I picked up a very well known brewing magazine with hundreds of recipes and noticed that every single recipe called for 3/4 cups of sugar with a few exceptions calling for 1 or 1.5 cups…

For my first few batches, I figured I just copied what these ‘experts’ were doing… after all it was easy and I had no reason to question their authority…

The beers were coming out good, until I tried to brew a malty brown ale… I primed and bottled it using the same old 3/4 cups of sugar, and three weeks later when I sipped the first bottle something wasn’t right…

… Taste was great, aroma was great, but the beer seemed a bit watery… not the kind of watery that you get with some kits, but it was just not the ‘Malty’ beer I’d signed up for…

I pitched the right amount of yeast and fermented with the right attenuation levels, but still no maltyness…

I was about to accept the nature of the beast, until I came across an article that talked about Volumes of CO2 dissolved into beer… Basically measuring how many liters of carbon dioxide were dissolved in each liter of beer… and it talked about different styles of beer needing different carbonation levels…

So here are the top 4 reasons why you want to use the right carbonation levels:

Release aroma
Some beers have more aroma than others. Aromatic beers tend to benefit from higher carbonation levels because the CO2 lifts up the aromas. Beers that are not aromatic are usually best at lower carbonation levels to allow other properties of the beer to stand out…

If you’ve ever had a very aromatic IPA, you may have noticed that when you first went for the first swig, a nice hop burst comes out of the glass. Beer reviewers call this the ‘nose’ of the beer.

You whiff at the beer and enjoy the smell… but as you drink the beer the CO2 disappears and the aroma seems to fade away…

Well, that’s what the right carbonation level does for your aromas…

Keeps Body Of Beer
My brown ale was not watery from lack of carbohydrates, proteins and what not… it was because I had used too much priming sugar and over carbonated my beer… Some beer styles benefit from high carbonation levels to make it seem ‘light’ but too much can lead to harshness or a watery feel to say the least…

If you keep your carbonation levels down you accentuate the body of the beer and it’s the way to go if you are shooting for a malty beer. So next time you want to brew a brown ale or another style of beer that’s known to be malty, try using less priming sugar than the typical 3/4 cups.

Keeps the right pH levels
This one has many variables like the amount of calcium carbonate in your water, but to simplify it, a high concentration of CO2 will tend to increase the pH of your beer… which would lead to a sharper or crisper beer… Some beer styles benefit from higher pH levels, but others are better with lower pH levels…

A lower pH level will give your beer a rounded feel which is good for beers that are malty or that you don’t want the bitterness to stand out too much…

Helps Head Formation
Foam is greatly influenced by the amount of carbonation in your beer. If you’ve ever over carbonated a beer or didn’t give the CO2 to properly dissolve back into the beer, you may have opened a beer than foams out of the bottle and leaves you with half the beer or less to drink…

… and that is if you can manage to pour it into a glass without it foaming up, which is usually near impossible…

… but the right carbonation levels will allow you to serve a beer and will give you a nice 1 or 2 inch foam top depending on how hard you serve the beer. Some beers have a nice creamy foam top while others don’t get hardly any… Carbonation is just one component, and in my Better Home Brew Formula training I go over the other components that help you brew beers that pour and give you good head formation.

Also, I cover the different carbonation levels for different styles of beers and how to calculate the amounts of priming sugar needed for each.

Happy Brewing…
(Please Comment Below)


    2 replies to "Top 4 Reasons to Use The Right Carbonation Levels"

    • Tommy

      Wish I had this information a couple of months ago. I brewed a maple nut brown ale and the recipe called for 1/2 cup maple syrup along with the 3/4 cup corn sugar at bottling time. Now I have over carbed beer. So will time heal over carbination ? I have tried bring it to near freezing temps to try to reduce the carb level but it still pours a glass full of foam.

    • Jorge

      @Tommy – No, time won’t fix over-carbonated beers… about the only thing you can do at that point is open up the beer and let it sit for a while before serving it and make sure that you refrigerate it for at least 48 hours…

      Freezing the beer only makes more of the CO2 dissolve into the beer… and the problem here is just too much CO2 in the bottle…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.