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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: Wheat_Brewer on November 27, 2010, 06:20:31 PM

Title: Best way to prime your bottles
Post by: Wheat_Brewer on November 27, 2010, 06:20:31 PM
I've noticed with my bottles that the carbonation is inconsistent within the same batch, some are almost flat and others are geysers!  I take my corn sugar, heat it slightly in some water and then mix it in with into the beer in the bottling bucket.  Despite some gentle, but thorough, stirring I can't seem to get the consistent carbonation.  I had some advise to just simply throw the sugar into the bucket and begin stirring, but would that really mix in more effectively than dissolving the sugar in some water first?
Title: Re: Best way to prime your bottles
Post by: tumarkin on November 27, 2010, 06:39:02 PM
I'd say keep dissolving sugar in hot water first. But it sounds like you're adding that to the beer in your bottling bucket. Try putting the sugar water into the bottling bucket first, then rack the beer on top of it. Putting the tubing at an angle to encourage some centrifugal mixing, combined with some gentle stirring, should get you a good consistent mix.
Title: Re: Best way to prime your bottles
Post by: Wheat_Brewer on November 27, 2010, 06:45:24 PM
Sounds good, maybe I'll just work on the centrifuge effect going and focus on a good stirring.  Thanks!
Title: Re: Best way to prime your bottles
Post by: tschmidlin on November 28, 2010, 06:16:45 AM
I'd also make sure to boil it for 5 minutes rather than "heat it slightly".  You want to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved so it will be uniformly dispersed through the beer, plus you get the added benefits of sanitization and making sure all of the O2 is driven out of the water which will help minimize staling.  And like Mark said, you want to put the priming liquid in the bucket and then rack on top of it. :)
Title: Re: Best way to prime your bottles
Post by: paulie_walnuts on December 01, 2010, 02:51:28 AM
I made the mistake of throwing in the priming solution in a little late and I experienced the same issue that you're having. Thankfully it was my first batch and it was a learning experiecnce. Definately adding this first before racking into my bucket for my next batch.
Title: Re: Best way to prime your bottles
Post by: theoman on December 01, 2010, 09:03:49 AM
Yep, what the others said. I always boil for at least 5 minutes (I use the microwave to avoid carmelization) and add the sugar to the bottling bucket first. I rarely have a problem.
Title: Re: Best way to prime your bottles
Post by: mrbounds on December 01, 2010, 05:57:11 PM
I too have had many problems with inconsistent carbonation and have siphoned the beer on to the sugar mixture and also stirred the beer both at the start and part way through bottling with no improvment (some bottles still gush). I am going to dispense the correct of amount of sugar into each bottle using a syringe on the next batch and see if that solves the issue.
Title: Re: Best way to prime your bottles
Post by: kramerog on December 01, 2010, 06:26:07 PM
I think your carbonation problems may relate to fermentation rather than lack of good mixing.  Are you doing long fermentations before bottling?  Do you keep the bottles warm until they are finished carbonating.  Bad biology results in greater inconsistency than bad chemistry.
Title: Re: Best way to prime your bottles
Post by: micsager on December 01, 2010, 06:35:53 PM
I've noticed with my bottles that the carbonation is inconsistent within the same batch, some are almost flat and others are geysers!  I take my corn sugar, heat it slightly in some water and then mix it in with into the beer in the bottling bucket.  Despite some gentle, but thorough, stirring I can't seem to get the consistent carbonation.  I had some advise to just simply throw the sugar into the bucket and begin stirring, but would that really mix in more effectively than dissolving the sugar in some water first?
DISCLAIMER:  I have never bottle conditioned beer

But, a Brewstrong podcast opined that part of the problem you describe may be in storage.  Are the bottles packed close together?  If so, the bottles at the center, may be a different temperature than the bottles on the outside. 

But again, I have no clue.  Just repeating JZ.
Title: Re: Best way to prime your bottles
Post by: tumarkin on December 01, 2010, 07:09:25 PM
I've noticed with my bottles that the carbonation is inconsistent within the same batch, some are almost flat and others are geysers!  I take my corn sugar, heat it slightly in some water and then mix it in with into the beer in the bottling bucket.  Despite some gentle, but thorough, stirring I can't seem to get the consistent carbonation.  I had some advise to just simply throw the sugar into the bucket and begin stirring, but would that really mix in more effectively than dissolving the sugar in some water first?
DISCLAIMER:  I have never bottle conditioned beer

But, a Brewstrong podcast opined that part of the problem you describe may be in storage.  Are the bottles packed close together?  If so, the bottles at the center, may be a different temperature than the bottles on the outside. 

But again, I have no clue.  Just repeating JZ.

That doesn't sound likely to me. Maybe if you're looking at early, early carbonation but I can't imagine that the minor temp difference would matter after a few days or more.
Title: Re: Best way to prime your bottles
Post by: mrbounds on December 01, 2010, 07:29:11 PM
I think your carbonation problems may relate to fermentation rather than lack of good mixing.  Are you doing long fermentations before bottling?  Do you keep the bottles warm until they are finished carbonating.  Bad biology results in greater inconsistency than bad chemistry.

My fermentations are always at least 6 weeks and my last couple of brews ( one of them did have excessive carbonation, the other was only bottled 3 weeks ago) have been primary only. Hydrometer readings were consistent for a long time and the temperature of the fermentation was controlled at 65F. The last one with the problems I actually roused the yeast (as I to wondered if my fermentation was the issue) and warmed it up to 72F for a couple of days but no change in gravity. Attenuation is also usually just about right for the various strains of yeast used too. All the beer tastes good so I dont think I have any infections so other than inadequate mixing I am at a loss.
Title: Re: Best way to prime your bottles
Post by: mrbounds on December 01, 2010, 07:30:19 PM
Oh my bottles are kept at cellar temp which right now is about 60F until I put them in the fridge usually the day before drinking.
Title: Re: Best way to prime your bottles
Post by: Wheat_Brewer on December 02, 2010, 05:03:54 AM
So as an update the last batch seemingly came out a lot better when I racked onto the priming sugar and gave a good stirring.  I've been afraid of stirring too much and introducing oxygen. 

To answer the other question I've fermented for at least 1 week, usually 2, and have maintained a steady final gravity well within the expected ranges.  So I don't think it's a fermentation issue, but could it be an issue of introducing some bottles with a lot of yeast and others with very little?  I guess I assumed that the little yeast I did bottle would get evenly distributed, along with even distribution, with a little stirring.  Maybe some got primed with more yeast and sugar.  We'll continue to see how the results are with racking onto the priming sugar and some good stirring. 
Title: Re: Best way to prime your bottles
Post by: Hydro on December 02, 2010, 09:23:50 PM
I take my corn sugar, heat it slightly in some water and then mix it in with into the beer in the bottling bucket. 

You mention, "some water".  That's not vary specific.  I would recommend using 5 cups of water.  This helps the sugars dilute into a thinner syrup.  Yes please bring syrup to a slight boil for 10 minutes.  Then let cool to at least a few degrees above the temperature of the beer.  Syrup in first, then beer.  Litely stir the mixture in the primming buckett for a few seconds, each minute changing direction of the stir, for 10 minutes.  This should help you in making sure that the sugars have had enough time to mix into the beer before you start bottling.

I have another brewer friend who swears by the Coopers sugar tablets.  He drops one tablet into a standard sized bottle.  Before he drops the tablet into the bottle he moistenes the end of the tablet with clean steril water or beer from the cornie keg and then litely touches it onto a dish of dry yeast.   It only takes a few grains of yeast with the sugar tablet to work consistently.  He is vary satisfied, and has won many compititions which he has entered his beers.

For the Love of Beer,
Robert
Title: Re: Best way to prime your bottles
Post by: jeffy on December 02, 2010, 10:05:09 PM
I take my corn sugar, heat it slightly in some water and then mix it in with into the beer in the bottling bucket. 

You mention, "some water".  That's not vary specific.  I would recommend using 5 cups of water.  This helps the sugars dilute into a thinner syrup.  Yes please bring syrup to a slight boil for 10 minutes.  Then let cool to at least a few degrees above the temperature of the beer.  Syrup in first, then beer.  Litely stir the mixture in the primming buckett for a few seconds, each minute changing direction of the stir, for 10 minutes.  This should help you in making sure that the sugars have had enough time to mix into the beer before you start bottling.

I have another brewer friend who swears by the Coopers sugar tablets.  He drops one tablet into a standard sized bottle.  Before he drops the tablet into the bottle he moistenes the end of the tablet with clean steril water or beer from the cornie keg and then litely touches it onto a dish of dry yeast.   It only takes a few grains of yeast with the sugar tablet to work consistently.  He is vary satisfied, and has won many compititions which he has entered his beers.

For the Love of Beer,
Robert

Wow, five cups of water would dilute the beer a bit more than I'd want.  I haven't been bottle conditioning for many years, but if I did I would use the beer I was going to bottle instead of water to mix and boil the sugar.  I've been using beer from the batch I want to clarify for my fining additions in the keg also.  I just don't want to dilute the beer with water any more than I have to.
Title: Re: Best way to prime your bottles
Post by: kramerog on December 02, 2010, 10:32:57 PM

My fermentations are always at least 6 weeks and my last couple of brews ( one of them did have excessive carbonation, the other was only bottled 3 weeks ago) have been primary only.

Try fermenting for 2-3 weeks only and then fermenting in the bottle under the same temperatures as primary for a week or two.  The yeast after 6 weeks will likely not be healthy resulting in inconsistent fermentations in the bottle.
Title: Re: Best way to prime your bottles
Post by: tschmidlin on December 02, 2010, 11:10:02 PM
Wow, five cups of water would dilute the beer a bit more than I'd want.  I haven't been bottle conditioning for many years, but if I did I would use the beer I was going to bottle instead of water to mix and boil the sugar.  I've been using beer from the batch I want to clarify for my fining additions in the keg also.  I just don't want to dilute the beer with water any more than I have to.
I agree five cups is a lot.  Jeff, are you saying you boil the beer?  I haven't bottled in a while either, but I was doing 2 cups of water or less.
Title: Re: Best way to prime your bottles
Post by: jeffy on December 02, 2010, 11:47:04 PM
Wow, five cups of water would dilute the beer a bit more than I'd want.  I haven't been bottle conditioning for many years, but if I did I would use the beer I was going to bottle instead of water to mix and boil the sugar.  I've been using beer from the batch I want to clarify for my fining additions in the keg also.  I just don't want to dilute the beer with water any more than I have to.
I agree five cups is a lot.  Jeff, are you saying you boil the beer?  I haven't bottled in a while either, but I was doing 2 cups of water or less.

I bring a cup or two of beer up to about 180F in the microwave, being careful to watch so it doesn't foam over, then stir in gelatin and lay it onto the beer in the keg.  I don't think boiling is necessary because it's finished homebrew.
Title: Re: Best way to prime your bottles
Post by: Wheat_Brewer on December 03, 2010, 01:45:15 AM
I've been using less than 2 cups for fear of diluting my beer, but I hadn't thought about my yeast health.  I do culture my own yeast which seems to be amazing for fermentation, but maybe there's not even healthy yeast left for bottling in a consistent manner. 

On a side note, how much gelatin do you use per 5 gallons?
Title: Re: Best way to prime your bottles
Post by: jeffy on December 03, 2010, 02:37:20 AM
I've been using less than 2 cups for fear of diluting my beer, but I hadn't thought about my yeast health.  I do culture my own yeast which seems to be amazing for fermentation, but maybe there's not even healthy yeast left for bottling in a consistent manner. 

On a side note, how much gelatin do you use per 5 gallons?
I use one package of Knox unflavored gelatine in 5 gallons.
Title: Re: Best way to prime your bottles
Post by: skyler on December 03, 2010, 08:13:18 AM
I'm surprised no one has mentioned these: http://www.midwestsupplies.com/munton-s-carbtabs.html
Title: Re: Best way to prime your bottles
Post by: mrbounds on December 03, 2010, 05:57:38 PM
I tried the Muntons carb tabs a while back and they left horrible white chunks floating on the surface in every bottle, so I have been steering clear ever since.
Title: Re: Best way to prime your bottles
Post by: Podo on December 08, 2010, 02:11:56 AM
I try to estimate as closely as possible how much actual beer I'm going to end up with (I almost never get exactly 5 gal), and using that info, use my brewing software to figure out how much corn sugar I need.  I boil it in water for 5-10 minutes and then add it to the bottling bucket before adding the beer, so that when I add the beer, the swirling of the beer mixes it.  I have used that method for years and the only carbonation problem I've ever had was getting my sugar content right (and practice fixed that error), never in inconsistent carbonation.