Flat beer

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by Jvogelmeier, Dec 24, 2020.

  1. Jvogelmeier

    Jvogelmeier New Member

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    First all grain brew. Winter spiced ale. Followed the directions to the letter. Bottled it on the 7th of December. Cracked one open tonight and it’s flat. Flavor is great. Used carbonation cubes instead of sugar. Any advice?
     
  2. weldedsord

    weldedsord Member

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    hey dude when bottle conditioning it can take a while. I bottle conditioned a spiced beer in october it and it took over the entire month of november to condition.(finished early december) that's just something we who bottle condition have to deal with it could be tired yeast it could be not enough sugar or because of temp being too cold all that's left to do is wait really if you're using carb cubes it should have enough sugar so just wait. I know thats not the fun answer but that's the best advice I can give
     
  3. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    Temp And time. When I used cubes it took longer than 2 weeks sometimes. As long as you temp is warm enough you should get something. If it was high gravity then the yeast may be too tired? Did you maybe forget to put a cube in that bottle?
     
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  4. SabreSteve

    SabreSteve Well-Known Member

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    I've never used cubes but it could just need more time. But with priming the bottles I wouldn't be worried after just one bottle, there could be inconsistencies. Give it a week and try a couple more.

    I prime with table sugar in my bottling bucket, put the sugar solution in the bucket then rack the finished beer on top of it then let it sit 45 minutes before bottling. I then bottle condition for 2 weeks at 65-66F (same temp I ferment at). I've so far always gotten great, even carbonation. Opened up one of my last batch after only a week and it was pretty much fully carbonated. My advice is invest the few dollars in a bottling bucket. Just don't buy any of the overpriced buckets with spigots online. Go to Home Depot or Lowe's and get a food grade bucket for under $5 and then you can probably order or buy a spigot for about the same price. Takes like 5 minutes to drill the bucket and install the spigot. I think that's a small price for consistency and peace of mind.
     
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  5. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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    Never used the cubes but yeah.....time and tempature. I suggest you get the bottles into a warm area, 70° F / 21° C after taking each one and up ending and giving the bottles a twirl so to get the yeast back into the solution much like you would wake up the yeast in your fermenter.

    Welcome the site and all grain brewing! Tell us a little more about your mashing and your OG and FG numbers and the amount of time you had things in the fermenter. Also, describe your bottling process from checking the gravity to crowning.
     
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  6. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    Like @Ward Chillington said an occasional swirl may be good if the yeast are tired, my first 7-8 batches I did that every few days. When I started leaving bottles for 3 weeks instead of 2 my carbonation got better. What @SabreSteve said about a bucket is a great idea. I think many of us that bottle have some bottles better than others. Don’t let the first one scare you. I do small batches so I cheat. I used a sanitized funnel and put 1/2 tsp in each bottle. At room temp 3 weeks they are almost always carbed.
     
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  7. SabreSteve

    SabreSteve Well-Known Member

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    I think that's the reality of bottling. I had 3-4 bottles of a recent batch infected (I've since stepped up my sanitation game) and just happen to randomly pull like 3 of them in a row. I was freaking out thinking the whole batch was lost but overall ended up being my best brew to date. When you bottle you're taking your beer from a single environment to dozens of individual environments and no 2 are exactly the same. So even conditioning in the same spot at the same temp it's natural for there to be some variance between bottles.
     
  8. Sunfire96

    Sunfire96 Well-Known Member

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    How flat? Even non-conditioned beer has carbonation, unless it gets too warm. If there was zero carbonation, maybe the seal on the bottle was bad? Are you using crown caps?
     
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  9. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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    Great point SSteve! And when you DON"T use a bottle bucket you are taking out the last chance for any homogenous quality for that batch.
     
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  10. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    What was the temp at which the bottles were held? Make sure they spend at least a week or two relatively warm - 68F. If you've held them in a basement or a cool closet it could take quite a while to carb. The carb drops do just fine and it's highly unlikely that the original yeast dropped out enough to be sparse. It should carb up just fine eventually. Just pay attention to the temp. ;)
     
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  11. Frankenbrewer

    Frankenbrewer Well-Known Member

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    Temp, temp, temp. It is paramount in brewing.
     
  12. hundel

    hundel Member

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    Three weeks in the bottle is not an inevitable fact of bottle conditioning. There are some styles I wouldn’t touch for over a month. Others like our low ABV Christmas English ale were carbonated and true to style with even experienced tasters in under a week. The off flavors that come from warm fermentation are not a consideration during bottle conditioning so raise the temperature to 70-74F or you could be waiting a long time.
     
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  13. SabreSteve

    SabreSteve Well-Known Member

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    Filling one PET bottle as a test is a good gauge of whether a beer is carbonated. A filled PET bottle will still have quite a bit of give to it. When it's carbonated and under pressure it won't, you can literally feel the difference. Won't help speed things up but you won't have to open bottles to know if it's carbonated. Like others have said if it hasn't carbonated after weeks bump the temp up. Also worth noting that even once it's carbonated letting it condition longer typically isn't a bad thing. I've found with pretty much every batch that the last few bottles are the best tasting. Beer, up to a certain point, tends to just get better with age
     

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