grain pretty easily. I imagine with exception of the bag ($15-30iah), in terms of equipment, you have everything already.
 
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Dean R

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I started with the Mr Beer kits and they were real good to get your feet wet, but not so good if you wanted to go off script.
If you want more ABV, then you need to add more fermentables during the original mash process. (Mixing for Mr Beer). . Like the booster packs, or dextrose, or liquid/dry malt extract... Even sugar and honey or maple sugar can be used, but some of those adjuncts are pricey with no real flavour advantage.
I started with dry hopping in the LBK fermenters.... Then stepped up to steeping malts then quickly went to BIAB. (Boil In A Bag) all grain... it was a pretty fast progression ...
I still use the Mr Beer kegs to ferment since I make small batches, and they are perfect for my needs.
Funny you should mention that. This is an Octoberfest Lager kit. Which came with two booster packs. I was a little hesitant to use them. But that's what the instructions called for. So I guess it will work out. I have one more booster from a previous recipe. I guess I can use that for the next batch.

I still have my LBJ's from the Mr. Beer kit. But I use them now for batch priming and not the actual fermenting. For that, I like the keg I got from a BrewDemon kit I was gifted for making Hacked Root Beer. The cone shape at the bottom gathers all the trub and makes it really easy to bottle without the sediment. BTW, if you get the chance to brew Hacked Root Beer.... DO IT! Best root beer you'll ever have!
 

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