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Old 07-04-2013, 11:50 PM   #1
seasnan
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Default Flat beer

I just opened my first batch of homebrew, a southern English Brown Ale and found it to be somewhat flat. There is some carbonation present but not nearly enough. I used a yeast culture that a friend made at short notice due to an unscheduled HBS closure and corn sugar. I think that the culture did not create a significant colony of cells, therefore most of the yeast expired during fermentation and didn't make it into the bottles for carbonation. Does this theory make sense?

Any ideas how I could fix this for this batch. I still have a few dozen 12 oz bottles, the flavor is great so I've been drinking them anyway. Could I add a small amount of corn sugar and yeast to each bottle? If so, how much could I add without having 24 bottle bombs in my closet?

Slainte!

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Old 07-04-2013, 11:54 PM   #2
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if you already added the proper amount of priming sugar, then do not add more. it is still there because the yeast did not use it. I defer to more experienced people on what yeast to add.

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Old 07-05-2013, 05:56 PM   #3
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How long ago did you bottle them?

General rule of thumb seems to be 3-weeks at room temp to get proper carbonation.

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Old 07-06-2013, 12:21 AM   #4
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I fermented the beer for 10 days and bottled it about 4 weeks ago. I started drinking them about a week out to get a better idea of the maturation process and I haven't noticed an increase in carbonation since the first bottle.

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Old 07-06-2013, 01:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seasnan
I fermented the beer for 10 days and bottled it about 4 weeks ago. I started drinking them about a week out to get a better idea of the maturation process and I haven't noticed an increase in carbonation since the first bottle.
After four weeks the carbonation should be pretty good... Did you carb them up at room temp?

Also, the recipe was for an English ale... How much priming sugar did the recipe call for? If it was trying to replicate a real English ale, the carbonation levels might be really low on purpose. A properly carbonated English ale seem flat to North American standards.
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Old 07-06-2013, 01:52 PM   #6
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There's another possibility: even though you added corn sugar it might not have actually made it into the bottles.

I've had that problem with my last two batches: I added a corn sugar solution and racked the beer on top of it, expecting that to agitate it enough to mix. Apparently it didn't. One batch was poorly carbonated nearly throughout, and another batch had two bottle bombs and the rest poorly carbonated. I suspect not stirring left all the sugar at the bottom, so there was nothing for the yeast to eat.

I ended up uncapping them and adding 1/4tsp corn sugar directly to each bottle (previous experiments showed this to be the best amount for the carbonation I had). If you decide to go this route, be cautious: you may have a few dangerously carbonated beers, and by adding additional sugar you could create a risk of bottle bombs if any of the beers are actually well-carbed.

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Old 07-06-2013, 04:55 PM   #7
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Just give it more time. As long as you put enough sugar initially, it will carb. I have waited 8-10 weeks for some of my beers....

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Old 07-07-2013, 01:37 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the responses. I think I'm going to just enjoy the beer I have left. I think it's really good, just a little flat. Enoch's post has me a bit worried about adding anything to the bottles. I used the amount of priming sugar called for in the recipe, so maybe Kepow is right and I've actually made an accurate English ale. Is there a way to measure the amount of carbonation in the bottle so I can see if the levels are accurate to the style?

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