Priming sugars and effect on finished beer

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goatchop41

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Just looking for a bit of input from the brains trust on AHB regarding priming sugars when bottling, and their effect on the finished beer - paticularly white/raw sugar vs dex/DME.

Another brewer is trying to convince me that using simple sugar for bottle priming will "strip out body and thin the beer", particularly for beers with more substantial beers like stouts, etc. He also stated that it wouldn't affect the beer if it was added during primary fermentation, but will if used for priming.....
I am incredibly skeptical of this, as adding a mere 100g of sugar to 20-ishL of beer (that was made with about 4+kg of malt, so ends up at ~2.5% of the grist) should be insubstantial and inconsequential. The yeast won't know the difference between priming sugar vs sugar added during primary fermentation either, so I think that particular point is moot.

I just can't see how adding sugar that makes up about 0.002 gravity points will have any sort of (negative) noticable effect on the beer once it is carbonated. Am I being overly skeptical, or is the other brewer just incorrect on this count?
 

manticle

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If you add something rich and dark, you might get some flavour carry over and they all have different fermentability (which affects carb level). Generally speaking it's three eighths of a gnat's perineum and I've never found simple* (dex? Sucrose? Maltose?) to noticeably strip anything.

*what's the understood meaning of simple here? If we are talking about monosaccharides, dex/glucose is simple, table sugar is not.
 

goatchop41

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Essentially it's just about using white or raw sugar for priming, and that having a negative effect on the primed beer (taste and/or body).
We both acknowledge that adding dark sugars, maple syrup, etc. will change the flavour
 

manticle

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Well raw sugar and white sugar aren't strictly simple.

In my experience, the difference between dex and table white when priming is negligible.

Have had weird flavours from raw when used like I would Belgian candy (800 g or so to 20L) so wouldn't touch it again for anything othee than porridge but priming is likely fine.
 

Lyrebird_Cycles

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A typical priming addition is less than 5% of the fermentables total. If you are concerned about the priming sugar not adding flavour, you can always use more primary malt and a lower conversion mash, net result will be the same.

There's a lot of crap talked about the effect of sucrose on fermentations in HB circles. Yes, if you use a large quantity of added sugars in the wort (I'm talking >30% of total extract, like a certain beer in a green can), using sucrose rather than glucose will increase the pH shift during fermentation which can noticeably affect balance. Again, that will make a very small difference indeed for priming additions .

That being said I like to use straight glucose for priming as it is the most easily assimilated sugar and thus gives the yeast an easy ride. If you use sucrose the yeast will invert it straight away*, eat all the glucose but then slowly pick up the fructose.

*Actually in most cases the extracellular invertase excreted by the primary yeast will convert all the sucrose very quickly, typically less than an hour. We used to use this as a way of testing whether the pasteuriser had done its job as the enzyme has roughly the sameheat lability as yeast itself.
 
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Mardoo

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OK, your mate's assessment sounds like supposition to me, based on my experience. Lyrebird's assessment is (always) solid. Always open to learn though.

I've tried sucrose, dextrose, glucose, honey, invert sugar (home made), golden syrup, raw sugar, brown sugar, Demerara sugar caramelised sugar syrup, panela, dried cane juice, and any number of candi syrups syrups for bulk priming.

Basically, as LB says, with dex and sucrose, stay below 5% and there won't be issues.

My results are not scientific, but they are based on experience. Basically, flavoured sugars add aroma, and increase the amount of conditioning time needed. That's the salient point I have to offer. Add another month to two months if using flavourful sugars for conditioning. It takes time for the flavour compounds of the beer and the sugar to meld. Beer and wine are full of slow chemistry.

You'll have the aroma of flavoured sugars come through, but not a lot of flavour. Caramelisation tends to come through in the background.

However, the darker the priming sugar, the more the flavour will come through. However however, priming sugar has the biggest influence on aroma overall. Flavoured sugars included in the ferment will come through in flavour, but as more of a hint, than as a primary flavour.

I, myself, abandoned my experiments of using priming sugar to add flavour to beers and meads/braggots. However, the aroma component can be useful, due to the inextricability of aroma and flavour.

Table sugar vs. dextrose? Maybe a few weeks extra conditioning, but that's it. I'm game to be proved wrong though.
 

MHB

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Snip Another brewer is trying to convince me that using simple sugar for bottle priming will "strip out body and thin the beer", particularly for beers with more substantial beers like stouts, etc. He also stated that it wouldn't affect the beer if it was added during primary fermentation, but will if used for priming.....
I am incredibly skeptical of this, as adding a mere 100g of sugar to 20-ishL of beer (that was made with about 4+kg of malt, so ends up at ~2.5% of the grist) should be insubstantial and inconsequential. The yeast won't know the difference between priming sugar vs sugar added during primary fermentation either, so I think that particular point is moot.
Snip
Part of the misunderstanding comes from the notion that adding fully fermentable sugars (rather than try to take on the term "simple") thins the beer and reduces the body.
Adding sugar doesn't, but replacing a portion of the partly fermentable extract with a simple sugar does.
If we had a 1.050 wort that will attenuate to 1.010 and we added enough sugar to make the OG 1.060, it would still finish at 1.010.
If we replaced some of the extract with sugar, say 1.040 form malt and 1.010 from sugar it would still have an OG of 1.050 but all things being equal it would finish lower, roughly 1.008. and the beer would have less body.

The other thing to think about is when yeast makes flavours. Largely the esters and other flavours made by yeast are produced during the early stages of the ferment, lots of things affect how much flavour is produced, having a heaps of sucrose or glucose can change the way the yeast behaves and will impact on the flavour of the beer. When making beers with large sugar additions I tend to add the sugar later in the ferment (think Belgium), it reduces the stress on the yeast and produces les of the undesirable flavours you can get from sugar (my opinion)...
So I would agree that the flavour effects from priming sugar is minimal, unless the priming agents have other unrelated flavours (i.e. Leather Wood honey), it wont matter much what you use.
Mark
 

philistine

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I abandoned priming sugars for bottling ages ago and started brewing an extra few litres of wort on brewday.
After filling the fermenter, ive usually got 3 or so litres left over.
This gets quickly heated back to a boil and packaged whilst still hot into passatta bottles or whatever other jars/bottles youve got thatwill form a vacuum seal.
When my ferment is finished, i use the gyle priming calc in Brewer's Friend to work out how much of the pasteurised wort to add back in to the fermented beer before bottling as a bulk prime.

For my set up and modus operandi i find this option much easier and simpler to deal with at bottling time and dont need to worry anout any possible flavour changes during bottle conditioning
 

Garfield

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I'm with MHB here. Can't see much logic behind "thinning" a finished beer.

In my experience, when i switched from DME to white sugar i didn't notice any difference.

I've been thinking of getting into gyle priming too actually
 

yum beer

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Just for some clarification on this topic of discussion.
I am the 'other brewer' in question.
My comments on priming sugar are based around my observations from a recent batch of Pacific Pale Ale I brewed.
As an experiment I primed the batch with 5 different 'sugars'; Dextrose, carb drops, Light Dry Malt, White sugar and Demarara sugar.
Each sugar was added to the bottle directly in equal quantities as much as I could achieve.
All bottles were stored in same location till carbed, cooled for the same period and all tasted side by side.
My observations were:
Dextrose - hop profile was sharp and prominent, malt noticeable with a clean finish and good body.
Carb drops. - very similar to dex, with a little less sharpness to the hops, finish and body similar to dex.
LDM - hops were more rounded and malt presence more pronounced, the finish was clean but the body was rounder and fuller.
White sugar - hop flavour subdued, malt presence was lessened, the beer had thinner body and a harsher finish.
Demarar - similar to white sugar but the harsh finish was more noticeable and was a very poor beer compare to that of the dex and carb drops.

I had always believed that there would be very little or no difference with sugars and the finished beer would not be affected.
I was very surprised to taste the difference, in one sitting at the one time.
It appears that most brewers have only ever changed priming types from batch to batch, as I have done and have always put the changes in flavour and body down to differences in each batch.
it is clear to me from this test that the type of priming sugar plays a much bigger role than most of us think.
Unfortunately this thread has been focussed more on the flavour addition of sugars in the brewing process, not the effect on the beer when used to prime.
Interested in others point of view with the full scope of the discussion available.
 

goatchop41

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Unfortunately this thread has been focussed more on the flavour addition of sugars in the brewing process, not the effect on the beer when used to prime.
Interested in others point of view with the full scope of the discussion available.
Good to see you here mate. Exactly as you said, I wanted to hear as many points of view as possible. I was similarly disappointed that there has been a bit of diversion away from, or misunderstanding of, the original question that I posed.
I think that Lyrebird_Cycles' and MHB's responses address it best though
 

yum beer

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Good to see you here mate. Exactly as you said, I wanted to hear as many points of view as possible. I was similarly disappointed that there has been a bit of diversion away from, or misunderstanding of, the original question that I posed.
I think that Lyrebird_Cycles' and MHB's responses address it best though
Yeah, it seems that the idea of added flavour from the priming method is at the fore, not the actual result on the beer.
My shortened video is here:
, if you would like to see the test, and resultant comments.
 

Chorba

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As a newby brewer myself ... with the priming sugar issue. Should I shake the bottle to help dissolve the added sugar, or let it alone? Previous brews I have shaken the bottle, however with my current batch I have not done so and note the sugar appears to be settled to the bottom (a few days after bottling)
 

GregMeady

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I have never shaken it. I just prime>fill>cap. The yeasties will seek out the sugar regardless.
 

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