Step 11: Priming

Picture of Priming
Congratulations, you now have beer! But, you're not done. If you drink it now it's going to be flat. Priming is the process of adding a measured amount of additional fermentable sugars just before bottling. Live yeast still in your beer will convert the additional sugars to carbon dioxide while in the bottle. The carbon dioxide has no way to escape the bottle resulting in carbonated beer.

Boil 3/8 cup (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) of sugar (preferably corn sugar but table sugar will do) in 1 cup of water for 5 minutes. Cover and let it cool some then pour into a sanitized container large enough to hold your beer (another large empty water bottle, empty plastic bucket, etc). Now siphon your beer from the fermenter into the bottling container being careful not to disturb too much sediment at the bottom of the fermenter (you did remember to sanitize that siphon hose, didn't you?). Your beer is now primed and ready for bottling.
ssherard2 years ago
Would it hurt to place a spigot about a inch above the bottom in the bottle for the siphoning to the bottling bucket. Or would that disturb too much sedi?
Kharabe3 years ago
easier way to carbonate your bottles is to add corn sugar to each bottle heres the chart
12 oz bottle 3/4 tsp
16oz bottle 1tsp
22 oz bottle 1 1/2 tsp
1 liter bottle 2 1/2 tsp
2 liter bottle 1 1/2 tbsp
3 liter bottle 2 1/4 tbsp

its that easy and you dont have any where near as much risk of to much or not enough sugar when bottling as you do using a sugaring solution mixed with the wort
guy906 years ago
I've been struggling with carbonation, thanks for the tips on the priming process.
Two questions: What is the best way to bottle? Uing the siphon once again only this time direct into the bottles, pouring through a funnel, or something completely different? second, I've also read about secondary fermentation, i assume this is what is occuring in the bottles, but just wondering if there is some other step, say fermentation in the bucket, prior to bottling. Thanks!
Unless you have one of those fancy buckets with a tap, the siphon is probably the best way. Secondary fermentation is when you transfer your beer (without the trub) to another vessel for clearing and conditioning for about a week or two. It's not necessary though, a lot of homebrewers just leave their beer in primary a little longer.
hefe3006 years ago
What is the likelihood of airborne contamination when using this "open air" method of priming. Would it be safer to prime each bottle and siphon directly from the fermenter or is this safe?
Unless you live in a moldy basement, you'd need a lot of bad luck to get an infection with this method. Priming each bottle is probably not a good idea since it's hard to get exactly the correct amount of sugar. You would risk getting the wrong amount of CO2 and even bottle bombs.
can bottles explode at all during priming?
BreWmyOwn8 years ago
imarunner2 (author)  BreWmyOwn8 years ago
Step 11 is simply adding sugar just before bottling. The air lock is no longer needed at this point. The fermentation that takes place after the added sugar takes place in sealed bottles resulting in carbon dioxide pressure build up inside the bottle and thus creating carbonation in your beer.
I don't understand what the purpose is of the siphoning and how to do it. Why can't I just pour the entirety of the beer in with the sugar solution? And how does that beer defy gravity to end up in the bucket?