Author Topic: Bottling issues again  (Read 1074 times)

Offline mrbounds

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Bottling issues again
« on: December 02, 2010, 12:53:40 PM »
Hi Everyone,

So this isnt the first time I have posted on here regarding carbonation issues when bottle conditioning. Several of my batches have had issues with inconsistent carbonation which results in many bottles becoming gushers. I have tried various priming sugars and always rack on top of the boiled and cooled sugar solution. The last couple of batches I have racked into the bottling bucket and stirred in an attempt to ensure proper mixing and still had issues. All bottles are thoroughly cleaned with PBW and sanitized with StarSan and the beer always tastes fine so I dont think infections are the cause of my woes.
Well I am getting ready to bottle another batch this weekend and was thinking of trying to prime the bottles individually and see if that helps but whilst researching this I came across lots of different advice on amounts of priming sugar to use and apparently for carbonation like that of English Pale Ale I should be using a lot less sugar than what I have been (I have been using 2/3 cup table sugar for 5 gallons) and one calculator recommended using only 1.5 - 2 ozs when taking into account the temperature of the beer. Could the amount used be the cause of all my troubles? My first seven or eight batches had absolutely no issues with carbonation it has been the next 7 or 8 that have been the issue.
Any thoughts or ideas would be very appreciated.

Offline kramerog

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Re: Bottling issues again
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2010, 01:31:05 PM »
For me, the calculator doesn't work so well for English styles; part of it is that at low carbonation levels the serving temp has a huge effect on perceived carbonation levels (very flat to mild carbonation).  My suggestions are have enough yeast initially, do a short fermentation (2-3 weeks), skip the bottling bucket, calculate priming levels at the higher end of the range for English ales, carbonate the bottles between 65-70F until the desired carbonation is achieved and shaking the bottles after a week if the carbonation was not achieved. 
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Offline mrbounds

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Re: Bottling issues again
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2010, 01:33:49 PM »
My beers are always carbonated it is that some of them become severely over carbonated.

Offline joeysmokedporter

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Re: Bottling issues again
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2010, 06:35:26 PM »
A few ideas:
- weigh the sugar instead of measuring 2/3 cup (volume), density shifts are enough to have a significant effect.  There are calculators that can help you determine how much to use (in ounces, which can be converted to grams if need be) based on your desired volumes CO2 and the temperature of the beer you are priming.  A useful nomograph for this is at http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter11-4.html
- if you have been starting with colder beer, you could have additional CO2 entrained in solution that could be the cause of your overcarbonation. The impact is more significant if you have been cold conditioning.  If this is the case, again the nomograph above can help you determine the appropriate amount of sugar to add.

I would start by shifting measurement of priming sugar to weight.
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Offline tygo

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Re: Bottling issues again
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2010, 07:46:34 PM »
Definitely go by weight rather than volume and take into account the temperature of the beer.   The ESB I'm sipping on at the moment used 3.7 oz to prime about 5.25 gallons.  And it's probably a little overcarbed for the style but that's how I like it.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Bottling issues again
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2010, 08:00:13 PM »
What kind of beer are you bottling?  Could you give some recipe specifics including yeast? What was your OG and FG?
Overcarbonation can be due to several things including incomplete fermentation, too much priming sugar, infections, etc...
With some more detail, maybe we can narrow it down or at least eliminate some factors.
Ron Price

Offline octess

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Re: Bottling issues again
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2010, 08:27:51 PM »
Hi there!
Also have to understand that when priming you only add some simple sugar to the brew to get your yeast active again - thus fermenting - but this time with the cap on the bottle so the CO2 produced by the yeast won't be able to escape - thus dissolve in the beer, godisood -!! I'm sure you're familiar with that, so why mention it? Because your yeast need be happy!  ;D
Do you condition your brew at the same temperature you had been fermenting it in the first place? If not, you have to! Only after carbonation is complete can you chill you're brew in the fridge.
Second, over carbonation means only one thing: yeast have to much to eat (unless using actual gas as a fizzing agent). Simple as that! Possible explanations from most obvious to others:
a) make sure your priming additions are what you need and not more;
b) wort not being completely fermented (yeast actually have a full-on buffet!), you have to monitor your brew's gravity and attenuation to have a reliable idea of the process;
c) possible wild yeast and/or bacteria infection (while bucket priming?) that would push fermentation beyond the expected;
d) possible over exposure to oxygen while priming which would bring the yeast back to an aerobic cycle (not sure about that one. as of now I don't know if the yeast produce different amounts of CO2 from aerobic than anaerobic cycles but I'm sure you can find that info if you search a little further);
e) too long or too hot conditioning? I've had a few bottles that a friend brought back to me which he kept at hot temp (25 to 35 celcius) for an extended period of time. They were practically all gushers. Perhaps the yeast had been going through a dormant phase for some time and then got active again? If so, what was it eating???
Good luck! "relax, don't worry, have a homebrew"!
Oh! A tip:
If you chill your bottles for about a week, take them out as you drink them, partially crack the cap open, let the CO2 come out of solution, crack it a little ore and so on until the bottle is open, pour it slowly into a chilled glass and let it stand until it reaches the desired serving temp, you should be able to enjoy it!
Viva el art of brewing alchemy!

Offline oscarvan

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Re: Bottling issues again
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2010, 09:07:14 PM »
I think his question is regarding the fact that some bottles are good, and some are over carbonated, IOW the carbonation is inconsistent. So he is wondering whether "the food" is evenly distributed throughout the beer prior to bottling and how to improve on that without aerating the beer.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2010, 09:09:01 PM by oscarvan »
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Offline euge

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Re: Bottling issues again
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2010, 12:00:52 AM »
I think his question is regarding the fact that some bottles are good, and some are over carbonated, IOW the carbonation is inconsistent. So he is wondering whether "the food" is evenly distributed throughout the beer prior to bottling and how to improve on that without aerating the beer.

This sounds more like it. When bottling, I like to weigh then dissolve the sugar in water in a pyrex cup- ie bring to boiling. Then add to bottling bucket after a quart or so has filled it. This helps insure even mixing of the sugar solution. No problems.
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Offline octess

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Re: Bottling issues again
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2010, 12:14:22 AM »
Well I am getting ready to bottle another batch this weekend and was thinking of trying to prime the bottles individually and see if that helps but whilst researching this I came across lots of different advice on amounts of priming sugar to use and apparently for carbonation like that of English Pale Ale I should be using a lot less sugar than what I have been (I have been using 2/3 cup table sugar for 5 gallons) and one calculator recommended using only 1.5 - 2 ozs when taking into account the temperature of the beer. Could the amount used be the cause of all my troubles? My first seven or eight batches had absolutely no issues with carbonation it has been the next 7 or 8 that have been the issue.
Any thoughts or ideas would be very appreciated.

quite right oscarvan and euge!
by the time I read the last part I already had forgotten about the first one!
hope it gave you some insights anyhow!
cheers!
Viva el art of brewing alchemy!

Offline mrbounds

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Re: Bottling issues again
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2010, 10:31:03 AM »
What kind of beer are you bottling?  Could you give some recipe specifics including yeast? What was your OG and FG?
Overcarbonation can be due to several things including incomplete fermentation, too much priming sugar, infections, etc...
With some more detail, maybe we can narrow it down or at least eliminate some factors.

All of my beers are English Pale / Strong ale types. The last one with the issue started at 1.060 and finished at 1.018. I  am brewing extract with steeped grains. The yeast used was White Labs British Ale Yeast and a 1.5L starter was made with 2 vials. On this batch I did actually rouse the yeast and raise the temperature just to make sure it was done and the gravity did not change.

Do you condition your brew at the same temperature you had been fermenting it in the first place? If not, you have to! Only after carbonation is complete can you chill you're brew in the fridge.


Once bottled I tend to place the beer in a warmer part of the house around 70 - 80 for a week and then place them back in the basement which right now is around 60 -62 degrees. I then place them into the fridge on need by need basis.

This batch was bottled in September and the last 4 - 5 bottles I have popped have all had excessive carbonation.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2010, 10:35:49 AM by mrbounds »