Author Topic: Best way to prime your bottles  (Read 2017 times)

Online Wheat_Brewer

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Best way to prime your bottles
« on: November 27, 2010, 11:20:31 AM »
I've noticed with my bottles that the carbonation is inconsistent within the same batch, some are almost flat and others are geysers!  I take my corn sugar, heat it slightly in some water and then mix it in with into the beer in the bottling bucket.  Despite some gentle, but thorough, stirring I can't seem to get the consistent carbonation.  I had some advise to just simply throw the sugar into the bucket and begin stirring, but would that really mix in more effectively than dissolving the sugar in some water first?
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Offline tumarkin

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Re: Best way to prime your bottles
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2010, 11:39:02 AM »
I'd say keep dissolving sugar in hot water first. But it sounds like you're adding that to the beer in your bottling bucket. Try putting the sugar water into the bottling bucket first, then rack the beer on top of it. Putting the tubing at an angle to encourage some centrifugal mixing, combined with some gentle stirring, should get you a good consistent mix.
Mark Tumarkin
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Re: Best way to prime your bottles
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2010, 11:45:24 AM »
Sounds good, maybe I'll just work on the centrifuge effect going and focus on a good stirring.  Thanks!
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Best way to prime your bottles
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2010, 11:16:45 PM »
I'd also make sure to boil it for 5 minutes rather than "heat it slightly".  You want to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved so it will be uniformly dispersed through the beer, plus you get the added benefits of sanitization and making sure all of the O2 is driven out of the water which will help minimize staling.  And like Mark said, you want to put the priming liquid in the bucket and then rack on top of it. :)
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Offline paulie_walnuts

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Re: Best way to prime your bottles
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2010, 07:51:28 PM »
I made the mistake of throwing in the priming solution in a little late and I experienced the same issue that you're having. Thankfully it was my first batch and it was a learning experiecnce. Definately adding this first before racking into my bucket for my next batch.

Offline theoman

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Re: Best way to prime your bottles
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2010, 02:03:49 AM »
Yep, what the others said. I always boil for at least 5 minutes (I use the microwave to avoid carmelization) and add the sugar to the bottling bucket first. I rarely have a problem.

Offline mrbounds

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Re: Best way to prime your bottles
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2010, 10:57:11 AM »
I too have had many problems with inconsistent carbonation and have siphoned the beer on to the sugar mixture and also stirred the beer both at the start and part way through bottling with no improvment (some bottles still gush). I am going to dispense the correct of amount of sugar into each bottle using a syringe on the next batch and see if that solves the issue.

Offline kramerog

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Re: Best way to prime your bottles
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2010, 11:26:07 AM »
I think your carbonation problems may relate to fermentation rather than lack of good mixing.  Are you doing long fermentations before bottling?  Do you keep the bottles warm until they are finished carbonating.  Bad biology results in greater inconsistency than bad chemistry.
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Offline micsager

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Re: Best way to prime your bottles
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2010, 11:35:53 AM »
I've noticed with my bottles that the carbonation is inconsistent within the same batch, some are almost flat and others are geysers!  I take my corn sugar, heat it slightly in some water and then mix it in with into the beer in the bottling bucket.  Despite some gentle, but thorough, stirring I can't seem to get the consistent carbonation.  I had some advise to just simply throw the sugar into the bucket and begin stirring, but would that really mix in more effectively than dissolving the sugar in some water first?
DISCLAIMER:  I have never bottle conditioned beer

But, a Brewstrong podcast opined that part of the problem you describe may be in storage.  Are the bottles packed close together?  If so, the bottles at the center, may be a different temperature than the bottles on the outside. 

But again, I have no clue.  Just repeating JZ.

Offline tumarkin

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Re: Best way to prime your bottles
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2010, 12:09:25 PM »
I've noticed with my bottles that the carbonation is inconsistent within the same batch, some are almost flat and others are geysers!  I take my corn sugar, heat it slightly in some water and then mix it in with into the beer in the bottling bucket.  Despite some gentle, but thorough, stirring I can't seem to get the consistent carbonation.  I had some advise to just simply throw the sugar into the bucket and begin stirring, but would that really mix in more effectively than dissolving the sugar in some water first?
DISCLAIMER:  I have never bottle conditioned beer

But, a Brewstrong podcast opined that part of the problem you describe may be in storage.  Are the bottles packed close together?  If so, the bottles at the center, may be a different temperature than the bottles on the outside. 

But again, I have no clue.  Just repeating JZ.

That doesn't sound likely to me. Maybe if you're looking at early, early carbonation but I can't imagine that the minor temp difference would matter after a few days or more.
Mark Tumarkin
Hogtown Brewers
Gainesville, FL

Offline mrbounds

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Re: Best way to prime your bottles
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2010, 12:29:11 PM »
I think your carbonation problems may relate to fermentation rather than lack of good mixing.  Are you doing long fermentations before bottling?  Do you keep the bottles warm until they are finished carbonating.  Bad biology results in greater inconsistency than bad chemistry.

My fermentations are always at least 6 weeks and my last couple of brews ( one of them did have excessive carbonation, the other was only bottled 3 weeks ago) have been primary only. Hydrometer readings were consistent for a long time and the temperature of the fermentation was controlled at 65F. The last one with the problems I actually roused the yeast (as I to wondered if my fermentation was the issue) and warmed it up to 72F for a couple of days but no change in gravity. Attenuation is also usually just about right for the various strains of yeast used too. All the beer tastes good so I dont think I have any infections so other than inadequate mixing I am at a loss.

Offline mrbounds

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Re: Best way to prime your bottles
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2010, 12:30:19 PM »
Oh my bottles are kept at cellar temp which right now is about 60F until I put them in the fridge usually the day before drinking.

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Re: Best way to prime your bottles
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2010, 10:03:54 PM »
So as an update the last batch seemingly came out a lot better when I racked onto the priming sugar and gave a good stirring.  I've been afraid of stirring too much and introducing oxygen. 

To answer the other question I've fermented for at least 1 week, usually 2, and have maintained a steady final gravity well within the expected ranges.  So I don't think it's a fermentation issue, but could it be an issue of introducing some bottles with a lot of yeast and others with very little?  I guess I assumed that the little yeast I did bottle would get evenly distributed, along with even distribution, with a little stirring.  Maybe some got primed with more yeast and sugar.  We'll continue to see how the results are with racking onto the priming sugar and some good stirring. 
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Offline Hydro

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Re: Best way to prime your bottles
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2010, 02:23:50 PM »
I take my corn sugar, heat it slightly in some water and then mix it in with into the beer in the bottling bucket. 

You mention, "some water".  That's not vary specific.  I would recommend using 5 cups of water.  This helps the sugars dilute into a thinner syrup.  Yes please bring syrup to a slight boil for 10 minutes.  Then let cool to at least a few degrees above the temperature of the beer.  Syrup in first, then beer.  Litely stir the mixture in the primming buckett for a few seconds, each minute changing direction of the stir, for 10 minutes.  This should help you in making sure that the sugars have had enough time to mix into the beer before you start bottling.

I have another brewer friend who swears by the Coopers sugar tablets.  He drops one tablet into a standard sized bottle.  Before he drops the tablet into the bottle he moistenes the end of the tablet with clean steril water or beer from the cornie keg and then litely touches it onto a dish of dry yeast.   It only takes a few grains of yeast with the sugar tablet to work consistently.  He is vary satisfied, and has won many compititions which he has entered his beers.

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Offline jeffy

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Re: Best way to prime your bottles
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2010, 03:05:09 PM »
I take my corn sugar, heat it slightly in some water and then mix it in with into the beer in the bottling bucket. 

You mention, "some water".  That's not vary specific.  I would recommend using 5 cups of water.  This helps the sugars dilute into a thinner syrup.  Yes please bring syrup to a slight boil for 10 minutes.  Then let cool to at least a few degrees above the temperature of the beer.  Syrup in first, then beer.  Litely stir the mixture in the primming buckett for a few seconds, each minute changing direction of the stir, for 10 minutes.  This should help you in making sure that the sugars have had enough time to mix into the beer before you start bottling.

I have another brewer friend who swears by the Coopers sugar tablets.  He drops one tablet into a standard sized bottle.  Before he drops the tablet into the bottle he moistenes the end of the tablet with clean steril water or beer from the cornie keg and then litely touches it onto a dish of dry yeast.   It only takes a few grains of yeast with the sugar tablet to work consistently.  He is vary satisfied, and has won many compititions which he has entered his beers.

For the Love of Beer,
Robert

Wow, five cups of water would dilute the beer a bit more than I'd want.  I haven't been bottle conditioning for many years, but if I did I would use the beer I was going to bottle instead of water to mix and boil the sugar.  I've been using beer from the batch I want to clarify for my fining additions in the keg also.  I just don't want to dilute the beer with water any more than I have to.
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