Measuring volume for priming sugar

Has anyone found an easy and accurate way to measure your volume of beer that you will be packaging for purposes of calculating the right amount of priming sugar. I have 4 gal and 5 gal marked on my carboy but if I’m siphoning right out of primary to the bottling bucket I have no idea how much of that volume is yeast, hops, trub, etc. I can eyeball it and estimate but that doesn’t seem very accurate.

I’ve considered transferring it to a secondary bucket just for the purposes of measuring the volume but this seems like I’m increasing my chance of possible contamination and oxydation.

Has anyone come up with a clever way to judge this volume somewhat accurately (like within a quart)? Priming seems to be the one area that I get some less than consistent results from and would really like to dial in.

I usually transfer into the bottling bucket, see the final volume, and THEN mix and boil the priming solution. Pour it in hot into the bowl of a ladle that’s just below the surface of the beer to avoid splashing, and then give it a good slow stir with the ladle.

I’d be worried about not getting it mixed evenly and having inconsistent carb among the same batch. has this been a noticeable issue for you?

Not at all - I had really bad luck with adding the priming solution first and racking onto it. The nice thing about stirring with a ladle is that you can get a lot of up and down motion of the liquid without a lot of surface motion. I try to stir in a figure-8 pattern and going up and down at the same time, if that makes sense, for about 30 seconds.

I’ve had much more consistent carbonation doing this, whereas before the sugar seemed to settle on the bottom and not really mix in with the beer when racked.

If you figure it out let me know… I just guesstimate. One thing I just thought of was to mark the bottom of fermenter for trub then subtract but not sure how practical that would be. My first batch was unevenly carbonated due to siphoning to bucket before adding priming sugar so I haven’t done it since. But I’ll add I was probably way over cautious about stirring

I still stir mine even after siphoning onto the priming solution. I also stir every 12 bottles just to make sure nothing has settled.

I do pretty much the same as porkchop. Before I siphon to the bottling bucket, I boil the water that I’m going to put my priming sugar into. While that’s boiling, I siphon the beer to the bucket. Then when I know the exact amount of beer, I turn off the water, quickly measure the sugar, pour the sugar into the hot water, stir for a few seconds, then place the pot of sugar water into an ice?water bath that I have previously prepared–just a small stockpot with ice and water. Takes about 5 minutes for the sugar solution to cool enough to put into the bucket. All the while I have the bottling bucket covered with foil. So my beer is sitting in the bottling bucket waiting for no longer than about 10-15 minutes. Then after gently pouring into the bucket, I gently stir for about a minute, then stir again about every 12 bottles or so. I’ve been having better success with this method than the “guess how much trub there is” method.



Geez I always use a secondary and NEVER had this problem when I used to bottle. :wink:

When I have a “normal” amount of trub (no dry hops), then I just use the volume in the fermenter for figuring priming sugar. 4 gallons in the primary then I use 4/5 as much priming sugar as the regular batch, so maybe 4/5 x 3/4 = 0.6 cups corn sugar or 1/2 cup table sugar. Ignore the trub. Unless…

If you have a buttload of hop particles in the bottom of your fermenter, you need to swag a bit. So for the same example, maybe just use 1/2 cup corn sugar or 0.4 cup table sugar.

Easy as that, really. Works for me. I can’t say that 100% of my batches are perfectly carbonated. However, about 19 out of 20 are.

Another factor in ensuring consistent results is that it helps to be a little bit lazy. To avoid gushers, ensure your fermentations are 100% complete. And conversely, to avoid flat beer, don’t be TOO lazy (I’ve done that too and learned my lesson).

And by the way… I always bottle. I kegged a couple of times. Don’t know why I don’t keg more often, except that my batch size is really small these days so I don’t see a need for big tanks of CO2, etc.