Author Topic: Bottles aren't carbonating.  (Read 2572 times)

Offline anje

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Bottles aren't carbonating.
« on: January 30, 2012, 07:08:49 AM »
I bottled my first batch of beer about a week and a half ago. English pale ale-type, had been sitting in the fermenter for 11 days, with no activity in the airlock for a while. Primed with 3/4 cup corn sugar, dissolved/boiled in 12 oz of water (probably too much), then added to the bottling bucket when a bit cooled.  (I did add it after siphoning in the beer, which was a mistake, but I gently stirred and added it slowly, so hopefully it's well-distributed.)

The bottled beer tastes good, if a little green, and has a bit of a sweet flavor.  (It's no sweeter than Goose Island Matilda, so I'm not too worried about explosions.) Some slight carbonation has formed, but disappointingly little.

I've moved the beer from the bathroom where I've done the fermentation to a closet, which has basically brought it from 68F to 69-70F. Is there anything else I can do? I used Munton's Gold dry yeast -- did it flocculate too completely?
<-- microbiologist brewster n00b.

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Offline mainebrewer

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Re: Bottles aren't carbonating.
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2012, 07:41:35 AM »
Munton's, like most English style yeast, will drop out of suspension pretty easily.
I would re-suspend the yeast by inverting each bottle and then put them somewhere warm (70-75 degrees).
If the beer is sitting on the floor, it can be several degrees colder than a thermometer might read at 5-6 feet off the floor.
"If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?" Will Rogers

Offline bluesman

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Re: Bottles aren't carbonating.
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2012, 07:43:25 AM »
Munton's, like most English style yeast, will drop out of suspension pretty easily.
I would re-suspend the yeast by inverting each bottle and then put them somewhere warm (70-75 degrees).
If the beer is sitting on the floor, it can be several degrees colder than a thermometer might read at 5-6 feet off the floor.

+1

Warm them up a bit more to 75ish.
Ron Price

Offline anje

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Re: Bottles aren't carbonating.
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2012, 07:46:11 AM »
I don't want to crank up my apartment's temperature right now. I just got an oatmeal stout cooked and it's bubbling away happily at 64ish (evaporation in the waterbath I've got the fermenter in knocks the temperature according to the stick-on thermometer down about 4F from room temperature). But I'll try flipping the bottles, and maybe crank the heat in a few days.
<-- microbiologist brewster n00b.

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Offline mainebrewer

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Re: Bottles aren't carbonating.
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2012, 07:51:11 AM »
The beer will carbonate at 69-70 degrees, it just takes longer.
"If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?" Will Rogers

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Bottles aren't carbonating.
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2012, 08:16:17 AM »
I just craked open a 1 year old bottle of barley wine that I thought I had severly under primed but the carbonation was just beautiful. apparently it took 1 year for that beer to carb. course it's also ~10% abv  so YMMV as they say.
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Offline rgnlkngtylrbmbstk

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Re: Bottles aren't carbonating.
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2012, 10:17:36 AM »
I bottled my first batch of beer about a week and a half ago.
[...]
Some slight carbonation has formed, but disappointingly little.
This sounds perfectly normal. I almost always have to try one after two weeks for fun, but three weeks at 70 is de rigeur. I have heard of people seeing full carbonation in even five days (yeast strain, temperature..?), but that's not my experience. Also, I recommend you put a bottle in the fridge overnight before opening, so that the pressure built up in the headspace has time to equalize, dissolving the CO2 into the beer.

A while back, a friend and I each weighed six different "3/4 cups dextrose" and the weights varied so much more wildly than I suspected it would. If you can afford a small scale (~$20?) you can dial your carbonation in much better for a given beer.

Let's look at a worst-case scenario:
You actually made 5.2g of ale, which with 12oz water for priming makes right at 6g, and that 3/4 cup weighed 4.2 oz instead of five, now you have about 2 gravity points instead of the wanted 2.6ish, depending on style. The best you can hope for then is ~75% of the carbonation you wanted (keeping in mind that somewhere around 33% is what we call "flat English beer"), so that "slight carbonation" you're getting, in some cases would be as much as you'll get.

Anyway, just give this one another week, chill and you probably have the carbonation you're going to get, assuming this wasn't a high-gravity beer. I bet it'll be fine. Maybe even great.
 ;D

Offline anje

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Re: Bottles aren't carbonating.
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2012, 11:05:41 AM »
In this case, the dextrose was from an extract kit -- I don't know whether they did it by weight or volume, but it did specify the mass provided.  (Would have to look to tell you what that was, don't have it with me.)

A small scale sounds like a good investment anyway. Though all these things with a 2g precisions make me aware of how spoiled I am with lab equipment.  ::)

I think part of my problem is that I keep reading about people getting carbonation in 3-5 days, and part is probably that it's my first batch and I'm eager for the brew to be ready to drink. Presumably, everyone here has gone through that phase. Once I've built up more of a stockpile of homebrew, I'll be more content to let it sit in bottles for a month or so before opening.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2012, 11:09:33 AM by anje »
<-- microbiologist brewster n00b.

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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Bottles aren't carbonating.
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2012, 01:04:50 PM »
I think part of my problem is that I keep reading about people getting carbonation in 3-5 days
Are you sure those people aren't talking about force carbonating?  I don't naturally carbonate anymore, but I never got anything carbed that fast.  It was always 2-3 weeks.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline anje

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Re: Bottles aren't carbonating.
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2012, 01:34:47 PM »
I think part of my problem is that I keep reading about people getting carbonation in 3-5 days
Are you sure those people aren't talking about force carbonating?  I don't naturally carbonate anymore, but I never got anything carbed that fast.  It was always 2-3 weeks.
Pretty sure. Example thread. But there are probably differences in temperature vs the do-it-all-in-a-one-temp-apartment method I'm stuck with.
<-- microbiologist brewster n00b.

Hops and toothpaste don't mix.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Bottles aren't carbonating.
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2012, 02:19:48 PM »
I think part of my problem is that I keep reading about people getting carbonation in 3-5 days
Are you sure those people aren't talking about force carbonating?  I don't naturally carbonate anymore, but I never got anything carbed that fast.  It was always 2-3 weeks.
Pretty sure. Example thread. But there are probably differences in temperature vs the do-it-all-in-a-one-temp-apartment method I'm stuck with.
That thread talks about completing primary fermentation in a short time to speed up the time from brew to serving, so that the beer can still have adequate time in bottles to carbonate. ;)
Tom Schmidlin

Offline bluesman

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Re: Bottles aren't carbonating.
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2012, 02:23:22 PM »
I think it will carb even at 65-70F but will need a little more time. Let them sit for another week and try a bottle.
Ron Price

Offline garc_mall

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Re: Bottles aren't carbonating.
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2012, 04:27:51 PM »
I have found in my house (avg temperature 65) that I can theoretically start drinking at 10 days in a 12oz Bottle, and 2 weeks in a 22oz bottle. However, I don't find that my beers are fully carbonated and where they stay until about 2 1/2 weeks in a 12oz bottle and a month or so in a 22oz bottle. But it definitely depends on the yeast.
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Offline goudron

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Re: Bottles aren't carbonating.
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2012, 05:40:20 PM »
So larger containers take longer to carbonate?  I bottled a 1/2 gallon grolsch bottle, will it take forever to carbonate?  I put everything else in 12 oz.

Offline euge

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Re: Bottles aren't carbonating.
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2012, 07:06:19 PM »
I think part of my problem is that I keep reading about people getting carbonation in 3-5 days
Are you sure those people aren't talking about force carbonating?  I don't naturally carbonate anymore, but I never got anything carbed that fast.  It was always 2-3 weeks.

I'm one of those people. For some reason my beers are fully carbed within three days at an ambient temp of 68-70. This does not mean they are ready to drink. And they are average strength beers not Imperial this or that or the like.

Anyway I always use table-sugar. I only ever hear problems when people are using corn sugar or dextrose and even DME then "measured" instead of "weighed" the amount of sugar.

My kitchen scale has a resolution of 2g which is close enough for me when priming.
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