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Author Topic: when does carbonation occur?  (Read 3190 times)

Offline birdman200

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when does carbonation occur?
« on: July 18, 2010, 01:16:41 pm »
I just did my first batch ever on Friday night, so it is currently fermenting.  In 2 weeks, I will bottle it, then let it sit for another 10-14 days.  Is that when the beer becomes carbonated (in the bottles)?  I know it may seem like a silly questions, but I am very new to this.

Offline Malticulous

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Re: when does carbonation occur?
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2010, 01:28:08 pm »
Carbonation should be coming out the air lock now. When you bottle and add some sugar it will start to ferment again. Being capped off the CO2 will remain in solution.

It's more complicated than that. Some CO2 will remain in the beer after fermentation depending an the beer temperature (as CO2 is more soluble at lower temps.)  Knowing the residual CO2 you can more accurately calculate the amount of priming sugar. I use this online calculator.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2010, 01:35:15 pm by Malticulous »

Offline euge

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Re: when does carbonation occur?
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2010, 12:48:46 am »
There is quite a bit of co2 in the beer already ^^^^ depending on stage of fermentation. At the height of fermentation the brew will fizz like carbonated beer. This is the yeast "farting" basically. It tapers off of course as the sugars run out. This very same attribute is used to carbonate the beer in bottles or kegs.

Depending on temp your bottles should be ready in much less than a week though convention usually is 14 days. Never hurts to pop tops to see how things progress.

Good luck and welcome to the obsession.
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Offline jeffy

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Re: when does carbonation occur?
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2010, 05:34:42 am »
A cool trick to sense the progress of carbonation in the bottle is to mark the fill level of a bottle or two with a sharpy.  You'll find the volume actually increases as the beer carbonates.
Jeff Renner's old trick is to put some of the beer into plastic bottles as you're bottling.  Squeeze the air out and as that beer carbonates the plastic bottle will inflate and gradually build up pressure until it feels solid.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995