What Is Priming Sugar?

Written by Simon in Beer Brewing
Image Credits: Pixabay.com

So you’ve made your wort, pitched your yeast and fermented it to completion. Now its time to bottle your beer.

This Blog Post will explain how to add some nice qualities to your beer using priming sugar!

What is Priming Sugar? Priming sugar is used for carbonating beer and give it more fizz. Priming sugar can also add qualities such as taste and aroma to your beer during the bottling process. Essentially you are just giving the yeast a final source of sugar to reap the full benefits of your yeast.

You should prime your beer! - Read on as I explain why.

Use Priming Sugar to Improve Your Beer

It is a common practice among homebrewers to prime beer using priming sugar solutions.

Doing this will give your beer a lot of extra fizzle and possibly even create a better taste and aroma.

It also removes some of the risks of carbonation failing, as it gives your yeast more sugar to work with which helps it not die out too soon.

This also applies to make higher alcohol beers where you need a very powerful amount of yeast.

If you aren’t priming your beer already, you are making a terrible mistake!

Get into priming right away if you aren’t already, it is an extremely easy way to amplify the taste, aroma and general mouthfeel of your beer without doing much work.

Read on below as I dive into how priming your beer using sugar works.

How to Use Priming Sugar

Using priming sugar is quite easy, essentially you just gotta take your sugar of choice and create a solution.

All you have to do is make some research as to how much priming solution you’ll need and you’re good to go!

Heres a quick step-by-step guide on using priming sugar:

  1. Prepare your choice of bottles for carbonating
  2. Prepare your bottle caps/capper - it is important to close up your beers as soon as possible after bottling to give it the best conditions.
  3. Now its time to prepare your priming sugar. You can use most types of sugar and make a solution using boiled water. Check out this calculator to figure out how much sugar you need.
  4. Add the priming solution to your bottling bucket before you transfer your beer to it, make sure it is sanitized and cleaned thoroughly.
  5. Transfer/siphon your beer from fermenter to bottling bucket, I’d recommend using a siphon and make sure to keep it submerged in the solution, this will mix beer and solution in the best way possible.
  6. Bottle up your beer and cap them accordingly.
  7. Store your bottles the same way you’d normally do, cool and away from light.

Following these 7 easy steps is a fool-proof way to make your beer more delicious in every way.

Types of Priming Sugar

When it comes to the range of priming sugar, pretty much any sugar type can be used, however, some types of sugar will benefit your beer more than others.

For example, simple sugars such as normal white table sugar or sucrose can be used as priming sugar, but it won’t add any flavor or aroma to your beer.

On the contrary, if you use more “natural” sugars such as dark brown sugar or honey you will get both the fizzle, amplified taste as well as a nicer aroma to your beer.

Which Priming Sugar Should You Use?

In my own experience, you can really use any priming sugar that is fermentable, but if you want to add a priming sugar which also gives your beer some nice properties then your choice of sugar should reflect this.

If that’s the case I would definitely recommend you use the more natural sugar types such as brown sugar or honey, both of these types add a nice taste and aroma to your beer.

Don’t get me wrong, any suited sugar will do the job of carbonation quite efficiently, but if you want to give your beer a more unique feel to it, using the natural sugars mentioned is the way to go if you ask me.

Priming Sugars Made for Homebrewing

Online you can find a range of sugars made by actual brewery manufacturers.

Buying these types of sugars is another easy way to make sure the sugar will do its job and removes most of the risk for failure.

Below you will find some examples of commercial priming sugars you can use.

Homebrew Ohio Priming Sugar

You may have heard of this brand if you ever shopped homebrew equipment online, and of course, homebrew Ohio also has their own priming sugar!

This priming sugar is great for increasing alcohol levels without affecting the taste of your beer.

Great for increasing carbonation in the bottle, once again without affecting the taste in any negative way.

It probably won’t amplify taste in the same way the more natural sugars would, but it will help you carbonate and increase alcohol levels very easily.

The customer reviews reflect the usefulness of this product and are mostly very positive.

The product does as advertised, what more can you want?

If you wanna try it out you can buy it online here!

LD Carlson Corn Sugar

Similar to the Homebrew Ohio priming sugar in most ways, this corn sugar will make it easy to prime your beer.

Like the former sugar, this sugar won’t add much in terms of taste and aroma, but will simply help you carbonate your beer quite easily.

The reviews on this sugar are also overwhelmingly positive and seem to live up to the expectations of almost every customer who has reviewed it.

You can purchase this great sugar online here!

Alternative to Priming Sugar

Another popular way to make sure your beer carbonates properly is using something called “carbonation drops”.

These drops are a more chemical manufactured way to add that extra fizzle to your beer.

Some homebrewers, including me, prefer the more natural way; using sugar, but these tablets are commonly used since they are very easy to use and give similar results.

I will always prefer using sugar, but if you don’t mind the nature of carbonation drops then go right ahead and use them for your carbonation!

That being said, having these drops as a backup is quite common since they can really save your batch if you for some reason fail during carbonating.

Adding a few of these drops will revive your beer and get it back on track to condition properly in the bottle.

If you want to give carbonation drops a try you can buy them here!

Final Thoughts

To sum up, using priming sugar is probably one of the easiest ways to improve your skillset in homebrewing and an easy trick to create a more balanced and overall well-tasting beer.

You can’t really go wrong when priming beer, experiment a little and figure out the right amount that fits your personal preference.

About Us

Hello, my name is Simon. Together with a group of writers I write about brewing beer and making wine. We all share a passion for the great things in life, such as making stuff from scratch.

The business of HomeBrewAdvice is to bring you great information, stories and product reviews from brewing at home, and making wine