Author Topic: Poor carbonation in a high gravity beer  (Read 2369 times)

Offline rbowers

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Poor carbonation in a high gravity beer
« on: January 30, 2012, 03:55:55 PM »
I brewed up a belgian tripel back in October that I am having some problems with carbonation with now.  To run a little experiment I split the original batch up into to smaller secondaries (about 2.5gal each).  The first, I kept in the secondary for about 2 months or so then bottled.  To account for the smaller batch I simply halved the priming sugar, prepped in some boiling water, and mixed it in with the beer in the bottling bucket and bottled in early January.  The second part of the batch remains in a secondary with the dregs of some orval bottles- plan to keep it there for several more months.
The first batch's carbonation after 2 weeks was pretty poor.
Is this:
a) not enough priming sugar?
b) too high alcohol content to expect much yeast activity for priming at 2 weeks?
c) something else entirely?

Regardless, if carbonation remains poor at 1 month what is the best course of action?  Do i need to add a little yeast to each bottle or completely empty, add more sugar, and re-bottle?  Suggestions on yeast?

Offline garc_mall

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Re: Poor carbonation in a high gravity beer
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2012, 04:38:00 PM »
My guess is you're looking at B. I would give it at least 2 weeks more and probably as much as a month more before you do anything drastic.

If at 6 weeks you still don't have carbonation, I would open a packet of US-05 and drop a grain or 2 into each bottle. Then reseal and give it another month.

Another possibility is that your caps are leaking. I have heard of people who thought they had leaky caps put a balloon over the cap and if it inflates, you know the problem. If you have leaky bottle caps, you are going to have to reprime. I would use carb-tabs or carbonation drops in that case.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Poor carbonation in a high gravity beer
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2012, 05:12:30 PM »
How warm are the bottles?  Try to get them over 70F, or prepare to be patient.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline rbowers

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Re: Poor carbonation in a high gravity beer
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2012, 08:29:30 PM »
They are sitting down in the basement which is around 62-65F.  I had planned on aging the beer a few months anyways but as usual I got a little excited and cracked one open to check the taste at 2 weeks.  I'll leave it alone another month and see what I get.  Thanks

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Poor carbonation in a high gravity beer
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2012, 11:21:28 PM »
Get it warmer for a few weeks, bring it upstairs and put it someplace that is over 70 if possible.  Then once it is carbed move it back downstairs for aging.  With the high ABV, you want to be as mice as possible to the yeast so it will carb the beer for you.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline majorvices

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Re: Poor carbonation in a high gravity beer
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2012, 05:40:28 AM »
I've always had better luck adding yeast at bottling for any beer over 1.065 or so. For belgians I often added dry wine yeast. for everything else I used US-05. Once I started doing that I never had a carb problem on high gravity bottle conditioned beers.
Keith Y.

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