View Full Version : Priming Sugar (Corn Sugar) for a Braggot

06-21-2012, 12:05 PM
Just curious how much people typically add to a 1 gallon batch and can you directly add it to the bottles, say like a tsp to each 500ml bottle or should you mix it with warm water and add it to the bottling bucket.

06-21-2012, 12:46 PM
Prime for a braggot the same way that you would for any other beer. Especially since you're only doing a gallon, you should pre-dissolve your priming sugar in a little warm water and add it to the bottling bucket rather than try to measure out exact amounts of sugar for each bottle.

Of course since it is a braggot, you could also prime with some honey. ;D

The amount of sugar (or honey) to use depends on how carbonated you'd like the brew to be. Here's a good website for estimating the amount of sugar (by weight in ounces) that you'd need for nearly anything you might want to prime:

Keep in mind that if you use honey instead of corn sugar for priming, that honey is approximately 80% fermentable sugars by weight, so you'd need about 20% more honey than you would sugar to get an equivalent amount of carbonation.

06-21-2012, 01:07 PM
Thanks wayneb,

That's a cool calculator, its a little bit over my head though since I have never made a beer. When I used it, it said I need 0.9 oz of corn sugar, does that sound right? Does the carbonation add to the head of the beer at all? I would like the carbonation to be equvalinet to a Bottingtons beer and also want to make sure I don't have a bottle bomb.

06-21-2012, 02:31 PM
Well, let's use your batch and your target carbonation level in the calculator, and see where it takes us.

First, Boddington's is a classic English Pale, so we see from the pulldown styles menu that carb levels on the order of 1.5 to 2.3 atmospheres are typical for the style. Let's pick something right in the middle, like 2.0. Enter 2.0 in the Desired Volumes spot.

Next I'll assume your braggot is at a reasonable room temperature of, say, 72F. Enter 72 in the temperature, and leave the F degrees selected as-is.

Next I'll assume you're working with a US gallon, so enter 1 and leave the pulldown on gal (there are also selections for Imperial volumes, if you happen to be English and "old school.") ;)

You said that you want to use corn sugar, so we'll leave that default selection set as-is.

Now unless you have vigorously de-gassed your must, it probably has somewhere between 0.5 and 1.0 volumes of CO2 already in it, left over from fermentation. Again, we'll pick a middle number, so enter 0.75 in the volumes spot. NOTE: Although the two examples given in the table (0.9 for an ale at 65F and 1.2 for a lager at 50F) are both higher than my assumption, I've found that the act of racking braggots (and other meads) tends to release more of that residual than often happens with beers. I'm not sure why, but I've always had good luck with the 0.75 volume initial assumption, so that's what I routinely use.

Then hit calculate, and the answer is: 0.639 ounces (0.64 is close enough), or 18.1 grams (again, 18 would be close enough).

You ended up with 0.9 ounces, which would be correct if you'd used the default American Amber style and assumed zero atmospheres of residual CO2. In reality, any amount between the two values, 0.64 to 0.90, would give you an acceptable carbonation level and would not be in any danger of creating bottle bombs. Priming doesn't need to be an exact science - at least not as exact as some of the other things we do in meadmaking.

06-21-2012, 03:27 PM
Thanks a ton wayneb, thats exactly what I got when I repicked a values used on a stout listed in the drop down.

06-21-2012, 04:42 PM
Hey so quick question, do I need to let this braggot ferment to an SG of 1.00 so I don't have to worry about bottle bombs before applying the priming sugar...I assume so.

06-21-2012, 05:51 PM
No, not necessarily. It turns out that there will be some "unfermentable sugars" in the mix, that come from your malt contributions. Depending on the efficiency of conversion, and the temperature at which the grains were mashed, you will have more, or fewer, complex sugars in the wort that your yeast cannot metabolize. In general the higher the average mash temperature, the higher the percentage of total carbohydrate in the grains will show up as complex, rather than simple, sugars. To further complicate things, some yeast strains are more capable of metabolizing some of those complex sugars than others.

Bottom line is that you will see beer brewers mentioning the term "attenuation" a lot. Attenuation is simply a way to quantify the amount of sugars that have been metabolized by the yeast and converted to ethanol and CO2. 100% attenuation means that all sugars have been converted, 75% attenuation means that 1/4 of the carbohydrates (complex sugars) in your wort did not get used by the yeast, and so they remain in the finished product. Those unconverted complex sugars will add body, mouthfeel, and will be perceived as more or less sweet to the taste, and they will also mean that the final specific gravity of your braggot will be something above where it would finish if all the sugars had been converted. It is not unusual, in a high initial gravity beer or braggot wort, to have finishing gravities in the 1.010-1.020 range, after all possible fermentation is done.

06-21-2012, 06:51 PM
"...It is not unusual, in a high initial gravity beer or braggot wort, to have finishing gravities in the 1.010-1.020 range, after all possible fermentation is done." Waneb

I've made one braggot and that happened to me. The calculator I used told me my FG would be ~1.024 but it stopped at ~1.030. And I had a high OG: ~1.098. But, I'm enjoying one right now and love how it turned out. The hops I added saved it from tasting too sweet I think.