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I know there are priming sugar calculators out there to help decide how much sugar one should add but is there any thing as too much priming sugar and if yes what would be the side effect to expect?

I have brewed two batches now but they both lacked carbonation and were out right flat. And I was using Northern Brewer's Fizz drops for priming but the complication was I have 16oz bottles and fizz drop were for 12oz bottles, so I added 1 and a half drop in each of the bottle. I am thinking of adding more than that for the next batch.

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If you have added approximately the right amount of priming sugar and your beer is not carbonated at all, your problem probably is not the amount of sugar added.

A common problem is inadequate mixing of the priming sugar in the batch, but this doesn't apply here because you indicate that you added sugar to each bottle individually.

Other potential problems (though unlikely assuming basic understanding of the process) is lack of viable yeast in the bottles, insufficient time for the yeast to consume the priming sugar, or storing the bottled beer at too low of a temperature for the yeast to become active and consume the added sugar.

Your problem is more likely a failure of the caps to hold pressure and thus allow all the carbonation that forms to escape.

If you added approximately enough priming sugar in the first attempts and got no carbonation at all, then adding more and not changing anything else is unlikely to solve the problem.

If the problem is temperature or time, store the bottles at room temperature for a week or two. That should solve it.

If the problem is lack of viable yeast: open each bottle, add a tiny amount of dry yeast or a drop of liquid yeast slurry, and re-cap. Store the bottles at room temperature for a week or two. In this case, do not add more sugar (because the sugar you added before is still there).

If the problem is bad capping: open each bottle, re-prime, and cap. Store the bottles at room temperature for a week or two.

Regarding over-priming:

I have had a couple batches that I over-primed a little bit. The observed behavior was that about three seconds after removing the cap on a 22 ounce bottle, about eight ounces of foam would emerge from the bottle. Foam would continue to form inside the bottle for a few minutes (and if I had only poured out a few ounces, enough foam formed to emerge from the bottle).

This was not catastrophic, but would create a mess if I wasn't ready to pour immediately into a glass.

I suppose that the more you over-prime, the faster/more violent this process will be. If you prime enough (or, more likely, bottle before fermentation is complete), you can create bottle bombs (the bottles can explode), which is dangerous and very, very messy.

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Different beers do need different levels of carbonation. Let me tell you something; a lot of science goes behind the process of carbonation. Before your priming process, you should make sure your batch has yeast from the primary fermentation stage(no adding more). You should stir your beer gently before bottling to make sure each bottle gets the yeast to convert the sugars in the drops into CO2. Well, there is something called over carbonation and it occurs if there is too much carbonation. If you make sure there is yeast in every of your bottle and the recommended amount of carbonation drops then you must not face any lack of carbonation. Try to get the yeast even throughout the entire beer for bottling. Cheers!

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    And use brewing software to calculate the amount of sugar you need to add. – chthon Jan 13 at 10:15
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To much sugar and not enough water for your priming will result in beer bombs. I am struggling to figure the right ratio of sugar to water. Made a Amber and priming was off got a couple beer bombs.

  • I am curious about this. Did you use any software to determine the amount of sugar you added to the beer? The amount of priming sugar depends on the volume of desired CO2 for the style, the amount of beer and the temperature of the beer. I typically use the calculator on the Brewer's Friend site: brewersfriend.com/beer-priming-calculator – jwbradley Feb 10 at 17:32
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"Is there any thing as too much priming sugar?" The short answer is, 'yes.' There is a failure point on glass bottles where the pressure will cause them to explode, or if you just plan on kegging your beer, the extra carbonation will just give you glass after glass of foam. One good thing about over carbed kegs is you can off-gas the extra pressure to help.

My suggestion is to add 1/2 teaspoon or less of dry champagne yeast into your bottling bucket along with priming solution. Let is set for 5 - 10 minutes and bottle as you normally would. I've done this trick since my first batch and never had any issues with bottle conditioning. Cheers!

  • Why the champagne yeast? – Robert Feb 8 at 22:42
  • No specific reasoning. I've used both Cask and Bottle Conditioning Ale yeasts and champagne yeasts. I like the results from the champagne. This is just my opinion but I believe it offers a better head retention. – jwbradley Feb 10 at 17:24

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