Drawing from the experience of the my very first priming and bottling, i made changes to how i do priming and bottling for this second round of brewing. By the way, the beer does remind me of the Hoegaarden beer and seems more drinkable than the lager, which got a little boring after a while.
This is very unconventional, but i applied icing sugar into the bottle directly without dissolving it first. This introduces the problem of uneven carbonation, because i went by volume instead of measuring the exact weight of the sugar. Icing sugar tends to clump together, and there would be pockets of air when scooped up. Anyway, i don’t quite mind uneven carbonation. If there is too much carbonation (which is the case for my first beer project), just let the beer sit for a while. If there is little, well, i don’t believe it will be undrinkable.
I made a paper funnel to insert the icing sugar into the bottle. Turns out that the icing sugar clumps together so much so that it wouldn’t go through the funnel. In the end, i used the other end of the funnel to pour the sugar into the bottle, and this worked fine.
The whole idea of using icing sugar without dissolving it first was to enable me to siphon the beer directly from the fermentation bucket into the bottle, without going through another bucket for mixing beer and sugar syrup, and this saves a lot of time and effort.
On hindsight, i should have gotten the bottles ready with the icing sugar already inserted before starting siphoning and bottling. I will find out if this method of priming and bottling works well enough when i sample the carbonated beer, but i think it will likely be fine.
Update – 4 weeks after bottling
The beer was under carbonated. Applying the icing sugar this way was a bad idea, as the amount inserted into the bottle was inaccurate (there are a lot of air pockets in the clumps of sugar). Dissolving the sugar first is the way to go. Anyway, the beer still tastes pretty good, better than the lager beer, but i don’t notice much improvement at 4 weeks.
Update 20 Jun 2016 – attempt to fix the carbonation
Well, I was feeling quite discontented with the low carbonation, and I was resolute on fixing it, so I opened up each and every bottle, added sugar syrup and did re-capping. I’m happy to report that this worked, somewhat. There is definitely more gas in the beer now, but with poor head retention. I suppose the gas escapes from the beer very quickly. Perhaps there will be an improvement in a few more weeks (it’s only about 2 weeks since I added the sugar syrup).
Update 1 Jul 2016
I’m happy to report that there’s vast improvement in the carbonation. There’s just the right amount of head. What this tells me is that the yeast takes a lot time to digest cane sugar – almost 4 weeks. I will continue to use cane sugar still, given the low cost.