Author Topic: Prime Dose Review  (Read 2895 times)

Offline hmbrewing

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 46
    • View Profile
Prime Dose Review
« on: December 20, 2014, 01:57:47 PM »
Hi Everyone,

Not a frequent poster here, but I've decided to post a review of Prime Dose Carbonation Tablets. When I was considering purchasing these tablets I couldn't really find much in terms of detailed user feedback. So I hope this may help a few of you who are on the fence. I purchased a bottle of Prime Dose a couple of months ago with the intentions of using it in a stout. I ended up fermenting about 5.50 gallons and wanted to keg the first 5 and bottle the rest. I thought it would be a great way to quickly and easily bottle the roughly leftover .50 gallon. Here is my experience.

Prime Dose has the tagline of "carbonate like the pros!". Cost is $20 per bottle for 200 tablets. Your usage rates for normal carbonation (roughly 2.4 volumes if I had to guess) is 2 tablets per 12oz bottle and 4 tablets for 22oz bottle. You simply drop them into your bottles, fill with beer, and cap. Super simple.

Kegging/Bottling Day:

After kegging my first 5 gallons I then sanitized roughly 6 bottles. I have a spigot on my fermenter, so I was easily able to attached my bottle filler to the fermenter. Right before I filled, I dropped 2 tablets into each bottle, fill and cap. Again, super simple. Almost immediately, the tablets opened up and began to release the sugar and yeast. So far so good! I ended up with 5 full bottles and placed them in my fermenting room at 70 degrees.

1 Week Later:

Time to check on those bottles! I grab one and notice something very weird and strange floating on the top of the beer? It does NOT look appealing at all. Then I realize - it's the gel cap from the tablet. You have to be kidding me. After some google searching I see that there are other users who are also experiencing this. Supposedly, the company that manufactures these claims they had a problem in 1% of their batch where the gel caps would not dissolve completely. Only 1%? Really? I work in manufacturing and I know exactly what that means - it's either 10% or it's the entire lot. They are definitely down playing the number of tablets affected. Just my opinion so don't hammer me about it. After some continued searching I see that some users are vigorously shaking the bottles in an effort to get the capsule to fully dissolve. At this point I have nothing to lose, so back down to the fermentation room for some vigorous shaking! I shake all 5 bottles. No more gel capsule! They seemed to have dissolved! Or so I thought.

An additional week later:

Time to crack open a bottle (after it had been refrigerated of course). Prior to opening, I do not see any signs of the capsule. So I open it up and pour it into my glass - just to watch a gelatinous mess plop right into my glass. Absolutely disgusting! It didn't dissolve at all - instead - it just sank to the bottom. What the hell. So, I grab a strainer and proceed to pour my beer from one glass, through the strainer, into another glass. There it is sitting in the strainer - a gelatinous goo that almost looks like a newborn jelly fish. Yuck! Talk about being turned off. I could NEVER pour this beer for a guest and expect them to drink it after they see what plops out of the bottle. At least - not until I've filter it through a strainer.

OK...so...I got that out of the way. You get the point. They have a problem with the gel capsule that needs some serious fixing.

Carbonation:

Newborn jelly fish aside - I actually found the carbonation level to be developing nicely. It had only been 2 weeks and I do know that these capsules take a little longer. But from what I could tell - you could see how evenly and nicely the beer was carbonating. So they got that right for sure - whatever the mixture of sugar and yeast is - it works and I can tell that these tablets will give very consistent and repeatable results each and every time.

Taste:

The beer is delicious and from what I can tell, the tablets have NOT affected the flavor in any negative way at all. No off flavors, no excess sweetness - nothing - nice and clean.

In summary: the only flaw is also the BIGGEST flaw - the capsule not dissolving properly. Whenever I crack open the remaining bottles, I will have to pour it through a strainer. Luckily, this beer can take the extra frothiness that comes from that. Not sure it would be OK to put an IPA through that. If I offer up the bottled version to a guest - no way I can pour it in front of them. It'll come with the caveat of "sit right here and wait while I pour it for you". That's actually tougher than you think as many guests like to follow me to my beer room to check things out. Or - maybe I'm the only one to drink the remaining 4 bottles seeing as how it'll be on tap shortly anyway. Yeah...that's probably the answer.

I am now stuck with 190 tablets of which I have NO intention of ever using again. That's a shame - because so far this product is definitely delivering on the promise of "consistent and repeatable levels of CO2".

Back to boiling priming sugar on my stove. A technique which has never let me down.

Cheers!
I brew beer, I drink beer...it really is that simple

Offline majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 9642
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Re: Prime Dose Review
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2014, 03:01:06 PM »
Thanks for the review!

Offline yso191

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1785
  • Yakima, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Prime Dose Review
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2014, 04:14:09 PM »
Yep, good to know.  I try to keep my beer free of boogers.
Steve
All Hands Brewing
BJCP #D1667

Offline Lazy Ant Brewing

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 412
    • View Profile
Re: Prime Dose Review
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2014, 02:20:09 PM »
For my last two batches of stout, I've used one Domino sugar "dot" per 12 oz bottle as an alternative to boiling a sugar solution, cooling it and adding it to the bottling bucket and I'm happy with the results. Great carbonation and faster.

I started doing this after having uneven carbonation on a previous batch of ale using the customary method. To give the accurate info on my carb problem, I did have one minor departure from standard procedure. I was using a Mr. Beer fermenter and so did not rack the beer from a primary into a bottling bucket. I added the cooled priming solution and stirred it gently, waited 1/2 hour for it to go into solution and bottled. I had done this before with ok results, but not this time.

Some of the bottles were totally flat and other were gushers. Obviously, I either didn't get it mixed well enough or it settled out in the half-hour interval before I bottled it.

So far the Domino sugar dots are working great, and I'll continue to use that method as long as I like the results. Took six bottles to a party and everyone liked the brew including one guy that is also a homebrewer.

Perhaps it won't work for all styles or for those who may be more particular than me.

At 68 F one dot will produce about 2.5 volumes of CO2 in a 12-oz bottle according to Northern Brewer's priming sugar calculator.
It's easier to read brewing books and get information from the forum than to sacrifice virgins to appease the brewing gods when bad beer happens!

Offline Stevie

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6858
    • View Profile
Re: Prime Dose Review
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2014, 02:31:41 PM »
I check the baking aisle any time I go to a new grocery store, still have yet to find the appropriate size. Bought some coopers drops, but paying $6 for 60 bits of sugar is just dumb.

Offline reverseapachemaster

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3144
    • View Profile
    • Brain Sparging on Brewing
Re: Prime Dose Review
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2014, 03:47:07 PM »
I don't know that I would even want the gel to dissolve into the beer. I'm perfectly fine boiling cheap table sugar for my bottling needs.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing

Offline majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 9642
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Re: Prime Dose Review
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2014, 04:04:31 PM »
I bought some of the prime tabs to bottle condition a barley wine that I don't feel like moving - its in a stainless keg in the basement. I played around with cutting the tabs open on one end and pouring the solution into each bottle and it is a pretty easy alternative so I will probably go that route.

Offline mattybrass

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 164
  • Another round please!
    • View Profile
Re: Prime Dose Review
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2014, 04:37:55 PM »
I have a barleywine that's ready to be bottled. I might try the domino's dots route with a little champagne yeast sprinkled in each bottle since this beer has been aging for a few months already.

Offline klickitat jim

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8479
    • View Profile
Re: Prime Dose Review
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2014, 01:09:10 PM »
For my last two batches of stout, I've used one Domino sugar "dot" per 12 oz bottle as an alternative to boiling a sugar solution, cooling it and adding it to the bottling bucket and I'm happy with the results. Great carbonation and faster.

I started doing this after having uneven carbonation on a previous batch of ale using the customary method. To give the accurate info on my carb problem, I did have one minor departure from standard procedure. I was using a Mr. Beer fermenter and so did not rack the beer from a primary into a bottling bucket. I added the cooled priming solution and stirred it gently, waited 1/2 hour for it to go into solution and bottled. I had done this before with ok results, but not this time.

Some of the bottles were totally flat and other were gushers. Obviously, I either didn't get it mixed well enough or it settled out in the half-hour interval before I bottled it.

So far the Domino sugar dots are working great, and I'll continue to use that method as long as I like the results. Took six bottles to a party and everyone liked the brew including one guy that is also a homebrewer.

Perhaps it won't work for all styles or for those who may be more particular than me.

At 68 F one dot will produce about 2.5 volumes of CO2 in a 12-oz bottle according to Northern Brewer's priming sugar calculator.
Are there different sizes? What is the weight of your dots?

Offline ram5ey

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 46
    • View Profile
    • Isaac Ramsey Design
Re: Prime Dose Review
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2014, 12:53:49 AM »
I don't bottle condition any more, but I had the best success with the coopers carbonation drops. Well as fall as going for speidel to bottle.
Atlanta, GA
BJCP Certified

Offline Lazy Ant Brewing

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 412
    • View Profile
Re: Prime Dose Review
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2014, 03:12:44 PM »
According to the  description,   the box, contains 198 cubes with a total net weight of 1 lb. or 2.29 g/cube.  The box also says that 1 cube = 1/2 tsp. of sugar.

I sanitize my bottles in batches of seven, and pick up a cube with fingers that are damp or possibly a bit wet with sanitizer, and drop it in the bottle.  When all seven bottles have a cube, I fill them, cap them and repeat the process.

While the dots are fairly uniform in size --they are not perfect cubes-- occasionally one will want to stick a bit as I'm putting it in the bottle. I just "cram" it in and go on.  To date, I've not had a single spoiled brew.

I think the cost for 198 dots was a bit more than $2.00 at Wally World, and for the ease of using worth it to me.
It's easier to read brewing books and get information from the forum than to sacrifice virgins to appease the brewing gods when bad beer happens!

Offline micsager

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1179
    • View Profile
Re: Prime Dose Review
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2014, 08:08:27 PM »
First off, let me say that from the beginning, I have force carbed in kegs.  It's how I started.  Never really bottle conditioned.  But now that wew are doing 1bbl batches, there was always a half gallon or so left int he fermenter after filling six kegs.  So, I bought a jar of prime dose and always have some sanitized bottles ready.  Of the 8-10 times I have used prime dose, I have NOT noticed any residue from the gel capsule.  But, It's always been a month or so before I have even opened any of those bottles. 


Offline Black Sands Brewery & Supply

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 112
  • Head Brewer - Black Sands
    • View Profile
    • Black Sands
Re: Prime Dose Review
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2015, 03:20:21 AM »
I don't bottle condition any more, but I had the best success with the coopers carbonation drops. Well as fall as going for speidel to bottle.

+1 for the coopers drops. Always consistent reults.


I used the prime dose to attempt to carb my wedding gift beers and i had major consistency issues. I'm guessing due to how much yeast was still around when i bottled the different beers. My HG belgian stout 10% abv that i used 3787 on were all super over carbonated even with just 1 dose pill per 12 oz bottle.

my 2 cents is the prime dose pils have dextrose AND yeast in them so over carb can be an issue if you have a low attenuation beer...
Free recipes available for download on our website www.blacksandsbeer.com

Offline erockrph

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6195
  • Chepachet, RI
    • View Profile
    • The Hop WHisperer
Re: Prime Dose Review
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2015, 01:28:07 PM »
I don't bottle condition any more, but I had the best success with the coopers carbonation drops. Well as fall as going for speidel to bottle.

+1 for the coopers drops. Always consistent reults.
+2 - I use them for all my small batches that get bottle-primed.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline dkfick

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1054
    • View Profile
Re: Prime Dose Review
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2015, 05:36:09 PM »
I've pretty much gone through a bottle of the prime dose now... I have not had any issues with the gel capsules not dissolving.  I will admit I brew often enough I'm not like rushing to open a bottle after I brew a batch... I generally let it sit a good 3 weeks bottle conditioning... I will also add I have not done a whole batch I generally only bottle condition a few bottles if all the beer doesn't fit in my keg.
BJCP A0936 National Beer Judge and Mead Judge
Cicerone Certified Beer Server
AHA Member
CRAFT Homebrew Club
Sons of Liberty Homebrew Club
HBT "mors"