Priming Sugar?

Assumes carbonation of flat beer is done using a priming sugar.
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windrider
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Priming Sugar?

Post by windrider » 3 years ago

My first BIAB brew is nearly ready and I’m going to bottle this weekend. I have a question about priming sugar.

I’ve used a recipe with BIABacus for a strong English Bitter. I have a bottling bucket ready and going to bulk prime. I’m spot on with my OG / FG and it’s coming out at 5% ABV.

I want to aim for a 1.5 CO2 level for my 500ml bottles and the BIABacus is giving me a reading of 1.95oz of corn flower. Is there an alternative can I use( i.e. normal caster or brown sugar) without any adverse effects or should I stick to cornflower from a homebrew shop?

I have about 23 litres of beer but estimating about 21.3 litres to bottles.

Thanks,

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Mad_Scientist
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Post by Mad_Scientist » 3 years ago

I know corn sugar is the norm.

I don't bottle, so I have no further knowledge of any other kind of sugar to use. :dunno:

My best advice is to go with your homebrew shops product.

:peace:

MS

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mally
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Post by mally » 3 years ago

Windrider - Just a few points about your questions.

I have only ever bottled, and have done quite a few ESB's too, but I always tend to use table sugar. Corn sugar seems to be more popular outside of the UK so don't worry about having to try and get hold of corn sugar.
If you do use table sugar, you will have to convert the value of corn sugar (that BIABacus tells you to use) to table sugar as they have slightly different extraction values.
It's simple to do, just click on the "unit conversion" tab at the bottom of the BIABacus and scroll down towards the bottom right hand side. Under "priming sugars" just enter the corn sugar value you were given, and use the "table sugar" value (or any of the others listed if you want to use them).

The general consensus on priming sugars are that it adds such a small amount of fermentables that flavour contributions can largely be ignored.
1.5 vols seems a little low for my tastes, but everybody has their own preferences. Do you prefer your beers less gassy?

Finally, although the BIABacus will tell you how much sugar to add for priming. This whole area is at best a "ballpark" value regardless of where you get your priming information from. There are so many variables that it is difficult to predict accurately every time. Basically nobody knows what level of residual CO2 is present.
The best thing to do is get your own experience, as you will know better than anyone how it was handled, what temps the beer was fermented/conditioned at etc.
:luck:
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Post by goulaigan » 3 years ago

I have used both corn sugar and table sugar, and didnt really notice any difference in flavour or time it takes to carb up. I usually use the northern brewer priming calculator and it has never led me astray so far, and the recommendations on volumes per style seem to always get my carbonation about as fizzy as I like for the style. I think I've compared it to the Biabacus priming calculator on at least one occasion and it was pretty close too. Also when using table sugar I have always boiled it for 10 minutes as I read somewhere this helps breakdown the more complex sugar, whereas corn sugar I usually just boil for 3-5 mins or so to sanitize... Just talking from experience here without any science to back it up. I do use corn sugar mostly, only because it seems to be the norm. Also, it is best to go by weight when it comes to priming sugar and not volume...


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Post by alanem » 3 years ago

I usually just use the Carb Drops...1 for stubbs and 2 for tallies and have no troubles and its easy
I used to spill more than I drink these days!


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Post by windrider » 3 years ago

Thank you, answered all my questions :thumbs:

Still getting use to BIABacus so didn’t realise they have a converter for priming sugar :headhit: Going to use table sugar just because I have it in the cupboards and it saves buying a bag of corn sugar from the homebrew shop.

When I’ve done kit brews I’ve always just guessed the amount of sugar and primed per bottle (usually ½ TSP per 500ml bottle). I only put a figure in of 1.5 vols because reading online that’s what most people recommend for ESB. I don’t like an overly fizzy beer but I don’t like it flat either. Would I be better stepping it up to 2.0?

Never thought about boiling the sugar prior to adding. So will make sure I do that. Guessing you just use a cup of water and boil the sugar with that?

(Drilled a tap in my old fermenting bin to make a bottling bucket, waters leaking from the washer. Typical!)

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Post by mally » 3 years ago

windrider wrote:(Drilled a tap in my old fermenting bin to make a bottling bucket, waters leaking from the washer. Typical!)
Bad luck eh! :angry:

Don't change your CO2 vols based on my comments. I just wondered what your preference was.
Try 1.5 and if you don't like it adjust it next time.
The beauty of the hobby is you get to sample all your experiments :lol:

As for boiling the sugar and bulk priming. This is what I still do. It does offer insurance against anything being in there that you wouldn't want in your beer (especially if you use the sugar that's next to your tea & coffee) :argh: .
For me though, I like this method as I don't have to worry about dissolving it in beer, making sure it has been fully mixed without introducing oxygen etc.
Last edited by mally on 31 Jul 2014, 17:03, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by bundy » 3 years ago

windrider wrote:My first BIAB brew is nearly ready and I’m going to bottle this weekend. I have a question about priming sugar.

I want to aim for a 1.5 CO2 level for my 500ml bottles and the BIABacus is giving me a reading of 1.95oz of corn flower. Is there an alternative can I use( i.e. normal caster or brown sugar) without any adverse effects or should I stick to cornflower from a homebrew shop?

Thanks,
Hi Windrider,

Just to correct you firstly Its Corn Sugar (aka Dextrose) not "Corn Flower". ;) Corn Flour will make your Beer nice and thick but wont carbonate very well! :-)

Anyway to the difference between Corn Sugar (Dextrose) and Table Sugar.

When I first started out (back in the Kit days) I used table sugar to Bulk prime, then read a bit where people suggested you get a finer bubble and better head retention on the beer with Dextrose.

I switched to Dextrose and for me I did notice the difference. I found Dextrose indeed gave me a finer Bubble and better head retention than plain white sugar. They both carbonated fine, but I noticed the difference in those 2 areas compared to beers I had carbonated with white Sugar.

Certainly not an exhaustive test (and some may say rubbish) but being Dextrose isn't that expensive I have stuck with it ever since.

PS: If you don't currently do it look into "Bulk priming" your beer. It's a lot easier than tipping a measure of sugar into each of your bottles and less prone to errors like over-priming or under-priming a bottle, as you mix all the beer into your Sugar at once.
Last edited by bundy on 01 Aug 2014, 10:19, edited 1 time in total.

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