Is their any wisdom in using more or less priming sugar, or different kinds of sugar when bottling different styles of beer? For instance, English bitter is usually less carbonated than others, so should I decrease the amount?
i dont have any hands on advice for you, but here is a little info i was looking at last night.
this chart is self explanatory, take your temp, your desired level of co2 and use set amount of priming sugar.
no idea what volume of c02 is common in an english bitter, but to answer your question; [quote=“BamaDan528”]Is their any wisdom in using more or less priming sugar, or different kinds of sugar when bottling different styles of beer?[/quote] yes. different amounts of sugar create different amounts of co2 in the finished beer. also different types of sugar, leave different flavors, in the final beer. you can use any kind of sugar, white table, brown, molasses, honey, maple syrup etc…another note, supposedly cane sugar(table sugar) generates a bit more co2 than other sugars. i wanted to try priming with honey initially, but after researching it, the gravity of honey can vary widely from bottle to bottle, batch to batch…good luck i hope it all works out for you!. i would suggest before bottling, maybe take your beer thief, and a few sanitized bottles and play around a bit if possible…add a few different amounts of priming sugar to each, mark them, and wait a week or two and take note, make your final calculations from the beer that was carbonated the best to your liking, and aplly that ratio to your remaining volume of beer.
My experiments in bottling with DME and various types of sugars (table, corn, honey, etc.) found no difference in quality of carbonation or flavor between them. The other problem is that each of those has a different level of fermentability so you can never be sure how carbonation you’ll get from them. Adjust the amount as you wish, but I wouldn’t worry about using anything but table or corn sugar for priming.
Guess what! I found a handy-dandy calculator that will tell you how much and what kind of sugar to use to achieve the C02 volume for virtually any style of beer. http://www.tastybrew.com/calculators/priming.html
Thanks for your thoughtful reply!
Hopefully others will get some use out of this tool.
That calculator is semi accurate. Try it and see how it works for you.
Okay, I’ve been playing around with this calculator, and the amount of priming sugar it says I need seems very very low to me. I’ve been using 4 oz of sugar (corn or cane) per 5 gallons. This calculator tells me, based on a fermenting temp of 68*, that I should use .4 oz. That’s 10X less! Will the beer actually carbonate with so little sugar?
How much carbonation do you want? That would be correct if you want ~1.0 vol, which I’m assuming is what you input into the calculator.
The calculator gives you a dropdown list of different beer styles. I selected English best bitter, and it gave me volume of 1.025.
That’s what I meany by my previous comment. The guy who wrote and owns TB is a good friend. He’s currently rewriting the whole site including the calculators.
Which is fine if that’s what you want, but 1.0 vol is nearly flat. The calculator is correct, but it has no way of knowing how much carbonation you want.
I certainly don’t like my beer flat, but I would like the product to be as close to the authentic style as possible. I think I’ll try cutting back the sugar to half in a few of the bottles and to 1/4 in a few and see what happens. Thanks for all the feedback. I really do appreciate it.
In the end, I bulk primed with 3 oz of refined cane sugar, which has turned out perfect per my expectations. Decanting into a pint glass, it builds a respectable head, leaves behind a pleasant lacing and stays mildly carbonated from beginning to end. In my opinion, it’s what an English bitter should be.
Thanks to everyone for their help. Happy new year!
Our good friends here at NB have a priming calculator.http://www.northernbrewer.com/priming-sugar-calculator/
I just find the style from the drop down menu that is closest to the beer I want to carbonate.
Input temp and volume and done. It’s done a very good job for everything I’ve made so far except a Nut Brown Ale I made. They’re all gushers, but I can’t rule out that I did something wrong like measure incorrectly.
I prime to around three levels, low 2-2.2 volumes, medium 2.4-2.7 volumes and high 3-3.5 volumes. I’ve primed lower and it’s too flat. Bottles need more carbonation than a cask ale. I’ve primed higher and it’s too champagne like and not worth the potential problems. I’m not sure the the BJCP agrees with my assumptions.