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Mikes15

do you need to use carbonation drops?

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Just about to bottle my first time hop slam IPA,

 

Just brought the drops, $8.50 a pack but im wondering if its really worth bothering with these?

 

The distillery I use says sugar is fine but noticed a couple of recipes say;

 

"Bottle the brew with a priming rate of 8g per litre (2 carbonation drops per 740/750ml bottle)."

 

but others say:

 

"Add carbonation drops at the rate of 1 per 330ml/375ml bottle and 2 per 740ml/750ml bottle. Sugar or dextrose may be used at the rate of 8g per litre (approximately 6g of sugar to a level metric teaspoon).

 

Is this to suggest that with some you need to use drops but with the others it is ok to use sugar?

 

Ive never used drops before but also not brewed a coopers recipe that has the "Bottle the brew with a priming rate of 8g per litre (2 carbonation drops per 740/750ml bottle)." term.

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Greetings Mike,

 

Some find carbonation drops the quick and easy way to achieve accurate bottle priming. I tried them once, and found they wouldn't fit down the necks of some of the tallies I was using, so gave up, and have been using sugar ever since. I still use a 1 tsp measuring teaspoon, but you can get little brown measuring devices, 1 tsp at one end, and half tsp at the other.

 

But the main answer is no, you don't NEED to use carbonation drops - they're a convenience thing. My view is that sugar's cheaper.

 

The other priming method is bulk priming, where at the end of the fermentation, you rack (transfer) the brew into another container already containing the appropriate amount of sugar, and then just bottle. The sugar should be evenly distributed, so avoiding over-priming. Again, personally speaking, for me this sounds like more trouble than it's worth, and increases the potential for infection. MY VIEWS ONLY - others will swear by it.

 

More than one way to skin a cat, as they say. cool

 

 

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Thanks guys,

 

Just had a read of that, so am I right in that if you want less gas then just use less prim ie less sugar, does this not effect the alcohol level etc?

 

I have been a bit disappointed by how gassy some brews come out, to me, being from England, ale & stout should be frothy but in no way gassy like most shop brought beers here in NZ seem to be, I often say so called Ale in NZ is more like lager with a bit of caramel thrown in for colour & flavour!!

 

I read that brown sugar can be used so do you just use what ever suits the flavour you are looking for?, I tried putting melted honey in a few bottles once, still worked & it did seem to give a sweeter & better holding head.

 

I always choose raw sugar for my coffee, white for tea & honey for hot Toddy's so maybe I already know the answer!!

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks guys' date='

 

Just had a read of that, so am I right in that if you want less gas then just use less prim ie less sugar, does this not effect the alcohol level etc?

 

I have been a bit disappointed by how gassy some brews come out, to me, being from England, ale & stout should be frothy but in no way gassy like most shop brought beers here in NZ seem to be, I often say so called Ale in NZ is more like lager with a bit of caramel thrown in for colour & flavour!!

 

I read that brown sugar can be used so do you just use what ever suits the flavour you are looking for?, I tried putting melted honey in a few bottles once, still worked & it did seem to give a sweeter & better holding head.

 

I always choose raw sugar for my coffee, white for tea & honey for hot Toddy's so maybe I already know the answer!! [/quote']

 

Yes, less priming sugar will simply mean less gas/carbonation. Using a little less priming sugar will have only a very, very small effect on the alcohol level, like 0.1 to 0.2 difference.

 

You wouldn't be the first person to only use 1 carb drop in a 750ml bottle, some prefer it like that. It comes down to the style of beer and preference.

 

While I havent used brown sugar for priming, you can use it Im sure.

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Thanks,

 

Seems like its time to experiment with this brew,,

 

Will try the following into 750 swappa crate glass bottles and report back in a few weeks;

 

1 CD.

2 CD's.

1 TSP white sugar.

1/2 TSP white sugar.

1 TSP melted honey.

1/2 TSP melted honey.

1 TSP Raw brown sugar.

1/2 TSP raw brown suagr.

 

that will be a fun night of testing / tasting!!

 

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G'Day Mike, I like the way you think, experiment, drink the results and learn. wink

 

You being the brew master you can tailor your brew to suit you, not some commercial imperative.

 

I found this online calculator that may be of interest? Priming Calculator... it gives you the choice of metric or US gallons.

 

Happy brewing.

 

Cheers.

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Wow, that's very interesting,

 

so for an English style ale, and this is an IPA after all, the recommended amount of table sugar is 2.1<3.6grams at 22'c , no where even close to the 6g per 750 on the recipe!

 

With that on board ill add to the list;

 

1/4 tsp white sugar.

1/4 tsp raw brown sugar.

1/4 tsp melted honey.

 

Might need to get a mate around for the tasting night or it wont be very acurate towards the end of the testw00t

 

 

 

 

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Yep. You're bang on Mike. For my tastes, even 6g per litre is getting too much. I'm bottling an APA for myself next weekend, and I'm planning 5g per litre, which is usually how I prime my bitters.

 

I reckon we lose a tonne of flavour through over gassing our beers. I've spoken to two people from micro breweries here in SA who bottle condition their beers. One of them said that commercially, he uses 5g/L, but when brewing for himself he will use even less.

 

The other brewery apparently use 5.6g/L for their ales.

 

For a weizen or Belgian Blonde I would probably prime around 7-8g, but everything else gets 6g/L or less these days.

 

Fizzy beer sucks. sick

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Thanks' date='

 

Seems like its time to experiment with this brew,,

 

Will try the following into 750 swappa crate glass bottles and report back in a few weeks;

 

1 CD.

2 CD's.

1 TSP white sugar.

1/2 TSP white sugar.

1 TSP melted honey.

1/2 TSP melted honey.

1 TSP Raw brown sugar.

1/2 TSP raw brown suagr.

 

that will be a fun night of testing / tasting!!

[/quote']

Honey and brown sugar added in such small amounts will not alter the flavour of the beer and honey is messy and sticky.

 

White sugar sells for under $3/kg at present. I prime ordinary ales with a heaped, kitchen teaspoon of white sugar - approx. 5g. Heavier, darker styles with a level teaspoon.

 

At 5g / bottle = $0.015

 

Far, far cheaper than carb drops.

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Well,

 

brew is out of the bottling cupboard & been getting stuck into it, so far just the carbonation drops & white sugar bottles, results so far =

 

2 drops = way to gassy, fizzing in the mouth & over powers the taste.

 

1 drop = very nice, still a little on the gassy side but prob needs that bit of sparkle.

 

1 TSP W Sugar = Again really to gassy but also has a some what a more sharp / tang taste to it, defiantly doesn't taste the same as the drops or as good for that matter, a bit like the difference between brewing with Dextrose & liquid malt gives.

 

1/2 TSP W Sugar = Much better, like with 1 drop, a good level of gas but not fizzing the mouth, still has a slightly different taste to the drops though.

 

Will get onto the other combinations soon smile

 

 

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Howdy Kilometres

 

It sounds like you really enjoy the result from the drops, much more so than the white sugar. I'm really just thinking out loud here rather than having considered all the implications.

 

Perhaps before bottling you could draw off 500 mls or so into a sanitised 1 Litre Pyrex jug. Calculate your ideal level of carbonation for the whole batch, and place in the required level of carb drops for the whole volume. Using very short zaps in the microwave (say 30 sec bursts on medium) slightly warm it (no higher than say 25-30 Celsius), and stir to dissolve the drops. when dissolved, pour back into the fermenter and carefully stir it in a little, but not so much as to upstet the yeast cake much. Hygeine will be ultra-important here.

 

I often do something similar using dextrose (without the microwaving since it dissolves so easily) when I rack it for cold crashing in the fridge.

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So the results came in sups & swallows over the last few weeks as I worked my way through the batch,, but here they are,,

 

1 CD.

2 CD's.

1 TSP white sugar.

1/2 TSP white sugar.

1/4 tsp white sugar.

1 TSP melted honey.

1/2 TSP melted honey.

1/4 tsp melted honey.

1 TSP Raw brown sugar.

1/2 TSP raw brown suagr.

1/4 tsp raw brown sugar.

 

2 drops = way to gassy, fizzing in the mouth & over powers the taste.

 

1 drop = very nice, still a little on the gassy side but prob needs that bit of sparkle.

 

1 TSP W Sugar = Again really to gassy but also has a some what a more sharp / tang taste to it, defiantly doesn't taste the same as the drops or as good for that matter, a bit like the difference between brewing with Dextrose & liquid malt gives.

 

1/2 TSP W Sugar = Much better, like with 1 drop, a good level of gas but not fizzing the mouth, still has a slightly different taste to the drops though.

 

1/4 TSP W Sugar = still ok, not a lot of gas & does flatten off quite quickly in the glass but perfectly drinkable.

 

1 TSP melted honey = Not bad, nothing to complain about(!), mild to low gas & a reasonable froth to start. Possibly a smother flavour & slightly less tang than the others.

 

1/2 TSP = Prob to flat to be fair, a little foam to start but no gas or fizz at all after even just a short while in the glass.

 

1/4 TSP Honey = As above but worse, to flat & lifeless.

 

1 TSP Brown sugar = Actually much better than 1 TSP of white or 2 CD's, less tang than white sugar, simular to 1 CD but I think theirs a more caramel flavour.

 

1/2 TSP Brown sugar = Again, better, less caramel notes but possibly not enough gas / fizz.

 

1/4 TSP Brown sugar = Less, Less & less!, not enough to be honest.

 

All in all, I wont bother with Honey again, the brown sugar is a definitely sound option but possibly requires slightly more in volume than White sugar. CD's are good but 2 is quite simply madness, you may as well drink a vodka & coke with some molasses in it!!!!

 

I will go with either 1 CD, 1/2 TSP White sugar or 2/3 TSP of Brown sugar as my priming for ale style beers now but of course I am accustomed to hand pumped English keg ale and thats the holy grail of home brew for me since you cant buy it in NZ other than $$$ imported English bottles.

 

 

 

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G'day Mike well done and thanks for putting that information up for us all to see.

Did you think to try dextrose as your priming sugar? Some people even use light dry malt.

I use dextrose and have found the amount I like, but I have not used light dry malt. wink

 

Cheers.

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