February 19, 2020

Sugars Used for Carbonating Beer

In order to properly determine the amount of sugar to use, you need to take into account the temperature of the beer and the volume as well as the type of sugar and the level of carbonation desired. Our Priming Sugar Calculator is a great resource for determining the amount of sugar to use. It also showcases most types of sugars and the specific amounts needed for carbonating your beer.

  1. CORN SUGAR - Dextrose. Most popular bottling sugar. Cheap and leaves no added flavor.
  2. WHITE SUGAR - Sucrose. aka table sugar, aka sugar sugar.
  3. BELGIAN CANDI SYRUP - ALL - Invert sugar. Colored. More flavor as you increase in color. Not traditionally used but can be used to punch up the flavor on any Belgian beer.
  4. BELGIAN SOFT CANDI SUGAR - Invert sugar. Colored. More flavor as you increase in color. Some brewers use the syrup, some the soft sugar. The blonde version adds very little color or flavor. The brown version is on par with the dark version of the syrup.
  5. BLACK TREACLE - Type of molasses. Very dark. Leaves a lot of flavor. Treacle is a general English term for ‘syrup’. Different from molasses in that this product is a boiled syrup of the finished sugar rather than a by-product of raw sugar processing. More caramel flavors than molasses.
  6. BROWN SUGAR - partially refined sugar with molasses added (3% light & 6% dark). Flavor increases as light to dark. Muscovado is a type of brown sugar that is completely unrefined and possesses a much greater depth of character.
  7. CORN SYRUP (DARK AND LIGHT) - Glucose syrup - No flavor. Traditionally used for all English cask beers. All store-bought corn syrup in the US is high fructose variety and not traditional of which the light variety has vanilla in it and the dark is has caramel color added. Brewers syrup is a glucose syrup that is derived from corn.
  8. DEMERARA - unrefined sugar. pale gold. Very little flavor. The lightest unrefined sugar.
  9. DME - ALL VARIETIES - dry malt extract. More flavor as you get darker. Can be used in the place of traditional bulk kräusen priming.
  10. DME - LAAGLANDER - dextrinous malt extract. More flavor as you get darker. Laaglander is different in that it leaves a lot of residual sweetness and can be used to increase the body of beers that have finished low in gravity.
  11. HONEY - flavor depends on variety. Lighter honeys like clover will add no character but dark ones like buckwheat will add a lot. One can also use varietal honey, like orange blossom, to give a slight hint of its character to the finished beers. This works best in lighter styles of beer.
  12. INVERT SUGAR SYRUP - ALL - see Belgian candi syrup. An English version of the Belgian stuff. Highly popular over many styles. They rank in number from 1 to 3 (15-65SRM). Lyles Golden syrup is 50% invert:50% sucrose and about 15SRM.
  13. MAPLE SYRUP - More flavor as you get darker. Can dilute the beer quite a bit. The darker stuff is better for this purpose and the fancy stuff is regulated by its very high price.
  14. MOLASSES - see black treacle above
  15. RICE SOLIDS - sugar derived from rice. see corn sugar.
  16. SORGHUM SYRUP - used mainly for non-gluten beers. Corn sugar is cheaper, works better and has no gluten in it.
  17. TURBINADO - crystallized sugar cane pressings. aka ‘Sugar in the raw.’ Light brown. Darker with more flavor than demerara but not nearing light brown sugar.

Read More About Carbonating Beer:

How To Carbonate Beer - Carbonating beer in bottles and kegs
The Complete Guide to Kegging Vs. Bottling - What's right for you
Why Didn't My Beer Carbonate? - A few key issues why your beer didn't carbonate
Over Carbonated Beer - Dial in your carbonation
How to Pour Beer from the Tap Without the Foam - Pour a perfect pint
Carbonating Beer Using Specialty Techniques - Looking beyond priming sugar and C02

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