Sugar varieties used for priming

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Lil guy, Jul 25, 2018.

  1. Lil guy

    Lil guy Member

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    #1 Lil guy, Jul 25, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018
    I had been on a quest to learn how to properly Krausen for priming. In the process, I read priming content suggesting that we can prime with a wide variety of sugars to prime, and that each will provide a very different finished product in the flavor. For example, using cane sugar to prime will produce a significantly different flavor in the range of cider like flavor than using a corn sugar. I didn't quite retain every single aspect of which compounds and flavors were attributable to which type of sugar, but that there is indeed a consensus among brewers that each results in a differing beer, much like yeast variables.

    When I got my start into drinking beer at legal age (That's my story and I am sticking to it), I used to drink a krausened lager that was mass produced because it was cheap and my father drank it rather consistently. It wasn't the greatest beer, but had a ABV around 5% and had a sweet flavor suggesting the grain bill was to be the star of this brew. I recently found that the beer is still being made, but under a different brand name than it was when it became legal for me to consume it. I got some, and it was exactly as I remember. I have expanded my consumption of beer to develop a wider understanding of differences in, and the varieties of beer.

    I believe the suggestion that consuming bottle conditioned beers with yeast cultures (as they are said to have B complex vitamins) having a softer mornings that follow is deserving of consideration when bottling. This is the only reason I am compelled to krausen for priming purposes. After my last boil and chill I drank the sample for the purpose of understanding the wort's sugar content on taste. It tasted like sugared breadiness. I know that breadiness isn't in the dictionary, but that appears to be the best way to articulate it's flavor composition. Irregardless the sweetness was as noticeable as the layers in the 5 malt composition. There is so much sugar in the grains we use, that to use a krausen to prime almost seems natural as there is no variance other than time to bottle condition. My suggestion is only not to discount krausening a beer until krausening becomes derogatory to your beer, as I am sure it could. There could also be a missed opportunity to improve on a recipe we already enjoy.

    There is little to read on the forums concerning krausened ales, or the process of krausening an ale. Specifically because the process takes an ale to a lager time frame in its development. To me it seems as though brewing an ale is meant to provide a finished product in a shorter time than lager. Krausening an ale is indeed valuable, if we are willing to undertake the added measures to accomplish it successfully. I am sure my day with bottle bombs is coming as I expand the inventory of beers that I am brewing as each recipe is different, not to mention each brew repeat-ability is anomalous. Each time I brew a beer, it seems like I am relearning something.

    We all have different results we expect from brewing that originate in individual preference and personal satisfaction. Knowing that, I take no issue with anyone who handles their priming, or even brewing for that matter in a different way than I would. This is a process of accomplishment for ourselves. We get from our beers exactly the variables only attributable to which we invest. I am not suggesting everyone do something because I say to, I suggest it as a process to develop the fullest understanding of what we can do with beer on an individual basis.

    I drink to be happy, and drinking many different beers makes me happy. I have friends who brew in completely different manners than I do, and drinking their beers gives me just as much satisfaction as drinking my own concoctions.

    Sorry to compose a post that reads like a blog, just felt like this great hobby forum could use some useful conversation that we could all learn something from. If I am not learning, I am not improving as a result of not paying attention.

    CHEERS!
     
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  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Beer lore 101: I can tell you with great certainty that using cane sugar to prime does not produce cider-like flavors in beer. In fact, given a mix of sugars, brewer's yeast will go for the cane sugar - sucrose - first, plus sucrose is present in every beer wort in much larger quantities than we'd use for priming. That out of the way, krauesening was a way developed by the Germans to prime in compliance with the Reinheitsgebot. It supposedly reduces diacetyl in finished beers by reintroducing actively fermenting beer, the active yeast in it then consumes the diacetyl (why it doesn't produce any of its own remains a mystery to me). I am in no way discounting krauesening and have had the same experience with crappy, mass-market "Krauesened" beer, a marketing ploy kind of like "beechwood aging" and "pure Rocky Mountain spring water" (I-70 runs along their "spring", Clear Creek, up the mountains - and it gets a LOT of road salt in the winter). If you want to do it, do it. I simply encourage you to know why. Interestingly, no other great beer culture other than Germany, bound by the Reinheitsgebot, uses krauesening to condition beer. They use sugar, in some form.
     
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  3. Lil guy

    Lil guy Member

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    This is exactly why I wanted to post what I did. I read content that suggested the outcomes of differing sugars on beer. Every single batch of beer I have brewed, I krausened to prime. From primary to bottling bucket with the prescribed amount of krausen, with exception of the first batch as I hadn't been exposed to The Great Krausen/Gyle Calculator that BF offers. I have yet to brew one that was undrinkable. The final result was beer. However reading about priming variables there is an abundance of information that is either factually inaccurate, or completely based solely on opinion. With the addition of a 15 gallon kettle now, I actually have the ability to parse said information by filling two carboys with identical wort, and bottling under differing conditions, differing yeasts, and differing methods. If only I had more ingredients, time, and carboys I could undertake a corporate level of experimentation. Until then we will have to just discuss it among the group. :) Cheers.
     
  4. Aub

    Aub Active Member

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    I've used cane and corn sugar to prime in the past and never had a cider like taste in my beer.......I now take the easy way out and force carbonate in the keg, I use corn sugar for the couple of liters that wont fit in the keg.
     
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  5. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Cheers back at you! One reason I've never tried krauesening is it's too much of a hassle.
     
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  6. Lil guy

    Lil guy Member

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    I have been using my fermenter to schedule my brew sessions. When the primary is finished, I brew to supply my bottling process with the high krausen for conditioning. With an 8 week turnaround on krausened bottled ales, I'll have a 3 case cycle every two weeks. The liver is bad, it must be punished. :p
     
  7. KC

    KC Active Member

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    Throughout history, Ale-type fermentation has been the standard because it happens naturally at warm ambient temperatures. Lager was an attempt by central Europeans to brew beer cold in caves, and found it took longer. Everybody likes cool beverages but they were very hard to get before modern refrigeration in the 1900's.

    ...300 years later when brewing became industrialized and science finally had an answer to how fermentation worked. The purity law was written to the way beer was brewed at the time - open, spontaneous, wild fermentation. It would carbonate naturally over months of secondary fermentation in barrels.
     
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  8. Lil guy

    Lil guy Member

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    #8 Lil guy, Jul 26, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
    Great Conversations! I have been reading about sugar chains and arrived at what I consider a valid point. We are accurately controlling temperatures of our mashes to establish desired chain lengths to elicit properties in our ferments that create certain flavors and traits to our finished products. If the sugar chains in our priming methods are identical or as close to identical as possible, wouldn't we be a step closer to repeatable? Again, great conversations! On a side note, I recently watched a Beersmith podcast where the it was suggested that the Reinheitsgebot was a law more aligned for tax purposes rather than purity. I'll see if I can find it.

    UPDATE :At around 6 minutes
     
  9. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Being able to read German, it is more about price and tax than purity, at least the 1516 version (I have the entire text of the law on my beer stein). The part we continually quote is a very small part of the law, most of it was what could be charged for a beer.
     
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  10. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    And you've got to take into account the Bavarian breweries using it as a way to bully the breweries from the other states when Germany formed.
     
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  11. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    I just got back from Germany and the Czech Republic. Krausening is not done, at least not much. They carbonate in the bright tanks via spunding valves at every place I went.
    I drank Schlenkerla right out of the lagering vessels in the cellars with the brewmaster! I did the same in hand-dug old cellars at Pilsner Urquell.
    Schlenkerla:
    sch3.jpg sch2.jpg SCH.jpg
     
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  12. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    Pilsner Urquell:
    PU.jpg PU2.jpg pu3.jpg
     
  13. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I kind of thought that.... It's an expensive process that a commercial brewery, provided with a less expensive option that produces equivalent results, would not do. It was a solution to a problem that no longer exists or, for that American brewery mentioned up-thread, a marketing ploy.

    I'll keep using my cane sugar, thanks.

    Und das ist ein schoeness Bier!
     
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  14. Lil guy

    Lil guy Member

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    For me, krausening offers a couple of benefits. That is not to suggest there is a blanket benefit for everyone, as each of us presents a variable to the process of brewing to begin with. I have no CO2 equipment, so dropping in the fresh ferment at high krausen then mixing it to bottle offers a schedule to brew that really doesn't elicit much more in the line of steps, actually less as not having to do anything beyond skim at high krausen and pitch to my bottling bucket or keg at time of packaging. The calculator here on the site has worked flawlessly so far. I had a stroke 6 years ago and motivation is a problem due to physical and sensory limitations. The reasons I stay with the process are for the increased amount of yeast in the finished product, and to keep the sugar chains as close to identical as the original wort. If there are any other variables to repeat-ability, they will hopefully occur from outside a domain that I control. I have toyed with recipes to brew that I would regularly drink, and explore recipes from other brewers or the market. I know it sounds like ignorance to some, but there are no guarantees that the quality or grades of the sugars we buy are even consistent. From Beet sugar to Corn sugar to Cane sugar or any other sugar there is the variable of processing them and no guarantees that they only include what we purchased. (Insert Sugar Purity Law here). HAHAHA Just 2 cents from a beginner. Cheers Gents.
     

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