Priming Pilsner

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Tipple, Jan 6, 2021.

  1. Tipple

    Tipple New Member

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    Hi there. I've just discovered this forum, so this is my first post.

    I've been brewing beer (and wine) for decades, but usually the simple way using kits in cans.Now I'm working my way through a Pilsner recipe from John Palmer's book, "How to Brew". The procedure specifies fermenting for two weeks at 10°C followed by lagering for five weeks at 5°C. I managed to get fairly close to this (probably around 13°C and 6°C respectively, plus or minus a couple of degrees). I've now brought the brew indoors (it's been lagering on my deck) and am preparing to prime. I'm going to use ordinary table sugar, but the question is how much?

    This is a nominal five gallon batch in a 23 litre carboy. The brew comes up to the shoulder of the carboy, so I'm estimating that it's about 21 litres. The yeast has settled quite well, although the beer is still quite cloudy (I can just see the shadow of my hand through the carboy) so I'm assuming that secondary fermentation will pick up in the bottle once the brew has warmed up a bit and I've added the priming sugar.

    The priming calculator is rather vague about what temperature I should choose for the calculation. If I choose 110 g of sugar, I get 2.7 volumes with 21 litres at 6°C and 2.4 volumes at 13°C. This seems reasonably safe. Can anyone with experience of Pilsner and lagering provide any insight?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    The temperature to use is the beer temperature at the time you add carbonation sugar. This is because more CO2 is dissolved in the beer at colder temperatures. So the calculator assumes the beer is saturated with CO2 at current temperature and atmospheric pressure. Under higher pressure, more will dissolve, giving you the CO2 volumes.
     
  3. Tipple

    Tipple New Member

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    Thank you - that makes a lot of sense. So if the brew has reached, say, 10°C by the time I get around to adding the priming sugar, I should calculate the amount based on that temperature. I might just give it a day or two to reach room temperature so that it's stable.

    Thanks again!
     
  4. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    Lagers can retain CO2 from fermenting. Warming the beer will allow the beer to de-gas, when it's lagering the CO2 remains in solution and if the yeast is active it will add to the dissolved CO2. As the beer warms you may see the airlock activity start back up, this is the beer de-gassing. It takes some time to de-gas (several days), so the calculator tries to compensate for the extra CO2 already in solution. In my experience, the amount of CO2 left in solution from the fermentation/lagering is next to nothing, so if you carb'd it with room temperature numbers, it may have a little more carbonation than what the calculator predicted, but not much more. With a German beer, a little more carbonation is not a big deal. Most German beers are quite lively anyway.
     
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  5. Tipple

    Tipple New Member

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    Thanks. It sounds like I'm on pretty safe ground here. I'm going to rack the beer off the sediment today and then take my time over the bottling. I'll do it sometime over the next day or two and use the calculator for whatever the current temperature happens to be. This is always the most exciting time for me, because I'm only a few weeks away from the first taste!
     
  6. Tipple

    Tipple New Member

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    Well, I've just racked and bottled my brew. The carboy had reached 18°C, so I used 133 g of table sugar per the calculator. The beer could have reached 20°C by the time it hit the bottles, but the difference shouldn't be significant. The beer was quite foamy during bottling, so I hope I don't end up with some burst bottles.

    Thanks for your help - it's much appreciated.
     

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