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Old 03-28-2008, 01:27 PM   #1
tagz
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Default Carbonation Nuances

Setting aside difference in carbonation levels, what accounts for the characteristics of the bubbles? Specifically, some beers with average levels of carbonation have small, tight bubbles that prickle your tongue while others have large bubbles that overwhelm. Does the body of the beer play a role? Does time or storage temp have an effect?

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Old 03-28-2008, 02:03 PM   #2
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don't quote me, but isn't it simply a matter of how much fermentable sugar you prime with? the more consumable sugar = the more co2 released which is then trapped in the bottle.

i think maybe the yeast strain might have a bearing on it but don't quote me

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Old 03-28-2008, 02:49 PM   #3
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Venturing a guess -

I would imagine that aside the obvious difference of force carb and bottle cond. - the sugar profiles in the beer would play a large role. A dry lower FG beer would seem to have a tighter bubble/foam matrix as opposed to a beer with a large amount of higher sugars which would raise the viscosity as well and the surface tension possibly causing a larger bubble to form. Also the combinations and variations therein could cause a lighter beer to take on heavier carb characteristics and visa versa.

But I have nothing to back this up - just IMHO

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Old 03-28-2008, 03:02 PM   #4
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I've noticed that with my AG beers, those with high mash temps (say 155 and higher...some by accident ) produce smaller bubbles, and a thicker head with longer retention.

I've also noticed that the amount of sediment in the bottles affects the carbonation as well. Bottles with a lot of sediment are more prone to foaming when pouring and becoming overcarbonated with time. This is one reason I try to keep as much sediment as possible out of my bottles.

I don't have any science to explain these observations, and these relationships could be confounded by any number of variables. Its just what I've noticed in my limited experience.

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Old 03-28-2008, 03:49 PM   #5
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It's not just a matter of sugar and yeast. A critical role is played (for extract brewers) by the proteins and enzymes that are released by steeping grains. This is why AG brewers only rarely have carobonation and head issues. In any case, over time, almost any beer will have smaller bubbles and will hold a head better.

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Old 03-28-2008, 05:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beerthoven
I've also noticed that the amount of sediment in the bottles affects the carbonation as well. Bottles with a lot of sediment are more prone to foaming when pouring and becoming overcarbonated with time. This is one reason I try to keep as much sediment as possible out of my bottles.
I've noticed something similar with regard to time, when the beer gets older and clearer presumably from the 'final' sediment dropping out more, the bubbles seem smaller. My thought is that there are less nucleation sites(see mentos in soda) for the CO2 to bubble up from. If there is a lot of loose sediment it definitely can foam, but I've had beers with a good amount be fine because it wasn't loose and stayed on the bottom of the bottle.
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