Carbonation Drops vs. Priming Sugar

Bottling your homebrews means you’re one step closer to popping the top and sipping your cold, fresh brew. There is nothing better! Have you ever recently grabbed a bottled beer, popped the top, and had a carbonation blast of way too much pressure? How about a beer that is not carbonated enough? To avoid any of these riddles, be sure to properly carbonate your bottles after fermentation using the best beer brewing ingredients; carbonating drops or priming sugar.

The Traditional Way of Carbonating Beer: Priming Sugar Dextrose

Over the years, most homemade beers were carbonated in a bottle, adding sugar individually to each bottle of beer with a spoon; or with batch prep, which adds sugar to the whole beer before putting it in the bottle.

Priming sugar is produced using corn, which still reacts with yeast in beer, causing natural carbonation. Most people recommend adding ready-to-use sugar to water and then boiling it before adding it to the beer.

There are a few problems with using priming sugar instead of carbonation drops.

  • Messy. Trying to add sugar directly to the bottle can be difficult, and often results in spilling more than a few sugars on the side of the bottle.
  • Takes time. It takes time to add sugar directly to each bottle. It can be a tedious task and is one of the reasons people complain about draft bottling instead of bottling beer. Even batch preparation takes a little more time than using carbonating drops.
  • Not accurate. It can be difficult to use preparative sugar to get the correct and same level of carbonation between each bottle. Some will be true, some will be too carbonated and some will be less carbonated. This is just the nature of pre-sugar carbonation.

Carbonation Drops

What is carbonation drops?

Carbonation drops are a pre-measured amount of glucose and sucrose that does not expire when properly stored, shaped like a lozenge or small sugar. When bottling beer, they can be used instead of preparing sugar to carbonate the beer and eliminate the risk of having unequal amounts of sugar in each bottle.

Advantages of using carbonation drops

Carbonation drops changed the game when it came to carbonation naturally in beer bottles. Homebrew bottling becomes an incredibly easy thing when you use carbonating drops. All you have to do is drip 1-2 drops before filling your beer bottle with homebrew. Apart from the great convenience it provides, it also has other advantages:

  • They provide very consistent carbonation from bottle to bottle. The sugar mixture prepared unevenly in the bottling bucket can lead to uneven carbonation. May cause bottle bombs or weak / carbonation.
  • You never forget to add them, this sometimes happens in the preparation of the sugar. Also, if you forget to add sugar, you can always open the covers, put in a tablet, and reseal.
  • If you miss someone, you will only ruin a bottle.

Disadvantages of using carbonation drops

  • Extra cost.  A bag of carbonation drops cost more than a 1 Kg bag of ordinary sugar.
  • There is no ability to control specific carbonation for a particular beer style or preference. Conventional sugar may be more flexible in use.

How to use carbonation drops?

After cleaning and disinfecting your bottles, all you have to do is drop 1-2 drops into each bottle and fill it with your homebrew. Be sure to leave 1-2 inches of space at the top of each bottle. This provides room for CO to be created and makes sure you don’t have blown bottles.

How many drops per bottle?

One drop 350 ml (12 oz) – 500 ml (16 oz)
Two drops 750 ml (25 oz) – 1-liter (34 oz)

If you don’t think it is carbonated enough, next time around use %50 more.

What is the difference between carbonation drops and sugar?

Ultimately, choosing between carbonating drops and priming sugar is up to the brewer’s preference. There are many different types of beer brewing ingredients, so you’ll want to choose the method that works best for you.

However, it is difficult to find a difference in terms of taste, aroma, color, and clarity.

Which method do macro breweries use?

Most breweries, macro and micro, only fill with external CO2 if they have to, and large breweries try to reclaim CO2 as much as possible so they don’t have to buy anything and they also reduce their carbon footprint. That is, they are simply bottle conditioning in a large bottle called a pressure conical fermenter.

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