Carbonation Reality Check

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Thurston Brewer, Dec 9, 2016.

  1. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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    I just tried my Irish Red Ale last night and although I was very pleased with the flavors and balance, it is under-carbed. It's only been in the bottles for 14 days (the first 3 days it was at 50 °F [10 °C], then I moved in indoors where it's spent the last 11 days at 65 °F [18 °C]), so it will almost certainly increase in carbonation over the next week or two, but I'd like to double-check my carbonation thought process with y'all to make sure I'm in the right ballpark.

    For my EPA, I used 2.2 oz. [62 g] of cane sugar in beer that was at 76 °F [24.4 °C] for 2.14 Volumes of CO2.
    I considered that too fizzy for an English Pale Ale, much less an Irish Red.

    For this Irish Red, then, I used 1.7 oz [48 g] of cane sugar at 72 °F [22.2 °C] for 1.87 Volumes of CO2.

    Does this seem too low, or should I just RDWHAHB? I know that time is on my side, but I'd hate for this batch to end up flat - it's the tastiest batch I've made so far, and very close to my ideal.

    Also, if it's too flat, would it be reasonable to pour the bottles back into the priming bucket, add more sugar and yeast and try again?
     
  2. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    anecdotally, that seems like a "normal" amount of priming sugar to me. i typically go on the lower end of volumes for the style. two busted bottles and plenty of gushers over the years have taught me that

    I don't think i'd pour everything back into the bottling bucket. too much effort to bottle the batch again, and too much change for contamination.

    Maybe just open the caps and drop in a sugar cube to each one?

    also, is there a reason you think the yeast are to blame? i can see how adding yeast bottle by bottle would be annoying and hard to measure out accurately too
     
  3. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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    Well, there's a definite sweetness to it so I'll give it more time to come into its own. Adding sugar to each bottle does sound better that bucketing and re-bottling, should it come to that. Doesn't a whole cube per bottle seem a bit too much, though? Not looking for bottle rockets!

    As for the yeast, I don't actually have any particular reason to doubt it, but I'm still trying to process several conflicting things I've read and heard:

    1.
    A- When yeast falls out of solution, fermentation is abated, but...
    B- Even though gelatin pushes the yeast out of solution, it won't affect the amount available for bottling.

    2.
    A- Under-pitching (not having enough yeast cells) caused problems with proper fermentation, but..
    B- Even one cell of active yeast is enough to condition the beer, given enough time.

    Since I used gelatin to fine the beer prior to bottling, I have to consider the possibility that 1.A may outweigh 2.B

    But, as I said, it's academic until I've given the yeast that's there enough time to work through the available sugar.
     
  4. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Maybe do as we do in a stalled fermentation give all the bottles a gentle roll left to right to stir up the yeast into fermentation. You should see a yeast ring at the bottom of bottle eh? I recon roll em and store em warm.

    But yea if all the sugar is used up well macca has your answer:).
     
  5. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    Oh yeah, definitely do some math so you don't add too much sugar.

    Its my understanding that there's always going to be some yeast in suspension whatever you do. only the big breweries can totally filter that out, along with a lot of taste and aroma too
     
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  6. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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    I'd like to try this with maybe four bottles, but I'm still left with a conundrum.

    By my calculations I should add about 1.5g of cane sugar to each 12 oz. bottle to get 2 vols CO2. However, that's what I originally put into this beer, so why would I expect the 2nd batch of sugar to make a difference if the first batch didn't? Did the first sugar addition just magically disappear? Did the yeast just give up the ghost?

    If both additions are eventually converted by the yeast, I'd end up with 4 vols CO2. If the second is ignored like the first, I'd still have flat beer. Kinda in a quandary here...
     
  7. Mark D Pirate

    Mark D Pirate Well-Known Member

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    i'd be bringing yeast back into suspension first before adding further sugar .(gently invert bottles a few times ) and then wait and see .
    opening the bottles will vent any undissolved CO2 in the headspace , would make calculating the total volumes of CO2 very hard .

    Chilling the bottles to near freezing will allow the beer to absorb the maximum amount of gas before opening if you decide to go that way
     
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  8. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Spot on Mark. Thirsty just give it another week. As is maccas motto PATIENTS ;) and rouse yeast. It's your beer though.

    To go with Marks chilling beer to near freezing well I've got first hand experience of one of my pils beers I bottled but 3 or more weeks ago I added them to the freezer when cold crashing last brew and you know them bubbles were tiny and they just kept rising up outta that bottle for more than 30 min!
     
  9. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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    Well, I've got buds coming over next Sunday for a tasting, so I'll try the yeast rouse and wait a week method. I'll do some and not others so we can compare the results. If I re-sugared them they'd never be ready in a week anyway...
     
  10. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I know you know this and schedules have to be met, been there many times but the key to brewing great beer is to wait, be patient, don't time your beer let it do its thing, keep it very cold and age till its prime and you will be reworded 10 fold with great beer
     
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  11. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    Just cause it's my motto doesn't mean I follow it all the time.

    But, I've been told that I'm not impatient, just that I'm not very patient. which makes me feel a little better ;)
     
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  12. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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    I took four bottles and roused the yeast; it was painful to say the least to make such a beautifully bright and clear beer cloudy again, after taking the usual pains to avoid disturbing it. I think this makes sense, though, since by mistake I let them sit in the cold garage for the first three days after I bottled them. They've been at warmer temps since then, but if the cold put the yeast to sleep and plastered them down to the bottom, it stands to reason they need a wake-up call.

    I'll see how this goes, but it occurs to me that there are 18 more bottles of this that have been sitting in the cold garage the whole 2 weeks +. I think I'll need to get those in the house ASAP, and maybe they need a bit of the old reveille as well!
     
  13. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    if your carbing beer in bottles with yeast the cold is not your friend, you only want your beer cold when its fully carbed and ready to condition, warming the beer up to finish is fine, you might not even need to stir it up depending on the yeast
     
  14. Cgdavis

    Cgdavis Member

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    I've had yeast that will carb a bottle of beer to a tasty amount in about 24 hours and be done within a few days and it was great! Maybe just a fast yeast. Fermented clean and did so in about 5 days tops at 70 degrees. Maybe I'm just talking crazy.
     
  15. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Na I've had a batch of sandiego super yeast ferment out in 5 days :) just a real vigorous fermentation.
     
  16. Cgdavis

    Cgdavis Member

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    I love it when it can ferment that fast. At least right now while im still really impatient.
     
  17. Mark D Pirate

    Mark D Pirate Well-Known Member

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    i have 2 batches on the go now , picthed yeast less than 4 days ago and both are either done or very close to it .
    ran a saison at 28 C and not surprised it tried to escape the FV , settled down now and hope it gets the last 3-4 points out
     
  18. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    Be patient with that stuff. It will stall for a day or two in FG range then start working again. Should have lots of funk working at that range entire fermentation. ;)
     
  19. Mark D Pirate

    Mark D Pirate Well-Known Member

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    Funky as James Brown my friend , Belle Saison strain so the dupont stall isn't a factor here
    Lucky the bottles i'm using for this batch are good and solid to hold the 3 + volumes i'll be priming them at .
    Some Belgians go over 4.5 vols .... that might be pushing the friendship a little
     
  20. headshaker

    headshaker New Member

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    It all depends on where your yeast likes to ferment at .Colder will slow it a couple day it's back to temp.
     

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