How Much Priming Sugar Should Be Used for Home Brewing?

Written by samuel sohlden
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How Much Priming Sugar Should Be Used for Home Brewing?
Home-brewed beer requires priming sugar in order to create carbonation. (beer image by YURY MARYUNIN from

In order to obtain carbonation in home-brewed beer its necessary to add additional sugar to the beer before bottling. This allows the yeast to form carbon dioxide in the sealed beer bottle, causing carbonation. However, this process leaves behind a white yeast layer at the bottom of the beer bottle. While it is recommended to use 147ml. of priming sugar per 5 gal. of beer, using less reduces the amount of unwanted leftover yeast material. If someone lacks the motivation or equipment to filter out the yeast before drinking, its advisable to use less priming sugar. Priming sugar can also cause over-carbonation, which leaves the brewer with the option of prematurely opening the beer to relieve pressure so as to not end up with an exploded beer mess.

Carbonation is a Beer Essential

Nothing tastes worse than a flat beer. Using the recommended 147ml. per 5 gal. of beer, or more, ensures adequate carbonation. If the beer was expensive to make or the brewer desires a high-quality end product it's generally worth the time and effort to filter out the yeast before drinking. The yeast layer can also sit undisturbed inside the glass bottle if the beer is poured carefully.

Yeast is full of vitamin B and is not at all harmful to consume. Some home brewers learn to enjoy the yeast, or decide to accustom themselves to the yeast taste. A change in priming procedure using polythene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles allows the beer to carbonate before bottling. This allows the brewer to filter out yeast sediment before bottling, retaining the carbonation.

Bottom Line

Using too much priming sugar leaves a risk for over-carbonation and can result in exploded bottles. However, priming sugar creates carbonation, an essential aspect of beer flavour. The benefits of carbonation far outweigh the negatives of leftover yeast and over-carbonation.

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