And finally, bottling day has arrived. As a homebrewer, there is nothing better than knowing you are getting one step closer to being able to crack the top on one of your delicious fresh new brews.
In today’s post, we are going to look at using carbonation drops vs priming sugar and I am going to help you make sure that when you go to pop that top you get the perfect “popping sound”, carbonation and head when you pour it into your glass.
Because there is absolutely nothing worse than grabbing a bottle of your beer, popping that top, and having a massive beer gusher come flying out of the top of the bottle because you over-carbonated it; or almost as bad pouring it into your glass and the beer has no head and is flat because you under carbonated it.
Both of these have happened to me in the past and they both result in some choice words being said… never a good thing.
So to avoid these two catastrophes from happening to you we are going to discuss how to carbonate perfectly every time.
The Traditional Way of Carbonating Beer
For years how most home-brewed beers was carbonated in a bottle was by adding priming sugar individually to each bottle of beer using a spoon; or by batch priming which is adding sugar to all of the beer before putting it in the bottle.
Priming sugar (dextrose) is manufactured using corn, which reacts with the yeast still in the beer resulting in a natural carbonation. Most people recommend that you add the priming sugar to water and then boil it before adding it to the beer.
There are a few problems with using priming sugar instead of carbonation drops.
It is messy. Trying to add the sugar directly into the bottle can be tricky and most times results in more than a few spills of sugar down the side of the bottle.
It takes time. Adding sugar directly to each bottle takes time. It can be a tedious task and it is one of the reasons people complain about bottling beer versus kegging it. Even batch priming takes quite a bit more time than using carbonation drops.
It is not accurate. Using priming sugar can be tricky to get the right and same carbonation level between each bottle. Some will be just right, others over-carbonated, and some under carbonated. It’s just the nature of carbonating with priming sugar.
Carbonation Drops are a Game-Changer
In my books, carbonation drops were a game-changer when it comes to naturally carbonating in beer bottles. And I actually prefer drinking a naturally carbonated beer versus one carbonated in a keg with C02, they just taste better and have a better mouthfeel to them.
But I use to hate having to add sugar to the bottles and I did not like batch priming any better. Carbonation drops made it a whole ton easier to bottle beer and once I started using them I never turned back.
Bottling homebrew becomes an incredibly easy thing to do when you use carbonation drops. All that you need to do is add 1-2 drops to your beer bottle before filling them with home brew. Then simply pour the brew into the bottle. Be sure to leave around one-two inches of space at the top. Let the bottles sit for 7 – 10 days and voila you have perfectly carbonated beer ready to be enjoyed.
So what is a Carbonation Drop?
Good ol’ sucrose AKA sugar!
That’s it sugar. I tend to prefer the Coopers Carbonation drops and the exact ingredients for them are 73% dextrose and 27% glucose. They also do not have any additives or preservatives in them.
So why use them versus priming sugar? The main reason people use them is if they want to make their bottling process simpler and less time-consuming, as well as keeping the mess and clean-up time down.
The other great thing about them is that using a carbonation drop like Coopers ensures that each bottle of home brew is provided with the exact same amount of sugar. This provides for a consistent carbonation across all of your brews and prevents the gushers from happening.
Gushers = equals beer erupting out of the top of your bottle like a volcano when you open one due to over carbonation.
As well because these drops are made up of 73% dextrose and 27% glucose I have found that you do not get any of the off-flavors you can get from some of the other sugars people use to carbonate their beer. This ratio of dextrose to glucose adds a nice mouthfeel and carbonation with no change in the taste of how the beer is supposed to taste.
How You Use the Carbonation Drops
No question that using these drops is the simplest part of the whole beer-making process. The same cannot be said for priming sugar.
Once you have cleaned and sanitized your bottles, all you do is simply drop 1-2 into each bottle and fill them up with your homebrew. Again be sure to leave about 1-2 inches of space at the top of each bottle. This allows room for the C02 that is going to be created and makes sure you do not have any exploding bottles. Which is far less likely to happen with drops vs priming sugar.
Put the caps on the bottles and Bada Boom Bada Bing you are done! Easy peasy!
How Many Drops Per Bottle
OK, a few times in this post I have said add 1 – 2 drops to the beer bottle. So which is it, 1 -2?
Of course, that depends on the size of the bottle you are using. This is not overly complicated so don’t overthink this. I have never had a problem with my beer being over-carbonated or under carbonated using Coopers Drops.
So use one drop for bottles that are 350 ml (12 oz)
I also use one drop for bottles that are 500 ml (16 oz). Some people recommend using 1.5 drops. Up to you if you want to cut them in half and do so. First, maybe try 1 and if you don’t think it is carbonated enough, next time around use 1.5.
For 750 ml (25 oz) bottles I use 2.
And for 1-liter bottles, I also use 2, but again I have heard tell of people using 2.5. So up to you.
It’s not an exact science but those figures have worked great for me.
Frequently Asked Questions about Carbonation Drops
FAQ #1: Do you have to sterilize them before using them?
Unlike priming sugar where it is recommended to add it to some boiling water, you do not need to sterilize the drops.
Simply make sure your hands are clean and remove the drop directly from its bag and put it into the bottle and you will be fine.
FAQ #2: Do I add more or fewer drops depending on the style of home brew?
This is Make Beer Easy so the quick answer is no you do not need to worry about it. And I would recommend not worrying about it. The carbonation will be just fine for all styles if you follow the previous instructions on how many to add per bottle.
The technical and more advanced answer is that different styles can call for different levels of carbonation. But when you start to get into varying levels of carbonation between styles of brews you are really overcomplicating things and the average home brewer would not only never worry about such things, but would most likely never be able to tell the difference between the carbonation levels between the different styles.
FAQ #3: How long will it take for my home-brewed beer to carbonate?
There is no difference in time between using Coopers drops or any other brand as compared to using normal priming sugar.
My answer is always let your beer age as long as you can stand it. Most styles taste much better with age.
Your brew will have some decent carbonation within 7 days, and be pretty much fully carbonated in 14 days. But again if you can wait at least 4 weeks you are going to have a great tasting beer on your hands.
And again this is not just a trait of these drops but of any carbonating methods including using C02; the longer the beer ages and conditions the better. The exception would be super hoppy beers like NEIPA’s as they do better fresher.
A Few Quick Tips for Carbonating Your Home Brew
Tip #1: Watch the temperature of the room that you are carbonating in. Carbonation occurs because the yeast in the beer comes back to life as you add more sugar to it. As the yeast eats the sugar it produces C02. So just like when you are fermenting your homebrew; if the room is too cold the yeast will go to sleep and not carbonate the brew.
If the room is too hot you can get off-flavors. A good rule of thumb is to keep the space you are carbonating in at around the same temperature that the room you fermented in was. Typically, I shoot for a room temperature between 65 – 70 Degrees F (18 – 21 C).
Tip #2: For any of you cider home brewers out there, yes you can use the drops to carbonate your cider as well and the measurements would be the same.
Tip #3: Although these drops are very inexpensive to use they are slightly more expensive than just using normal priming sugar like dextrose (corn sugar). So my advice is when ordering them online order in a few packets at once at it will cut back on your shipping fees.
Tip #4: And lastly if you decide to use dextrose (corn sugar) then be careful of over carbonating the beer or you can end up with exploding bottles or gushers. The rule of thumb is ¾ a cup of dextrose for a 5-gallon batch. And I have found if I am adding the sugar directly to the bottles, that 1 tsp works great for the 1-liter bottles.
If you need help bottling your beer you can check out the following post as it is a full instructional guide on how to bottle homebrew.
If you want to order some drops check out my top 5 favorite online vendors here, the support is appreciated:
To Sum it Up
In the end, deciding whether to use carbonation drops vs priming sugar comes down to what you prefer and how you want to brew.
Choose the methods that is better suited for you. Carbonation drops are quick, easy, simple, and less messy. Whereas priming sugar takes more effort, is messier but is a bit less expensive.
Give them both a try if you are torn between which is best suited for you.
And again my recommendation and experience has been that Coopers makes the better of the sugar drops on the market.
If I can answer any questions you have add them in the comment section below and I will be sure to get back to you. Also what is your experience with priming sugar, which method do you prefer, let us know!
Cheers, Big Robb is out!
90 thoughts on “Carbonation Drops vs Priming Sugar – Which is Better?”
I have the Cooper’s carbonation drops. They weigh approximately 3.6 grams each. Would I use one drop in a 600cc plastic Coke bottle? Or would I find a way to cut them in half and use 1.5 drops in the same Coke bottle? Thank you for your help.
600cc is the same as 600 ml I believe? If so then no need to cut the drops in half. I use 1 drop in 500 ml bottles and they work great. Should be good to go. Cheers.
I used two (7.2 grams) in a 1000cc bottle on April 29. They plastic bottles are still kind o’ soft after three days of conditioning. There is trub on the bottom of the bottles. I think for the next batch I’ll use common sugar cubes. 3.6 grams x 2,5 carbo drops is 9 grams of sugar per liter bottle. Anybody know if carbo drops are common sucrose, or some sort of sugar beermakers use to avoid a cidery taste?
I recommend the coopers carbonation drops. Simple, easy and work well. Here is what they are made of:
27% glucose & 73% dextrose
There is no sugar to avoid a cidery taste. Time will take care of that. Let the bottles sit for at least 2 weeks. If you are brewing from beer kits I would let them sit loner if you are looking to avoid the cidery taste. Also leave the beer in the fermenter longer then the 5-7 days the kits call for. Again at least 2 weeks and 3 is evern better for kit beer. Helps age and condition the beer which helps to get rid of that home brew taste.
Trust that helps. Cheers
Conditioning began April 29; my bottles are losing the softness as exhibited o/a May 1. I think the carbonation process is going to work quite well with 2 carbo drops per liter. I had the wort in my conical for sixteen days; the krausen looked quite good after less than 24 hours. I let the beer ferment until all bubbles had disappeared off the surface of the wort. I had a satisfying bed of trub, the upper surface of which was a bit more than two inches below the bottom of the spigot. I saw no trub go into my bottles. Conditioning continues in my living room; the A/C is set to 71 degrees. One bottle will go into my icebox on May 13; will be refrigerated until May 20.
Taste test is getting closer man!! Sounds like things are on track. Keep us posted. Cheers
Yes; 600 cubic centimeters is the exact same measurement as 600 milliliters. Have decided to use two each 3.6-gram carbo drops in each one-liter bottle. Should ideally use 2.5 drops, but I’d prefer an under-carbed beer versus one that shoots-out 50% of the bottle upon opening…
Yup I’m with you on that one! Cheers
Safale US-05 is out of stock at Seńor Cerveza. Please recommend an alternative for American Porter. Gracias!
Hey David how goes the battle man. There would be lots of liquid substitutes, however I am a dry yeast guy and I interchange US-05, Nottingham Ale Yeast and US-04 all the time. Give Nottingham Ale yeast a try. Cheers
Have decided to extend conditioning until May 20 or so. I’ve read that the longer a beer conditions, the better it gets. To extend this step from two weeks to three certainly can’t hurt. Thank you for suggesting Nottingham Ale as a substitute for US-05.
Happy to help David. Yup longer you condition it the better it will be for most beers. Hoppy beers are the exception, they are better fresh. Cheers
Four more days until the 27th, then we crack the first bottle of beer I’ve made since Spring of 2001. Nineteen years. Where has it gone? My 20-ounce test bottle is in my icebox. It gets illuminated every time I open the door, but I doubt such a brief period is going to affect the flavor of it. I expect it will taste pretty good. We’ll let you know…
19 years old! Wow man… do keep us posted on how it turns outs.
It appears the server is seven hours ahead of where I am ( Pacific Time Zone). Would the server be in London, England, by chance? Inquiring minds want to know…
The server hosting my site? Know idea lol
I’d like to increase the volume of a two-gallon beer kit to ten quarts. I’m guessing I’d need to add some dried malt extract; I’ll try a pound. Is there such a thing as dried malt extract that is also hopped? Instead of dried and hopped, would it be a better idea to dry-hop the wort with its increased water & malt content? Thank you…
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you on this one David, so you are looking to take the batch up to 2.5 gallons? How did you make out with the DME? I have never heard tell of DME having hops with it, but you never know, lol. However even if there were such a thing I can tell you that dry hopping or adding hops yourself to the process verses using the LME that has hops in it (most beer kits) produces a much better brew. Keep us posted on how you make out. Cheers man.
Have had two bottles of the beer under conditioning since April 29. It has a good, “Stouty” taste, but the carbonation is almost non-existent. The bottles are hard as a rock, but no head at all about which to speak. The carbonation is more just a slight “buzz” on the tongue than any we know about from having drunk commercial craftbeers. My next batch will be four gallons of American Porter, which I will carbonate by priming with the boiled water & priming sugar method. How many dry ounces of priming sugar should I use for four gallons?
Hey bro that sucks. Do you think you under carbonated or was it perhaps the bottles leaking out C02? Here is a full blog post on carbonating with sugar you can check out:
I typically use coopers carbonation drops as it makes it easier and they work well. However if using the method you are suggesting 5 gallon batch you would use ¾ a cup of dextrose. So probably around 2/3 of a cup of dextrose would do it.
Here is a calculator with video from norther brewer if you wish to get more technical and exact with it. https://www.northernbrewer.com/pages/priming-sugar-calculator
Hi guys. I was putting down a brew last night finished and cleaned up. Started to pack up and noticed an empty pack of carbonation drops. After much deliberation it appears my helpful son has ripped the pack of 60 drops open and deposited them into the mix. I should have noticed..How will this affect my brew ??
wow just read this Terry, how did it effect the beer? Probably just added some extra alcohol percentages to the ABV?
I still have not brewed the four gallons of American Porter that’s next on the agenda. It’s been blazin’ hot where I live for weeks, and I’ve been working six days a week for maybe two months. I don’t remember when I started the six-day weeks; two months is just a guess. But Fall is coming; outside temperatures will drop and my brewing room will have acceptable temperatures for ales in about three weeks.
Nice man, same here, temps just getting right again. Happy brewing!
My brewing room (my spare bathroom) has its long wall facing south; gets warm in there during the Summer and Fall months. The weather has finally turned from “a bit too warm” to “gettin’ chilly.” I have a Max-Min thermometer in the brewing room. Max temperatures are getting up to the middle 70s. That’s still a bit too warm, for my way of thinking. I’m still working six days a week, which leaves little time to husband a batch along the way.
Bottled the four gallons of American Porter on November 28, 2020. The bottles are definitely cabonating; they’re harder than we see when they were filled with fresh Coke. Not expecting much of a product. I dry-hopped with two ounces of pelletized hops directly into the brew; the floating slime on the surface of the wort required that I forsake at least a gallon or more of it. Had my priming solution previously mixed-up for four gallons, so I added a gallon of filtered water to avoid over-carbonation. I’m expecting a weak, watery, low-tasting beer. I shall NEVER dry-hop again. Might try it with a hop bag, so I can’t say never. Looking to sample the first bottle around January 1.
Very close to surrendering to buying one of those 8-gallon conical fermenters from BrewDemon. I want one very badly. Have a 2-gallon one; wish I’d had one when I started brewing twenty years ago. So much better than a flat-bottom tub. No siphoning required; possible to bottle right from the fermenter.
Have had the four gallons of American Porter conditioning since November 28. I mixed-up a priming solution for four gallons, and had that ready for action on bottling day. I prosecuted my first dry-hopping (pelletized hops directly into the wort four days into the first stage of fermentation), and the floating crap atop the wort required I leave a gallon of beer behind. I had to add a gallon of water to make the priming solution correct for the volume. I’m expecting a weak, thin, low-tasting final product. If I ever dry-hop again, I’ll use a muslin bag or a hop strainer to keep the hop sludge from going into the fermentation vessel.
I saw on the web that very fine-mesh nylon bags are available to strain-out the trub before the wort goes into the fermenter. Can these bags be set into the five-gallon bucket, the cooled wort poured in and then the bag lifted out to leave behind a strained beer, free of trub? The idea sounds feasible to me. Is such procedure a common practice for brewers of greater expertise than me? Thanks for your help…
Hey Man, in theory I see nothing wrong with what you are suggesting, just make sure to sanitize the bag first, boiling it should be fine. Give it a try and let us know how you make out. Cheers
Have seen strainer bags that fit into the brewkettle and fill it out quite nicely. My concern is that the top overhangs the sides of the kettle, and I fear they’ll be melted by my gas stove. Have also seen strainer “buckets” that fit into the brewkettle. Just tonight bought a 4″ x 10″ x 300-micron hop strainer/spider to keep that bothersome trub out of the fermentation bucket. Will get that in the mail around January 21.
Have had two bottles of the watered-up Porter. It’s got a good Porter flavor, but the carbonation is non-existent. Have over a dozen bottles of it yet to kill. Having no carbonation makes it easy to drink– no belching after a liter bottle of it. Was wondering if small amounts of Star-San solution (1/2 an ounce in two gallons of filtered tap water) in the bottles is why the beer isn’t carbonating. I shake the water out of the bottles, but they are not dry when the beer goes in. I’m wondering if the anti-bacterial powers of the solution are killing the yeast that’s supposed to carbonate the product. I have so little time that getting a brew day and the bottles dry at the same time is almost as much work as Sisyphus pushing the stone up the walls in Hades.
My next effort will be a Sierra Pale Ale. Six gallons of it. Going to add blueberry flavoring to the second half of the bottles to be filled. I have everything to get that one going except the time; still working six days a week with one day off. After the Pale Ale, I have an Amber on the slate. I’m hoping I find out why my beers don’t carbonate. Such a bummer to wait 30 days for conditioning, and then it’s flats as Kansas upon opening…
Great analogies David, got a kick out of them. hmmm no do not think it would be the star san. Perhaps the bottles are the problem, what type of bottles are they and do they have a good seal? What did you prime the beer with and how did you do it? Give me some more details of the process you followed and I can try to help you pin point the problem. Here is a post on bottling that might help: https://makebeereasy.com/bottling-home-brew-beer-everything-you-need-to-know/
The bottles used are the one-liter Diet Pepsi bottles; same bottle as found containing Dasani drinking water. They are a bit thicker than the common, garden variety, plastic bottle. I use the white plastic tops as found on the two-liter bottle of Sam’s Diet Cola; the sugar-free & caffeine-free stuff. These caps have a small, tapered ring inside that is forced into the mouth of the bottle when fully screwed into place.
It’s not the bottles for Dasani water. I use the bottles for Aquafina drinking water; same bottles for Diet Pepsi in the one-liter size. They’re thicker than most soda bottles. I have a friend whom consumes one bottle (sometimes two) of Diet Pepsi every day; he saves the bottles for me. I have about 70 of them.; plenty to bottle two five-galleon batches.
Brewed my rip-off of the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, today. I went 1000% gangbusters on boiling it. Evert last second of the 60 minutes, and I kept it stirred the whole time. I used 5 drops of Fermcaps-S anti-boilover agent in 2.5 galleons of wort. Water boils at 204 degrees at my altitude of 4100-plus feet ASL. The wort achieved a boil at very near that temperature, the “boil” being an energetic simmer. No massive bubbles, no huge and messy boilovers. I was even able to go do other things for a few minutes while the pot was boiling away. The Fermcaps-S stuff is worth every penny of its $6 cost for a tiny bottle. Cooled the hot wort in a 22-quart ice chest (with ice); temperature of the wort was 60 degrees once it made it into the fermentation vessel and was topped-up to 5.5 galleons. Waiting until the wort reaches 62-64 degrees before I pitch the yeast; don’t want the wort to be to cold and the yeast doesn’t get started right away. Used my hop strainer. Those things are awesome! They must catch and contain 99.98% of the hop sludge in the wort. I’m very pleased with it. I stirred the wort and stirred the small bit of the wort within the hop strainer while the boil was going on. I wanted the hop essence to get into the wort, and I think I succeeded. I can’t wait to taste this batch, come about April 1.
The American Porter I made in late November is dam-ned good these days; it’s been conditioning since then. It has a very strong Porter flavor, very little carbonation and very little head. I like that I can drink a one-liter bottle and not belch like an uncultured redneck after a while. Don’t have too many bottles remaining. Such a pity…
I have a hydrometer; can’t find it because I have not used it for twenty years. Wondering if there isn’t a digital electronic hydrometer to be had for our purposes…
Hey David, I’ve only ever used the old fashioned ones, keep it simple here at Make Beer Easy!
May 30, 2021
Have seven pounds of amber malt in my icebox since January 2021. Want to make something like a Fat Tire; have two ounces of Tettnanger hops. Just wish I had the time to brew this batch; still working six days a week.
Finding the time is always the problem, I’ve been a bit slack also David, although firing up the burners this week coming.
Is there a way to post-up a .jpeg picture on this site?
What do you mean? In the comments? Really not sure, will have to take a look.
I would really like to post-up a short cellphone video (about 20 seconds) I made of the way I intend to stir my next batch for its entire sixty-minute boiling time. I’m sure someone else has thought of it before me, but I’ve never actually seen a video of it being done.
Hey David, send it over and I will review it. Appreciate the offer. Cheers!
How would I do that? I’d need a URL or some sort of an address to which to send the file.
Hey man, here is my FB page, should be able to send it through messenger. https://www.facebook.com/TheBigRobb
Yes, in the Comments.
I’m not on farcebook, nor on any of the social media pages. I do not believe my life is interesting enough to barf it out for the whole world to see it…
Sorry, boss. I don’t do farcebook. My life is so uninteresting, I feel no need to vomit it out all over the English-speaking world. Am not on twaddle, nor any of the social media sites.
haha I hear ya David, I really can’t stand those sites either, however they do serve a purpose to get the word out about making some good brews though! Cheers man.
Sunday, November 7 2021
Just ordered a piece of 110-micron polyester cloth via eBay. Size is 2 meters by 1 meter; 78″ long by 39″ wide. Will cut it in half and use this as a filter between the brew kettle and the fermentation bucket. I already have a 300-micron hop spider which is dam-ned good for keeping the trub out of the fermentation vessel. This piece of fabric– at one-third the pitch of the spider– will keep even more of the trub out of the fermentation vessel. I can see myself just pouring the whole of the boiled (and cooled) wort into the bucket without the need to whirlpool and wait.
Another thing I’m going to do is make spigot gaskets out of old inner tubes. The white gaskets that come with the spigots are very soft, and they squooge out when the nut is tightened on the backside. Inner tubes are made of a harder rubber, and I believe they will stand-up to being compressed and not create small avenues for leakage. I’ll cut the hole to 15/16″ (23.8mm) to allow for a tiny bit of stretch over the threaded end of the spigot.
Right on man, that should work to get some clear beer for sure. I’ve used the bouncer beer filters and they do a good job also: https://makebeereasy.com/bouncer-beer-filter-the-best-homebrew-inline-filter/
November 28, 2021
The 110-micron cloth has arrived. The little grids are so small, they’re bordering on invisible. I’m all a’twitter thinking about all the trub those little grids will catch.
Was going to make gaskets out of old inner tubes. I found a place on-line that has 300 million sizes of o-rings in stock. They have one that’s just a red hair under the one inch we need for our spigots, and it’s 1/8″ in cross-section. They have the rings in durometers from 10 to 90 Shore A (whatever that means). The place is applerubber.com. I have yet to call and order the rings I want; just too busy at work…
Yes sir! The plan is coming along nicely, thanks for the update!. Sounds like some serious clear beers are in your near future!
January 21, 2022
Rather than using boiled and cooled water to bring a batch of fermented wort up to the six gallons I want to bottle, could I just use Purified Drinking Water from Walmart or distilled water? I ask because I don’t want to not boil enough and then not get my desired six gallons. I get my water for the boil out of my tap, but it’s filtered through an on-faucet PUR filter. The water where I live can best be described as “liquid gravel” so even though it’s filtered for 72 contaminants, it’s still hard as a rock.
Hey man, Purified Drinking Water will work great, stay clear of distilled water however as its is lacking many of the minerals important to brewing. More on water for brewing on this post: https://makebeereasy.com/the-best-water-for-brewing-beer-discover-what-it-is/ Cheers!
February 24, 2022
I have seen many times that the silicone gasket that comes with the spigot is so soft that it squishes out from behind the exterior of the spigot and the exterior wall of the fermentation bucket when the hexnut is tightened-up. That squishing-out is a great place for your fermenting wort to leak. I found some 6″ x 6″ x 1/8″ silicone sheet at amazon.com and ordered it. I also ordered a one-inch arch punch to cut the hole for the threads on the spigot. These items arrived yesterday, and tonight I cut the first gasket from the silicone with the easy-to-use arch punch. The punch is actually 25mm in diameter, so there is a tiny bit of stretch in the silicone as it’s slipped onto the spigot. The silicone sheet has the perfect softness to make a perfect seal. I’m very pleased with these items. I am making the effort to make my next batch the best I’ve ever made. It’s going to be an Amber with Tettnanger hops (2 ounces at the beginning of the boil, one ounce after forty minutes of boiling and one-half ounce at just five minutes remaining). I’ll stir the wort with my 4 x 10 hop spider screwed to a 7/8″ x 36″ dowel, which will really get the hop essence into the wort. I left the dowel at 36″ long to keep my hands and fingers away from the heat coming up from the gas burner on my stove.
I cut the silicone sheet to 2″ x 2″ which eliminates any possibility that the gasket will squeeze out from behind the spigot. I tested the seal by having enough water in the bucket to submerge the interior of the spigot, and let it set overnight. No loss of water.
I now have everything I need to make my Amber, save for the time. My work schedule isn’t “scheduled” at all. I work when there’s a run to do, which is usually every day. I was supposed to go today, but last-minute changes kept me home. I can’t make a batch today because I have no way of knowing if I’ll be at home 21 days from now to bottle it. It’s been like this for over 18 months. I’m gettin’ really bummed with it…
I hear ya man, I have not been able to put a batch on either. Soon hopefully! Let us know how the Amber turns out! Cheers
April 2, 2022
I have the makings for the Amber; just no time to actually get it brewed and into the fermenter. Also have the makings for a Stout; same conditions as for the Amber. I am thinking of changing jobs just to get some time away from work to brew. My last batch, if I recall, was a year ago. Drank those up months ago. Have descended to the embarrassment of drinking commercial beers. I buy only the really good stuff– no Bud Light or Corona Light for this ugly mug.
I hear ya bro, I have not had enough time to brew much either, it goes in waves for this guy, getting the itch to get a batch on though. Actually had an amber lager the other day and man it was tasty. Cheers
April 23, 2022
Have decided to leave my job to find one that allows for time to make some beer. Resignation effective May 13, 2022 unless I get so urinated-off that I quit sooner. A man cannot enjoy life if he’s forever at work and can’t take the pressure off by escaping the psychological weight of having to be at work six days a week, and have just one day off to prepare to work the upcoming six days. That’s me, and I sure as helsinki am not enjoying life. I work so much I can’t brew, can’t go shoot, can’t go out for dinner and can’t go to a movie because I have to be ready to roll the next morning. I feel like one of those slaves aboard the Roman battle cruiser in Ben Hur: I just row and row and row without regard to where is the ship and to where is it going. The guy right next to me looks very much Like Charlton Heston…
Wow man, that is a big move, congrats! I hear you on working the grind, life was meant to be enjoyed. Cheers to your new adventure.
April 30, 2022
I have a recipe for an Amber that calls for six pounds of liquid malt. I have seven pounds. I’m wondering if I was to use all seven pounds, would there be so much alcohol generated during fermentation that my yeast would bite the dust? I want to use the entire seven pounds to get the final product as malty and as tasty as I can, but I sure as helsinki don’t want to kill my yeast. Please advise.
Chapter 3 of John Palmers book goes into detail on how much you can use. I personally do not use much LME these days, but sure used to and you should be fine with 7lbs. But to be sure here is a link to the chapter that covers it in John’s book, might be worth the read. Cheers!
May 3, 2022
Looked at Palmer’s explanation. He says six pounds in six gallons of water will give me a light beer. I think an extra pound of LME will deliver a better flavor and a bit of a darker brew. We’ve sent men to the moon and brought them back. Imagine the technical problems that entailed! I don’t think an extra pound of extract will result in undersea earthquakes that send seismic seawaves hundreds of miles across the ocean and inundate coastal cities in which several million people reside.
June 24, 2022
Playing-around in my mind with acquiring a Digi-Boil wort boiler. The top has four clamps on it. How is some knucklehead supposed to add his hops at the desired intervals if opening the top will reduce the temperature of the wort? I guess you just do, and the genius of the machine will do the rest. Thoughts?
Never played with one bro, let us know how it goes!
August 2, 2022
Recently read about “hop tea” to put the flavor into a batch of beer. Seems the hops (I prefer pellets) are steeped in near-boiling water for 30 minutes, the trub filtered-out (I’d use my 300-micron strainer to make the tea) and then the tea mixed well into the full volume of wort to be fermented. My question is: If the hop tea method works, why do we boil the wort for an hour? I understand a tiny bit about isomerization. How do we get the hops isomerized with the malt if we don’t do the boil?
Hey man, have not looked much into the “hop tea” but it seems to me that it would be similar to adding hops towards the end of the boil or even dry hopping.
August 4, 2022
I put up a post yesterday or the day before. Not seeing it.
Hey Johnny, just saw your post now. Cheers!
August 8, 2022
I won’t be lovin’ it, but I guess I’ll suffer through a one-hour boil. Last thing I want is to go through the whole process– to include three weeks of fermentation and four weeks of conditioning– only to have the final product turn-out to be something best down the kitchen drain. What I really need is a propane burner. I have my eyes on one that produces 200,000 BTU. That would certainly reduce the time required to bring the wort to a boil. Now I just need to get back to work to make the money to buy this stuff,,,
August 14, 2022
Any problem with sterilizing my bottles days or even weeks before Bottling Day? I’d put the caps on the bottles after a soaking in Star●San and draining for several minutes. The caps would also have been soaked. I believe this would save lots o’ time on Bottling Day. Is just a minute or two enough soaking to sanitize the bottles?
Never tried that, I am very cautious when it comes to sanitizing. A minute or two is fine for soaking them however.
August 14, 2022
Forgot to ask if yeast that’s been kept in my icebox for going-on two years is still good enough to use. The temperature in my ‘fridge is a measured 34 to 35 degrees. Thanks…
Hey man, just did a post on pitching yeast. In my experience, it would probably be fine, but the best way to find out is to do a yeast starter.
August 28, 2022
Not asking a question, today. Rather I’m on to say that today, after not having seen it since about 2001, I found six levels of the ten total of my bottle dryer. I had three, and wondered where were the other seven. I dove into my jam-packed storage room and looked where I thought they might be. They weren’t there. I was bummed. I looked around and happened to see the original box way up on a shelf and all the way to the back. I wondered. I grabbed a chair and got up to reach it. Inside the box I’ve had since Fall 1990 were the missing seven levels. Happiness! Big smiles! Tears of joy! Now I can sanitize all 48 of the 500cc bottles into which I’ll bottle the six gallons of Double Tettnang Amber that will be the first brew I’ve made in nearly two years. I realize nobody who reads these pages gives a flying fukushima about my bottle dryer. I’m just so happy I found it and now do not have to buy individual levels for it at $5 each and worry that the purchased ones will fit one that’s thirty years old.
Nice man, stashed away since 1990 for just this moment! 🙂
I’ve looked for it before, but just never got so wildly possessed to find it. Now that I’ve quit my job that had me off just one day per week, I’ll have a more normal life like so much of the rest of the Free World. I have three American Porter kits from mr. beer to make six gallons, and all the stuff needed to make six gallons of Amber from specialty grains, hops and malt syrup. I’m just waiting now to start my new job and to figger-out which will be my days off so I can adjust for when to bottle.
The bottle tree was stashed away since 2001. I have no idea why I took three levels out of it and stored-away the other seven. Hardly matters anymore. I’m just tickled to have it all in one piece again after twenty-one years. Now if it will just cool-off around here. Temps are 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) every day. I have my A/C set to 75 to keep it from running forever and wearing itself out prematurely. We should have cooler days by October 1. I think 75 inside is still too warm for a slow and thorough fermentation. Four more weeks and I’ll be setting my heat to 71 to keep warm. Those will be the days…
September 20, 2022
Have decided I want to make six-gallon batches, but am concerned the krausen will make its way into the airlock on my 7.9-gallon bucket. Have decided to buy a 10-gallon Rubbermaid Brute container in food-grade white (p/n 2610), with flat lid (p/n 2609). I could go as big as seven gallons and still have plenty of headspace to protect the airlock. I read the other day that an additional 20% of the volume of the wort needs to be there keep the foam out of the airlock. Seven gallons x 1.2 = a maximum of 8.4 gallons under the lid. A vessel of ten gallons would still have 1.6 gallons of headspace, so I see no problems. I will drill the one-inch hole for the spigot high enough to be above what I imagine will be a thick yeast bed because of the volume of wort being fermented. I will have a second spigot several inches above the lower and a few inches to the right. This second spigot is to take samples for gravities during the three weeks I’ll have the beer fermenting.
Why do we see X pounds of liquid malt extract PLUS Y pounds of dry malt extract in the list of ingredients we need when making a beer from individual ingredients versus just the stuff in a 3.3-pound can? Instead of one liquid and one dry, can I just add the total mass as required in liquid form and avoid the time & effort to dissolve the dry while hot steam rises in my face?
October 2, 2022
Looked around the web for a few minutes after my earlier post of today and found a stainless, eight-gallon kettle with lid for $65 delivered right to my door. I was unable to resist the purchase. I paid State sales tax, but the free shipping sealed the deal. I can now brew-up six gallons of wort and ferment it in my 7.9-gallon buckets. It’s a good feeling…
Nice snag, that is a good feeling! Cheers
October 10, 2022
Ordered an eight-gallon kettle on October 3; it arrived October 6 and had been kept in an office to which I have no access until today. I was sent a sixteen-gallon kettle, which is far, far more than my simple extract beers require. Now I have to send it back, and wait several geological ages for the eight-gallon to be made and sent along its way. I have been dreaming about the simplicity in boiling all six gallons of my next batch. Looks like I’ll continue to dream for some time to come because some guy picking items off the shelf in a warehouse didn’t do all 100% of his job when he handled my order. Such a bummer…
October 31, 2022
Found a flame-tamer of 28cm in diameter x 4mm thick; made of aluminum. Will use this to spread the heat of the flame from my gas stove. Wasn’t overly expensive when compared to what a burnt batch of wort would cost at about $23 delivered to my door. The diameter is a perfect match for the diameter of my eight-gallon kettle.
December 26, 2022
I had a comment 98% written, but touched a mystery key and erased it. Totally lacking in ambition to retype it. At least it wasn’t on-par with Tolstoy’s “War and Peace.”
January 3, 2023
Would using two muslin bags to hold my hops during the boil do more to contain the trub than would just one? I tend to think so, but my concern is the hop flavor won’t get into the wort as readily as it would with just one bag. Maybe boil 75 minutes? Or 90 minutes?
I tend to agree with you on both accounts, would make less trub most likely, but reduce the hop flavor. If you increase the boil you would then need to change your hop schedule also. Personally, I find using whirlflock, cold crashing, and adding gelatin clears the beer up perfectly. Cheers
January 31, 2023
Finally got around to ordering the ten-gallon wine fermenter and the lid. Estimated delivery is February 1. Also ordered carboy caps for my smooth-neck five-gallon (orange in color), and a threaded (blue in color) for my 6.5-gallon example. Both of my carboys are glass, and are from the early 1990s. Ordered a sanitary filter to get the siphon going.
I have the makings for four different brews: Amber (seven pounds of LME), Porter (specialty grains to be steeped), six-some pounds of LME for a Pale Ale. Also have on-hand a good supply of hops for each candidate.
Have LME for a Northwest IPA (Mr. Beer) and two cans of “Wild Spirit IPA” (BrewDemon). This last will be two cans of Northwest Pale Ale (2 x 1.3kg LME) and two cans (2 x 0.550 kg LME) Wild Spirit IPA in a total of 6.5 gallons (25 liters) of water. The Wild Spirit IPA claims to be “outrageously hopped,” so my opinion is that no additional hops need be added on Brewing Day. The 6.5 total gallons of wort will easily fit into my 8-gallon kettle and the 10-gallon wine fermenter. I bought the ten-gallon fermenter just so any krausen from a large (24.6 to 26.5 liters) batch wouldn’t find its way into the airlock. That happened to me once. I was making a Porter. The krausen got up into the airlock and turned it a translucent brown color. I still have that airlock more than twenty years after the event.
Man you are set for some serious brew days!! Keep us posted on how they turn out! Cheers
Changed jobs from one that had me running like a wild man six days a week to a more sedate five consecutive days on and two days off schedule. I changed specifically to have the time to make homebrew, reload ammo and go shooting. Just started there in late February and have yet to be assigned a schedule, after which I will know in advance what I’m doing on what day. I never knew that at my previous job, so I was unable to make a batch because I never knew if I’d be home to take the next step when the time came.