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I normally have more beer coming out of the fermenter than fits in my kegs, so I wish to bottle the excess. Since I will be force carbonating the contents of the keg, I do not wish to prime the whole batch, just what I put into the bottles.

The ideal solution for me would be to cook some water with a certain amount of tablesugar, and the use a syringe to take maybe 5 ml and put it into the each (1/2 l) bottle.

My problem is, that I don't know how to calculate the right amount of sugar to put into the water. I read somewhere (I think it was How to brew) that the right amount of sugar would be about 6 g/liter. So my 5 ml of solution should contain 6g of sugar.

It might be that I am overcomplicating things, but I got curious...

Main reasons for doing this are:

  • I want to cook the sugar to sterilize it
  • I think that using syringes makes measuring easy - and I don't want to dillute the beer more than nessessary.
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3 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Being fairly lazy myself, I would use Carbonation Tabs, if I were you.

http://www.monsterbrew.com/Prod_CarbonationTabs.cfm

You just pop the right # of tabs into the bottle, then fill it up with beer.

My concern with the syringe method is that you could mistake Precision for Accuracy. By that, I mean that you will do the math to get the exact # of milliliters (or whatever) of your solution for each bottle, and it will look correct on paper, BUT this type of equation is very dependent upon predicting the VOLUME of the sugar solution. And once you start boiling in on your stove top, your ability to control that volume goes way down. If it boils down too much or too little, your volume and sugar density of the solution will be off, resulting in too much, too weak solution, or too little, too strong a solution. If you do this, I would NOT actually let the sugar solution come to a boil on the stove top, just let it hit a bare simmer for 15min to pasteurize completely.

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My preferred solution (as it were) is to fill the keg first, then add the sugar solution (gently!) to the remainder in the bottling bucket and give it a (gentle!) stir around to distribute evenly, then fill the bottles.

This means that you don't have the problem with having reduced the solution down thereby making more concentrated, as you're adding the whole amount of sugar in bulk to the bottling bucket.

I've also used carbonation tabs, the Coopers ones, and they're fine if you're wanting to add multiples of 1 tablet, but a pain if you need, say 1.5 tablets in a bottle, never mind if you only need 2/3 of a tablet! Those linked Brewers Best ones look more useful, though - wonder if they're available in the UK?

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There are plenty of calculators for priming sugar volumes online, based on the desired volumes of CO₂, the type of sugar, &c. I would find and use one of those, if only to confirm your "6g" figure.

It's generally easier to dose the batch of beer rather than individual bottles. That being said, dosing bottles with a syringe or pipette is not totally unreasonable if you take care to be precise, as Graham suggests.

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