A Classic Homebrew Error: Forgot To Add Priming Sugar!

There are a number of common “disasters” that befall homebrew noobs, like the famous “grommet popped out and fell into my wort” situation that I ran into last year.   This Saturday I ran into another boneheaded issue.

I bottled my 28th batch – 2 gallons of “Cream of 3 Crops Ale,” first thing in the morning.  I made my priming sugar solution (6T maple syrup dissolved in 2 cups of water) in a little pot on the stove, sanitized my equipment, got everything ready (racked from the glass carboy to the bottling bucket using my auto-siphon), had Mrs. Dynamite help me bottle (she fills, I cap), and then went to check my email and daily internet news.   I came back 30 minutes later to clean up, and noticed a problem:  my priming sugar solution was still on the stove.


I bottled without priming sugar.

Now, my options were:

1) ultimate laziness:  just leave it, and have flat beer

2) something else

I decided on option 2, but then had to decide what to do.  I figured this was the perfect opportunity to test out using raisins as priming sugar (3 raisins per 12oz bottle – natural sugar in the raisins drives the bottle conditioning), but I didn’t have any raisins.   Another option was to try to add some of my priming sugar solution to each bottle (after uncapping them) using an eyedropper.   Slight problem: the only eyedropper we have in the house is the one we use to test our dogs’ urine pH, etc… And I wasn’t up for cross-use there.

So I opted to pop open all 22 bottles, pour them gently back into my bottling bucket (this time with priming sugar solution), and rebottle.  I’m not especially worried about oxidation, although the beer nerds say that’s a potential issue.   Also, I re-sanitized my bucket and bottling wand/etc, so I’m hoping I won’t have any contamination issues.


When things go wrong in homebrewing, don’t sweat it – you’re probably not the first idiot to make this mistake.

related: My Homebrewing tab.


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