Calculating Carbonation

The most common way to carbonate homebrew is bottle conditioning--ie., creating carbonation with a small amount of fermentation in the bottle by priming the beer with a small amount of sugar and waiting about 2 weeks for the additional fermentation to take place.


The amount of CO2 (carbonation) in beer is given in "volumes." A volume is the space taken up by the CO2 at a pressure of 1 atmosphere (15lbs/sq in) at 32F. Eg., if 1 gallon of beer contains 3 volumes of CO2, the CO2 by itself would occupy 3 gallons of space. Within the beer, those 3 gallons of CO2 are compressed within the one gallon container of beer. Hence, the fizz.

Carbonation Guidelines by Style (volumes)

British Ales

Porter, Stout

Belgian Ales

American Ales



Fruit Lambic

German Wheat

1.5 - 2.0

1.7 - 2.3

1.9 - 2.4

2.2 - 2.7

2.2 - 2.7

2.4 - 2.8

3.0 - 4.5

3.3 - 4.5

Priming Table (assuming 1 gallon at 72F)

Desired Volume of CO2 Table Sugar/Sucrose Corn Sugar/Dextrose DME
1.5 0.4 oz (11g) 0.4 oz (11g) 0.5 oz (14g)
1.8 0.5 oz (14g) 0.6 oz (17g) 0.7 oz (20g)
2.0 0.6 oz (17g) 0.7 oz (20g) 0.9 oz (25g)
2.2 0.7 oz (20g) 0.8 oz (23g) 1.0 oz (28g)
2.5 0.9 oz (25g) 1.0 oz (28g) 1.3 oz (37g)
2.7 1.0 oz (28g) 1.1 oz (31g) 1.4 oz (40g)
3.0 1.2 oz (34g) 1.3 oz (37g) 1.7 oz (48g)
3.5 1.4 oz (40g) 1.6 oz (45g) 2.1 oz (59g)
4.0 1.7 oz (48g) 1.9 oz (54g) 2.5 oz (71g)

Procedure for Priming 1 Gallon

Bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil in a small pot and add desired amount of sugar (for desired amount of carbonation). Stir to dissolve completely. Once dissolved, remove the simple syrup from your stove top and pour it directly into the bottom of your bottling bucket. Then, rack your beer on top of the syrup so that it mixes completely with it--avoid oxygenation. Bottle your beer and cap it. Allow a couple of weeks for additional fermentation to produce the desired CO2.