Priming bottles with wort vs sugar

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billtzk

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I've always bottled my beer after priming with sugar. Mix about 3/4 cup brewer's sugar in a small amount of water, bring to a boil for five minutes, then cool and add to my bottling bucket, siphon the beer on top, then bottle.

How does using wort to prime with differ from using sugar? That is, what are the differences in effect, and what amount do you use and what process should you follow? Also, do you brew a small batch of wort especially for priming, or just save some wort from your boil before you ferment? If making a special batch for priming, what OG do you shoot for?
 

Yooper

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I've never done "krausening" before, but there is an explantion here: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=49953 (under "bottling"). I have primed with DME and water, though, just like with priming sugar. 1 1/4 cups DME boiled in 2 cups water, cooled and then added to the bottling bucket just like the priming solution. Truthfully, I noticed no difference at all between the corn sugar priming and the DME priming, but it does allow you to stick with then Reinhotsgebot!
 
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billtzk

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If there's no difference in flavor or other qualities, I can't see why anyone would bother priming with wort. Sugar is much easier to use. If there is no benefit to avoiding sugar and using wort to prime with, then why pay tribute to a repealed trade protection law that was created to stop brewers from driving up the cost of wheat and rye in competition with bakers?

Like Voltaire said, "It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere."
 

menschmaschine

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Yooper's right. Unless you're trying to go by the Reinheitsgebot, it's not really worth it. I've done it several times and have since stopped and gone back to good old dextrose. However, there are some theoretical differences to be aware of...

Dextrose has (virtually) nothing in it but fermentable sugar (and an easily fermented monosaccharide at that). Saved wort has the same OG and the same IBUs. It also has the same proteins and dextrins as your beer and the same flavor profile potential as your beer. Using wort will keep (to the n-th degree) the exact flavor integrity of the beer that was intended. It may also (albeit minuscule) make the carbonation (bubbles) a bit finer and last longer due to the added proteins and dextrins.

I say all this is theoretical because most of these things won't be noticable to the homebrewer. However, in a competition setting, you never know... it could mean the difference between 2nd and 1st place.

If you ever do decide to prime with wort, keep in mind if it's a lager, it needs to carbonate at about the same temp as primary fermentation temp, which is usually in the low 50s. This is because lager yeast will produce potentially noticable off-flavors (esters, etc.) when fermented above the normal range... even for bottle carbonation.
 
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