Author Topic: Problems with carbonation in bottles by a rookie  (Read 255 times)

Offline Michael Schechtman

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Problems with carbonation in bottles by a rookie
« on: August 11, 2019, 03:51:15 PM »
I just brewed a Belgian dubbel with tea and I am having a problem I have had more than once. The fermented liquid going into the bottle tasted great, I added corn sugar in boiled water (about 3/4 c sugar for 4.2 gallons) and bottled, and after 1 week at 72 degrees and 1 week in the fridge, the beer is just about completely flat and has a little molasses-y taste.  I put the sugar water in the bottling bucket before adding the fermented wort and stirred very gently. What am I doing wrong?

Offline denny

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Re: Problems with carbonation in bottles by a rookie
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2019, 04:03:03 PM »
First guess is not giving them enough time before putting them in the fridge.   Take some put and let them sit at room temp for another week or 2.  Also, how much does 3/4 cup of sugar weigh?  I go by weight, not volume, so I cant tell if you used a proper amount or not.
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Offline Visor

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Re: Problems with carbonation in bottles by a rookie
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2019, 04:55:44 PM »
   After a number of batches that didn't carbonate for $^&* I've modified my routine and won't bottle until I've verified that there is enough viable yeast to do the job. I rarely use sugar for priming, in most cases I'll have a couple quarts of Spiese salvaged from filtered BK and chiller bucket dregs and use that for priming. Prior to bottling I inoculate that jug of spiese either with beer pulled from the FV, or more often with an once or so of harvested yeast and rig the jug with an airlock. Once I verify via the bubbling airlock that the yeasties are good to go, I pitch the spiese and get to bottling. If however there is no or only slow airlock activity, I know I need to add some viable yeast. In your case instead of using spiese you can inoculate your sugar/water solution and wait for the lovely bubbles. FWIW, I always have more difficulty bottle conditioning big beers, the higher the ABV, the more likely they are to be undercarbed, even when I added a sachet or two of rehydrated CBC-1 prior to bottling. I'm at a point now where I have serious doubts about the usefulness of CBC-1, at least with high gravity beers.   
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Offline MNWayne

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Re: Problems with carbonation in bottles by a rookie
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2019, 02:04:13 PM »
When I bottled, I always measured by volume and used 3/4 cup corn sugar. Always gave it 2 weeks at room temp before chilling. Never had a problem.
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Offline BrewBama

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Problems with carbonation in bottles by a rookie
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2019, 02:30:32 PM »

I haven’t bottled since I brewed with extract kits from William’s. I can’t remember what I did so I went to William’s and looked up the instructions that I am sure I followed because I didn’t have a clue. (Still don’t)

The instructions today say to leave the bottles at room temp 7 days and then move them to 65*F storage for ‘at least’ 5 more days before refrigeration.

I recall I was allotted a small section of the only fridge in the house so I don’t believe I had more than six bottles at a time in it. I rotated from my room temp storage (no way I controlled temp) into the fridge.  So the last bottles carbonated/matured several days longer than the 12 days the first few did.


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« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 03:10:51 PM by BrewBama »
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Problems with carbonation in bottles by a rookie
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2019, 10:52:25 AM »
Haven’t bottled, except off keg for quite some time, but back when I bottled I would bottle one plastic bottle (pint with screw on lid) that I would squeeze all air out of, leaving it slightly “smooshed in”.  When that bottle was expanded to normal shape and pretty hard to squeeze, I knew my glass bottles were adequately carbed, too.  Sometimes the pressure would push out the bottom dimples on thin wall plastic bottles.  That might be worth a try....cheers!
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Offline Visor

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Re: Problems with carbonation in bottles by a rookie
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2019, 03:05:46 PM »
    ^^^^Now there's an ingenious idea! Thanks.
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Offline Michael Schechtman

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Re: Problems with carbonation in bottles by a rookie
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2019, 07:17:18 PM »
Can I try taking bottles out of the fridge and letting them sit at room temp awhile longer or opening the bottles and adding some more yeast?  If adding more yeast, what's the best way to do it?

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Problems with carbonation in bottles by a rookie
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2019, 07:59:10 PM »
Simply remove a few from the fridge and invert them momentarily to swirl up the yeast sediment, allow them to sit at room temperature for a week or so and I am willing to bet you will be fine.

By the way - welcome to the forum!
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Offline Michael Schechtman

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Re: Problems with carbonation in bottles by a rookie
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2019, 06:50:53 PM »
Thanks to all!!

Offline Visor

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Re: Problems with carbonation in bottles by a rookie
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2019, 03:00:44 PM »
Can I try taking bottles out of the fridge and letting them sit at room temp awhile longer or opening the bottles and adding some more yeast?  If adding more yeast, what's the best way to do it?

   I think that would be a very bad idea, if you can't get more carbonation without opening bottles then just learn to like flat beer until this batch is gone. Hopefully you'll get the problem correctly diagnosed for future batches, but as long as you're bottling at a homebrew level there will always be a chance that any given batch will be over or under carbed.
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Offline Lazy Ant Brewing

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Re: Problems with carbonation in bottles by a rookie
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2019, 07:19:31 PM »
If you are wanting to hurry carbonation a bit, put the filled bottles in a warmer place.  I"ll set mine on top of the clothes dryer in my utility room.  Both the dryer and the hot water heater make that room a bit warmer than the rest of the house, and the rotation of the clothes dryer drum subtly agitates the yeast when it is turning.
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