I'm doing my second brew after great success with the well documented Brooklyn Brewshop Everyday IPA.

This time is the exact opposite, random recipe and random grains. I went to a brew shop and had the guy make me a 1 gallon Irish Stout kit for St. Paddy's day. I found a recipe online for a coffee Stout and made it a little less than 2 weeks ago. It's time to bottle but it doesn't say anything about adding priming sugars. Is it standard that these always need to be added? Or do the chocolate roasted malts have the sugars already. Also how will I know when it's ready after bottling?

5 Answers 5


You will need to add the right amount of priming sugar to carbonate the beer in the bottles. There are lots of online priming sugar calculators.

In theory, you could bottle the beer before fermentation had completed, and let the remaining sugars carbonate the beer, but this would be very hard to do right. If you bottle with too much residual sugar, your bottle could easily explode, too little and you'll get flat beer.

  • 1
    ........BOOM!!! Feb 28, 2014 at 22:26
  • 2
    You can also add unfermented beer (called Speise in German) instead of sugar.
    – Robert
    Mar 1, 2014 at 21:52

In your case, I believe you are asking whether you can bottle without adding anything and expect the beer to carbonate based on residual sugar -- on that point, yes, you do need to add some sort of fermentable substance for the yeast to produce the CO2 for in-bottle carbonation.

But for the record, if we read your question literally, then no -- there are other ways to carbonate your bottled beer other than adding priming sugar (such as dextrose, sucrose, honey, etc.). It is also possible to carbonate bottles by:

(1) bottling before fermentation is complete as noted by @Tobias;

(2) krausening, which is adding fermenting wort (krausen) from another batch;

(3) adding gyle aka speis, which is part of your unfermented wort, which you reserved and held sterile before fermentation; or

(4) filling bottles with pre-carbonated beer from a keg or other CO2-pressurized system, often with a counterpressure bottle filler at the homebrew level.

Items (1) through (3) require some technical skill and math to do with precision and consistency.

Edit: correct terminology


Yes, it is standard to add sugar for priming, as most beers are fermented to completion before bottling.

The chocolate roasted malt does not have extra sugars, exactly. The kilning process is going to convert some sugars, caramelize some and also produce some other color and flavor compounds, but those sugars are going to be present (and some unfermentable) in the initial fermentation. As the fermentation is done to completion, the fermentable sugars will be consumed and the unfermentable sugars not, and you will still need to add priming sugar for bottling.

You will know when priming is complete when you open the bottle and see evidence of carbonation. :) One thing people do is to prime/fill a plastic bottle that's been squeezed to remove any extra air, then wait for the results of priming to re-inflate the bottle. Like fermentation, your best bet is to just wait for a reasonable amount of time and adjust your process in the future.


Technically if the batch still has sugars left (i.e the sugar hasn't been eaten by the yeast) in it then you wont need any extra while bottling.

I am guessing that if you bottle with a higher than expected FG you may get some carbonation in the bottles as the brew continues to ferment inside the bottles but have never tried this myself.

It will work on the same principle as Pat Mack's home brew caps


My homebrew stock was running low, so I cut corners: I bottled my brew and was able to drink it immediately without using priming sugar, and without waiting weeks for bottle conditioning, simply by pumping CO2 into it using a Sodamaker, and it works!

On a similar time-saving / cost-cutting theme:

I don’t know if any Sodamaker users have baulked at the cost of Sodamaker cylinder refills, but there are much cheaper alternatives! You will need to look online to find out how you can refill your 400/425gm CO2 cylinders [by purchasing a larger food grade CO2 donor cylinder], and refilling your Sodamaker cylinders for a fraction of the cost of what you would normally expect to pay! From a, for example, 6.5kg CO2 donor cylinder, you can fill up to 15 x 400g/425g cylinders for ~$2.00 per cylinder compared to the ~$16.00 per 400/425g cylinder refill that [they] are demanding!

I’m writing from a British perspective, so I don’t know the prices you are looking at, but anyway, you get the idea.

  • How do you hook up the soda streamer to your beer bottles?
    – Robert
    Apr 20 at 1:42

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