The Quick Answer
The simple answer is about five ounces (or ¾ of a cup) of corn syrup for a five gallon batch of homemade beer. It’s the amount of corn syrup that comes in most recipe kits. It’s the amount that’s mentioned in most homebrew books in the beginner sections.
However, like most things in life, there isn’t always one simple answer. Five ounces of priming sugar will get the job done in most cases, but when it comes to my beer, I don’t always like to risk something that will just get the job done. In some of my beers, that’s led to batches that didn’t have enough carbonation and in other batches so much carbonation that half of the beer foamed out when I opened it.
The Advanced Answer: Using A Bottle Priming Calculator
That’s why I switched to using a bottle priming calculator determine exactly how much priming sugar I need to add. No, you don’t have to buy a TI-83 graphing calculator, you can just one online. I like the calculator at TastyBrew.com and know a handful of other homebrewers that use it too. It’s simple to use and gives me the exactly amount of priming sugar to use, plus it’s free!
First, I just select the style of beer that I’m making in the drop down box. They don’t have every single style out there, but they usually have something pretty close to what I’ve brewed.
That fills in the volume CO2 box, so I don’t have to worry about that.
I enter the number of gallons that I’ve brewed. I try to be fairly accurate, if I end up with just 4.5 gallons, instead of five, I enter the 4.5 gallons.
Then I enter the temperature that I’m going to store the bottles at while they’re conditioning.
The calculator does the tough job, it does the calculations and tells me exactly how much corn sugar I need. It gives me the option to use table sugar, and a few types of dry malt extract, if I want to use something other than corn syrup.
It all takes less than a minute.
Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to those options, there’s other things you can use to carbonate your beer, brown sugar, honey, or any other fermentable.
And you don’t have to limit yourself to this calculator, I know many homebrewers that use brewing calculators like BeerSmith, which calculates the amount of priming material you’ll need along with the rest of the calculations for the recipe. I even know a couple of people that do the math by hand. I’m not a fan of math, so I stick to the Tasty Brew calculator.
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Photo by Nicholas R Horne.