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Carbonation question

What do most of you use for carbonation when bottle conditioning? I’ve only ever used table sugar but while sitting on the pot the other day (ha) I read a passage (no jokes please) that said sometimes table sugar for priming can lead to off-flavors. Because table sugar (read cane sugar) has to first be inverted from sucrose to glucose and something else by the yeast for it to process it, it’s not as desirable for priming as corn sugar or malt extract. I thought I read that bit in ‘The New Complete Joy of Home Brewing’ but it may have been in the dumb little manual that came with my base brewing kit.

Anyway, just wondered if most of you use malt extract or corn sugar, or if there’s really a difference. Sometimes I taste what seem to be ‘green’ flavor of beer that I brew long after they should be conditioned/primed and I just thought maybe it was because I’ve been using table sugar. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved all the beers I’ve made so far but wanted to know if they would be that much better with another priming solution.


This is another one that is probably debatable. I myself try to use corn sugar, but have used table sugar when I’m out. It probably matters less for priming and perhaps more so when using pounds of it in the boil (not something I do).

I normally use corn sugar, but one time when getting ready to boil my sugar water, I looked in my little box and realized what it was I’d forgotten to pick up at the brew store: corn sugar. I used table sugar, and it turned out fine, and didn’t taste any different to me than other batches of the same recipe.

I always use table sugar. Yeast produce the enzyme invertase so they have the ability to cut sucrose into fructose and glucose. You don’t need to invert first. I think the dogma that table sugar causes off flavors, comes from the fact that it is easily fermentable and can cause rapid fermentation and increased temps, with resulting fusels. This doesn’t happen at bottle conditioning levels, and if you monitor and maintain proper ferm temps you don’t have a problem with sugar in a primary fermentation.

That said, you can invert by boiling for 20-30min with a little lemon juice for acid.

Right on Lennie! Table sugar is fantastic material for priming and for use in the boil to up gravity a little on big beers with no negative consequences. Plus, it is cheaper and more readily available.

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