HOMEBREW Digest #5548 Wed 13 May 2009

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  Ken Schwartz's Brewing Web Page has moved ("Ken Schwartz")
  Priming sugar amounts for larger volumes ("Bill Pierce")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Tue, 12 May 2009 12:47:15 -0600 From: "Ken Schwartz" <kenbob at elp.rr.com> Subject: Ken Schwartz's Brewing Web Page has moved Road Runner changed their hosted web addresses a while back. For informational & search purposes here is the new address: http://home.roadrunner.com/~brewbeer Ken Schwartz Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 13 May 2009 09:46:06 -0400 From: "Bill Pierce" <BillPierce at aol.com> Subject: Priming sugar amounts for larger volumes I've been wrestling with thoughts about priming sugar for some time now. My standard procedure is to naturally carbonate all of my beers, even those that I keg. I've come to believe that the fermentation of the priming sugar helps to purge oxygen introduced during bottling/kegging, which promotes stability and retards staling of the beer. For several years now I've been using ordinary white table sugar (corn or beet) for priming. I notice no cidery or other off-flavors whatsoever resulting from this. I do find that it requires a slightly smaller amount than if I used corn sugar to achieve the same level of carbonation. The standard corn sugar used by homebrewers and for baking is dextrose monohydrate, which has one molecule of water bound to a molecule of glucose. If you do the math with the atomic weights of both molecules (18/198), the result is a water content of 9.09 percent. Therefore if you prime with table sugar it requires 90.9 percent the amount of corn sugar to achieve the same level of carbonation. This is the value I have factored into the carbonation calculations in my brewing spreadsheet, and indeed the results in my beers seem quite accurate (I weigh the calculated amount of priming sugar to the nearest gram). Now the question arises as to the volume of my bottles and kegs. I have a number of kegs, mostly standard 5 gallon corny kegs, but also some 3 gallon cornies and several 15.5 and 7.75 gallon Sanke kegs. As for bottles, most are approximately 12 US fluid ounces (a variety of comparable metric sizes as well), but I often also fill several 2 liter plastic soda bottles from each batch. These are convenient for taking beer elsewhere or for bottles that are consumed relatively quickly at home during family dinners or with guests. There seems to be a difference of opinion about whether it is necessary to adjust the amount of priming sugar for larger bottles or kegs. Some people feel that using the calculated amount of priming sugar for these large containers results in excessive carbonation. They cite the fact that cask ales and 5 liter minikegs should be primed with half the amount or less of the sugar you would use for 12 ounce bottles. I'm wondering if this is largely a myth. My kegs and 2 liter bottles do not seem overcarbonated compared to their smaller brethren. So my question is really if it is correct practice to reduce the amount of priming sugar for larger containers, and if so by what amount. If the effect of the larger container is indeed real, it should be measurable, able to be calculated, and the correct factor used in the carbonation calculations. What does the collective think about this? Inquiring minds want to know. Bill Pierce Cellar Door Homebrewery Burlington, Ontario Return to table of contents
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