Molasses as a primer

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bobovski

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Hey everyone! In a few days I'll be bottling my first batch and I have questions about priming the beer. Has anyone used molasses for this, and what were your results? Papazian mentions using molasses as a primer in his book, 1 cup per every 5 gallons, and I'm interested in experience with three things:

1. Carbonation - did the bottles carbonate as well as they would have with corn sugar or DME?

2. Flavor - my first batch is a bit dry and due to following the LME provided recipe and using too much corn sugar (still very drinkable, not cidery to my taste...just lacks body). Will adding molasses as a primer dry the beer out more? Will it impart a hint of flavor even though it wasn't present during initial fermentation?

3. Can/should I just use any old molasses that I find sitting on the grocery store shelves?

Thanks! :mug:
 

rollinred

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I am still a very new guy by all means, but my instinct is telling me that you should just prime this batch with the corn sugar that you used in the wort. Molasses might work but because the yeast was conditioned to consume the corn sugar, I think you will get much better carbonation and what not with the corn sugar.

But the more experienced members should be able to give much better advise than I will.
 

DeathBrewer

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never done it...i found this:
http://hbd.org/brewery/library/YPrimerMH.html
Some report that molasses produces a very unpleasant overpowering taste that only moderates after many months. You may need to experiment.
how many batches have you done? if you are just starting out, i would stick with corn sugar until you have your other methods down.

EDIT: and there shouldn't be any corn sugar in your wort until you bottle. too much will impart a cidery taste
 
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rollinred said:
I am still a very new guy by all means, but my instinct is telling me that you should just prime this batch with the corn sugar that you used in the wort. Molasses might work but because the yeast was conditioned to consume the corn sugar, I think you will get much better carbonation and what not with the corn sugar.
I think you have the correct answer, but you got there via the wrong route. Yeast is conditioned to eat sugar - nearly any sugar.

Simpler sugars are more easily processed by yeast, so they tend to ferment a bit faster. Maltose, dextrose, and sucrose are the most common sources of fermentables. Some sugars are just too complex for yeast to digest - see maltodextrin and lactose.

Molasses is likely made up of mostly of sucrose, so it could make a decent priming sugar. However, it will impart little to no flavor since the amount will be so little. Depending on the brand of molasses, it may contain sulphur compounds (yuck) or preservatives (bad). Molasses will probably also contain some amount of unfermentable content, again, depending on the brand. As such, there are a lot of unknowns, making molasses a rather poor candidate for priming beer.

Corn sugar is completely fermentable, and there is a TON of info available concerning the correct amount to use. The amount of corn sugar used in priming will not significantly contribute to off flavors, so there's nothing to worry about.

In short, stick with the tried and true, and just use corn sugar. I think you'll be happier in the end.
 
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bobovski

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Thanks for all the quick answers everyone. I'll stick with corn sugar for now, no longer in the wort as per DeathBrewer (My second batch is fermenting as I type this and has no added corn sugar).
 

david_42

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A cup of molasses will give a very strong flavor to your brew. I used 12 ounces of dark in an alt and molasses was the dominate flavor for months. It's ok in a porter, brown or alt, but a bad idea in most styles.
 
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