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corbo drops vs sugar experiment

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So the results are in.  I brewed American Porter straight up just like it came in the mail.  I used carbonation drops in half of the bottles and plain white sugar for the other half using the amount that the instructions that came with the kit said.  They sat for two weeks ( I know people say to leave it longer but for this experiment this is what I did) and one bottle of each was put in the fridge for 24 hours ( again I know longer is better).  When I poured the beer from the Carbo drops bottle there was a little head but not much.  The sugar bottle was almost like a draft beer with a lot of carbonation and head.  For me I think that I will not spend any more money on the drops and will just use sugar from now on.

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The amount of head isn't what matters - it's the carbonation of the beer.  

 

As you noted, 2 weeks is not enough time and 24 hours in the fridge is not enough time.  The first period is probably enough for carbonation, but not conditioning.  3 days in the fridge allows for maximum absorption of CO2 back into the beer.

 

Most HME beers (i.e. Mr. Beer) will have little head.  Using the level of sugar specified in the instructions often results in a very carbonated beer.  Try 2/3 - 3/4 of the amount.

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My point was that with all things being equal the bottles with sugar were far more carbonated than the ones with the carbonation drops.  For me I will not be using the carbonation drops any more.  They are more expensive and not worth it.

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55 minutes ago, pborder said:

My point was that with all things being equal the bottles with sugar were far more carbonated than the ones with the carbonation drops.  For me I will not be using the carbonation drops any more.  They are more expensive and not worth it.

 

Beyond convenience, you are totally correct.  

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MRB's priming chart instructions and priming charts call for 1 TSP sugar in 12oz and 16oz bottles. The last time I bottled I used 1 carb drop in 16 oz flip-top bottles and carbonation was weak. I realize there are other factors affecting carbonation.

 

@RickBeer  (et al) I have a batch for bottling coming up. Friday will be tres semanas in the fermenter, then I'll cold crash until bottling on Sunday or Monday. Now, I'll be using cane sugar in some 16oz bottles and some 12 oz bottles. What would you recommend for amount of sugar? I had convinced myself I was going to use 1TSP and 1-1/2TSP in the bottles, but in reading your response to pborder maybe I should reconsider and use 3/4 or 2/3 that amount(?)

 

Thank you

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38 minutes ago, StretchNM said:

MRB's priming chart instructions and priming charts call for 1 TSP sugar in 12oz and 16oz bottles. The last time I bottled I used 1 carb drop in 16 oz flip-top bottles and carbonation was weak. I realize there are other factors affecting carbonation.

 

@RickBeer  (et al) I have a batch for bottling coming up. Friday will be tres semanas in the fermenter, then I'll cold crash until bottling on Sunday or Monday. Now, I'll be using cane sugar in some 16oz bottles and some 12 oz bottles. What would you recommend for amount of sugar? I had convinced myself I was going to use 1TSP and 1-1/2TSP in the bottles, but in reading your response to pborder maybe I should reconsider and use 3/4 or 2/3 that amount(?)

 

Thank you

 

Actually, 12 oz is 3/4 tsp and 16oz is 1 tsp.  Many have noted that carb drops don't seem to get get the same carb levels as cane sugar.

 

I would recommend you do different levels, label the bottles as such, and then YOU see what you like.  Make sure when you compare them you do it blind, so that your brain is not swayed by the knowledge.  

 

While many homebrewers simply follow those guidelines, others try to determine the right level of carbonation for the style they are brewing.  I use this: http://www.thescrewybrewer.com/p/brewing-tools-formulas.html#bpc

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Thank you Rick for the calculator link. I do have the Screwey Brewer Calculator site saved but I didn't think to check it to see if it had a bottle priming function..

 

Ok, I plugged in my data, but the results just don't seem right. For example, for my upcoming 1776 Ale (a pale American) with a desired CO2 of 2.5, and having reached no higher than 65-F, for 12oz it recommends .5 tsp, and for 16oz .7 oz. (or 3/4 tsp).  Both are less than recommended. I understand I need to adjust the amounts in a few bottles to see what works best, but does my given data seem correct? If I experiment and in some bottles use the above data, and if it's not enough, won't that ruin or under-carbonate those bottles?

 

Thank you

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2 hours ago, StretchNM said:

Thank you Rick for the calculator link. I do have the Screwey Brewer Calculator site saved but I didn't think to check it to see if it had a bottle priming function..

 

Ok, I plugged in my data, but the results just don't seem right. For example, for my upcoming 1776 Ale (a pale American) with a desired CO2 of 2.5, and having reached no higher than 65-F, for 12oz it recommends .5 tsp, and for 16oz .7 oz. (or 3/4 tsp).  Both are less than recommended. I understand I need to adjust the amounts in a few bottles to see what works best, but does my given data seem correct? If I experiment and in some bottles use the above data, and if it's not enough, won't that ruin or under-carbonate those bottles?

 

Thank you

 

1/2 tsp is what I use for 12oz bottles.

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On Tuesday, April 02, 2019 at 2:52 PM, StretchNM said:

Thank you Rick for the calculator link. I do have the Screwey Brewer Calculator site saved but I didn't think to check it to see if it had a bottle priming function..

 

Ok, I plugged in my data, but the results just don't seem right. For example, for my upcoming 1776 Ale (a pale American) with a desired CO2 of 2.5, and having reached no higher than 65-F, for 12oz it recommends .5 tsp, and for 16oz .7 oz. (or 3/4 tsp).  Both are less than recommended. I understand I need to adjust the amounts in a few bottles to see what works best, but does my given data seem correct? If I experiment and in some bottles use the above data, and if it's not enough, won't that ruin or under-carbonate those bottles?

 

Thank you

Cooler liquids retain more gas than warmer liquids. If your temperatures remained low your beer retained more CO2 from fermentation than it would have if warmer. Starting with a higher carbonation level you need less sugar to reach the final carbonation level desired.

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On Tuesday, April 02, 2019 at 2:52 PM, StretchNM said:

Thank you Rick for the calculator link. I do have the Screwey Brewer Calculator site saved but I didn't think to check it to see if it had a bottle priming function..

 

Ok, I plugged in my data, but the results just don't seem right. For example, for my upcoming 1776 Ale (a pale American) with a desired CO2 of 2.5, and having reached no higher than 65-F, for 12oz it recommends .5 tsp, and for 16oz .7 oz. (or 3/4 tsp).  Both are less than recommended. I understand I need to adjust the amounts in a few bottles to see what works best, but does my given data seem correct? If I experiment and in some bottles use the above data, and if it's not enough, won't that ruin or under-carbonate those bottles?

 

Thank you

One final comment from me on this topic. If you are wondering why the MrBeer directions have so much sugar recommended remember their target customers are new brewers. If the kit is placed on a kitchen counter top with ambient air temps at the upper end of the recommended range, the higher priming rate will compensate for the CO2 off gassing during fermentation. The down side is, the fewer brewers who do keep theirs on the cooler end risk gushers. When those guys turn to this forum, it's unfortunate that our first thoughts some times jump to conclusions of incomplete fermentation or infections. 

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Thanks @D Kristof, I believe you guys I just check for clarification anytime there's a discrepancy.

 

OK. I'm going to prime most of my batch with .5 tsp and .75 tsp, and then prime a couple of three with .75 tsp and 1 tsp. I shouldn't have a problem with the latter amounts in 12oz and 16oz bottles, I don't think anyway. Anyway, that'll give me some experience with experimentation and I need that.

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I’m just throwing in a late comment that I did find that regular sugar was both cheaper and carbonated better than the drops. You are going to hear the “sugar is sugar” argument, but I was not happy with the carb drops. I use sugar cubes. Just as convenient and very effective.

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6 hours ago, Marius said:

I’m just throwing in a late comment that I did find that regular sugar was both cheaper and carbonated better than the drops. You are going to hear the “sugar is sugar” argument, but I was not happy with the carb drops. I use sugar cubes. Just as convenient and very effective.

 

I think "Sugar is Sugar" is a misleading statement. 

 Correct me if I'm wrong, I believe the following is true.

 

Carbonation Drops = 27% Glucose & 73% Sucrose

 

Sugar Cane Plant = 50% Glucose & 50% Fructose

 

 

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/sugar-explained

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Fire Rooster said:

 

I think "Sugar is Sugar" is a misleading statement. 

 Correct me if I'm wrong, I believe the following is true.

 

Carbonation Drops = 27% Glucose & 73% Sucrose

 

Sugar Cane Plant = 50% Glucose & 50% Fructose

 

 

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/sugar-explained

 

 

 

In your link it says sucrose breaks down  (when by yeast via enzyme invertase) to 50% Glucose, 50% Fructose so that leads to 

Carbo drops  --> 27% Glucose & 73% Sucrose-->  63% Glucose, 37% Fructose

Sugar dots -->  100% Sucrose --> 50% Glucose , 50% Fructose (via enzyme invertase)

 

 

So other than the yeast having to break down more  sucrose (and they need to do it for both)  I don't think it is grossly different - unless there are conditions that prevent that.

 

Conveniently, sugar dots are 0.5 tsp, I use --> 1 per 12 oz, 2 per .75 mL, 3 per 1L. (Sometimes less for dark ales)

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Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

 

There should be no difference in carbonation regardless of what you use (except for cost or ease of use) between table sugar, carbonation drops, sugar dots, sugar cubes, honey, LME, ...

 

HOWEVER, time after time people post that the carbonation drops yield less carbonation.  And people have done side by side tests.  Conclusion - they don't contain the amount of sugar they say they do.  

 

People also fail to take into account how much residual carbonation may be left in the wort before bottling.  

 

The reality is most newer brewers don't carb by style.  A British ale has much less carbonation than a German Weizen for example.  Could be as much as little as 1/3rd the carbonation, or up to 1/2 the carbonation.  

 

I for one use table sugar and batch prime.  I do NOT measure my final wort available (most don't), I figure I have 2.5 gallons (320 oz), and put in between 50 and 65 grams of sugar, based on style.  Most batches I get about 25 oz less wort, so that's 8% less wort, which means I'm going to get 8.5% more carbonation than I had planned.  

 

And, most people couldn't tell the difference between 2.0 and 2.3 or 2.5 volumes of CO2.  And to conduct a test you'd need to have the right instruments to read the level of carbonation, which are quite expensive.  It's called a Gehaltemeter, and costs around $1,500.  Hooks to the brite tank at a brewery, which is the tank that fermented beer is stored in to carbonate, and then either serve or keg/bottle.

 

 

 

 

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I use a Gephhhfftermeter.

I listen to the sound when I open the cap.

Is is pft? pffft? PFFT? or Pffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff………………….. time to clean up?

British beer is pft.

German Wiezen is PFFT.

 

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On Tuesday, September 03, 2019 at 9:07 AM, Nickfixit said:

I use a Gephhhfftermeter.

I listen to the sound when I open the cap.

Is is pft? pffft? PFFT? or Pffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff………………….. time to clean up?

British beer is pft.

German Wiezen is PFFT.

 

Above I used the laughing emoticon. On this comment I will use something else. 👍 and heartfelt, thanks.

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