Using Priming Sugar To Bottle Homebrewed Beer

bottling beer

Using priming sugar to bottle homebrewed beer is often ignored as a topic. However, the carbonation method significantly affects a beer’s overall flavor and experience. Whether this is your first or tenth batch, priming is essential in making great beer. Furthermore, you can achieve fizz by increasing the number of fermentable sugars added to the beer before it is bottled or kegged.

Priming sugar adds carbonation when bottling homemade beer. You can use any sugar to make priming sugar, including white, brown, and even Belgian candy. There are, however, alternatives to sugar, such as maple syrup and molasses. Honey can also be used to impart a distinct flavor.

What Is Priming Sugar?

Priming Sugar refers to any sugar added to a beer after fermentation to kick off a secondary re-fermentation in a bottle, can, or keg. Natural carbonation and enhanced flavor are the results. If you add the sugar in a solid form, you must do it more frequently than if it’s in a liquid state. After that, you can transfer it into the conditioning tank or the final container.

You can add the yeast simultaneously with the priming sugar to the beer. The yeast consumes the priming sugar and releases carbon dioxide inside the tank or package. Priming sugar can also add more flavor and aroma to your beer during the bottling process. In essence, all you are doing is providing the yeast with one more source of sugar for you to obtain the most significant possible advantage from your yeast.

How Do You Make Priming Sugar For Beer?

Some say to pour one teaspoon of sugar directly into the bottle when making priming sugar, but bottles may not carbonate uniformly using this approach, and cleaning up can be a pain. The more general solution is to use three-quarters cup of household granulated sugar or one and a quarter cups of dry malt and boil it in 500ml water for ten minutes.

After cooling the mixture (with the cover to prevent contamination), it is placed into the fermenter. You can also use a bottling bucket. However, instead of pouring the solution into the primary fermenter, you can run it into a sanitized bucket. Then, beer is transferred slowly from the primary fermenter to the secondary fermentation, poured on top of the priming sugar solution, and bottled.

This way, the priming solution does not need to be stirred into the fermenter, and the yeast is left in the primary fermenter, reducing sediment in the bottles.

What Alternative Can I Use Instead Of Priming Sugar?

Priming sugar (corn sugar) is a popular choice among brewers, but there are other ways to add carbonation to your beer. You can use almost any ingredient that contains sugar. For example, you can use Belgian Candi syrup, molasses, maple syrup, agave nectar, or even demerara sugar. Furthermost of these items are readily available at your local store, so getting your hands on them won’t be difficult.

Using any of these alternatives won’t affect the beer negatively. Although you will have to make some alternations in the dosage, It’s a good idea to mix the other options with some water and boil them before adding them to your bucket. Remember that the beer you make will taste slightly different depending on which sugars you use. The sugar you add can be one more way your beer stands apart from the crowd.

For example, you might pair brown sugar with a stout or brown ale. There’s nothing like a touch of sugar to elevate a solid brew.

Can You Use Honey As Priming Sugar?

You can use honey as priming sugar as many recipes call for it, as they have many applications and help the process. First, add one cup for every five gallons of the batch when replacing the sugar with honey. Next, boil the honey in 8-16oz of water, pour it onto the bottom of your bottling bucket, and then rack your beer into your honey mixture.

If you want to add a little honey flavoring to your mixture, you can add it when it boils. Add the honey when the water starts to boil for no honey flavor, and if you want a light honey flavor, add it in the middle of the boiling process. Finally, if you want a strong honey flavor and aroma, you can add the honey when the water has finished boiling.

Suppose you introduce it at the very end of the primary fermentation process. In that case, it has the potential to raise the alcohol concentration while also contributing to a more robust honey flavor and aroma. Additionally, you can use honey to bottle condition beer and provide carbonation. It is up to you to decide how much of a honey flavor you want to impart on your beer because you can add up to half of your total fermentable sugars in the form of honey.

Does Priming Sugar Make Beer Sweeter?

Sugar shouldn’t sweeten your beer during priming because its purpose is to increase carbonation. However, the priming sugar supplies such high concentrations. All of it gets fermented into carbon dioxide by the yeast left over, so no sugar is left over to enhance the beer’s flavor. If your beer tastes sweeter, the yeast did not ferment all the sugar.

There are a few reasons your beer tastes sweet after the process. One could be that you did not allow the ferment enough time to get all the sugar out, or another could be that you have added too much sugar to your mixture. A high level of alcohol can also cause the yeast to have a lower tolerance. Your yeast also needs a little air, so if there is not enough air in the bottles, your beer could taste sweet. It would be best to leave about an inch of air in the bottles.


You will have to perfect this process when you use priming sugar in your homebrewed beer. We recommend that you use white granulated sugar. However, alternatively, you can use any sugar. The yeast will consume your sugar, so there will be no sweetness to your beer. If there is sweetness, something probably went wrong as you added too much sugar, or maybe there wasn’t enough air in the bottle. If that happens, don’t stress too much and try again.


Dan Specht

Dan has been homebrewing beer for 8 years and holds a level 2 certifiication as a Cicerone.

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