Priming Softdrink Bottles

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Strange Dog

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Hello,

I am about to bottle a brew and realised I do not have enough of my Coopers plastic homebrew bottles for the brew (i.e. I only have 15 empties). So it looks like I am going to have to break out the emergency collection of 1.25L soft drink bottles I have been saving for just such an occassion.

So how do I prime softdrink bottles? Obviously I am used to just dropping in 2 carb drops into my 700mL bottles. Should I use 3 or 4 carb drops, or should I measure out an amount manually. If I am doing it manually, what kind of sugar should I use? The usual white table sugar you put on your cornflakes, brown sugar, raw sugar, or what?

The brew is Coopers Australian Pale Ale.
 

white.grant

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Simple table sugar works well for priming bottles, though have you thought of bulk priming? There's quite a bit of information about it scattered around the forum, but basically, do as follows.

Based on a 21L batch, -- boil about 200ml of water with 80gms of sugar for 5 minutes or so.

Let it cool down and then pour into your bottling barrel.

Rack your beer onto the solution so that it is mixed with the beer.

Then bottle as per normal and it doesn't matter what bottle size you use.

cheers

grant
 

Fodder

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Any of the sugars you mentioned would all work and all carb up your bottles no worries. However with that style brew, I would be going for a white table/castor sugar (I use brown/raw sugar in my darker beers).

I usually prime my 700mL PET's at 7gms per bottle (a heaped teaspoon) and have never had any dramas. That works out nicely at 1gm of sugar to 100mL's, so if you've got 1.25L bottles, use 12.5gms of sugar per bottle. Basically, 2 and a half level teaspoons of sugar per bottle.

Use a measuring teaspoon (usually found in the 2nd draw of the kitchen in most households) if you want to be more accurate, however I dont bother...

A little funnel is ideal for getting the sugar in the bottle and not everywhere else. If you dont have one handy, roll a piece of paper into a cone and secure with sticky tape, trim to size.

Hope that helps!

EDIT: If your going to be using the carb drops, 3 & 1/2 drops would be ideal. But screw that, you'll be there forever trying to chop little hard blobs and probably end up with half your finger on the floor. You could try a few with 3 drops and a few with 4. Some will be fizzier than others, but either way I would not be overly concerned. Both will still work.

You may even want to try that option with a couple and label the one with 3 drops and the one with four, then when you come to trying them you'll know whether you prefer the fizzier one or not...nice little experiment.
 

roverfj1200

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I'd pop in 3 carb drops and leave it at that.. Will be drinkable and have carbonation..
You could use 4 if you like your beer with a bit more fizz.

Cheers
 

RdeVjun

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I'd pop in 3 carb drops and leave it at that.. Will be drinkable and have carbonation..
You could use 4 if you like your beer with a bit more fizz.
Exactly! Nothing wrong with experiments, so three drops in some, four in a few others and you won't die wondering.

However, if you're bottling the whole batch then bulk priming as per Grantw takes the coarseness that you may get with carb drops out of the equation, plus every bottle should be carbonated precisely the same regardless of its volume.
 

Strange Dog

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Thanks for the responses.

Bulk priming is definitely in my near future, I just gotta wait for the local home brew shop to re-open after its extended xmas break so I can spend the $150 in gift vouchers I have burning a hole in my pocket.

I will give the experiments a go but use measured sugar for most of the brew.

I guess I should now start a new thread about all my bulk priming questions :)
 

staggalee

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Simple table sugar works well for priming bottles, though have you thought of bulk priming? There's quite a bit of information about it scattered around the forum, but basically, do as follows.

Based on a 21L batch, -- boil about 200ml of water with 80gms of sugar for 5 minutes or so.

Let it cool down and then pour into your bottling barrel.

Rack your beer onto the solution so that it is mixed with the beer.

Then bottle as per normal and it doesn't matter what bottle size you use.

cheers

grant
80 g. carbing sugar for 21L. is on the low side.
I`d be going half that again, say about 130 g. for 21L.
 

roverfj1200

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I feel bulk priming a bit over rated. After many bulk primes have gone to carb drops. Easy as and a good result every time.


Seems we try to over complicate things a lot. don't get me wrong nothing wrong with bulk priming but it is another step in the process that needs good sanitation and that takes time.

Cheers.
 

staggalee

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I feel bulk priming a bit over rated. After many bulk primes have gone to carb drops. Easy as and a good result every time.


Seems we try to over complicate things a lot. don't get me wrong nothing wrong with bulk priming but it is another step in the process that needs good sanitation and that takes time.

Cheers.
And I couldn`t agree more! Takes me under 3 minutes to single prime 28 tallies..... try bulk priming against that :rolleyes:

wide mouth funnel, 5g. teaspoon and castor sugar
 

wombil

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2 level teaspoons of white table sugar should do 1.25 litre bottle.
 

white.grant

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80 g. carbing sugar for 21L. is on the low side.
I`d be going half that again, say about 130 g. for 21L.

80g gives about 1.8 volumes of co2 depending on temperature. I think that's about right for an ale, though you can go higher if you like. There are lots of good carbonation tools on the interweb that can help you decide.

By all means spoon the sugar in each bottle if you prefer, though I found bulk priming provided a much more consistent level of carbonation across a batch of bottles and you can bottle easily into a range of sizes, right up to kegs.

Cheers

Grant
 

RdeVjun

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I feel bulk priming a bit over rated. After many bulk primes have gone to carb drops. Easy as and a good result every time.

Seems we try to over complicate things a lot. don't get me wrong nothing wrong with bulk priming but it is another step in the process that needs good sanitation and that takes time.
Agreed, in some circumstances drops are far simpler and there's no need for added complexity and risk of SNAFU with bulk priming. However, I used to get the shits when priming an assortment of 330, 375, 500, 740, 750 and 1250s with drops! These days I keg most of it and only bottle a few 740 (Coopers PET) for comps and the odd 1250 for a party pack, I too have gone back to just using carb drops, one or two for the former depending on the style, always three for the latter.
 

Ducatiboy stu

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I had the chance to meet Dr Tim Cooper, and asked many things about their beer....one of them was priming bottles ..

They use sugar at the rate of 1gm per 100ml in their bottles and kegs.. yep them actually secondry ferm in the keg instead of gassing them..

Hope that helps
 

michael_aussie

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I feel bulk priming a bit over rated. After many bulk primes have gone to carb drops. Easy as and a good result every time.


Seems we try to over complicate things a lot. don't get me wrong nothing wrong with bulk priming but it is another step in the process that needs good sanitation and that takes time.

Cheers.
I know it's not fashionable .. but I used to bulk prime in my fermenter. and bottle directly from the fermenter .. and not rack into a secondary vessel

The down side was I ended up with more sedimentation in my bottles, but then never worried me.
 

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