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BeerConnoisseur

Primer Test Results

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Some of you will remember, not long ago I was able to bottle 4 different brews with three different primers as a test. Here is my take on the results.

Priming sugar:
Adds little or no flavor with normal conditioning time.
Easy to measure.
Standardized for a consistent carb across batches.
Negative: With basic MB HME and UMEs there is very little head retention but still acceptable “mouth feel” from carbonation.

Honey:
Will impart a slight flavor to finished beer and a strong sweet taste until conditioned properly.
Honey gives a great head and superb “Mouth Feel”.
Test Primer #1: Acacia Himalayan Honey (Wide Flower Honey). Caution: Since wide flowers are weeds, before proper conditioning time these bottles had a slight weed smell and taste.
Test Primer #2; Buckwheat Honey. This added a nice but slight buckwheat flavor to the darker beers it was used in. This did diminish with conditioning.
The only real negative was the longer conditioning time needed.
Note: I did not use the dark Buckwheat Honey as a primer on the light HCCD only the 3 darker brews.

Overall I was impressed with the results of this first test. My future plans include priming with all three again. I will use priming sugar on at least one batch in order to quickly have some to enjoy. I will use both honeys again but will allow plenty of conditioning time to smooth out the wild flower and Buckwheat flower flavors.

I did not use Clover honey but may in the future. With proper conditioning it may also loose the clover smell and flavor.

Future plans also include using Molasses, dark and light Corn Syrups. I will report results when available.

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Gymrat wrote:

By "priming sugar" are you talking about corn sugar?

Yes. Purchased from an online brew supply house as "Priming Sugar"

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Interesting post, thanks.

You're right, one LHBS by me calls it "corn sugar" the other calls it "priming sugar".

I only did one test. On my second batch, St. Pat's Irish Stout, I did half the bottles with granulated sugar, the other half with corn sugar. The granulated, I got a better head at pour. Both carbonated ok. But, I'm realising now, stouts don't really have the same kind of head (it's bigger bubbles) than say, an amber ale (foamy). So, maybe it depends on what recipe AND what kind of primer ....

So far, I've tried granulated, corn sugar (more than anything else), and carb tabs. I haven't seen results on carb tabs yet ... they're still carbonating.

But ... if I stay with bottle carbonating ... I'm probably gonna end up corn sugar almost exclusively ... it's easy to put in with a sanitized spoon and funnel ... I have jacked it up from 3/4 to a full tsp for a 12 oz bottle, as the stouts were a little flat ... I hope I don't over carb, but I hate flat. I think a level tsp will be fine.

My 5th batch will be ready to taste one after carbing before I condition the rest of the batch ... it's an IPA .. and it has a full tsp, I'll report the results.

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That's a heck of an experiment BC. I have to say that even though I've primed every batch with table sugar, I've seen a lot of variability in carb results between batches and even between bottles in a batch.

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I think the reason we get different carb levels in a batch would be due to the different ammounts of yeast in each bottle. Right? But agreed, good idea, but i think i might just stick to easy, cheap cane sugar since i have never had problems and like the results.

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if you want to "delete" the flavor of the honey, just boil it for 20 min. Then you'll just have the sugar aspect of it. :stout:

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yankeedag wrote:

if you want to "delete" the flavor of the honey, just boil it for 20 min. Then you'll just have the sugar aspect of it. :stout:

yeah, cool.

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gophers6 wrote:

… I've primed every batch with table sugar, I've seen a lot of variability in carb results between batches and even between bottles in a batch.

BeerConnoisseur wrote:

Priming sugar:…
Standardized for a consistent carb across batches.

The Priming sugar I got is closer to powdered sugar in texture.
Table Sugar or granulated sugar is larger granules and as a result will settle differently in each spoonful. This means each bottle will be slightly differently carbed. The best way to bottle prime consistently with table sugar would be by weight and not volume. If batch priming then you could put a cup or so of water in a large measuring cup and add sugar above that to the desired volume. That way the granular size would not mater. I guess you COULD fix up you bottle prime mixture first and then add from that to each bottle. (I did this to measure the whole Almonds before grinding that I used in my Chocolate Cherry Almond Bock I brewed last week.)

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markymark186 wrote:

I think the reason we get different carb levels in a batch would be due to the different ammounts of yeast in each bottle. Right? But agreed, good idea, but i think i might just stick to easy, cheap cane sugar since i have never had problems and like the results.

The yeast should not be a factor. Even if varied when primed, the bottles with less yeast will multiply and just take a little longer to prime.

yankeedag wrote:

if you want to "delete" the flavor of the honey, just boil it for 20 min. Then you'll just have the sugar aspect of it. :stout:

That will loose most of the honey sweet smell. But mine still had some of the aroma from the flowers.

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Update: I have been down to the last 4 bottles of these brews for about two weeks now. These 4 were all primed with the Buckwheat honey. Every time I opened one and took a small taste, I had to close it back up. I just could not stand the Buckwheat flavor any longer. :X

Conclusion: I will NEVER prime with Buckwheat Honey again!
(Note: The recent brew I included 1/2 cup Buckwheat Honey in at the start had no lingering bad side effect from it.)

I did bottle four batches last night. This time I used half priming sugar and half wildflower honey. I am hoping that since I do like the creamy head honey gives, by using a half and half mix, I will get good head but still not get too much of the weed smell.

Time will tell. Will report results.

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BeerConnoisseur wrote:

I did bottle four batches last night. This time I used half priming sugar and half wildflower honey. I am hoping that since I do like the creamy head honey gives, by using a half and half mix, I will get good head but still not get too much of the weed smell.

Time will tell. Will report results.


How did you do that? Did you batch prime? If so, did you boil sugar in about 1/3 cup water, then mix honey with about 1/3 cup water, then put both those in the bottling keg?

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I bottle prime using a baby medicine dropper type syringe to add 2 teaspoons priming mix to each half liter bottle.

I bottled 24 half liter bottles and my priming mix was 16 tablespoons total. It consisted of 4 tablespoons of Honey, 4 of priming sugar and 8 of water. This meant each bottle got 1 teaspoon water, 1/2 teaspoon Honey and 1/2 teaspoon Priming sugar.

What I do is measure out the water first. Heat it in microwave and stir in honey. Reheat and stir in sugar. I let that cool while I bottle the beer. Prime, cap, label and store.

To batch prime just add mix to bottle bucket as usual.

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Note: This was to prime 4 - 0.8 gallon batches. For a MB keg use 8 teaspoons honey, 8 teaspoons of sugar and 16 teaspoons of water.

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I put the sugar in the hot water first, then the honey, tends to leave more of the honey flavor.

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I have a similar situation...I am a new brewer I primed with honey...but i forgot to let the beer sit at room temp for a couple weeks and went straight to conditioning in the fridge at about 35 degrees. I have now taken it out and am trying to warm it up do you think the beer is toast or do you think I can save it?

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srloesser,

Blue Crab Brewery is right, of course. You are doing the right thing. The yeasties will awaken and eat the honey and carb it up. Give it a week or two at room temps and you should be carbed.

Post results.

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i made the mistake of putting the beer in the refrigerator before it primed I pulled it out (upon our last conversation) and it has been at room temp priming for about two weeks now...my question is this...how do I go about testing it to see if it has carbonated and see if it is ready to go in the fridge?

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srloesser,

If they are in 12 Oz. glass bottles, I would be tempted to ice one down and pop it open, then enjoy the fruit of you labors.

Post results.

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ok so i tried my brown ale and wheat beer and it for sure primed. The color and body is excellent. The favor taste a little like cheap beer. i'm letting them sit in the fridge for a month then trying again. thanks srloesser

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