Priming Sugar- which to use?

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BeerHammer

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Hi guys! First time poster with very limited home brew experience (I've only brewed a handful of times to mixed outcomes)..

As a main sugar used in primary fermentation, in the past, I have used white table sugar, dextrose, honey and spray malt (in different combinations) and as a priming sugar I've used carbonation drops and Dextrose. I am after the best priming sugar for an American style IPA. My kit's manufacturer says to use 1 tsp of white granulated sugar per 500ml bottle but after a bit of googling I've heard mixed reviews about imparting unwanted flavours. I am using dextrose in the main brew.. does anyone know which sugar I should use as a primer? Does it make much difference?

I also don't want to batch prime, I am just looking to prime per bottle.

Thank you! acheers.
 

MmmBeer

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The cheapest way is to use bog standard granulated sugar. I have read about people using sugar cubes, carbonation drops, boiled sweets, dextrose and spraymalt, but I'm sure the last two would get very messy and there is no evidence that they are better than sucrose for priming.

What is probably more important is getting the right dose in each bottle, IPAs call for 4.5g per litre, so for 500 ml bottles, 2.25g per bottle. the difficulty is measuring this amount consistantly. I tried various teaspoons, level and heaped, adding ten spoonfuls onto my digital scales, until I can usually find one that is close enough for the job.
 

Keruso

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Hi guys! First time poster with very limited home brew experience (I've only brewed a handful of times to mixed outcomes)..

As a main sugar used in primary fermentation, in the past, I have used white table sugar, dextrose, honey and spray malt (in different combinations) and as a priming sugar I've used carbonation drops and Dextrose. I am after the best priming sugar for an American style IPA. My kit's manufacturer says to use 1 tsp of white granulated sugar per 500ml bottle but after a bit of googling I've heard mixed reviews about imparting unwanted flavours. I am using dextrose in the main brew.. does anyone know which sugar I should use as a primer? Does it make much difference?

I also don't want to batch prime, I am just looking to prime per bottle.

Thank you! acheers.
Hi, I recently tried putting some of the same brew in a mini keg with CO2 to carbonate, some in bottles with carbonation drops, some in bottles with table sugar and some with dextrose, identical weight. In a taste test the keg was the best, followed by the dextrose bottles, last place was shared by table sugar and carbonation drops, both of which are largely sucrose. There’s definitely a difference in taste between them, the sucrose bottles do have a subtle but still clearly noticeable bitter, kind of chemical taste, not present in either the dextrose or keg beer. Interestingly today I opened a sucrose bottle and a dextrose bottle, both been in bottle for 6 weeks, the sucrose one fizzed out of the bottle onto the kitchen table, the dextrose one gave a nice psssst sound and stayed in the bottle. The difference in taste even more extreme. The sucrose one is now almost unpleasant. Doubt I’ll ever use sucrose for carbonation ever again, dextrose was way better.
 

strange-steve

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Interestingly today I opened a sucrose bottle and a dextrose bottle, both been in bottle for 6 weeks, the sucrose one fizzed out of the bottle onto the kitchen table, the dextrose one gave a nice psssst sound and stayed in the bottle. The difference in taste even more extreme. The sucrose one is now almost unpleasant. Doubt I’ll ever use sucrose for carbonation ever again, dextrose was way better.
The sucrose primed beer might be unpleasant, but I'd put money on it that it's not because it was primed with sucrose. I not only prime all my bottles with table sugar, but I often add a considerable amount of table sugar during the boil, particularly Belgian styles and it definitely doesn't negatively affect flavour.
 

terrym

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Table sugar. Cheap, predictable, easy to use, and readily obtainable. What more do you want? And as far as I'm concerned ultimately ferments to CO2 and ethyl alcohol and nothing else.
 

Keruso

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The sucrose primed beer might be unpleasant, but I'd put money on it that it's not because it was primed with sucrose. I not only prime all my bottles with table sugar, but I often add a considerable amount of table sugar during the boil, particularly Belgian styles and it definitely doesn't negatively affect flavour.
Hi Steve, I’ve brewed two batches during lockdown where I have kegged and bottled both using sucrose and dextrose, different bags of sugar each time, meticulously cleaned and sanitized bottles and tried multiple bottles from both batches. Sucrose primed was clearly and consistently the worse when tasting them all side by side. The beers were both hop forward IPAs, I’m not suggesting for a second I’m offering anything other than an opinion but for me sucrose was the least favorite for my beer style.
 

Keruso

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Table sugar. Cheap, predictable, easy to use, and readily obtainable. What more do you want? And as far as I'm concerned ultimately ferments to CO2 and ethyl alcohol and nothing else.
Table sugar has all the attributes you mention, but it was in my experience, my least favorite. Perhaps with a different beer style things would be different. As with most brewing questions there isn’t a one size fits all solution, hence to offer advice following experiments may be useful, given the OP question.
 

terrym

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Table sugar has all the attributes you mention, but it was in my experience, my least favorite. Perhaps with a different beer style things would be different. As with most brewing questions there isn’t a one size fits all solution, hence to offer advice following experiments may be useful, given the OP question.
That's fine. You have your view. I have mine. Others will have theirs. As with all things brewing, in the end folks should sort out whats best for them based on what they hear about, read about or learn from their own experience.
 

BeerHammer

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Thanks for your replies so far, much appreciated. Doesn't seem so clear-cut either way!
 

An Ankoù

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Hi Steve, I’ve brewed two batches during lockdown where I have kegged and bottled both using sucrose and dextrose, different bags of sugar each time, meticulously cleaned and sanitized bottles and tried multiple bottles from both batches. Sucrose primed was clearly and consistently the worse when tasting them all side by side. The beers were both hop forward IPAs, I’m not suggesting for a second I’m offering anything other than an opinion but for me sucrose was the least favorite for my beer style.
Ok. You've got me interested. I've never done a side by side test and I've never primed with anything other than sucrose. Maybe Keruso has a point. Only one way to find out. Steve, Terrym et al, have you tried priming with anything else? Let's give it a go. Dextrose is £1.99 a kilo bag at Geterbrewed. If there's no advantage then little lost.
 

strange-steve

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Steve, Terrym et al, have you tried priming with anything else?
I haven't to be honest but as I say I often use table sugar in my beers in much larger quantities than I use for priming, and I'm pretty certain it doesn't add any unpleasant flavours. I'm not convinced that 100g of sucrose will make a noticable difference compared to 100g of glucose. But hey, that's just like my opinion man.
 

Drunkula

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Just looked at my brewing notes and the very first thing was a test of a Cooper's Real Ale with 5 different priming sugars - I remember it not being conclusive

"The day of the full test happened on the 6th of August and it was dismal. I liked the taste of some more than others but couldn't tell what they were. The molasses won. All the beers tasted sour and not very nice. I don't know if there was some hygeine issue - the rubber gasket falling in, for instance, but there's no wow factor."

OMG - I even tried to make a yeast starter with sugar that I had to throw away because it stunk of eggs. So I got some s-04 and then it stuck at 1.020.

Wow baptism of fire.

More from the notes:

"The yeast stuck to the bottom like Angel Delight and I didn’t get a single bit in the bottles"

"I was going to do a test of all 6 side by side on Saturday the 30th but after doing a 10k a day for the previous 8 days I was just too tired had didn't have the funergy. So I just opened a table sugar one.

First taste: (30th of Jul, 15 DAB*) - Definitely homebrew. You know, it's a taste that you completely forget about. It had that, then a half a second of tasting thin, then a bitterness. It's not wonderful but I'm not disappointed either because I always have that don't expect too much thing. AAaaaand it's only 2 weeks in. I did a high-pour into a tall amstel class and the head was stupidly big and I couldn't get it all in and had to find another glass. The bit in the other glass was cloudy and when I drank it afterwards there it was - that tangy home-brewy thing. I don't know what the significance of lacing is but it had loads."

"Second taste: was one bottled with soft brown sugar on the (3rd of August, 20 DAB). Been in the freezer for about 45 minutes and was nice and cold. Bubbles slowly rising from a tall Amstel glass with a head that didn't just run away. The home-brewy tang is still there but it's now hiding behind a chair. [...] It is almost... drinkable. Wonder how much the temperature helps. There was also a bitterness that felt like it made a thin, mesh screen half way through the cavity in your mouth, that's the only way I could describe it. It's kind of like a pint you'd probably deal with in a pub rather than send back."

I can still feel the naivety of it all and thinking because I'd built a temperature controller and brew fridge that it was all going to be amazing straight away. I'd never even though about all grain.

Wow - beer 2 was brewed with 5 different sugars, beer 3 with 5 different yeasts.

Anyway, I do remember the dark sugar adding a little something but it wouldn't be appropriate for all styles.

I'm still trying to get solid info on whether invertase has a flavour and somebody did mention it in one sentence on a podcast but nothing more. Suppose I could just do a litre of sugar vs dextrose sugar wash. Got no dextrose, though.
 

terrym

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Steve, Terrym et al, have you tried priming with anything else? Let's give it a go. Dextrose is £1.99 a kilo bag at Geterbrewed. If there's no advantage then little lost.
Nope.
Never quite saw the point, given the chemistry and the quantities involved.
Be my guest if you want to be bothered with a comparison. athumb..
But why stop there?
Quite apart from differences between cane and beet sugar (I feel sure someone will tell me there is a noticeable difference on the palate), there's priming with honey, DME (different colours) LME (ditto), fructose, barley sugar, carbonation drops, sugar lumps, demerera, 'brown sugar', muscavado sugar, golden syrup, molasses, and blackstrap let alone fruit juice ashock1, all of which I am sure must have been attributed to having contributed much to a beer, both good and bad.
 

An Ankoù

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I haven't to be honest but as I say I often use table sugar in my beers in much larger quantities than I use for priming, and I'm pretty certain it doesn't add any unpleasant flavours. I'm not convinced that 100g of sucrose will make a noticable difference compared to 100g of glucose. But hey, that's just like my opinion man.
That's a very good point, and so do I. What was going through my mind is that when the sucrose is boiled in the wort, the heat and acidity invert it into its component single sugars, while with priming sugar, the yeast has to do that enzymatically before it can get to work and I was wondering if that process might throw up something that could be detected in flavour of the beer. Probably not, but I'll give it a shot anyway.
 

An Ankoù

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Quite apart from differences between cane and beet sugar (I feel sure someone will tell me there is a noticeable difference on the palate),
Never noticed any difference between the two. I think, in the UK, Silver Spoon comes from beet, while Tate and Lyle comes from cane. They taste the same to me. But priming with demerara or various degrees of brown sugar does produce a noticeable difference.
Never tried priming with blackstrap molasses. You ever thought of spooning that stuff into a bottle? :laugh8:
 

Keruso

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That's fine. You have your view. I have mine. Others will have theirs. As with all things brewing, in the end folks should sort out whats best for them based on what they hear about, read about or learn from their own experience.
Ok. You've got me interested. I've never done a side by side test and I've never primed with anything other than sucrose. Maybe Keruso has a point. Only one way to find out. Steve, Terrym et al, have you tried priming with anything else? Let's give it a go. Dextrose is £1.99 a kilo bag at Geterbrewed. If there's no advantage then little lost.
There are many different options to achieve an outcome, for example carbonation. When it come to matters of taste the only certain way to find the method that works best for you is to test.
 

strange-steve

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That's a very good point, and so do I. What was going through my mind is that when the sucrose is boiled in the wort, the heat and acidity invert it into its component single sugars, while with priming sugar, the yeast has to do that enzymatically before it can get to work and I was wondering if that process might throw up something that could be detected in flavour of the beer. Probably not, but I'll give it a shot anyway.
It's certainly possible, but I have also on occasion added plain white sugar to the FV towards the end of fermentation so there was no inversion, including 600g in a dark Belgian ale which won a gold medal in a BJCP competition.

But our senses are notoriously unreliable, I think if we expect to find a difference then we probably will. Maybe a triangle test would be more reliable.
 

Ale House Rock

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Hi guys! First time poster with very limited home brew experience (I've only brewed a handful of times to mixed outcomes)..

As a main sugar used in primary fermentation, in the past, I have used white table sugar, dextrose, honey and spray malt (in different combinations) and as a priming sugar I've used carbonation drops and Dextrose. I am after the best priming sugar for an American style IPA. My kit's manufacturer says to use 1 tsp of white granulated sugar per 500ml bottle but after a bit of googling I've heard mixed reviews about imparting unwanted flavours. I am using dextrose in the main brew.. does anyone know which sugar I should use as a primer? Does it make much difference?

I also don't want to batch prime, I am just looking to prime per bottle.

Thank you! acheers.
I've stuck with glucose for kits that don't provide any primimg sugar cos that's what is supplied with premium kits such as those from Youngs and Festival.
 

martin1256

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Hi guys! First time poster with very limited home brew experience (I've only brewed a handful of times to mixed outcomes)..

As a main sugar used in primary fermentation, in the past, I have used white table sugar, dextrose, honey and spray malt (in different combinations) and as a priming sugar I've used carbonation drops and Dextrose. I am after the best priming sugar for an American style IPA. My kit's manufacturer says to use 1 tsp of white granulated sugar per 500ml bottle but after a bit of googling I've heard mixed reviews about imparting unwanted flavours. I am using dextrose in the main brew.. does anyone know which sugar I should use as a primer? Does it make much difference?

I also don't want to batch prime, I am just looking to prime per bottle.

Thank you! acheers.
Hi,
brewing sugar is a good one, but add it to the mix first mixing well obviously, then just bottle. It takes the stress out of Sugar going everywhere etc.
 

Galena

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I have just bottled with Brewing Sugar as when I first bought my kit I thought that was what I needed, but hey! Worth remembering that you need a little more corn sugar than sucrose.
 

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