Carbonation problem

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Hiku575, Apr 6, 2015.

  1. Hiku575

    Hiku575 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    This is one of those… “let’s throw this together and see how it turns out” kind-of batches…

    What I did:
    I bought a couple of Mr. Beer refills (1.87 lbs of hopped LME each) on the after holiday clearance shelf…
    and since I had two of them, I figured I’d make one 4-gallon batch (using a 5 gal bucket) instead of two
    2-gallon batches (using my Mr. Beer barrel fermenter) plus I figured I’d boost things a bit and throw in
    an additional 3.3 lbs of LME… I used both yeast packets and it went crazy for the first couple of days…
    after a week or so, I knew it would be a while before I got around to bottling, so I racked it off to a
    secondary fermenter where is sat for about 2 more weeks.. I finally get around to bottling and use
    carbonation drops to prime the bottles. Then around 10 days later, I open a bottle and… a little “pop”
    but basically no carbonation…

    Here are my top theories:
    1- fast fermentation, plus time in secondary depleted active yeast needed to ferment carbonation
    sugars… (did I mention that the flat beer seemed to have some sweetness to it?)

    2- the two kits plus extra LME brought the ABV up to more than the yeast could handle. Therefore,
    carbonation could not take place. (this is probably not the case… of course I didn’t take any OG/FG
    readings but I threw the 7.04 lbs of LME for 4 gallons of water into BrewersFriend.com’s calculator and it
    came back as 6.15% ABV… a Google search of “Cooper’s Ale Yeast alcohol tolerance” came back with
    estimates of 11%)

    3- maybe I haven’t given it enough time to prime… and I should give all the bottles a good shake and
    open another one in a week or so.

    Here’s where I ask for suggestions:
    What do you think I should do??
    The flat beer didn’t taste bad at all… so I really don’t want to throw it out, and I don’t have a keg setup,
    so I can’t carb it that way.
    I’m guessing that I should introduce some fresh yeast to the situation… but how??

    1- pop the caps… drop a couple of dry yeast grains into each bottle, and recap.

    2- make a yeast starter solution let it activate, then eye-drop a little starter into each bottle… then
    recap.

    3- empty entire batch into a fermentation bucket… pitch new yeast… give it a little time (how long??)
    then rebottle.

    4- any other ideas???

    Hopefully this isn’t one of those long-winded forum posts that nobody responds to…

    Thanks in advance for your brewing wisdom.
     
  2. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,254
    Likes Received:
    2,455
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Back in the mountains
    Around 10 days bottle conditioning? Theory #3 be patient.
     
  3. Hogarthe

    Hogarthe Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Messages:
    528
    Likes Received:
    264
    Trophy Points:
    63
    wait another week or 2, and you should be good. I've had some beers carbonate in a week, others took 3 weeks.
     
  4. griz

    griz Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2015
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Agree....wait and don't rush it. Every batch ferments and carbonates differently. My porter took over a month to carbonate and I'm still waiting on my 2nd batch to carb. And both were bottled at about the same time...
     
  5. Hiku575

    Hiku575 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ah, patience... sometimes the hardest option... but definitely the least amount of work.
    thanks you all for the advice.
    I'll wait a week or so and crack open another one.
    I'm thinking that for future batches, I'll bottle one in a PET bottle so I can check the carbonation by feel..
    Cheers!
     
  6. GernBlanston

    GernBlanston New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2014
    Messages:
    317
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    It wouldn't hurt to warm it up. 70F or so. Just until it carbs up.
     
  7. Hiku575

    Hiku575 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I was thinking about that...
    All my brew stuff is in the basement (and I'm in Michigan)... so it's definitely not the warmest spot in the house.. I think ambient temps hang around the mid 60s F... looks like I'll have to commandeer a spot upstairs to store my bottled brew for a little while... thanks for the tip!
     
  8. lagerz

    lagerz New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2014
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    My first taste of my 3rd homebrew was tonight after bottling 13 days ago. I know 2 weeks is the gold standard but I couldn't wait any longer. My first two beers were extract lagers and I used 4 oz corn sugar(dextrose) and had excellent carbonation in every bottle from day 14 on.

    This 3rd beer is a porter and I only had 2 oz of corn sugar (1 oz each left over from the 5oz bags of above) so I added 1 oz of dry malt extract (after looking at the priming sugar calculator here) knowing it was weaker oz to oz than corn sugar but also that porters had a lower range of CO2 volume compared to lagers. It has been carbonating at 66 F and I'm relieved to see some others say it can take 3-4+ weeks to get up to full carbonation.

    This first one had only a small 1/2 cm head (pretty khaki color) and tasted mostly flat although I could see some bubbles in the liquid against the edges of the glass. I'll wait another week before opening the next one and report back if there is still trouble.
     
  9. GernBlanston

    GernBlanston New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2014
    Messages:
    317
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Remember that the two or three weeks for carbonation, is a guideline for the soonest that the carbonation level will be appropriate, and the beer drinkable. It does not mean that the beer is finished and perfect. Additional weeks and perhaps months of cellar time, and weeks of cold conditioning will make the beer peak to its highest potential. This time allow the yeast to do any final cleanup, allow the yeast to fully floculate, and for fine particular matter to drop clear. This is not necessary to drink and enjoy the beer, only if you want it as perfect as it can be. New brewers tend to be anxious and drink the beer too soon, before it peaks.
    Understandable.
    It is a long time from grain to glass, but some patience will pay off.
     
  10. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,399
    Likes Received:
    6,636
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    Factors in carbonation:

    Did you have enough yeast in suspension? Probably. I've bottled lagers without added yeast and they carb up just fine. Beer that's perfectly clear to the eye can have up to 100,000 yeast cells per milliliter in suspension, more than enough to carbonate a beer.

    Did you add enough sugar to carbonate? I've gotten bitten by those carbonation tabs - three are not enough for moderate carbonation! I generally calculate my priming sugar for each batch but 3/4 cup for five gallons is about the "norm."

    If those two things are true, there's only one question remaining: Were your bottles sealed? In the presence of sugar, yeast will make carbon dioxide. All that remains is giving the beer enough time and warmth.
     
  11. Takuie

    Takuie New Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2014
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I have found when bottle conditioning to make sure temp is 70-72 degrees, 2 week minimum. I normally go 3 just to be safe. Before drinking any of the beer I cold crash it for about 3 days around 34-36 to force the carb into the beer. After that you should be good.

    Unless you filter, there should always be enough yeasties to carb up with, even when racking to secondary. I also found that just plain table sugar is an excellent source for priming with. I gave up on drops a long time ago after having a few just fizzle and never carb up quite to where i wanted it.
     
  12. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,399
    Likes Received:
    6,636
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    Yep. Just opened a tab-carbed beer to extreme disappointment. Sucrose (table sugar) works fine, as does corn sugar. Tabs, hit or miss.
     
  13. lagerz

    lagerz New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2014
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    After another week or two the chocolate porter turned out great. Each time I opened one it has made the hiss sound so I figured the caps were on tight, it just needed more time and temp. I've been moving bottles upstairs where the temp is 75 degrees instead of 66 and giving each bottle a gentle swirl in the morning for a few days before putting them in the frige for a day to cool before drinking.

    Compared to the bottles tasted at week 2 and 3, the ones at week 5 and 6 seem to have a slight vanilla flavor (which is odd because vanilla wasn't an ingredient) but maybe it's just a combination of fermentation and the cocoa powder. Either way it worked out and now it's time to start planning brew #4.
     

Share This Page

arrow_white