I recently siphoned my beer (which was originally 5 gallons) into a smaller carboy for secondary fermentation. My guess is that I have around 4 gallons in the carboy now for secondary fermentation. When I am ready to bottle and put the priming sugar/water mixture in the bottling bucket do I need to make adjustments for this? I have heard that if you use too much sugar that the beer can get over carbonated and cause bottle breakage. Should I just reduce the recommended amount of sugar and water by 1/5 when boiling the water and priming sugar? This is for the caribou slobber extract kit.
NB has an online calculator
that you can use to figure out how much priming sugar to add. I’d suggest using it in any case; the instructions they include with the recipes all suggest the same one-size-fits-all amount that isn’t necessarily appropriate to the style of beer the kit makes.
Yes, reduce your priming sugar. You’ll be glad you did.
I’m not an expert by any means, but I don’t think using all of it will result in bottle breakage. BUT I do think you could end up with over carbonated beer. which is a pain in the rump to pour. if you really are down to 4 gal I would scale it back a bit as well perhaps.
Having said all of that - 1 gal seems like a lot to lose by moving to a secondary. are you sure you are down that low?
My thought exactly. When I transfer the carboy is usually filled to right around where it starts to narrow. Maybe a little bit above. You’re not expecting to get right up the neck like a water cooler bottle?
I’m assuming this was an extract kit with new equipment, so correct me if I’m wrong. But with that assumption, here’s some of my first few batch’s lessons learned.
The first thing I can think of is that you didn’t get ANY brew pot sediment out, meaning your 5 gal fermenter was filled to 5 gallons, minus the transferred sediment. But even then I don’t see a full gallon lost. (I did a Slobber kit a few weeks ago.) While others use whirlpool techniques to avoid getting this stuff in the fermenter; I use NBs big double mesh strainer. When it clogs I use a sanitized spoon to scrape the gunk from middle to sides. As I recall, CS clogged the strainer REALLY effectively.
Next, if this is a new fermenter bucket, did you trust the “5 gallon” line on the side of the bucket? Don’t. We kept coming up a few bottles short of 2 cases, so we used a 1 gallon container 5 times with tap water and found the pre-printed line was off by a good half inch. We sharpie-marked our own 5-gal line and have yielded at least 2 cases ever since.
Next, maybe you’re too conservative transferring from primary to secondary. Most of the REAL need for a secondary doesn’t seem to apply to 5-gallon batches, (autolysis) so when I transfer I try to get all the beer while minimizing, but not completely avoiding sediment transfer. I’ll leave a few ounces of beer behind, and maybe suck up a few ounces of the sediment. That sediment fell out once, it’ll fall out again. The more you try to avoid getting ANY sediment, the more beer you’ll waste.
I agree that it was a lot to lose moving from primary to secondary. I am estimating that it’s about 4 gallons now. I am using a glass carboy and I did measure out water to mark a line with some electrical tape. At least for 5 gallons. Maybe I will go back when the carboy is empty and Mark lines for each individual gallon. The beer was a bit cruddy at the bottom so I didn’t transfer it into the secondary carboy. I was having a hard time siphoning the beer from primary to secondary. I think my hose was a bit short and need to get something a little bit longer. The elevation drop wasn’t very steep. I haven’t looked for it yet but I guess I’ll try it going to the norther brewer calculator for priming sugar and water that someone on this post recommended. This is my first batch and am finding that I made quite a few mistakes. Hopefully the beer turns out ok after i bottle it. I guess things will get better as I grew more and more.