Monday, 9 December 2013

Priming and Bottle Carbonation

Hi Everyone,
As mentioned in my last post, here is the first of a series of informative pieces, taken from numerous souces around the web. along with some advice direct from my friends on
This will be a long post so bare with me:
First up I've been thinking a lot about the affect of carbonation for IPA's and Pale ales, as it seems to affect the perceived bitterness of the final product and the "Zing" from the hops flavour. So in retrospect of this, I brewed the recent smell the Roses, and the even more recent Mountain Warrior, and will be carbed to their respective CO2 levels based off Beersmith 2 for the volume of beer being bottled. both beers will be carbedat very slightly different levels to test the difference in taste, and bitterness/flavour.

So firstly, the process:
2 cups of water brought to boiling point, the appropriate amount of sugar is added using the various calculators available online. (I'm currently using Beersmith 2), this is dissolved into the warm water and boiled for 10-15mins for sterilisation.
Next: The sugar solution is added to your sanitised bottling bucket, and the beer is siphoned/racked on top of it. Be careful not to splash it round, as oxidation can occur.
Then: makes sure the solution is dissolved into the beer, either by a gentle stir with sanitised spoon, or using a whirpool motion from the racking (this is normally what I do, as I can get a pretty good whirlpool motion going). I stirred the most recent one, to ensure even carbonation.
then bottle as usual with bottling wand attached.

Each different style requires a different level of carbonation to bring out some of the flavours, whether it be hops, yeast, malts etc.
So here is a general list of the recommended volume range for each individual style:
American Lager - Light/Standard/Premium (2.57-2.73) American Lager - Dark (2.5-2.7)
American Lager - Classic American Pilsner (2.3-2.5) European Pale Lager - Bohemian Pilsner (2.3-2.5)
European Pale Lager - Northern German Pilsner (2.52) European Pale Lager - Dortmunder Export (2.57)
European Pale Lager - Muenchner Helles (2.26-2.68) Light Ale - Blond Ale (2.3-2.6)
Light Ale - American Wheat (2.3-2.6) Light Ale - Cream Ale (2.6-2.7)
Bitter And English Pale Ale - Ordinary Bitter (.75-1.3) 
Bitter And English Pale Ale - Special or Best Bitter (.75-1.3)
Bitter And English Pale Ale - Strong Bitter / English Pale Ale (.75-1.3)
Scottish Ales - Light 60/- (.75-1.3) Scottish Ales - Heavy 70/- (.75-1.3)
Scottish Ales - Export 80/- (.75-1.3)
American Pale Ales - American Pale Ale (2.26-2.78) American Pale Ales - American Amber Ale (2.26-2.78)
American Pale Ales - California Common Beer (2.4-2.8) India Pale Ale - India Pale Ale (1.5-2.3)
Koelsch And Altbier - Koelsch-Style Ale (2.42-2.73) Koelsch And Altbier - Duesseldorf Altbier (2.16-3.09)
Koelsch And Altbier - Northern German Altbier (2.16-3.09) 
German Amber Lager - Oktoberfest/Maerzen (2.57-2.73) German Amber Lager - Vienna Lager (2.4-2.6)
5Brown Ale - Mild (1.3-2.0) Brown Ale - Northern English Brown Ale (1.5-2.3)
Brown Ale - Southern English Brown (1.5-2.3) Brown Ale - American Brown Ale (1.5-2.5)
English And Scottish Strong Ale - Old Ale (1.5-2.3)
English And Scottish Strong Ale - Strong Scotch Ale (Wee Heavy) (1.5-2.3)
Barleywine And Imperial Stout - English-style Barleywine (1.3-2.3)
Barleywine And Imperial Stout - American-Style Barleywine (1.3-2.3)
Barleywine And Imperial Stout - Russian Imperial Stout (1.5-2.3)
European Dark Lager - Munich Dunkel (2.21-2.66)
European Dark Lager - Schwarzbier (Black Beer) (2.2-2.6)
Bock - Traditional Bock (2.2-2.7) Bock - Helles Bock/Maibock (2.16-2.73) Bock - Doppelbock (2.26-2.62)
Bock - Eisbock (2.37) Porter - Robust Porter (1.8-2.5) Porter - Brown Porter (1.7-2.5)
Stout - Dry Stout (1.6-2.0) Stout - Sweet Stout (2.0-2.4) Stout - Oatmeal Stout (2.0-2.4)
Stout - Foreign Extra Stout (2.3-2.6) Wheat Beer - Bavarian Weizen (3.6-4.48)
Wheat Beer - Bavarian Dunkelweizen (3.6-4.48) Wheat Beer - Berliner Weisse (3.45)
Wheat Beer - Weizenbock (3.71-4.74) Strong Belgian Ale - Dubbel (1.9-2.4)
Strong Belgian Ale - Tripel (1.9-2.4) Strong Belgian Ale - Belgian Strong Golden Ale (1.9-2.4)
Strong Belgian Ale - Belgian Strong Dark Ale (1.9-2.5)
Belgian And French Ale - Belgian Pale Ale (1.9-2.5) Belgian And French Ale - Witbier (2.1-2.6)
Belgian And French Ale - Biere de Garde (1.9-2.5) Belgian And French Ale - Saison (1.9-2.4)
Belgian And French Ale - Belgian Specialty Ale (1.9-2.4)
Lambic And Belgian Sour Ale - Straight (Unblended) Lambic-Style (3.0-4.5)
Lambic And Belgian Sour Ale - Gueuze/Geuze-Style Ale (3.0-4.5)
Lambic And Belgian Sour Ale - Fruit Lambic-Style Ale (2.6-4.5)
Lambic And Belgian Sour Ale - Oud Bruin (1.9-2.5)
Lambic And Belgian Sour Ale - Flanders Red Ale (1.9-2.5) Fruit Beer - Fruit Beer (2.0-3.0)
Spice/Herb/Vegetable Beer - Spice/Herb/Vegetable (2.0-3.0)
Smoke-flavored Beer - Classic Rauchbier (2.16-2.57)
Smoke-flavored Beer - Other Smoked Beer (2.16-2.57)
Specialty/Experimental/Historical - Specialty/Experimental/Histroical (2.2-2.5)

However after my recent failure at NHC, the feedback, mainly for the IPA/Pales Ale Categories was lack of hop vibrancy and "Zing" So I asked the question here:
One of the main bits of advice I received was  fresh hops (I freeze mine in Zip bags to keep as best I can) anmd the other was Carbonation.
Read Ralph's response about bottle carbed vs kegged, and the co2 differences between the 2 beers. very interesting.
 So here by an experiments (all be it different beers, with good similarities) read below for more.
All Priming numbers taken from beersmith by using the estimated final volume, ratherthan whats in the fermenter.
First up is Smell the roses; as I didn't want to grossly overcarb the beer and ruin my New years/Christmas beer, I figured, I'd carb up more accurately to the Numbers on Beersmith. So I decided to Carb higher than my usual, to 2.55 for 19 litres of beer. This equalled 126g of Dextrose usingthe above method of priming/bottling. Results will follow wit h1 weeks test, 2 week test and 3 weeks test
The 3 week test should be a good indication of final co2 level.
secondly the Mountain Warrior will be carbed up slightly higher (not by alot) to 2.6volumes, and the same test will follow.
My next American Pale Alewill be carbedto 2.7 in the new year. this will be my final test for bottle carbonation, although a kegging test once I complete my equipment will come up at some stage.
Here is some good tips on Carbonation:
and a good Priming calculator should you need it:


  1. Looking forward to hearing the results!

  2. Thanks, yeah I'll be interested to see the differences between beers and carbonation. Dry hopped mountain warrior last night with a heap of simcoe, so no multiple dry hops this time.