Best Way To Prime Your Beer

Sometimes we forget to appreciate what we have and focus so much on what we don’t have… that’s why I like Thanksgiving, it reminds me to sit down and think of everything I should be grateful for… including having the ability to brew my own beer!

First and foremost, I have an amazing family supporting me with everything I do (including Jack Daniels, my white Schnauzer)…

I have great group of friends whom I can count on to be there when I need them the most…

But something I am thankful as of late is this newsletter…

Think of this… we are only going to be alive for so long and right now we are sharing a space in time… and it’s up to us to come together as brewers and share with each other as much as we can about brewing beer so we can improve the craft and leave a legacy for those that will come after us…

I wasn’t expecting this to happen so quick, but it seems that I am connecting with many brewers around the world who share the same mentality and are willing to share their best tips!… and this Thanksgiving I am very thankful for being part of such movement…

I am also thankful for all the email testimonials I’ve been getting lately… I’m glad to have so many supporters reading this newsletter…

So today I will leave you with this awesome email I got…

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Hello Jorge,

I enjoy your newsletter a lot, thanks for putting it out there so often. As an enthusiastic home brewer, I learned not to use priming sugar at all, after I struggled with some of the similar problems as you have had (getting too much or too little into the bottle). Plus, here in Germany, adding sugar into the beer doesn’t sit well with the “Reinheitsgebot” which allows only malt, hops, water and yeast into the brew to be called “rein” (clean, pure, or true to the brewer’s guild). We home brewers are free to do away with that as we wish, because we only have to satisfy our own taste and maybe that of our friends and families. But using priming sugar isn’t even necessary. What lots of home brewers do here instead is the following:

When the wort is boiling, before adding any hops, take about 6 to 8% (depending on the gravity) of the hot wort out of the pot and fill it into a brake-resistant container that seals well (I use my beer bottles, they can take the heat and can be closed with the caps that are built onto the bottle). Lay the (closed) bottles on the side for a few minutes, so the top is also being sterilized from the hot wort. We call the taken-off wort “Speise” (food – for the yeast that is)). When the wort bottles are cooled down enough, refrigerate them. In the meantime, proceed with your brewing as usual, adding hops, cooling it down and pitching the yeast.

The day before the brew is finished fermenting (i.e. before you plan to bottle your beer), take out the “Speise” bottles from the refrigerator and let them stand near the fermentation container, eventually warming them to the same temperature as the fermented beer will be the next day. I use a big filtering fabric bag to first empty the “Speise” into the bottling bucket, then I let the fermented beer filter into the same bucket slowly (so as not to let the beer catch any oxygen. The two mix pretty well when they are the same temperature, stirring is not necessary. Take the filter sack out slowly and start bottling.

The yeast cells that were still in the fermented beer now have enough sugars to eat from the “Speise” to carbonate your beer properly. Plus, the “Reinheitsgebot” is served and no empty sugars were used.

My brew pot allows me to brew 25 liters of beer per batch, so I usually take off 2 liters of ” Speise”. Because the “Speise” is not hopped, I usually add a bit more hops to the remaining 23 liters wort, so I have enough in the whole mix later. Sometimes, when I brew several beers in succession, I keep the “Speise” labeled to be used with the same batch later.

I am doing this routine for a long time now and never had any problems with bursting bottles or under-carbonated beer. Let me know what you think. Maybe it is worth a try and giving American home brewers a tip on how to ease the carbonation handling a bit too.

Greetings from Germany,

Vera Vallentin-Price

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Pretty cool, huh?

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