How much table sugar to prime beer?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “How much table sugar is to prime beer?” and provide information on sugars that can be used to prime beer as well as steps to prime beer.

How much table sugar to prime beer?

For every five gallons of beer, ⅔ cup of table sugar is required to prime beer. You would have to add 5.3 ounces or 150 gms of table sugar to five gallons of beer.

Before you prime beer using table sugar, it is vital to know the residual carbonation and target carbonation. 

This is because residual carbonation and priming carbonation can provide you with the target carbonation levels. You can obtain the residual carbonation levels by assessing the temperature at which the brew is fermented. 

You can also use a beer priming calculator to help you with calculating the amount of sugar that needs to be added to the beer.

When you are using table sugar, simply apply the following formula to prime beer.

CF + .5 x S/VB = CB

In the above formula, CF refers to the amount of carbon dioxide present in the brew.

S refers to the amount of table sugar.

VB refers to the brew volume.

CB refers to the carbonation levels in beer.

Why is table sugar added to prime beer?

Priming sugar is added to achieve the bubbliness and flavor in the beer. It also improves the appearance of the beer. 

The yeast present in the beer would use sugar as a food source too. This helps in creating effervescence also termed carbon dioxide which aids in the brewing of the beer.

If enough priming sugar is not added to the beer, it would not carbonate well and remain flat. If you add excess sugar to the beer, the bottle of beer will overflow after you open it. There is also a risk of explosion. As a result, adding correct amounts of priming beer is important.

Which sugars can be used to prepare a priming solution?

To create a priming solution, you can use corn sugar, dry malt extract, or table sugar. You can also use honey to prime your beer. Every sugar has a different calculation for the primer.

There are also substitutes to priming sugar available. This would include agave nectar, maple syrup, molasses, and Belgian candy syrup.

Regular sugars like white sugar, brown sugar, or cane sugar can also be used for priming. You can access the priming chart to know more about priming if you are confused.

What are the steps to priming sugar?

  • If you are planning to prepare five gallons of beer, you would require two bottles that can hold 12 ounces. Clean the bottles properly and check whether either of them has mold growth especially if the bottles are pretty old.
  • It is essential to close the bottles for which you would require bottle caps. Clean and sanitize the bottle caps.
  • Before bottling, add the priming solution (table sugar) to the beer. Boil the table sugar (⅔ cup) in 2 cups of water. After boiling the table sugar, let it rest for a few minutes to cool before using them.
  • Slowly add the table sugar to the beer. Do not allow the beer to splash as this would introduce oxygen to the solution and affect the taste of the beer.

There is no need to stir the beer. The priming solution just needs to be added to the beer. You can instead swirl the beer in a bottling bucket a bit to avoid introducing oxygen to the beer.

You can also place the beer in a fermenter to stir it. After stirring, it would be better to wait for a few minutes and allow the sediments present in the beer to settle. Fill the bottles.

Other FAQs on beer that you might be interested in.

When should priming sugar be added?

Many experts recommend adding priming sugar to the bottle before adding the beer. This is because the bottle is empty and it would be easier to add sugar and prevent the beer from splashing. 

Splashing can introduce oxygen to the beer which can readily spoil the flavor of the beer.

What happens if oxygen is introduced to beer?

After the fermentation process has begun, if oxygen is introduced to the beer, it can promote the contamination of the beer. It can also affect the flavor and clarity of the beer.


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “How much table sugar is to prime beer?” and provided information on sugars that can be used to prime beer as well as steps to prime beer.