Does the method chosen to carbonate your beer impact taste? For example, forced Co2 vs bottle vs natural, etc.

2 Answers 2


Not in my experience. I did a test where I used corn sugar, cane sugar, brown sugar, honey and DME (maybe even something else) and also force carbonated a split batch. After 2 months of conditioning, none of the tasters in a blind test could distinguish one from the other, and no one exhibited a preference for any one method.

  • 1
    Excellent experiment! I presume the amounts of priming ingredient was leveled so as to provide the same amount of food/carbonation. That would rule out any large impact from a mild tasting honey (like clover) since the quantity was very small.
    – Dale
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 17:00
  • 1
    You are correct. All primings were calculated to provide app. 2.5 vol. of CO2.
    – Denny Conn
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 17:30
  • Did you publish your results somehow?
    – user2525
    Commented Jul 11, 2012 at 19:13
  • No, I didn't. It was nearly 15 years ago when I'd only been brewing a little while. I was curious to see for myself after hearing the debate about various primings.
    – Denny Conn
    Commented Jul 12, 2012 at 15:40
  • That's awesome. How large was your sample size of tasters?
    – user2525
    Commented Jul 12, 2012 at 16:07

The most common methods of carbonating your beer will not offer differing flavor profiles, but there are exceptions.

When force carbing, your only addition to the beer is the gas itself, CO2.

When using corn sugar, your addition to the beer is 100% fermentable, so the CO2 gas your looking for is created, with no sweetness (or flavor) left behind.

The exception: If you instead use an addition which is NOT 100% fermentable. A good example of this would be Honey, which comes in many varieties (i.e. Orange Blossom). Your Honey addition will not be entirely fermented, and there will be a mild residual sweetness and honey flavor profile left behind. Now, whether or not this impacts your beer's flavor profile as a whole, will entirely depend on the beer being made. You won't notice any real impact on your beer's flavor profile unless your Final Gravity is close to 1.010 (Assuming you have not made any adjunct boil/fermantation sugar additions).

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    My understanding is that honey is almost 100% fermentable. It doesn't leave any residual sweetness, at least not unless you are adding honey in amounts beyond the yeast's ability to eat it (12+% ABV). Have you ever had a dry mead before? They are bone dry, like a white wine. But you are right in that THEORETICALLY there could be some flavor from the sugar. However, I'd think the only priming sugar that might be strong enough to contribute flavor would be something like very dark candy sugar or molasses.
    – GHP
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 20:03
  • Molasses is another good example (perhaps better). The thing with Honey and Molasses is, ya the majority of them IS fermentable, but the flavor left behind is very distinct and detectable in certain beer styles. What also complicates things is the yeast used...some yeast is just far more ruthless when it comes to fermenting sugars (i.e. some Mead yeasts and Champagne Yeast).
    – hartski
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 20:28
  • @Graham: I'm not sure about the yeast used in beer, but the yeast I use for mead (a champagne yeast) can supposedly survive up to 18% ABV. I've never fermented past 14%. Commented Jul 3, 2012 at 18:05
  • @FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Yeah I threw out 12% as a ballpark because we are talking about honey in beer, not mead directly, and most typical ale yeasts will stop at that unless you coax them further. You are certainly correct that you can get a MEAD past that with the right yeast and conditions.
    – GHP
    Commented Jul 3, 2012 at 20:08

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