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Old 12-11-2011, 01:47 PM   #1
dougdecinces
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Default Barleywine not carbonating

I brewed a big (9.5% ABV) barleywine in April. I bottled in September after bulk aging about 3 months. I checked on a bottle after 40 days to see how it was progressing and there was no carbonation whatsoever. Not even a hiss from the bottle. My assumption at the time was that the yeast had all died/settled out and, of course, I forgot to repitch. I uncapped all my bottles, added 1/8 t Nottingham to each and recapped.

It has been another 40-something days, so I cracked another bottle and got the same problem. Now here is where I really feel like an idiot. In my notes I usually include how much I carbonate each batch to. And, of course, I fail to do this for my barleywine. So it could be that I completely forgot to add priming sugar, or that I merely forgot to document it. It's been so long that I can't remember. So I guess I want to know if,

1) 40-odd days with no sign of carbonation is normal and I should give more time.

2) I should add carbonation drops and recap, assuming I forgot to add priming sugar. I'm leaning towards this option as the complete lack of carbonation here is worrisome.

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Old 12-11-2011, 02:11 PM   #2
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What temperature are your bottles at?

I'd uncap one bottle, add some carb tabs, recap and gently swirl the bottle.
To be safe I'd put the bottle in a sealed bucket or other container and keep the beer above 70 for 2-3 weeks.

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Old 12-12-2011, 08:43 PM   #3
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any chance you took down your FG before bottling? if theres zero carb, then it should be slightly higher if you did actually prime.

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Old 12-13-2011, 12:19 AM   #4
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any chance you took down your FG before bottling? if theres zero carb, then it should be slightly higher if you did actually prime.

Good call. I bottled a gallon of it that I aged on oak, so I know the FG of the whole batch. I will try that. and see how it does.
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:12 PM   #5
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Keeping an eye on this, I'm about to bottle a barleywine myself

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Old 12-14-2011, 01:03 AM   #6
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My guess is that you forgot to prime. I did that once...embarrassing. I just opened my 1st 9.5% IIPA to find it nicely carbed after 35 days in bottle.

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Old 12-18-2011, 02:44 PM   #7
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I'd add the sugar and recap, stir and put the bottles in a safe, warm place. Check in a few weeks.

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Old 12-18-2011, 02:58 PM   #8
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Also remember that high alcohol beers will take longer to carb. What yeast did you use -- be sure it is tolerant of that high alcohol. Otherwise, I like the idea of adding a carb tab to one or two bottles only, to see the effect, before doing it to the entire batch.

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Old 12-18-2011, 04:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dougdecinces View Post
I brewed a big (9.5% ABV) barleywine in April. I bottled in September after bulk aging about 3 months. I checked on a bottle after 40 days to see how it was progressing and there was no carbonation whatsoever. Not even a hiss from the bottle. My assumption at the time was that the yeast had all died/settled out and, of course, I forgot to repitch. I uncapped all my bottles, added 1/8 t Nottingham to each and recapped.

It has been another 40-something days, so I cracked another bottle and got the same problem. Now here is where I really feel like an idiot. In my notes I usually include how much I carbonate each batch to. And, of course, I fail to do this for my barleywine. So it could be that I completely forgot to add priming sugar, or that I merely forgot to document it. It's been so long that I can't remember. So I guess I want to know if,

1) 40-odd days with no sign of carbonation is normal and I should give more time.

2) I should add carbonation drops and recap, assuming I forgot to add priming sugar. I'm leaning towards this option as the complete lack of carbonation here is worrisome.
I've done a few big beers, and only once have I repitched a yeast before bottling, and that was for a Belgian Dark Strong, trying to stay true to style. That also includes one beer (at about 9%) that sat in the secondary for almost a year. My bet was that you forgot to prime before you bottled. Transferring from the secondary to the bottling bucket will rouse enough dormant yeast to carbonate the brew.


After making a couple of critical mistakes (All errors of omission. I once forgot to pitch the yeast!) I have learned, as sacrilegious as it may be, to wait until I'm completely done with my brew-related task before I start drinking!
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Old 12-18-2011, 05:14 PM   #10
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Kjung, I concur, I wait until I'm coming down the home stretch before hitting the liquid bread.

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