Author Topic: 9% ABV, 0% carbonation  (Read 1213 times)

Offline kgs

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9% ABV, 0% carbonation
« on: December 24, 2015, 04:47:06 PM »
I bottled a Belgian Golden Strong about five or six weeks ago. I calculated the carb rate on the high side and added a whisper of dry yeast, rehydrated. It was a 2.75 gallon batch and I used .5 g, measured out on my hops scale. I put the beer in a hall closet that is ca. 60 degrees. After two weeks -- nothing. I carefully turned the bottles up and down. Weeks later -- nothing. No other change in process (caps, capper, etc.). (Earlier query here: https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=24274.0 )

So... happy that after seven years of brewing I finally got a high-alcohol Belgian to properly attenuate. Baffled by the total lack of carbonation. The recipe was simple -- loosely based on http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/homebrew-recipe/sullys-belgian-blonde/  Should I have been bolder on the sugar or the yeasting? Will the beer ever carb up?  I have only been able to brew a couple times this year, and feel sad... it's one thing to goof up a batch when I was brewing about every four to eight weeks, another when brew days are few and far between.

Another question: in thinking about kegging, does this process carbonate the beer regardless of whether the beer wants to be carbed, if you get my drift? Kegging wasn't a good fit for this recipe because I wanted this to be gift beer (so much for that), but is there a reliability factor to kegging high-alcohol beers?

To make myself feel better, I think I'll find a half-day over the holiday to brew my "security blanket" beer, an oatmeal stout I have never messed up (well, in reflecting on the first couple of times, it was not great beer, but I was happy with it, which is the real measure).
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Offline duboman

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Re: 9% ABV, 0% carbonation
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2015, 04:52:46 PM »
If the bottles are only sitting at 60oF then you need to warm them up to at least 70, even up to 80 is fine. Even with raising the temp a high ABV beer will take more than 4 weeks to carbonate and condition, IME 8-10 week and they should be awesome!

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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: 9% ABV, 0% carbonation
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2015, 05:02:39 PM »
Breweries that bottle condition store the beer at 70F for a week. Duboman has the answer.

Good to see you posting again.

Edit - I know the guy who's recipe it is based on. He was probably the best Homebrewer in the state before getting a job at Kuhnhenn's brewing co.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2015, 05:05:15 PM by hopfenundmalz »
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Offline erockrph

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Re: 9% ABV, 0% carbonation
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2015, 05:05:58 PM »
If the bottles are only sitting at 60oF then you need to warm them up to at least 70, even up to 80 is fine. Even with raising the temp a high ABV beer will take more than 4 weeks to carbonate and condition, IME 8-10 week and they should be awesome!

Agreed. 2 weeks is too early to be worried about carbonation. Even normal-gravity beers take 3-4 weeks at that temp to hit your desired carbonation level.
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Offline kgs

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Re: 9% ABV, 0% carbonation
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2015, 05:10:14 PM »
Breweries that bottle condition store the beer at 70F for a week. Duboman has the answer.

Good to see you posting again.

Thanks and thanks! I'll find a warmer spot. (And I'll still do the oatmeal stout.) It has been more than two weeks, btw, but it sounds as if the temp is the key.
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Offline gman23

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Re: 9% ABV, 0% carbonation
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2015, 05:36:53 PM »
I recently did a 8.9% baltic porter that took about a month to get adequately carbonated. I did not add extra yeast though which was likely the culprit...
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Offline heavydeadlifts

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Re: 9% ABV, 0% carbonation
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2015, 10:40:19 PM »
Why not just keg it, force carb and then bottle with a beer gun?
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Offline kgs

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Re: 9% ABV, 0% carbonation
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2015, 11:36:16 PM »
Why not just keg it, force carb and then bottle with a beer gun?

I haven't gotten into kegging just yet. I'm not convinced that the overhead of learning kegging and then kegging itself is less work *at the moment, for me* than bottling. I came perilously close several months ago, then backed off because I've been juggling a big new job, a graduate program, elderly parent with healthcare issues, etc. Bottling is laborious but once the labor is done, it's done, and this is really my first bottling-related complication. Well, second, if I count some PET bottles I bought once that didn't carb up properly.
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Offline heavydeadlifts

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Re: 9% ABV, 0% carbonation
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2015, 11:45:15 PM »

Why not just keg it, force carb and then bottle with a beer gun?

I haven't gotten into kegging just yet. I'm not convinced that the overhead of learning kegging and then kegging itself is less work *at the moment, for me* than bottling. I came perilously close several months ago, then backed off because I've been juggling a big new job, a graduate program, elderly parent with healthcare issues, etc. Bottling is laborious but once the labor is done, it's done, and this is really my first bottling-related complication. Well, second, if I count some PET bottles I bought once that didn't carb up properly.

Well to each their own. I will just say that I found it a worthwhile investment. Keg and force carb to the perfect carbonation desired, bottle what you want to keep in bottles and keep the rest on tap.....well at least that is how I go about it
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: 9% ABV, 0% carbonation
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2015, 11:48:16 PM »

Why not just keg it, force carb and then bottle with a beer gun?

I haven't gotten into kegging just yet. I'm not convinced that the overhead of learning kegging and then kegging itself is less work *at the moment, for me* than bottling. I came perilously close several months ago, then backed off because I've been juggling a big new job, a graduate program, elderly parent with healthcare issues, etc. Bottling is laborious but once the labor is done, it's done, and this is really my first bottling-related complication. Well, second, if I count some PET bottles I bought once that didn't carb up properly.

Well to each their own. I will just say that I found it a worthwhile investment. Keg and force carb to the perfect carbonation desired, bottle what you want to keep in bottles and keep the rest on tap.....well at least that is how I go about it


Same here. I love not having to worry about bottle carbing big beers. I can dial in the carb to my liking every time.  To each his own though.
Jon H.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: 9% ABV, 0% carbonation
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2015, 12:39:08 AM »
Now that I have cured my occasional keg infection problem, I really like it. Next is to buy a beer gun. But I will always be bottling my wild beers.

Offline kgs

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Re: 9% ABV, 0% carbonation
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2015, 02:34:04 AM »
Well, the one really big beer I ever brewed, a barleywine brewed in 2010, carbed up perfectly (no extra yeast, sugar dialed in moderately at most). It had other flaws, but not the carbonation, so this issue wasn't on my radar, or I would have done one of my tried-and-true recipes in the 6% - 7.5% ABV I usually brew in.

I was so close to kegging I had all the parts picked out, and had called a local sporting-goods store to confirm they refilled tanks. But to be honest, for over two years I have been bribing myself through the graduate program with "if I make this goal I will give myself the luxury of doing X," and kegging has been the prize for defending my dissertation proposal, with the understanding that newbies do sometimes struggle with kegging and I might need to devote time to puzzle my way through it. Part of it is the reward factor, and the other part is superstition. But those cute little kegs look mighty tempting.
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: 9% ABV, 0% carbonation
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2015, 07:22:16 PM »
So what exactly is going on during this time period to the beer while it is sitting uncarbonated in the bottle with all that original oxygen in the headspace?  Aren't these beers slightly being oxidized during this process of extended carbonation times?  I understand that yeast are good O2 scavengers but I am not fully convinced.

Ever since I switched to closed transfers from primary into a keg (and stopped bottling years ago) I have noticed a  major improvement in shelf life of my brews. 

Offline duboman

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Re: 9% ABV, 0% carbonation
« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2015, 10:01:27 PM »
So what exactly is going on during this time period to the beer while it is sitting uncarbonated in the bottle with all that original oxygen in the headspace?  Aren't these beers slightly being oxidized during this process of extended carbonation times?  I understand that yeast are good O2 scavengers but I am not fully convinced.

Ever since I switched to closed transfers from primary into a keg (and stopped bottling years ago) I have noticed a  major improvement in shelf life of my brews.
Not much in the first few days but gradually co2 production begins and if you use o2 caps there really is no issue with extended conditioning time in a bottle. This of course also assumes you use dark bottles and keep them in a dark, warm space until the ufully carbonate. The amount if headspace is really quite small with proper fill level

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