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Beersperiment: Priming Sugar

Hello there!

I am the lucky guy that have been asked by The Belgian Brewery to do a monthly “Beerspiriment.” I must say, I am overly excited to tell you guys about my first fail. A brewing fail? Yes! You heard correctly, I am no expert in brewing, just an ordinary guy that enjoys experimenting with my homebrew.

So what are we going to talk about today? Bloody massive amounts of priming sugar. The first many batches I made with The Belgian Brewery’s starter kit gave me really awesome speciality beers, so I got extremely eager and thought to myself “I am ready to experiment with brewing, because I am the home made beer boss!”

In hindsight, my pride might have taken over for a while.

This is what happened:

I overheard some people talking about adding extra sugar when bottling the beer to get a higher percentage of alcohol. “Interesting home brewing banter,” I thought to myself. So I went home and looked up an article or two about increasing the priming sugar. “Adding extra sugar when priming will increase the alcohol percentage,” the articles said. So I increased the sugar level with 25% for my Amber Ale.

What I did not realise until later was that the carbonation level also increases when adding extra sugar to your homebrew. The beer came alive. We are talking a celebrative beer explosion that could put any Monte Carlo champagne shower to shame. Thrilled about my multifunctional lethal weapon and beer in one, I tried to decrease the desire to give this fantastic home made creation to an unknowing soul in my friend group. Instead we have to focus on what is important here. The home made beer. The beer itself definitely had a higher ABV (alcohol percentage) and it still tasted wonderful; unfortunately, half of the beer in the bottle would become crazy foam. So to conclude: it was an awesome surprise that proved to be a little annoying in the long run.

Standing with a batch of very outgoing beer, my experiment objective suddenly changed. Now, it was all about decreasing the level of carbonation to save the delicious homebrew.

Two things proved to be helpful.

  1. You can refrigerate the beer and opening it while it is cold, as this will limit the gas in the beer. If you are extra ballsy you can even put it in the freeze and open it after it is close to 0 degrees, this work better in terms of carbonation but there is a chance that the bottle will explode.

  2. You can open the beer partly in a bowl which will save all the foam for later and at the same time let the pressure get out in a more conservative fashion.

I am happy to conclude that radically increasing the level of sugar in your home brew will give you the perfect beer for champagne celebrations and practical jokes! Good luck with your priming sugar!

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