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I've completed diacetyl rest and transferred to secondary 5 gallon carboy for lagering (say 3-5 weeks). After a few weeks lagering, I anticipate bottling but am curious how adding the priming sugar is going to result in better carbonation. I realize the priming sugar is to be processed by residual yeast, but after practically a month of lagering at 35 degrees F, I'm wondering if the carbonation is going to occur and how long it will take in the bottle. So here are my questions:

1) Is it a good idea to add priming sugar after lagering completes and while bottling for conditioning?

2) Is it helpful to introduce additional yeast during bottling, or is there going to be enough residual yeast to handle the carbonation?

3) Could the lagering carboy be locked (with a plug to prevent escape) to introduce carbonation during lagering?

4) What's the risk of not introducing any priming sugar during the bottle conditioning? Will this just result in a flat lager?

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  1. Yes, priming sugar is usually added to the carboy or bottling bucket just prior to bottling for ease. However there are "carbonation drops" you can alternately add to each bottle. These are just sugar.
  2. You can add more yeast, but it's generally not needed.
  3. No, glass carboys are not designed to hold any pressure.
  4. Yes, the beer will be flat unless fermentaion hasn't completed and lagering is finishing off a couple gravity points.

Just a side point. Kegging gives you much more control and ease. You can still bottle from a force carbonated keg, and have identical consistency in flavor and carbonation from bottle to bottle. Also when pouring from the bottles, you dont have the yeast in the bottom. Too many pros to list here. Cons are $ investment in equipment & gas.

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  • In terms of finding equipment for a keg, where would go to? I've heard about kegerators but I already have a dedicate fridge, 2 glass carboys, and all the other equipment. If I could transport to a keg for the bottle conditioning, that would be a lot easier than bottling into individual glass bottles. – nhunsaker Feb 21 '16 at 22:13
  • @nhunsaker most home brewers use old soda kegs originally called Cornelius kegs they're 5 gallon stainless steel. Also nicknamed cornys, cornies, corny kegs. They have pin lock and ball lock variations, ball lock is generally preferred. All homebrew supplies sell them, also found from local used sources. There are rare hard to find 10 gallon versions too, these are buy on site if you find one lol. Then you just need a co2 tank, regulator, lines and fittings. Picnic taps are a cost effective pour valve to get started. – Evil Zymurgist Feb 22 '16 at 0:13

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