Solving for Prime

Bottles primed & ready to carbonate

Bottles primed & ready to carbonatePriming just means feeding your yeast again while it’s in the bottle to generate the co2 to make my beer bubbly as well as delicious. The simplest food for yeast is some sort of sugar, and the most common, in my experience, are:

  1. Corn Sugar (Dextrose)
  2. DME (Dry Malt Extract)

You can go to any homebrew forum, blog or book and see that other options include table sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup, fresh wort, partially fermented beer (Krausening), agave nectar and just about any other form of sugar out there. And on some of the forums, arguments break out about the fineness of carbonation bubbles and smoothness of head.

Maybe I’ll do a batch and carbonate some with table sugar, some with dextrose, some with DME and some with honey. I am not a fluid dynamics specialist, but I do not thing co2 creates different sized, yet still invisible bubbles in solution. I think there are other factors that come in to play.

My guess right now is that since DME has some unfermentables still in it, it may build up the body of the beer. Since corn sugar ferments out (nearly) completely, it doesn’t contribute anything to the body.

I chose to use DME from the get-go. I didn’t do that for any reason I found on forums or in books. I did it because on of the people I share my beer with is allergic to corn. He is sensitive enough he got hives after drinking New Glarus’ Fat Squirrel.

Looking back, I enjoy the symmetry of using DME to prime by homebrew. A fellow homebrewer commented he liked the idea of DME for priming because you’re just putting beer into beer. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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