I said I’d report back on an experiment I started last November. For the Chilli Lager I made with a 3kg malt kit, I primed half the batch in the normal way, and didn’t prime the remaining bottles. The theory is that when using a full malt kit, after primary fermentation and bottling, there should be enough residual dextrins left to be slowly enzymatically converted into simple sugars and then be digested by the remaining yeast. I’ve had a request to report on the outcome of the experiment. So here is a status report.
A month ago I would have said that the unprimed bottles were basically flat. My problem is that I don’t how long I should wait for these enzymes to act! I had basically given up on the unprimed bottles, but last night I tried another sample, and there was some definite fizz going on. It wasn’t nearly as active as the primed batch, but it certainly had more sparkle than some English beers I’ve had. So, I’ll wait and see. In the past I’ve had home brew improve over the course of a year in the bottle. Perhaps that improvement was due to a similar process.
Nonetheless, my plan for future batches is to keep adding priming sugar before bottling.