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Why do we boil priming sugar?

Guess I’m bored this morning. Got to thinking about priming sugar. I have been priming kegs lately so they can carbonate themselves and not need to be in the fridge with CO2 hooked up. In the past I have have used prime tabs and now I see drops that only need a single one instead of counting out how many tabs for level of carbonation. Obviously you can’t boil them and they go right in the bottles. So why not just dump the measured or weighed amount of corn sugar, table sugar, DME or whatever right in the keg. It can’t be much less sanitary than the tabs/drops.

It’s to get it dissolved completely rather than to sanitize it.

Then there’s really no need to boil it for 10 minutes as is usually cited.

Then there’s really no need to boil it for 10 minutes as is usually cited.[/quote]

I’ve never boiled for 10 min. I just wait till I see the first bubble and shut it off. I figure once it’s reached that temp its sufficiently homogenized.

So would it not dissolve anyway after a couple of weeks? I’m not really trying to get out of boiling it, just wondering. I never worried about the ten minute rule either.

Then there’s really no need to boil it for 10 minutes as is usually cited.[/quote]

Nope. I boil for a minute or so.

No, it wouldn’t necessarily dissolve on it’s own. Maybe of you kept shaking the bottles.

Only reason I could think of boiling priming sugar for a longer period of time would be if you’re trying to make it into an invert syrup, which is slightly easier for the yeast to metabolize. Is that making a practical difference, though? No, I doubt it.

I just put the sugar in a cup, and pour in boiling water from an electric tea kettle. Just enough to dissolve.

HD…I was planning on doing the same thing. I need a a few more kegs though. Do you simply dissolve the whole pack of sugar? I was thinking that might over carbonate the keg? I’m also thinking it would improve the taste to have it age for a month or so. I am always tapping my kegs to early and just about the time I get to the last few beers I realize how great it tastes after proper aging.

A keg can be carbonated with priming sugar that is not dissolved in water beforehand. A keg is a single container with the full volume of beer. It is like a great big beer bottle. Different than the bottling bucket where some undissolved sugar rests on the bottom as bottles are filled. All of the utensils used for handling the sugar should be sanitized. Using a wet sanitizer would make handled the sugar in a wet form easier.

I have read that it takes half the amount of priming sugar than would be used for bottles.

That is what I do. I dump the sugar in the keg and then rack the beer on top. Once I’ve got the keg sealed up with 30 psi I swirl it a bit and then let it sit. Just got lazy once and it worked fine and have done may 20-ish kegs like this since. It isn’t like it won’t naturally dissolve over a few weeks, it is only a few ounces of sugar in 5 gallons.

That is what I do. I dump the sugar in the keg and then rack the beer on top. Once I’ve got the keg sealed up with 30 psi I swirl it a bit and then let it sit. Just got lazy once and it worked fine and have done may 20-ish kegs like this since. It isn’t like it won’t naturally dissolve over a few weeks, it is only a few ounces of sugar in 5 gallons.[/quote]

I don’t keg so this may be a stupid question but is there any reason you do this as opposed to just force carbonating it? You are using C02 to serve it, why not use it to carb as well?

That is what I do. I dump the sugar in the keg and then rack the beer on top. Once I’ve got the keg sealed up with 30 psi I swirl it a bit and then let it sit. Just got lazy once and it worked fine and have done may 20-ish kegs like this since. It isn’t like it won’t naturally dissolve over a few weeks, it is only a few ounces of sugar in 5 gallons.[/quote]
I don’t keg so this may be a stupid question but is there any reason you do this as opposed to just force carbonating it? You are using C02 to serve it, why not use it to carb as well?[/quote]
Lack of refrigerator space, not so much for me as I have a kegerator, a chest freezer for cold storage (where I force carb my kegs) and a chest freezer for fermentation temp control but for a friend I brew with. He has a two slot kegerator, when I give him a keg I’ll prime it so while it is sitting there waiting to go on tap it is getting carbonated (and hopefully scavenging any oxygen in the keg). Nice to have a keg that is ready to drink as soon as it is cold vs. waiting a few weeks for it to carb up. Think that is a more common situation than having extra cold storage besides what fits in the kegerator.

That makes sense. I will have to keep this in mind if and when I start kegging.

Yes. Beer will force carbonate much easier if it is cold. I brew 20 gallon batches so there are 4 kegs to carbonate. If I can just add sugar then there is no need to refrigerate all of them. I can force carb one and just let the other 3 take are of themselves.

I’ve sugar carbed kegs before but it’s hard to get the carbonation right so I generally had to put the keg on co2 for a couple days to equalize. Sometimes I had to release pressure on over carbed kegs. What I do now with kegs that won’t fit is just leave them out and hit them with co2 everyday or so they are generally pretty well carbed when I chill them. They still need a couple of days to cold condition. The point being is you don’t need a refer big enough for all your kegs. By the way I pull carbed and half empty kegs and store them warm all the time they are just big bottles really.

You’d have to add acid to invert it I believe. And even then there would be no benefit.

You can invert it without acid, it just takes a reeeeeeaaaalllly long time. Longer than 10 minutes. And I agree, there’s really no benefit, just coming up with random reasons why you would want to boil for 10 minutes? I can’t think of anything else.

Once I was bottling 4 carboys in one marathon session and forgot to add the boiled sugar priming solution to the bottling bucket (a few beers may have had an influence on my attention to detail). I did some calculations to figure out how many grams of dextrose should be in each bottle and it turned out to be a 1/4 teaspoon or something ( this was many years ago). I just added the dry dextrose to each bottle and capped it. Worked out fine, but I haven’t made that same error since.

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