Bottle carbing

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by EvanAltman36, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. EvanAltman36

    EvanAltman36 New Member

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    I just recently bottled my 4th and 5th batches and it seems that I've got some under-carbed bottles. I cold-crashed both prior to bottling and lowered the amount of priming sugar (dextrose) accordingly, but I'm wondering where I went wrong. I created simple sugar and allowed it to cool to room temp or a little above before adding it to my bottling bucket and then siphoning the beer into said bucket. In the past, I have done this and allowed the natural circulation of the beer from the siphon mix the priming solution. However, I'm thinking that the colder temps may have prevented the solution from mixing very thoroughly. I like to use a few PET plastic bottles in order to judge the levels of carbonation, and it's evident that some are better than others. In the future, should I allow my beer to warm back up after crashing or should I be more intentional about mixing the priming solution with the beer (without aerating it too much)?
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    You mention SOME under-carbed bottles. Are some carbonated at the level you'd like? If that's the case, you didn't get your priming sugar evenly distributed (without stirring, it tends to settle at the bottom of the beer). Try stirring the beer (without, as much as possible, splashing) before bottling. If all of them are under-carbonated, check the amount of priming sugar and try to bottle without the cold crash. Low priming sugar would lead to under-carbonation - that's obvious. If you're using a very flocculant yeast, you may be settling too much of it out to carbonate rapidly with your cold crash. To test this, just let them sit quietly and see if they eventually reach an acceptable level of carbonation. If they do, your cold crash just precipitated too much out. If not, look at priming sugar.

    And, like Click and Clack, let us know if this didn't work.
     
  3. EvanAltman36

    EvanAltman36 New Member

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    Thanks. It does seem that some carbed better than others, based on my judgement of the firmness of the PET bottles. As I look back on my technique, I do think that I didn't successfully integrate the priming solution into the beer, thus leaving me with well-carbed bottles that were drawn from the bottom of the bucket.

    Follow-up question: I used Munton's Kreamyx to carbonate an earlier batch and I felt that it did a great job and that it really did result in better carbonation and head formation and retention. Has anyone else used that before? I liked the results, but didn't know if it was just a fluke or if that stuff really does work even better than plain dextrose.
     
  4. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    I stir frequently but gently during the bottling process, say every 3-4 bottles. My bucket lid has a hole in it from the stopper. The racking cane is just the right length and allows me to swirl it around gently.
     
  5. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    My bucket drains from the bottom. I find that if I get it well-mixed, I don't have to worry about it from that point on. But inconsistent mixing seemed the only explanation for SOME bottles carbonating aside from a bunch of bad caps.
     
  6. EvanAltman36

    EvanAltman36 New Member

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    Yeah, I should have noted that I rack to a bottling bucket with a spigot at the bottom. My first-ever batch was done in a Mr. Beer fermenter, so I made a priming solution and just mixed it with the beer in the fermenter before allowing it to settle and then bottling. The first time I used my bottling bucket, I used Kreamyx as the primer and that beer, while not very tasty, is very well-carbed. I did not cold crash that wort though, and I think got the priming solution better incorporated into the beer. Naturally, a warmer liquid is going to be more able to incorporate the solution, so I'm sure it was a matter of me not mixing well enough.
     
  7. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    One question that comes to mind: Why are you cold-crashing to begin with? If the beer is clear (I'm assuming an ale of some kind), you shouldn't need to chill it before bottling, just bottle it. And if it isn't clear, just let it sit until it clarifies. And if it doesn't clarify, assuming you're using a yeast at least moderately flocculant, no amount of cold crashing will remove the haze. I'm curious - it sounds like an unnecessary step to me.
     
  8. EvanAltman36

    EvanAltman36 New Member

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    Curiosity killed the cat, but I suppose a nosy bear is still safe. I was just trying it out, having read about it. I had an IPA that was 4 weeks in the fermenter and wanted to drop out some of the extraneous stuff in suspension, including dry hops. The haze is something I'd expect anyway, so I feel like it's a step I won't repeat in the future. Given the additional effort and the underwhelming effects, I think I'm sticking with ambient temps moving forward. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I gained some experience, I guess.
     
  9. EvanAltman36

    EvanAltman36 New Member

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    Checked another bottle and it's carbed up like crazy, so it's clear that I just didn't mix the priming solution well.
     
  10. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    That's what makes homebrewing fun as far as I'm concerned. There's always something else to learn, to try and who knows, to invent.
     
  11. EvanAltman36

    EvanAltman36 New Member

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    Exactly. When I was younger and started drinking beer, I pretty much stuck to whatever I buy the most of for the least amount of money. Then my tastes started to develop to the point where I now like to experiment with all kinds of different styles and flavors of beer. The really great thing is that there are so many micro and craft brewers out there experimenting with different styles that it really allows me to get a feel for what I like.
     

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