Author Topic: High Gravity Won't Force Carb  (Read 2026 times)

Offline joelv

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High Gravity Won't Force Carb
« on: September 18, 2017, 10:40:06 AM »
I'm experiencing something strange and am wondering if any else might weigh in.

I've made 4 variations of an imperial stout (Kentucky Breakfast Stout inspired). Each was big. In 3 of 4 variations, force carbonation was really not working well.

My normal process is to keg, and simultaneously chill and force about 40 psi of CO2. I do this for about 2 days and then release and repressure at about 15 psi. This works for me for any beer I make.

But, these stouts are nearly flat after 2 days at 40 psi and at 34 degrees F.

They are big - OG 1.115, FG 1.030 (but never had a problem with Barleywine).

They contain oatmeal, coffee, 100% cacao (no added oil or fat) and bourbon - but I don't "think" these matter.

Any idea what might slow gas from reaching equilibrium in the liquid?

(Right now, I'm using the shake method, which is working).


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Offline mainebrewer

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Re: High Gravity Won't Force Carb
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2017, 01:03:44 PM »
The only times I've had a beer that did not carb in the usual amount of time was when I had an imperceptible (no bubbles showing even when using leak detector) leak, always around the keg lid. Opening the lid, wiping the gasket dry, applying a generous application of keg lube always fixes the problem for me.
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Offline joelv

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Re: High Gravity Won't Force Carb
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2017, 03:13:24 PM »
The only times I've had a beer that did not carb in the usual amount of time was when I had an imperceptible (no bubbles showing even when using leak detector) leak, always around the keg lid. Opening the lid, wiping the gasket dry, applying a generous application of keg lube always fixes the problem for me.

I checked for leaks already (with some starsan). It confirms that CO2 is not bleeding out of the keg.

Offline mainebrewer

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Re: High Gravity Won't Force Carb
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2017, 03:14:20 AM »
As I mentioned, I couldn't see the leaks even using a mixture of dish soap and water. All I can say is that when I removed the lids and recoated the gaskets with keg lube the problem went away. 
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Offline dbarber

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Re: High Gravity Won't Force Carb
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2017, 11:44:06 AM »
I have had the same experience when forcecarbing a high gravity wee heavy.  My usual process is to set the the vol of CO2 for the carbonation level I want and let it sit for a week.  The wee heavy was still almost flat after a week, but after 3 weeks it was fully carbed.
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Offline denny

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Re: High Gravity Won't Force Carb
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2017, 12:02:59 PM »
OK, I'm trying to come up with a reason that a high gravity beer would be harder to force carb and I can't think of anything.  Can someone fill me in on the science?
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Offline 802Chris

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Re: High Gravity Won't Force Carb
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2017, 11:39:23 AM »
All I can think is maybe it is a lack of perceived carbonation? Maybe the fact that it is a massive beer, with maybe a little less head than you are used to, you might just not notice the carbonation.

Offline el_capitan

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Re: High Gravity Won't Force Carb
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2017, 06:38:01 PM »
I notice the same thing with my higher-gravity beers.  It happens to me usually on the BVIP, which comes in around 10% abv and includes bourbon and vanilla beans.  I wondered if it had to do with oils from the beans.  But I'm seeing the same thing again with a Sahti that came in at 7.2%. 

Offline denny

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Re: High Gravity Won't Force Carb
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2017, 08:52:11 AM »
I notice the same thing with my higher-gravity beers.  It happens to me usually on the BVIP, which comes in around 10% abv and includes bourbon and vanilla beans.  I wondered if it had to do with oils from the beans.  But I'm seeing the same thing again with a Sahti that came in at 7.2%.

Interesting.  I don't think I've ever had a batch of BVIP (or BW) have carb issues.
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Offline 802Chris

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Re: High Gravity Won't Force Carb
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2017, 04:58:59 AM »
I notice the same thing with my higher-gravity beers.  It happens to me usually on the BVIP, which comes in around 10% abv and includes bourbon and vanilla beans.  I wondered if it had to do with oils from the beans.  But I'm seeing the same thing again with a Sahti that came in at 7.2%.

Interesting.  I don't think I've ever had a batch of BVIP (or BW) have carb issues.

Again, this makes me lean towards the creaminess/full body you get in a big beer being mistaken for lack of carbonation? As far as I know  liquid is liquid when it comes to C02 absorbtion

Offline el_capitan

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Re: High Gravity Won't Force Carb
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2017, 07:03:13 PM »
Well, the Sahti has been carbing forever and I've even bumped the pressure up a bit above normal (12 psi).  I think what's happening with the Sahti is that I mashed high and had lots of rye, which is giving me a very full body in the beer.  Perhaps it is in fact fully-carbed, but I think the full body gives the impression of a restrained carbonation. 

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Re: High Gravity Won't Force Carb
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2017, 07:07:12 PM »
I don't have any science, but I've seen the idea in some forum thread or other that oils from things like coffee, cocoa, and oats form an oil slick on the surface that prevents carbonation purely through head pressure.
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Offline denny

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Re: High Gravity Won't Force Carb
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2017, 08:46:25 AM »
I don't have any science, but I've seen the idea in some forum thread or other that oils from things like coffee, cocoa, and oats form an oil slick on the surface that prevents carbonation purely through head pressure.

I've seen that, too, and I can't make it make sense.
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