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Priming Sugar Calculator Question

I’m new to home brewing and will be bottling my second ever batch this evening and had a question about the priming sugar calculator on NB’s site [http://www.northernbrewer.com/priming-sugar-calculator]. It asks for the type of beer, temperature, and volume of beer in gallons. I’m brewing a 5 gallon batch of Sierra Madre (NB’s extract kit). I’ve seen that it’s recommended to add the priming sugar mixture first, then siphon the beer in to the bottling bucket to ensure the mix is better. What I’m struggling with though is this: I have 5 gallons of beer in my fermenter, but that includes the trub in the bottom, which obviously won’t be making it’s way in to the bottling bucket. Am I better off siphoning the beer in to the bottling bucket to get a true measure of the volume of beer, then calculating the priming sugar amount based on that and adding it to the beer already in the bottling bucket? I’m trying to avoid over carbonation. The first batch I made was slightly over-carbed. I used the NB calculator for that batch too, but added the dissolved priming sugar before syphoning beer in to the bottling bucket. Thanks so much in advance for any guidance anyone may have.

Don’t siphon the turb. Siphon the beer into your bottle bucket and leave the beer alone that’s on top the turb. Then calculate your priming sugar at the amount of beer you have in the bucket. Not the batch size you brewed

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Thanks. I knew not to siphon the trub, I was just confused about if it was ok to add the sugar once the beer was already in the bottling bucket because I’ve read that doing it that way can result in uneven carbonation among different bottles in the batch. Sounds like I don’t need to be worried about that as long as I stir well?

I’ll just ask a question first. How will you calculate the volume of beer racked to the bottling bucket? Factory markings on buckets are notorious for being wrong. The only way to know the real volume is to mark the bucket yourself with measured volumes of water. The fifth gallon could be measured in quarts.

Racking the beer first to find the true volume will require stirring the beer to mix the priming sugar well. A larger volume of water with the dissolved sugar will give better mixing results. Stirring too hard also risks oxidation.

At 68°F for 2.4 volumes of CO2 in 5 gallons of beer will take 118 grams of corn sugar. 118 grams of corn sugar in 4.5 gallons of beer will result in 2.6 volumes of CO2. Not too much of a difference.

Do you weigh the amount of priming sugar used or use volume measurements? Weighing is more accurate.

Are you sure your first over carbonated beer was done fermenting before it was bottled. I’m working with this problem right now. Even though the specific gravity held steady for 6 days the SG dropped 7 points in the bottle over the next month. Not caused by infection either.

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Thanks for the insight! I thought about the problem of how I’d calculate the volume of beer after racking to the bottling bucket too…seems maybe I’m trying to be a little TOO precise here. Yes, I do measure the weight of the sugar - I bought a digital scale because I had read about the accuracy.

I also agree that my first batch maybe wasn’t finished fermenting - or maybe had finished fermenting too quickly. I started brewing the first batch and THEN read up on how important temperature control was…so I think my fermentation on that batch was done too quickly. With this batch, I kept the bucket in make shift swamp cooler and maintained the temperature in the high 60’s throughout. Also left it in the primary for what will be 6 weeks tomorrow, so I know for sure it’s done this time. So you’d recommend just using 5 gallons as the volume and go with that, adding the sugar to the bottling bucket before racking?

Mine are marked out with 1/2 gallon increments… I suspect I can tell if its close to a quart too much, or too little. Do measure accurately, like Flars recommends… Do this with water before you put your brew in it… You need to sanitize it anyways, right? Sneezles61

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Great suggestions, i will mark the bottling bucket before I rack the beer in to it. Still a little unclear though…is it ok to add the priming sugar after racking and just stir it in really well?

Yes, do put your priming sugar in the bottling bucket. As to when, well, that would open up a huge discussion on when and why. You need to do all this as quietly as possible. If you slash around alot, try create a vortex mixing your brew and priming solution, you’ll get O2 into your brew. That will cause off flavors and rapidly decrease your shelf life… Hopefully when you rack, your tubing is laying on the bottom of the bottling bucket, and do tip the bucket for a bit to ensure the end is submerged as quickly as possible, then let it set flat. Its been a long time since I bottled, but I know I did introduce O2 into my brew, and the beer wasn’t much good… My wife would wrinkle her nose at me and then dump it out…:pensive: Sneezles61

I remarked my bottling bucket (and yes it was not accurate) and go by what the amount of beer that I have racked into it, not strictly going by 5 gallons. Depending on the amount of trub, taking samples, etc. you can end up with quite a bit less than 5 gallons of delicious beer to bottle up. That being said that first few batches I did I just used 5 gallons for my calculation and never had a bottle bomb but did notice on one batch in particular that it was more carbonated than I wanted. So I add the priming sugar after transfer to bottling bucket and carefully slowly stir it in, then give it a little time to mix and carefully slowly stir again. Have not had a problem yet.

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Thanks for everyone’s advice…very helpful. I finished bottling last night and I think this definitely prevented me from over carbonating my beer! I guess I’ll know for sure in 2-3 weeks!

You tell us how it worked for you! Sneezles61

It worked GREAT! Perfect carbonation.

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Dumb question, did you just use a sharpie to remark the volume lines in your bottling bucket? Did you mark the inside or the outside? I just did my first 5 gallon batch of slobber and may have over carbed it but I will know in 3 weeks. I do think it will turn out better than my one gallon batch with fizz drops! Haha.

I marked the outside with a sharpie…using light and shadows and science :grinning:

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Oh great, now your a scientist, eh Unc? :smile: Sneezles61

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I’m technically a scientist. Haha. I have a B.S. in Medical Laboratory Science and work in a lab. :wink: Haha

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