How Beer is Carbonated

How Beer is Carbonated



Carbonation is a favorite element of beer along the Flagstaff-Grand Canyon Ale Trail. It gives beer that light and refreshing feel in your mouth, not to mention enhancing the aromas and flavors of the brew. But how is beer carbonated? When does carbonation happen in the brewing process? How many ways are there to carbonate beer?

The simple answer: There are two ways to carbonate beer.

Forced Carbonation

This is when carbon dioxide is inserted into the beer. Once the beer is in a sealed (or soon to be sealed) container, carbonation is rapidly inserted into the liquid. Due to the high pressure, the beer absorbs the carbon dioxide.

This is the preferred method at most breweries. That’s because the turnaround time for a finished brew is quicker and there is little or no sediment at the bottom of the bottle or pint glass.

Natural Carbonation

This process allows yeast used to brew the beer to stay in the beer. Once beer is in its container, sugar is added before the container is sealed. That’s when fermentation kicks in again as the yeast eats the new sugar. Carbon dioxide is released by the yeast as it ferments, which is then absorbed into the liquid.

This method gives the beer a slightly yeasty bite, a thick and billowy head, tinier carbonation bubbles, and more beer lacing.

Which kind of carbonated beer do you prefer to drink? Share your preference below.