Author Topic: Naturally carbing, adjust sugar amount for style?  (Read 2705 times)

Offline anje

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Naturally carbing, adjust sugar amount for style?
« on: October 24, 2012, 03:18:50 PM »
I've got an Irish stout in the fermenter and am starting to think about bottling it. This one came from a kit from Midwest Supplies. 5 gallon batch.

Said kit came with a 5oz packet of corn sugar for priming. Am I right in thinking that it's too much sugar and the carbonation will make the beer overly harsh?  I'm currently thinking I should reduce it by about half, but I'd appreciate confirmation from someone more experienced with the effects carbonation has on taste and mouthfeel.
<-- microbiologist brewster n00b.

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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Naturally carbing, adjust sugar amount for style?
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2012, 04:25:11 PM »
It depends on the style and the temp of the beer. The calculator that I use.

http://hbd.org/cgi-bin/recipator/recipator/carbonation.html

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Offline mihalybaci

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Re: Naturally carbing, adjust sugar amount for style?
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2012, 06:29:58 PM »
That seems like a bit much to me. I used 125 grams (~4.4 oz) in my APA and I think it was a bit over carbed, I probably wouldn't use more than 4 oz.

It depends on the style and the temp of the beer. The calculator that I use.

http://hbd.org/cgi-bin/recipator/recipator/carbonation.html

ooh, that's a nice calculator.

Online tygo

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Re: Naturally carbing, adjust sugar amount for style?
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2012, 06:36:58 PM »
Also keep in mind that the beer temperature you enter in that, and other, calculators, should be the highest temp that the beer has been at, which in that calculator is the, "Beer temperature at bottling" field.

For example:  If you were to ferment an ale at 64F, then ramp it up to 68F at the end, and then cold crash to 34F for a couple of days to crash the yeast and clear things up, the value you would enter in that field should be 68F.  Even if when you're bottling it the actual temperature of the beer is 34F.
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Offline sparkleberry

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Re: Naturally carbing, adjust sugar amount for style?
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2012, 07:09:30 PM »
really? oh man!

i use the same calculator. i had no idea about properly entering temperature.

no wonder my carbing hasn't been stellar the last few batches.

i learn something new just about everyday here!

thanks everyone on the aha!

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Offline euge

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Re: Naturally carbing, adjust sugar amount for style?
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2012, 10:19:22 AM »
I keg prime often. I've heard you should use 75% of the recommended sugar for priming bottles. To me- this is just one of those wild assertions that you hear but with only vague data to back it up. My suggestion is to use the normal amount that you would use when priming bottles. This is what I do and the beer is just right.

And if the beer is over carbed just vent the keg a few times; bottles would be significantly more difficult to correct.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline anje

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Re: Naturally carbing, adjust sugar amount for style?
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2012, 10:59:08 AM »
I keg prime often. I've heard you should use 75% of the recommended sugar for priming bottles. To me- this is just one of those wild assertions that you hear but with only vague data to back it up. My suggestion is to use the normal amount that you would use when priming bottles. This is what I do and the beer is just right.

And if the beer is over carbed just vent the keg a few times; bottles would be significantly more difficult to correct.
Even if I were set up for kegging (I'm not), this one would be a no-go. I was asked by a friend to make a bunch of 6-packs of dark beer for groomsmen gifts. This is a test batch for that, make sure that the kit's not totally vile and that there's nothing major I need to change for the real run. As such, I want to bottle these.  My hopes are that a dry stout will be of broad appeal to a number of palates and beer-experience levels.
<-- microbiologist brewster n00b.

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Offline euge

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Re: Naturally carbing, adjust sugar amount for style?
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2012, 11:13:09 AM »
I apologize for not comprehending the thread properly!

As far as corn sugar I don't use it but use cane sugar instead. Regardless, the point is that the cooler the beer the more residual carbonation is extant. So if your beer is 65* when bottling it will have more dissolved co2 in the solution than if it were at 75*. So at 65* you will need less sugar to achieve the desired volumes of co2 than at higher temperatures.

And it was previously correctly pointed out that the temp that the bottles will prime has no bearing on volumes but this does affect how quickly or slowly they will carbonate.

SO +1 to the calculator! I use it...
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Online mtnrockhopper

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Re: Naturally carbing, adjust sugar amount for style?
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2012, 11:15:49 AM »
really? oh man!

i use the same calculator. i had no idea about properly entering temperature.

no wonder my carbing hasn't been stellar the last few batches.

yes, some CO2 stays dissolved in beer during fermentation, but the warmer the beer, the less CO2 it can hold in solution.  When warmed, some of the CO2 is released. When cold crashed, CO2 won't go back in because fermentation is over (so no more is being produced). It could go back, but it would need a source, such as a CO2 tank.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Naturally carbing, adjust sugar amount for style?
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2012, 12:06:10 PM »
I keg prime often. I've heard you should use 75% of the recommended sugar for priming bottles. To me- this is just one of those wild assertions that you hear but with only vague data to back it up. My suggestion is to use the normal amount that you would use when priming bottles. This is what I do and the beer is just right.

And if the beer is over carbed just vent the keg a few times; bottles would be significantly more difficult to correct.

Euge - try this in a mini-keg or another container that cannot be vented.  You definitely want less sugar to carbonate a larger volume.  I have turned mini-kegs into footballs when not following this process.

I've not had any issues with larger bottles (1-liters and magnums) but I don't think that the volume is as significantly different as when your filling a 5-liter mini-keg.  Plus, magnums are pretty sturdy and can handle a lot of pressure.
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Offline hubie

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Re: Naturally carbing, adjust sugar amount for style?
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2012, 03:59:31 PM »
I usually shoot for only 1.5 volumes or less when I do British beers, so I end up adding a lot less.  I keep a printout of John Palmer's carbonation nomograph (http://www.howtobrew.com/images/f65.gif)taped to the inside cover of my brewing log.  For me, that means I would end up adding only about 2 oz sugar. 

The other thing to keep in mind is make sure you have a good idea to what volume of beer you are adding your sugar because, to first order (at least for bottle conditioning, I still don't understand the "use less sugar for keg conditioning" issue -- is it a headspace thing?), the carbonation level scales with beer volume.  If only 4 gallons make it into your bottling bucket, you'll have 25-percent more carbonation than you were expecting.  You, of course, have to scale the nomograph number you get since it is based on a 5-gallon batch.


Offline euge

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Re: Naturally carbing, adjust sugar amount for style?
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2012, 04:20:06 PM »
I agree about the amount of sugar being cut by 25% is BS. My thought is that it's one of those "homebrew myths" that developed because some brewer just stated it on a forum. Do it all the time and neither have I had overly foamy kegs nor had one distort or rupture due to non-venting.

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Offline anje

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Re: Naturally carbing, adjust sugar amount for style?
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2012, 08:23:27 PM »
Well, we'll see soon how it turns out. I ended up using 2.7 oz of sugar for, well, whatever the volume of beer that was. Smidge under 5 gallons, I suppose, since I only got about 50 bottles. (Too much trub and tasty hydrometer samples!) So I'm shooting for roughly 2 volumes of CO2 -- I want enough carbonation that the uninitiated won't gripe that it's flat, not enough to make it sharp. 

I do regret not having had a soda bottle in the mix for carbonation-checking.
<-- microbiologist brewster n00b.

Hops and toothpaste don't mix.