Bottling used to be the worst thing about brewing; now it’s not. Carbonation Drops are essentially little sugar balls that you add directly to bottles on bottling day (video). After using them on several batches, I am very happy with how they perform. But, you ask, why in the hell would anyone want to use them? Considering the price of these little fuckers (about $4.50 per batch of beer, much higher than the price of corn sugar obviously), that’s an excellent question. I better have damn good reasons. I do.
First, they allow my One Pot Brewing system to exist (otherwise, it would be two pots), a system that has various other benefits. If this was one defect of the system, I would swallow it. Second, Carb Drops work well. That is, they carbonate my 22 oz bottles exactly how I want them to be. You never have to calculate how much corn sugar to use (which I would fuck up in the past); you never get fizzing or over-carbonated beer. Third, changing your batch size is no problem. Whether I do a 5 gallon, 4 gallon, or 3 gallon batch, carbonating is still the same – drop two Carb Drops in 22 oz bottle, and fill. I don’t know about you, but I never end up with exactly the same volume of beer every single time. Fourth, they make bottling day a lot faster and a lot simpler. This is most important. Previously, I would have to (1) calculate amount of corn sugar (2) boil in water (3) let cool (4) transfer beer to bottling bucket (5) oh wait, first sanitize the bottling bucket and the god damn tubing (oh, don’t get me started on tubing and how ridiculous that is (6) add corn sugar solution to beer and stir (7) bottle. Now, the steps are (1) add Carb Drops to bottles, which takes about 3 minutes and (2) bottle.
Why don’t I stop beating around the bush and start Kegging already?
Money. Equipment. Tubing (I hate cleaning tubes). And know-how (I’m not very mechanically inclined to build keezer, even if I wanted to). Also, people like to say that kegging is faster than carbonating in bottles, but it seems like only a day or two faster. Don’t get me wrong: if someone bought me a keg, with lines, and CO2 tank, and kegerator to put it in – hell yeah I would love it.
You cannot control carbonation levels with Carp Drops!
First, as a homebrewer, I don’t care that much. But if I did – for example, if I wanted my Belgian Quad to be highly carbonated and true to style – then I could use “Carbonation Tabs” (think Carb Drops but smaller; smaller so you can add more, get it?). Second, I’ve had more than one “kegged” beer that was all fucked up, carbonation wise, so kegging has it’s own problems.