Author Topic: optimizing bottle quality  (Read 693 times)

Offline homoeccentricus

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optimizing bottle quality
« on: February 03, 2015, 10:22:04 AM »
Hi folks,

any tips on making sure that there are no quality differences between bottles? With my last brew, Drew's citra saison, I noticed that some bottles are more carbonated than others. What I do is: boil sugar in a bit of water, let it cool, poor in bottling bucket, rack beer over it, stir-wait-stir-wait-stir-wait (maybe 20 minutes total), and bottle.

Additional problem may be that my brewing volume is low: max 10 liters.

So, any smart techniques to make sure that carbonation is as even as possible?
Frank P.

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Offline Lazy Ant Brewing

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Re: optimizing bottle quality
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2015, 03:04:07 PM »
I had a similar problem with not much carbonation from the first beer out of the fermenter and over carbonation for the last bottles (that contained a lot of traub).

I've switched to adding one Domino dot i.e. small sugar cube/ 12-oz bottle and have been satisfied with the results.
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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: optimizing bottle quality
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2015, 03:07:47 PM »
I'm stumped - 20 minutes of stir-wait-stir... should do it.
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: optimizing bottle quality
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2015, 03:31:33 PM »
I've switched to adding one Domino dot i.e. small sugar cube/ 12-oz bottle and have been satisfied with the results.

Want to have CO2 volume to style, so I don't do that.
Frank P.

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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: optimizing bottle quality
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2015, 03:35:44 PM »
I'm stumped - 20 minutes of stir-wait-stir... should do it.

Sorry, it's kind of subtle. It's not that some bottles have it all, and some nothing. The amount of CO2 in good bottles is just under "too much", so a little more is "too much".  :P
Frank P.

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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: optimizing bottle quality
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2015, 03:41:47 PM »
I'm stumped - 20 minutes of stir-wait-stir... should do it.

Sorry, it's kind of subtle. It's not that some bottles have it all, and some nothing. The amount of CO2 in good bottles is just under "too much", so a little more is "too much".  :P
How consistent are your fills? A little difference in head space could change the carbonation.
 
Other things - consistent serving temperature? Glass cleanliness?
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: optimizing bottle quality
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2015, 04:03:17 PM »
I wonder if some of the sugar is settling out during the cooling and waiting.

I don't let the priming sugar cool any longer than it takes to finish cleaning/sanitizing equipment and getting everything in place to rack the beer. I also don't stir or do anything to mix the priming sugar after racking into the bottling bucket. The siphoning beer does a good job of creating a current and mixing up the sugar. I don't think I have a particularly great technique; I just haven't had problems following the standard process.

How much water are you using for the priming sugar? Maybe try using a little more water to make the sugar solution less dense and easier to mix.
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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: optimizing bottle quality
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2015, 04:21:24 PM »
How much water are you using for the priming sugar? Maybe try using a little more water to make the sugar solution less dense and easier to mix.
Good question. The sugar shouldn't settle out, but it could if it is really thick.
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: optimizing bottle quality
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2015, 04:34:33 PM »
Hm, yes, maybe not enough water. I use just enough water for the sugar to dissolve comfortably. Maybe I should use more. Have been afraid to dilute the beer too much, but that's probably silly.

And I will start using one of those siphon valves as of next time. Maybe that will help achieve volume consistency.

I assume that the amount of yeast in the bottle is not really an issue here? All sugar gets fermented anyway, right?
Frank P.

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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: optimizing bottle quality
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2015, 06:32:33 PM »
If you're not getting consistent volumes, that is probably the real problem. Less headspace = more CO2 dissolved into the beer. More headspace = less CO2. And small volumes result in a large percentage change too. A bottling wand with valve at the bottom makes consistent fills easy. Just fill to the top and remove the wand.

You are right that amount of yeast makes no difference.
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Offline Stevie

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Re: optimizing bottle quality
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2015, 07:48:41 PM »
Hm, yes, maybe not enough water. I use just enough water for the sugar to dissolve comfortably. Maybe I should use more. Have been afraid to dilute the beer too much, but that's probably silly.

And I will start using one of those siphon valves as of next time. Maybe that will help achieve volume consistency.

I assume that the amount of yeast in the bottle is not really an issue here? All sugar gets fermented anyway, right?
Using a bottle wand with the valve will certainly help get consistent fill levels.


I normally use about a pint of water to dissolve my sugar. I eyeball it in a 1.5 quart sauce pan.