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If you happen to be out of priming sugar, but really want to bottle your beer, what are the alternatives? Let's assume a 5 gallon batch that's fully fermented - call it 1.010-1.014.

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6 Answers 6

up vote 9 down vote accepted
  • Corn syrup
  • Regular olde sucrose
  • Malt extract
  • Brown sugar if you're desperate

See A Primer on Priming and How to Brew.

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Also watch out for anything with corn starch, like confectioner's sugar. –  Dean Brundage Dec 11 '09 at 17:08
    
Thanks Dean. I might throw in some amounts for a 5 gallon batch, but this is great. –  hookedonwinter Dec 11 '09 at 17:29
    
Thanks for the link; wish I had that guide last night. –  Taylor Dec 11 '09 at 17:54
    
I'd add honey to the list if it isn't going to clash with the style. Honey leaves non-fermentables behind too. –  Hugh Nelson Mar 16 '10 at 9:10
    
Corn syrup, like the Karo brand, will usually have things like salt and vanilla added to it. I wouldn't recommend its use for priming. –  Denny Conn Sep 9 '13 at 15:37

The next best option is DME. You can use table sugar, some say it will give a "cider" flavor, others argue that point. Honey works but is slow. Pretty much any fermentable will work, some more slowly than others.

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I'd be cautious of using corn syrup, it usually has salt and sometimes vanilla flavoring in it in addition to the actual corn sugar syrup.

Go with regular table sugar (sucrose), or malt extract if you have some to spare. KOTMF has got a handy calculator to help you determine how much you should use: http://kotmf.com/tools/prime.php

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Old school method is to kräusen it. You would add a portion of actively fermenting beer to your priming bucket. You can also do this with plain wort, but the fresh and healthy yeast in actively fermenting beer has a few benefits... clean up diacetyl, acetylaldehyde, and other fermentation by-products.

Here's a calculator for how much gyle to add: priming with gyle formula

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I wrote a whole blog post on this topic a while back: http://lifefermented.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/alternate-priming-sugars/

I discuss honey, DME, brown sugar, etc, even fruit juice. Adds a nice extra dimension to some beers. If you're just looking to carb up your beer and you're out of corn sugar, you can't go wrong with plain old table sugar though.

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1  
It would be best if you summarized your blog here, and leave the link for anyone wanting the full info. –  mdma Sep 9 '13 at 2:21

I know what comat0se describes as kräusen as using Speise (literally, food). As a rule of thumb use 10% (for lagers) to 15% (for ales) of the wort as Speise. You need less for lagers cause they usually ferment cooler and at lower temperatures there is more CO2 in the beer.

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