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Bubi

Priming Alternatives

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I'm getting ready to bottle my second brew. It's Vienna Lager. My first brew was West Coast Pale. It was ok, but pretty bubbly. Seemed over carbonated. I did some research and found opinions that table sugar causes a soda pop taste. That described my beer to a "T".

So my question is what can I use besides white table sugar and how much to use? I'm bottling with the standard Pet bottles that come with the kit.

Bubi

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I personally find MrB's recommended priming amounts way too high. Using 2.5 tsp per 1 liter bottle causes overcarbonation for most beer styles. It's really not the sucrose that gives it the "soda" feel, but the amount of CO2 produced. I've been using table sugar (sucrose) almost exclusively, but in smaller amounts. 2 tsp is just about perfect for a 1L PET.

When I bottle-prime, I use Domino Dots - little sugar cubes - each one equals 0.5 tsp, so 4 per 1L bottle does the trick. No measuring too - just toss them in. I also tried Cooper's Carb Tabs, and they worked great but at 5x the price of Domino Dots, it find them too expensive.

As far as sucrose alternatives, you can use dextrose (corn sugar), DME, honey, basically any sugar that the yeast will eat and produce CO2. However, these sugars are more suited to batch-priming, since it's hard to measure them by volume, and they need to be weighted.

If you want to go this route, just search the forum for "batch priming" - it's easy to do.

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Bubi...it probably wasn't the table sugar that caused the "soda pop taste" in your beer, but rather the amount of sugar you used. If you followed the Mr Beer guidelines for priming sugar, they tend to be a bit high for most people. Use a priming calculator, like this one:

http://www.thescrewybrewer.com/p/brewing-tools-formulas.html#bpc

...and that should help with the over-carbonation.

If you still want to try something other than table sugar, many use dextrose (corn sugar) instead. Its what I've been using for the past several brews and I find it a bit better to work with. You can't find it in your local grocery store, though. Either an LHBS (Local Home Brew Store), online or sometimes a good bulk food store will carry it.

The calculator above can be changed for a few different priming agents.

Good luck and welcome!

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Jeez, AGAIN I am beaten to the punch!! Haha. I concur with russki...mostly.

Corn sugar, in my opinion, is just as easy to bottle prime with as table sugar. I have yet to batch prime a beer and I've had good success with corn sugar just priming it right into the bottles.

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Thanks guys! I think I'll try the 4 domino dots as recommended by Russki for this round. I'm ready to go so it's easy.

My last batch was definatly over carbed. The bottles were HARD as a ROCK! the caps were even beginning to bulge. I'll back it off and give it a try.

Thanks....I'll report back in about 4 weeks!!!!!! The only thing I hate more than the wait, is bad beer!!!

Bubi

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"Bubi" post=259936 said:

Thanks guys! I think I'll try the 4 domino dots as recommended by Russki for this round. I'm ready to go so it's easy.

My last batch was definatly over carbed. The bottles were HARD as a ROCK! the caps were even beginning to bulge. I'll back it off and give it a try.

Thanks....I'll report back in about 4 weeks!!!!!! The only thing I hate more than the wait, is bad beer!!!

Bubi

Something else to consider - how long are you fermenting for, and are you taking the gravity readings to make sure the fermentation is done? If you bottle a beer before it reaches its final gravity, it's going to continue fermenting in the bottles, increasing the carbonation levels, sometime to the point of creating "bottle bombs".

One thing you can do with your overcarbed bottles is "burp" them - just unscrew the cap slowly until you hear CO2 escaping, let some of the pressure out, and screw the caps back on. You may have to do this a few times until they are no longer bulging, but are still hard.

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Didn't take any gravity readings.......don't have one of those fangled machines thingies! I fermented the first batch for 3 weeks to the hour. This batch has also been fermenting for 3 weeks. I only did the taste test. Can I get a gravity reader locally someplace "cheap"?

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With 3 weeks in the fermenter, you should be fine. I know that the LHBS near me carries hydrometers and sample tubes, so I would check there if you have one nearby. I ordered mine through MrB when I made a sizable recipe order.


Rick

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I use sucrose (table sugar) and batch prime every brew. It's not the priming agent, rather the amount that is the issue. I've never used the drops or tabs, but I do try to carb to style and have had great success (IMHO) with my carbonation levels.

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I've had much better luck batch priming. I know that for some people that is a tad hard if you don't have a second container to transfer to, but it is totally worth it.

I've used everything from Agave Nectar to honey to my last batch I used MrB Booster (I gotta get rid of the 10 bags I have somehow!).

Like everyone has said, try and go lower on the amount used, and if you can try batch priming.

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"Bubi" post=259965 said:

Didn't take any gravity readings.......don't have one of those fangled machines thingies! I fermented the first batch for 3 weeks to the hour. This batch has also been fermenting for 3 weeks. I only did the taste test. Can I get a gravity reader locally someplace "cheap"?

Any local beer or wine making supply store will carry hydrometers and they are typically pretty affordable. Just make sure to get a sample tube as well and its never a bad idea to buy an extra hydrometer...they tend to commit suicide by jumping off of counters! :blink:

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I cheated -- I got my hydrometer at a pet store. Turns out they use them for aquariums, too!

It has both hydrometer and thermometer in one unit, all for $3.49.

(Still had to buy the sample tube at the LHBS, but I was going there anyway...)

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There is soda pop "feel" and soda pop "taste". If you're talking about a funky sweet soda-like taste it could be that taste we get (cidery) from young beer.

I don't know for sure but my take is that soda pop bubbles are large bubbles. They come across as forced carbonation, not "smooth"....more harsh and confronting.

Whereas fine champagne and naturally carbonated beer (especially cask) seem to have tighter, finer, smoother bubbles.

It's certainly the latter we're going for. I like that tight foamy, silky feel from a good beer, I don't want to feel like I'm eating pop rocks.

It seems to me that the longer we condition beer the more the carbonation feels like the latter....but I'm not 100% sure how this works.

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Ruskki

When you use Domino Dots and bottle prime, do you have to do much "gentle" turning of the bottles upside down over and over until the cubes dissolve? What's your method, in detail (I'm new and want to learn as much as I can).

:borg:


You wrote:

When I bottle-prime, I use Domino Dots - little sugar cubes - each one equals 0.5 tsp, so 4 per 1L bottle does the trick. No measuring too - just toss them in.

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"Wings_Fan_In_KC" post=260109 said:

Ruskki

When you use Domino Dots and bottle prime, do you have to do much "gentle" turning of the bottles upside down over and over until the cubes dissolve? What's your method, in detail (I'm new and want to learn as much as I can).

:borg:


You wrote:

When I bottle-prime, I use Domino Dots - little sugar cubes - each one equals 0.5 tsp, so 4 per 1L bottle does the trick. No measuring too - just toss them in.

I've never used them, but if I did, I'd just drop them in. The yeast will find and eat the sugar.

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"Fee" post=260068 said:


It seems to me that the longer we condition beer the more the carbonation feels like the latter....but I'm not 100% sure how this works.

It's mostly a matter of time and not using too much sugar.

The longer you let it carb at room temp, the finer the bubbles get, because the CO2 dissolves into the solution better.

It's not true that dextrose or DME or whatever makes finer bubbles then table sugar. It's just that dextrose isn't quite as fermentable as table sugar, so people who toss in the same amounts think the carb is "finer" because there is a bit less of it, and there is less CO2 that needs time to dissolve into the solution to get rid of the big bubbles.

That's not a 100% scientific answer, but it's close enough and a lot less words and techno geek talk.

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"Wings_Fan_In_KC" post=260109 said:

Ruskki

When you use Domino Dots and bottle prime, do you have to do much "gentle" turning of the bottles upside down over and over until the cubes dissolve? What's your method, in detail (I'm new and want to learn as much as I can).

:borg:


I used Domino Dots to bottle my West Coast Pale Ale and I just dropped them in the bottle, filled with beer and capped it. Bye the time it was capped, the dots were pretty much dissolved. No shaking or turning of the bottles and the carbonation turned out great. The yeast will find the sugar and take care of business.

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"mashani" post=260200 said:

"Fee" post=260068 said:


It seems to me that the longer we condition beer the more the carbonation feels like the latter....but I'm not 100% sure how this works.

It's mostly a matter of time and not using too much sugar.

The longer you let it carb at room temp, the finer the bubbles get, because the CO2 dissolves into the solution better.

It's not true that dextrose or DME or whatever makes finer bubbles then table sugar. It's just that dextrose isn't quite as fermentable as table sugar, so people who toss in the same amounts think the carb is "finer" because there is a bit less of it, and there is less CO2 that needs time to dissolve into the solution to get rid of the big bubbles.

That's not a 100% scientific answer, but it's close enough and a lot less words and techno geek talk.

I think this is a valid point. Since allowing my own batches more time at room temp, I've noticed smaller bubbles, better head retention, and a creamier feel to it.

Spinning off on this, though, it makes me wonder if the recipe itself has anything to do with it. The recipes the OP has made are the Standard Refills. I'm making either the Mr. Beer Advanced Recipes, which contain more malt, or else I'm making AG batches. In both cases, we're talking higher gravity, and more malt, thus more body to start with.

Just wondering about any possible correlation to the head issue.

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"Trumpetguy" post=260258 said:

"Wings_Fan_In_KC" post=260109 said:

Ruskki

When you use Domino Dots and bottle prime, do you have to do much "gentle" turning of the bottles upside down over and over until the cubes dissolve? What's your method, in detail (I'm new and want to learn as much as I can).

:borg:


I used Domino Dots to bottle my West Coast Pale Ale and I just dropped them in the bottle, filled with beer and capped it. Bye the time it was capped, the dots were pretty much dissolved. No shaking or turning of the bottles and the carbonation turned out great. The yeast will find the sugar and take care of business.

+1 - just drop and fill.

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I preffer to batch prime since I think I get a better mix, also less trub in the bottles.

Since I batch prime I use Booster for now since I have a ton. Once that is gone I will use Corn sugar since that is what my LHBS recommends.

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"Trollby" post=260499 said:

I preffer to batch prime since I think I get a better mix, also less trub in the bottles.

Since I batch prime I use Booster for now since I have a ton. Once that is gone I will use Corn sugar since that is what my LHBS recommends.

How much booster would you use in relation to corn sugar? I know there is non fermentables in booster, so what would I go by in screwy's calculator?

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Calculate it as if its Honey. Trollby uses it frequently and that is what he recommends. I did my last batch with booster and it worked GREAT!

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"Ossian666" post=260511 said:

Calculate it as if its Honey. Trollby uses it frequently and that is what he recommends. I did my last batch with booster and it worked GREAT!

Got a batch that I'll be bottling next weekend, gonna give it a try. Why not, I have like 10 bags of it sitting around, might as well put it to good use!!!

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"frogmeat69" post=260506 said:

"Trollby" post=260499 said:

I preffer to batch prime since I think I get a better mix, also less trub in the bottles.

Since I batch prime I use Booster for now since I have a ton. Once that is gone I will use Corn sugar since that is what my LHBS recommends.

How much booster would you use in relation to corn sugar? I know there is non fermentables in booster, so what would I go by in screwy's calculator?

For sure check out screwys calculator, but as a point of reference I use about 2.6 ounces of booster for a lbk sized batch prime

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I find that I like 60g - 70g Booster for batch priming a normal batch.

Now I normally do 2.3 - 2.4 gallon batches which works out to 2.25 gallons of beer to prime.

I like 2.2 - 2.8 CO2 in my beers, unless is a wheat then I like 2.8-3.2 CO2

I would look at 65g booster desolved in 8oz water and boil (I microwave).

Cool and add to the batch prime.

My beers turn out just the carb I love

--- Edit ---
the 2.6oz KokomoSam stated is about 75g, and if you like more carb try 70 - 75g and see if what you like or lower if too much for you.

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I usually carb to the style of beer I'm making, so guess I'll run with the booster using the screwy calc. for honey. My next batch is a steam beer, which I will bottle this weekend, see how it goes!

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I bottled on Sunday. I backed off to from 2.5 to 2 with regular table sugar. Will see how it turns out. The test taste from the LBK was interesting. Looking forward to trying this!
Bubi

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OK, I bottled 2 beers using booster to carb, and both are way undercarbed. I used about 20% more than corn sugar,does it take longer for the booster to fully carb, or are my beers just gonna be kinda flat?? It's been 4 weeks for one, 3 weeks for the other.

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"frogmeat69" post=271025 said:

OK, I bottled 2 beers using booster to carb, and both are way undercarbed. I used about 20% more than corn sugar,does it take longer for the booster to fully carb, or are my beers just gonna be kinda flat?? It's been 4 weeks for one, 3 weeks for the other.


I've not used booster for carbing, but based on its composition (8% glucose, 56% maltose, 16% maltotriose, and 20% dextrins), using 20% more than corn sugar should have worked as it seems to be 80% fermentable. What temperature are you storing the bottles at? I wonder if warming them up to about 75F would help.

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What yeast, style and how long did it ferment?

I've done 3 batches with booster and haven't had an issue...did you get a good stir/mix when you batch primed?

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"Ossian666" post=271280 said:

What yeast, style and how long did it ferment?

I've done 3 batches with booster and haven't had an issue...did you get a good stir/mix when you batch primed?

The first was a California Common, Wyeast 2112, the 2nd was WCPA with 1lb. of light DME and some grains steeped, US-05. I always use 1/2 cup water to boil up the booster, cool it, the into an empty LBK, siphon beer onto it getting a good swirly whirlpool until it gets half full, gently rock it to mix without getting air in it. Both fermented 3 weeks at recommended temps for each yeast.

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My batch with the reduced sugar is going to be tasted on Monday. Can't wait!!

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