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From what I've read, it seems that the old technique of adding a given amount of sugar to each bottle for priming isn't recommended anymore. Instead, just about every source recommends boiling priming sugars in water and adding the cooled solution to the wort before bottling.

Why is this? It seems to me that by adding sugar to individual bottles, I don't have to worry about uneven carb levels from a non-uniform mixture of my priming solution.

Reasons I've thought of:

  • Convenience: not having to measure out the sugar for 50 bottles
  • Convenience: not having to worry about bottles with different volumes
  • Sanitation: the sugar gets pasteurized (is this really a concern?)

Are there other compelling reasons I haven't thought of, or does it just come down to convenience?


EDIT: This motivation for this question was bottling small batches, in which priming just a few bottles is an equivalent amount of work to batch priming.

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    I've read that the beer may gush when you put sugar in the bottle, but that never happened to me. A disadvantage in adding sugar to bottles would be that it's hard to measure such small amounts accurately and you may end up with a wide degree of carbonation in a batch. Like you said, that could also happen when adding sugar (solution) to a bottling bucket. – Robert Nov 14 '18 at 22:22
  • @Robert Fair points on both counts. I've had cider gush when I added dextrose to already-filled bottles (oops, don't do that) but have not had problems when I put dextrose in first. Measurement precision is a good point. – tempest_col Nov 14 '18 at 22:27
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    Get some carbonation drops amazon.com/Coopers-Home-Brewing-Carbonation-Drops-x/dp/… – farmersteve Nov 15 '18 at 0:07
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    It's much easier to ensure good mixing of priming solution than perfect measurement of sugar over bottles of varying volumes (or even bottles of the same size). It's also less faffing around, and has the other advantage of letting you rack off the sediment into your bottling bucket, leaving you with beer that little bit clearer. In terms of the carbonation quality, there's no difference. It's just an efficiency thing, as well as a scale and precision thing. – Frazbro Nov 15 '18 at 4:36
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    @farmersteve Awesome idea - should have thought of that! Those sound very handy for bottling small batches. – tempest_col Nov 15 '18 at 17:35
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You do have the answer in your question. When brewing my first kit, I put the sugar in each bottle and here is my experience:

  1. Have to measure sugar for each bottle, difficult and time consuming when using different sizes.
  2. I did experience gushing when filling bottles that had sugar in them
  3. I did get a few bottles that where not as good (due to sugar not sanitized perhaps?)

Making a priming solution is easier. I have made more than 20 batches with this technique. My experience :

  1. Faster calculation, just one quantity
  2. Adding boiling water to sugar will kill bacteria and helps disolve the sugar
  3. You still need to mix it well to ensure the whole batch is equally primed
  4. Faster bottling, no gushing
  5. Transfering beer to bottling bucket also helps getting rid of sediments, less chances of getting those mixed while bottling
  • Thanks for the thoughts & perspective. It seems like it mostly comes down to which method gives the more efficient workflow. – tempest_col Nov 15 '18 at 17:38
  • I actually find that I spend most of my time cleaning up. – chthon Nov 15 '18 at 19:41
  • ...after bottling, that is. – chthon Nov 15 '18 at 19:52
  • Racking it to priming vessel is recommended as it helps to mix the priming solution. – Martin Nov 16 '18 at 19:53
  • That's true Martin, I prepare the priming solution and put it in the bottling bucket first. After, I transfer the beer to the bottling bucket and give it a good stir before bottling. – Philippe Nov 19 '18 at 13:10

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