Priming your beer is the last stage of homebrewing before bottling. The priming stage is when you add corn sugar or plain dried malt extract to your wort and then bottle. The sugar you have added is broken down by the yeast in your wort and creates carbonation.
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Using corn sugar is generally the most common way to prime your home brew. If you are brewing with a kit, most will contain a premeasured amount of corn sugar. You should add the sugar to your batch before bottling. Corn sugar can be added as is or can be boiled in 473ml. of water, cooled and then added. The amount should be 3/4 cup of corn sugar per 5 gallon batch.
If adding plain dried malt extract, the outcome of the priming should be the same. The ideal amount of malt extract is 1 1/4 cup per 5 gallon batch. The adding of dried malt extract could raise the alcohol content of your home brew, but the amount would be negligible compared to adding a "kicker" batch of malt to your wort while brewing.
Adding To The Bottles
Adding corn sugar or malt extract to each individual bottle should be avoided, even though it is not unheard of for brewers of greater experience to do this. Adding your priming agent directly to the bottle could lead to inconsistent carbonation.
Too Much Sugar Or Malt
If you add too much of your chosen primer to the batch or to each bottle, the risk of bottle explosion is much higher. If in doubt of your measurements, it would be best to hold off until you can get the proper measuring tools. A basic set of kitchen measuring cups works just fine.
Other Priming Methods
Other priming methods exist, such as using a saved batch of yeast from your original brew, or using a saved batch or wort from the brew you are bottling. These methods would lend a batch a more consistent or richer flavour but are not recommended for the casual brewer. Each method requires that the yeast or wort be properly stored and kept carefully sanitised.
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