Residual Sugars and Bottling---Must we add sugar?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by The Grand Yordle, Jul 11, 2014.

  1. The Grand Yordle

    The Grand Yordle New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hey there! So 2 weeks ago I brewed my first batch of beer using dry extracts. I plan on bottling (possibly tomorrow!) depending on what my final gravity reading is. However, from what I've read, it appears most people will add a "priming sugar" right before getting ready to bottle. The concern out there regarding final gravity is, if the residual sugar and the priming sugar combined is too great, then there could be bottle bombs. On the other hand, not having enough sugar can result in lack of carbonation in your finished product.

    My question is (for my next batch), if I calculate how much residual sugar there would be say, 3 or 4 days prior to my final gravity reading, can those sugars be used to generate carbonation, thus eliminating the need to add a priming sugar altogether?

    On an extension to that, does anyone do that now?
     
  2. The Grand Yordle

    The Grand Yordle New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
  3. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    7,471
    Likes Received:
    3,625
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Managment
    Location:
    The Ozark Mountains of Missouri
    if you ferment correctly, there shouldn't be any sugar in the wort after fermentation which is why you add sugar to carbonate, wait until fermentation stops, 7 to 10 days and you shouldn't have to worry

    recipe is fine, should be tasty! ... but one suggestion since your starting gravity is 1.064 you will need a starter or 2 yeast for that gravity
     
  4. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    Messages:
    936
    Likes Received:
    422
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Germany
    The short answer, yes.
    The long answer, see the reply from OMB.
    I had some serious issues with much higher than expected attenuation with WLP007, with the fermentation continuing well after bottling. In an attempt at preventing gushers, I tried bottling w/o priming sugar. It only partially worked... :?
    As OMB said, if you have your fermentation 100% under control, then it should be done by the time you bottle. At the same time, if you have it that far under control, you *can* theoretically bottle just before fermentation has finished.
    BUT!!! Remember, by bottling, you are pulling the beer off the yeast. So any further fermentation in the bottle afterwards will be somewhat more unpredictable...or at least take longer.
     
  5. The Grand Yordle

    The Grand Yordle New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks for your input! Unfortunately I already started this so I can't do a starter hehe. The fermentation started 14 days ago from now. Tomorrow I'm getting a refractometer in the mail, and since I failed to take an original gravity reading, I'm going to use that and a hydrometer to estimate my original gravity with a calculator/converter I found online. Hopefully it'll be close to my recipe and if it's ready I'll bottle this weekend!
     
  6. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    7,471
    Likes Received:
    3,625
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Managment
    Location:
    The Ozark Mountains of Missouri
    if you had this fermenting for 14 days it should be done, unless your trying to settle the solids in the same vessel, I don't recommend that for an ipa. I would say start bottling any day now and condition in the bottles

    most fermentations actually only last 5 days, the rest is just trying to get things to drop to the bottom and keep your wort clear, any time after that will only give you 1 or 2 points lower in gravity
     
  7. The Grand Yordle

    The Grand Yordle New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Wow that quick? I haven't been taking readings yet, today will be the first day, but that's good to know!
     
  8. nzbrew

    nzbrew Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2014
    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    44
    Trophy Points:
    28
    I don't worry about the whole testing on multiple days to check fermentation is finished. The beer stays in the fermentor for 2 weeks, then I take the FG and as long as it's where I think it should be for the recipe then I move it along.

    If you start trying to estimate residual sugars and use them for carbonation you're asking for trouble I think. I'm sure it is possible, but would be pretty hit and miss.
     
  9. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,548
    Likes Received:
    6,881
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    Answering the original question: Too much room for error and a serious danger in trying to predict final gravity. If you miss by too much, you have little bottle bombs throwing glass shrapnel in your conditioning area. Miss by less and you have gushing beers from excess carbonation. Wait until it's fully fermented then prime, only then do you have complete control over how much carbonation will result.
     
  10. coffeeguy

    coffeeguy New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2014
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Another "yes" to the question. When I first started, I'd have a lot of gushers. I finally figured out that I was priming correctly, BUT I was getting impatient. As soon as the airlock activity stopped, I'd prime and bottle but it was likely the primary fermentation wasn't finished yet so that plus the priming sugar pushed things over the top.

    I now leave the brew in the fermenter for a few days after bubbling stops and FG stabilizes, which doesn't hurt flavor as the yeast hasn't autolyzed yet at that point. I suppose you could rack to secondary and let it sit too, but bottom line is that the safest way is to let it sit regardless and make sure the fermentation is complete. The priming sugar (or wort if you're krausening) is enough to re-awaken the suspended yeast and carbonate the beer once it's bottled.

    One other concern is mostly cosmetic, and if you're krausening it's a non-issue, but if you're bottling early and forgoing the priming sugar then you'll have that residue ring inside your bottles. Still, if you're consistent enough and can predict your fermentation that accurately, and if it works for you, then by all means continue. One less step equals an easier brewing experience, right?
     
  11. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,548
    Likes Received:
    6,881
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    Yeast under beer is stable for months. Don't worry about the few days after the airlock stops bubbling.
     

Share This Page

arrow_white