If you happen to be out of priming sugar, but really want to bottle your beer, what are the alternatives? Let's assume a 5 gallon batch that's fully fermented - call it 1.010-1.014.

7 Answers 7

  • Corn syrup
  • Regular olde sucrose
  • Malt extract
  • Brown sugar if you're desperate

See A Primer on Priming and How to Brew.

  • Also watch out for anything with corn starch, like confectioner's sugar. Dec 11, 2009 at 17:08
  • Thanks Dean. I might throw in some amounts for a 5 gallon batch, but this is great. Dec 11, 2009 at 17:29
  • I'd add honey to the list if it isn't going to clash with the style. Honey leaves non-fermentables behind too.
    – Hugh Nelson
    Mar 16, 2010 at 9:10
  • Corn syrup, like the Karo brand, will usually have things like salt and vanilla added to it. I wouldn't recommend its use for priming.
    – Denny Conn
    Sep 9, 2013 at 15:37

I'd be cautious of using corn syrup, it usually has salt and sometimes vanilla flavoring in it in addition to the actual corn sugar syrup.

Go with regular table sugar (sucrose), or malt extract if you have some to spare. KOTMF has got a handy calculator to help you determine how much you should use: http://kotmf.com/tools/prime.php


Old school method is to kräusen it. You would add a portion of actively fermenting beer to your priming bucket. You can also do this with plain wort, but the fresh and healthy yeast in actively fermenting beer has a few benefits... clean up diacetyl, acetylaldehyde, and other fermentation by-products.

Here's a formula for how much gyle to add: priming with gyle formula

Here's a calculator for how much gyle to add: priming with gyle calculator

  • Just be careful to save back the wort in a sanitized container in the fridge. Re-heating will add DMS and change the nature of the (ostensibly finished) wort.
    – Wyrmwood
    Jan 17, 2017 at 18:33

The next best option is DME. You can use table sugar, some say it will give a "cider" flavor, others argue that point. Honey works but is slow. Pretty much any fermentable will work, some more slowly than others.


I know what comat0se describes as kräusen as using Speise (literally, food). As a rule of thumb use 10% (for lagers) to 15% (for ales) of the wort as Speise. You need less for lagers cause they usually ferment cooler and at lower temperatures there is more CO2 in the beer.


I wrote a whole blog post on this topic a while back: Alternate Priming Sugars.

I discuss honey, DME, brown sugar, etc, even fruit juice. Adds a nice extra dimension to some beers. If you're just looking to carb up your beer and you're out of corn sugar, you can't go wrong with plain old table sugar though.

  • 1
    It would be best if you summarized your blog here, and leave the link for anyone wanting the full info.
    – mdma
    Sep 9, 2013 at 2:21

I have used Table Suger, Suger Cubes, and Corn Suger with no ill effects in my priming of my beers to this point.

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