Author Topic: carbonation for 9% ABV beer in bottles  (Read 2416 times)

Offline goschman

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carbonation for 9% ABV beer in bottles
« on: September 08, 2015, 06:06:50 PM »
I am getting very little carbonation in a 9% beer that has been sitting in bottles at 70-75F for a couple of weeks. At bottling, I used 70g of table sugar per beersmith's calculations for 3.25 gallons of beer. I dissolved the sugar in one pint of boiling water, added to the bottling bucket and stirred well. I know my capper is good and realize that it sometimes take more than 2 weeks to get adequate carb however I am getting basically none in the two that I have tried.

Any ideas why this might be happening? The beer was fermented with US05 and I did not add extra yeast at bottling. Could that be the problem? I don't bottle very often anymore and I rarely brew higher gravity beers so I am wondering if I am missing something.
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Offline Stevie

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Re: carbonation for 9% ABV beer in bottles
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2015, 06:12:53 PM »
9% isn't too high to worry about IMO. Is there a "pfft" when you pop the cap? If so, just give them some time.

Offline goschman

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Re: carbonation for 9% ABV beer in bottles
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2015, 06:19:58 PM »
9% isn't too high to worry about IMO. Is there a "pfft" when you pop the cap? If so, just give them some time.

Thanks. There is that noise when cracking but it is very minimal. I have I have shaken one bottle to re-suspend the settled yeast and will try that in a week or so to see if there is any difference.
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Offline dilluh98

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Re: carbonation for 9% ABV beer in bottles
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2015, 06:27:42 PM »
I bottle exclusively (I know, glutton for punishment) and based on experience I'm to the point where I never open one until the three week mark – it's just a waste of 22 oz of beer to do so. Often the difference in carbonation (and sometimes flavor) between 14 days and 21 days, for whatever reason, is night and day. Doesn't matter if I shake the bottles periodically or age in the high 70s, 4% beer or 8%, high or low CO2 volume.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: carbonation for 9% ABV beer in bottles
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2015, 06:41:08 PM »
I too have bottled exclusively over the past 16 years.  This is a common concern with really big beers.  In truth: The extra alcohol is tiring your yeast and putting them to sleep.  You have about 50/50 odds of getting full carbonation in another few weeks.  But you might not.  Personally, if I remember to do so, I often add just a tad extra priming sugar to really big beers like this for the same reasons -- many yeast strains just get tired from the high ABV.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2015, 06:43:55 PM by dmtaylor »
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Offline goschman

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Re: carbonation for 9% ABV beer in bottles
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2015, 11:57:16 PM »
Thanks all. When I used to bottle exclusively; 1 week would provide more carbonation than I have now and 2 weeks would be very close to fully carbed. I will give it another week and check the progress. Hopefully it will get there at some point.
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Offline dilluh98

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Re: carbonation for 9% ABV beer in bottles
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2015, 01:25:24 PM »
Another strategy for the future on high alcohol beers you plan to bottle might be to add a small amount of a neutral yeast (or even champagne yeast I've heard) to eat up the priming sugar if you're concerned that the fermentation yeast is shot. I've never had to do it myself as I don't make much high alcohol beer but I know from others that it has been done with good results.

Offline snowtiger87

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Re: carbonation for 9% ABV beer in bottles
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2015, 10:39:37 PM »
This is what I do to all my bottle conditioned beers.
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Offline Steve Ruch

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Re: carbonation for 9% ABV beer in bottles
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2015, 04:06:54 PM »
I am getting very little carbonation in a 9% beer that has been sitting in bottles at 70-75F for a couple of weeks. At bottling, I used 70g of table sugar per beersmith's calculations for 3.25 gallons of beer. I dissolved the sugar in one pint of boiling water, added to the bottling bucket and stirred well. I know my capper is good and realize that it sometimes take more than 2 weeks to get adequate carb however I am getting basically none in the two that I have tried.

Any ideas why this might be happening? The beer was fermented with US05 and I did not add extra yeast at bottling. Could that be the problem? I don't bottle very often anymore and I rarely brew higher gravity beers so I am wondering if I am missing something.

S-05 can handle way higher than 9% so you probably just need more time.
Isn't 70 grams a little over two ounces? The last big beer I brewed (10% barleywine) I used close to 90 in 3 gallons and had great carbonation.
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Offline goschman

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Re: carbonation for 9% ABV beer in bottles
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2015, 06:49:55 PM »
I am getting very little carbonation in a 9% beer that has been sitting in bottles at 70-75F for a couple of weeks. At bottling, I used 70g of table sugar per beersmith's calculations for 3.25 gallons of beer. I dissolved the sugar in one pint of boiling water, added to the bottling bucket and stirred well. I know my capper is good and realize that it sometimes take more than 2 weeks to get adequate carb however I am getting basically none in the two that I have tried.

Any ideas why this might be happening? The beer was fermented with US05 and I did not add extra yeast at bottling. Could that be the problem? I don't bottle very often anymore and I rarely brew higher gravity beers so I am wondering if I am missing something.

S-05 can handle way higher than 9% so you probably just need more time.
Isn't 70 grams a little over two ounces? The last big beer I brewed (10% barleywine) I used close to 90 in 3 gallons and had great carbonation.

70 g is about 2.5 oz. I just went with what beersmith recommended for my ferment temp. I had one last night and the carb had improved so I am less worried. Assuming it continues to improve it should probably be pretty good in a couple more weeks. This is just a Xmas test batch so I am not worried about tasting before it is perfectly carbed.
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: carbonation for 9% ABV beer in bottles
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2015, 10:21:31 PM »
I too have bottled exclusively over the past 16 years.  This is a common concern with really big beers.  In truth: The extra alcohol is tiring your yeast and putting them to sleep.  You have about 50/50 odds of getting full carbonation in another few weeks.  But you might not.  Personally, if I remember to do so, I often add just a tad extra priming sugar to really big beers like this for the same reasons -- many yeast strains just get tired from the high ABV.

+1.  They worked hard for you and now you are asking them to do one last favor for you in a harsh, drunk state. 

Another strategy for the future on high alcohol beers you plan to bottle might be to add a small amount of a neutral yeast (or even champagne yeast I've heard) to eat up the priming sugar if you're concerned that the fermentation yeast is shot. I've never had to do it myself as I don't make much high alcohol beer but I know from others that it has been done with good results.

When I bottled my beers (many years ago), I always made sure to add a small amount of properly rehydrated yeast along with my priming sugar to my bottling bucket after a couple high gravity beers never carbonated.  A tiny bit of insurance for all the hard work you performed to get to that point.  The beers would mostly be carbonated within 1 wk after this procedure to boot. 

Offline kgs

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Re: carbonation for 9% ABV beer in bottles
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2015, 01:37:27 PM »
With respect to a small amount of yeast, for a half-batch (2.75 gal), would that be say, 1/8 of a packet of dry yeast?

Also, can I assume that post-fermentation, the type of yeast would not matter? I have a Belgian Golden Strong fermenting right now. I used Wyeast 1388 and made a starter. I have a packet of Bry-97 in the fridge.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: carbonation for 9% ABV beer in bottles
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2015, 01:57:18 PM »
With respect to a small amount of yeast, for a half-batch (2.75 gal), would that be say, 1/8 of a packet of dry yeast?

Also, can I assume that post-fermentation, the type of yeast would not matter? I have a Belgian Golden Strong fermenting right now. I used Wyeast 1388 and made a starter. I have a packet of Bry-97 in the fridge.

Fairy dust.  A sprinkle of probably 1/16 of a dry pack would be enough for a small batch.

You're correct.  Any live yeast is probably fine.  Personally I would try to stick with the original yeast or something close to it if you have any around.  However, any yeast should work okay.
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Re: carbonation for 9% ABV beer in bottles
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2015, 04:13:55 PM »
With respect to a small amount of yeast, for a half-batch (2.75 gal), would that be say, 1/8 of a packet of dry yeast?

Sierra Nevada re-yeasts at 1 million cells/mL, supposedly. For a 2.75 gal batch, that would be about 0.5 g, or 1/20 of a 10.5 g packet.
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Offline neddles

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Re: carbonation for 9% ABV beer in bottles
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2015, 04:51:45 PM »