Author Topic: Low Carbonation in Bottles  (Read 1139 times)

Offline hollnagel

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Low Carbonation in Bottles
« on: November 10, 2013, 07:11:14 AM »
Hi There - I've been brewing all-grain for 8 months (12 batches - still a newbie), and last month we brewed an Irish Red.  This was our third time doing this recipe.  This time I'm getting little-to-no carbonation.  There was no difference in my process from previous batches (Wyeast #1084 less than 4 wks from mfg date; primary for 4 days, secondary for 10 days; OG/FG were good, 1.055/1.011; corn sugar at bottling for 2.3 vols carb; 2 weeks conditioning @ 70F and 1 week in fridge @ 45F).  Two issues / questions:
1) This time I noticed that the air-lock activity stopped day 7, and clarified long before bottling on day 14.  Never seen it go that fast before - any thoughts on why that happened?  How might this point to my problem?  Any solutions for next time this happens?
2) I put the bottles in the fridge last week without checking carb level (dumb idea.)  Would it help to return them to room temp for another week or so? 

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Low Carbonation in Bottles
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2013, 09:22:51 AM »
It wouldn't hurt. Also how many have you opened? If just one, maybe you got a dud that didn't get much sugar. Its been a while since I've bottled but I usually give them four weeks at room temp.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Low Carbonation in Bottles
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2013, 10:52:47 AM »
+1 to more time @ room temp.  When I bottled I always made sure they were carbed properly before I stuck them in the fridge. Hopefully that'll do the trick.
Jon H.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Low Carbonation in Bottles
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2013, 12:11:48 PM »
Bring back to room temperature for another week or two.  It will help also if a couple times a week you turn over each bottle a couple of times (but don't shake!) to get the yeast sediment back into solution so they can eat your priming sugar easier.  A couple more weeks at room temperature then and you should be alright.
Dave

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Offline piszkiewiczp

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Re: Low Carbonation in Bottles
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2013, 12:19:44 PM »
All previous advice is good. Based on my prior errors, for future batches make sure the sugar solution mixes well in the bucket/carboy before bottling. Don't skimp on the water when dissolving the sugar.
I also use one plastic soda bottle that I squeeze the air out of before capping. When fully carbonated, it's hard and gives a satisfying BONG when tapped.

Offline thirsty

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Re: Low Carbonation in Bottles
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2013, 03:57:53 PM »
I also realized years ago that bottles take longer to carb at room temp during fall/winter when the house is colder  :-\

Offline hollnagel

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Re: Low Carbonation in Bottles
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2013, 11:02:28 PM »
Thanks so much everybody for the advice!  I appreciate it.  (Now I'm off to save my Irish Red!)

Offline hollnagel

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Re: Low Carbonation in Bottles
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2013, 11:26:18 PM »
To answer Klickitat Jim's question, we opened (and drank) four.  Tasting great... but all were very low carb, and the fourth one had none.  So, there is some variability.  Next time, I will try the advice of stirring in the sugar-water a little more thoroughly in my bottling bucket.  I'm probably being too timid with the beer (very little stirring, trying to avoid oxygen contact and contamination).  I just turned them all over, plenty of sediment in them so I am hopeful!  Thanks again all.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Low Carbonation in Bottles
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2013, 11:57:44 PM »
Cool, I'm betting they end up fine

Offline wingnut

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Re: Low Carbonation in Bottles
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2013, 05:59:22 AM »
No need to stir up the sugar water in the beer.  When I bottle carb, I just put the sugar solution in the bucket first and then rack the beer on top of it in the bottleing bucket.  That has always led to consistent bottle carbination levels. 

I share your hesitation too stir up finished beer in an oxygen enviornment!!  I usually get carbed bottles in about two weeks this way when my basement is at 60 to 65F in the winter time...and about a week to 10 days when the basement is at 65 to 70F in the summer. 

Sounds like returning the bottles to warmer temps and giving them a bit more time is the ticket.   Good luck!
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Low Carbonation in Bottles
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2013, 06:08:06 AM »
No need to stir up the sugar water in the beer.  When I bottle carb, I just put the sugar solution in the bucket first and then rack the beer on top of it in the bottleing bucket.  That has always led to consistent bottle carbination levels. 


+1.  That was always my method when I bottled.  Was pretty consistent.
Jon H.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Low Carbonation in Bottles
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2013, 09:41:35 AM »
Yup. I usually point the end of the racking tubing so it makes a whirlpool in the bottling bucket. Works well for me.

Offline EThome

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Re: Low Carbonation in Bottles
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2013, 03:31:35 PM »
++1 The nice whirlpool produced by racking into the bottling bucket has always sufficed for me.

I have also noticed that it sometimes takes a little bit longer for corn sugar to get the carb where it should be. I have usually not had any issues with good carbonation within two weeks using table sugar (sucrose).

Offline TrippleRippleBrewer

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Re: Low Carbonation in Bottles
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2013, 10:54:28 AM »
No need to stir up the sugar water in the beer.  When I bottle carb, I just put the sugar solution in the bucket first and then rack the beer on top of it in the bottleing bucket.  That has always led to consistent bottle carbination levels. 

I share your hesitation too stir up finished beer in an oxygen enviornment!!  I usually get carbed bottles in about two weeks this way when my basement is at 60 to 65F in the winter time...and about a week to 10 days when the basement is at 65 to 70F in the summer. 

Sounds like returning the bottles to warmer temps and giving them a bit more time is the ticket.   Good luck!

+1

Back when I used to bottle this is exactly what I did and I also would bring the bottles upstairs to condition in the warmer environment in Winter. I'd put them in a spare bedroom. For me the basement was too cold during the winter to properly carb the bottles. The yeast can die off and become inactive if it's too cold for too long and you'll never get them carbonated if you can't revive them. This happened to me a few times in the early days ( 10 years ago ).
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Offline hollnagel

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Re: Low Carbonation in Bottles
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2013, 06:13:11 AM »
Hi there again!  Just wanted to let y'all know, the Irish Red turned out great.  Following the advice, I took the bottles back out of the fridge, inverted and gently agitated (no shaking) each bottle until the yeast cake separated from the bottom.  I did this every two days for a week, and after just that one week at room temperature, we got the additional carbonation we needed.  The yeast settled back down great, no unexpected flavors.  Thank you all... and I trust that this topic will help others in the future as well!  Cheers.