Bottling tonight- have some questions

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Powaygreen, Dec 3, 2012.

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  1. Powaygreen

    Powaygreen Initiate (0) Nov 5, 2012 California

    Hi Everyone-

    I'm bottling tonight for my first time and have a few questions I'm hoping you guys can help with. It's a 5 gallon batch of Papazian's Holiday Cheer Ale recipe, but not sure if it's exaclty 5 gallons.

    1.) Should I use corn sugar for priming and how much should I add? Is there a formula for figuring out how much I need?
    2.) After sanitizing my equipment and bottles in Iodophur solution, do the bottles and equipment need to be completely dry of iodophur solution before using? Or can I fill the bottles with a little solution left in them (not completely dry) without affecting taste?

    Any help/advice is much appreciated and thanks in advance!
  2. geocool

    geocool Initiate (175) Jun 21, 2006 Massachusetts

    Add 5 oz (or 3/4 cup) of corn sugar to a little water, boil for ten minutes, dump this into your bottling bucket and rack the beer into the bucket. There are priming calculators like this one that can help you, but 3/4 cup of dextrose per 5 gallons is just about right in most cases.

    I've never sanitized with iodophor, but I'm pretty sure it's considered a no-rinse sanitizer if used at the right concentration. More reading here. I really prefer StarSan for sanitizing.
  3. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,328) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    You don't have to use corn sugar. Table sugar works just as well, and is cheaper. Here's the calculator I used when I was bottling...

    If in doubt, you can rack the beer to your bottling bucket, to get a better estimate of how much you have, before adding the sugar solution.
  4. geocool

    geocool Initiate (175) Jun 21, 2006 Massachusetts

    I feel that racking the beer on top of the sugar solution (and getting that good swirling motion) helps mix the sugar evenly. I think people who add the sugar afterwards sometimes complain of uneven carbonation.
  5. psnydez86

    psnydez86 Disciple (363) Jan 4, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Even if you rack a beer onto priming sugar it will need manually stirred with something... A recent thread as well as fairly recent experiment taught me this. I decided to do this no stir experiment with a surly bender clone.... So far about 60% of my bottles I've opened have been flat. Needless to say after im 10 batches in Santa is bringing me a keg and beer gun.
    jzeilinger likes this.
  6. GardenWaters

    GardenWaters Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2012 Illinois

    Interesting! I'm a newbie homebrewer (using kits for now), and it never really crossed my mind that the priming sugar included with the kits is the amount intended for a 5 gal. batch. I say this is interesting because I always add the full amount of sugar despite yielding approx. 4.25-4.5 gallons after taking samples and racking. No problems so far, but it is something I'll have to start taking into consideration from now on :wink:.
  7. MLucky

    MLucky Aspirant (286) Jul 31, 2010 California

    1) Use table sugar. It's cheaper. Yes, there is a formula, but most of us just use the many calculators that are available online. Like this one: Note that you need to enter the correct volume of beer to be carbonated, as well as the beer style, in order to get proper carbonation for that style. (As an aside: I think proper carbonation is one of the more overlooked aspects of homebrewing. You meet so many guys who always use a certain amount of sucrose no matter style they're bottling, and of course that amount is going to be too little for some styles and too much for others. But I digress.) You want to be as sure as you can be about volume: if you use the correct amount of sugar for 5 gallons, and you only bottle 4.5, you will probably wind up with overcarbonated beer. There are lots of ways of measuring volume. I assume you have a bottling bucket? It probably has gallons marked on the side. If not, mark them yourself (ie, pour in water one gallon at a time and mark the level).

    2) It's not necessary to let them dry completely, but I usually do. Here's an article with a lot of good info on iodophor that I would highly recommend reading before you go forward:
  8. geocool

    geocool Initiate (175) Jun 21, 2006 Massachusetts

    Actually, the difference between 2.5 and 2.7 vols of CO2 is not particularly noticeable. But it can't hurt to pay more careful attention to this step in the brewing process.
  9. Powaygreen

    Powaygreen Initiate (0) Nov 5, 2012 California


    This was extremely useful information, thank you and I really apprecaite the feedback on here. We bottled last night and for our first time, I think everything went pretty smooth. I used the online calculators to figure we needed 3/4 cup of corn sugar (my buddy bought at the home brew store so no complaints!)

    The only thing that worries me is the fact that we didn't stir the priming sugar even after racking the beer onto it in the bottling bucket. It had the swirling motion, which I assumed was good enough to mix evenly and thouroughly, but after reading this, I'm a little worried:
    Oh well, there's nothing we can do now and only time will tell!

    Thanks again everyone.
  10. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,328) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    It all depends on how much agitation you got. Ironically, the more skilled you are at gentle racking, the greater the chance that your sugar solution will not be mixed thoroughly just by racking. When I used to bottle routinely, my solution was well mixed just by racking. Nowadays, I'm a better racker, and would not rely on racking alone to mix evenly. Some people give the mixture a gentle stir for insurance.
  11. koopa

    koopa Poo-Bah (1,825) Apr 20, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    When I used to bottle I would rarely stir but I would always rack gently. I would find small amounts of carbonation variation from bottle to bottle at times, but I never had any bottles that were drastically under carbonated (let alone outright flat). Roll with the punches OP and don't sweat it. Your batch won't be ruined by not stirring.
  12. EdH

    EdH Initiate (0) Jul 27, 2005 Utah

    You don't need to let your gear and bottles dry completely. Diluted Iodophor is unstable and degrades over time -- so all you're really doing is "watering down" your beer in an insignificant amount.
  13. ipas-for-life

    ipas-for-life Disciple (347) Feb 28, 2012 Virginia
    Beer Trader

    For next time get a bottling tree and some StarSan. If you pour the starsan out carefully you end up with almost nothing left in the bottle. Once your bottles are sanitized and on the tree, rack the beer on top of the priming solution. By the time your done the first bottles you put on the tree will ready to go.
  14. EdH

    EdH Initiate (0) Jul 27, 2005 Utah

    Bottle trees are great -- and work the same way with Iodophor, oddly enough
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