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Old 03-23-2010, 10:55 PM   #1
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Default No Carbonation after 4 Months - Add Carb Tabs? Add Yeast?

Hey guys - need some help with a batch that just doesnt seem to want to carbonate.

I brewed a Russian Imperial Stout (or at least something vaguely similar?) in october. I primary fermented for about 14 days before racking to secondary. Secondary was about 30-40 days - I think I bottled the first week of december. So I'm close to 4 months in the bottle and still seeing no carbonation in the test bottles I've opened.

I've read several posts where people have opened bottles and dropped carb tabs in, then quickly recapped.

if its helpful, the grain portion of the recipe was:
2 lb Light DME
6 lb Pale 2 row
6 lb Maris Otter
1 lb Chocolate
.5 lb Crystal 60
.5 lb Honey Malt
1 lb Corn Sugar
single infusion mash at 150. 90 minute boil.

I pitched 3 smack packs of wyeast 1056 (no starter). added 3 tsp yeast nutrient to fermenter. fermented at 67 degrees. ~3.5 ounces corn sugar at bottling (packaged about 4.25-4.5 gallons).

OG: 1.090
FG: 1.017


I know that bigger beers can take longer to carbonate... but four months is pushing it right?

1. Is this safe for the beer? Risk of oxygenation? (of course I'll be as sanitary as I can, and i understand the contamination risks)

2. How many carb tabs to add? any way to calculate accurately?

3. Is my problem that I likely have no healthy yeast left? Should I skip the carb tabs and sprinkle some dry yeast into each bottle instead?

thanks

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Old 03-23-2010, 11:10 PM   #2
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Hey guys - need some help with a batch that just doesnt seem to want to carbonate.

I brewed a Russian Imperial Stout (or at least something vaguely similar?) in october. I primary fermented for about 14 days before racking to secondary. Secondary was about 30-40 days - I think I bottled the first week of december. So I'm close to 4 months in the bottle and still seeing no carbonation in the test bottles I've opened.

I've read several posts where people have opened bottles and dropped carb tabs in, then quickly recapped.

if its helpful, the grain portion of the recipe was:
2 lb Light DME
6 lb Pale 2 row
6 lb Maris Otter
1 lb Chocolate
.5 lb Crystal 60
.5 lb Honey Malt
1 lb Corn Sugar
single infusion mash at 150. 90 minute boil.

I pitched 3 smack packs of wyeast 1056 (no starter). added 3 tsp yeast nutrient to fermenter. fermented at 67 degrees. ~3.5 ounces corn sugar at bottling (packaged about 4.25-4.5 gallons).

OG: 1.090
FG: 1.017


I know that bigger beers can take longer to carbonate... but four months is pushing it right?

1. Is this safe for the beer? Risk of oxygenation? (of course I'll be as sanitary as I can, and i understand the contamination risks)

2. How many carb tabs to add? any way to calculate accurately?

3. Is my problem that I likely have no healthy yeast left? Should I skip the carb tabs and sprinkle some dry yeast into each bottle instead?

thanks
I assume you're 100% sure you used priming sugar when you bottled, right? The reason I ask is because if you did, and if the tired yeast didn't ferment it, you don't want to add more priming sugar.

If you added priming sugar already, here's what I'd do- I'd take off the caps and drop in a very minute amount of dry Nottingham yeast. Like one grain! And then recap and keep at 70 degrees for two weeks. After two weeks, I'd try one and see if it's carbing up.
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Old 03-23-2010, 11:19 PM   #3
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I assume you're 100% sure you used priming sugar when you bottled, right? The reason I ask is because if you did, and if the tired yeast didn't ferment it, you don't want to add more priming sugar.

If you added priming sugar already, here's what I'd do- I'd take off the caps and drop in a very minute amount of dry Nottingham yeast. Like one grain! And then recap and keep at 70 degrees for two weeks. After two weeks, I'd try one and see if it's carbing up.
Thanks for the reply

Yeah I definitely primed. Same process I've used for all my batches so not concerned there..

Any reason you recommend Nottingham? I have one pack of the generic muntons in the fridge (has probably been there for a year) that I could use... but I don't mind picking up another pack I suppose.

Any tips on process? Is there an easy way to ensure I only drop a grain or two in?

Should I do a few bottles and wait and see or just do the whole batch?

Thanks again
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Old 03-23-2010, 11:20 PM   #4
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oh yeah - and any impact to flavor from whichever dry yeast I add?

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Old 03-23-2010, 11:21 PM   #5
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After be so patient, I'd do as Yooper suggested but only with 1 or 2 bottles. If it starts to work then do the others. I'd also be curious enough to take a hydro reading.

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Old 03-23-2010, 11:23 PM   #6
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Thanks for the reply

Yeah I definitely primed. Same process I've used for all my batches so not concerned there..

Any reason you recommend Nottingham? I have one pack of the generic muntons in the fridge (has probably been there for a year) that I could use... but I don't mind picking up another pack I suppose.

Any tips on process? Is there an easy way to ensure I only drop a grain or two in?

Should I do a few bottles and wait and see or just do the whole batch?

Thanks again
Thats a good idea, just do a few bottles to start then do the whole batch if it works. The problem with bottle conditioning high OG beers is the yeast is so stressed they poop out when asked to ferment again. You could use your muntons yeast if your sure it is still alive and healthy
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Old 03-23-2010, 11:27 PM   #7
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thanks for the replies all.

Another thought: since these bottles haven't carbonated, the headspace is probably mostly still oxygen and not a scrubbed mix of o2 and co2... will this contribute to stale or off flavors in the future?

will opening and recapping introduce enough o2 to be a problem?

(I'm probably making something out of nothing - just looking for reassurance i guess)

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Old 03-23-2010, 11:28 PM   #8
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I personally think Munton's yeast is garbage, so I wouldn't waste my time with it for this beer. I guess the "Munton's Gold" is better, but I would only use it in a small beer that I didn't really care that much about. No way would I use it on a beer that I spent much time, money, and effort on.

The nottingham is clean, well-attenuating, and neutral tasting. It also has an ok alcohol tolerance, so hopefully it wouldn't die of alcohol poisoning before carbing up your beer!

I'd probably do them all, because once you open a package, the yeast is only good for a very short time. I can't recall all of the specifics, but it has to do with moisture once a package is opened.

What was your original yeast strain, by the way?

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Old 03-23-2010, 11:32 PM   #9
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I personally think Munton's yeast is garbage, so I wouldn't waste my time with it for this beer. I guess the "Munton's Gold" is better, but I would only use it in a small beer that I didn't really care that much about. No way would I use it on a beer that I spent much time, money, and effort on.

The nottingham is clean, well-attenuating, and neutral tasting. It also has an ok alcohol tolerance, so hopefully it wouldn't die of alcohol poisoning before carbing up your beer!

I'd probably do them all, because once you open a package, the yeast is only good for a very short time. I can't recall all of the specifics, but it has to do with moisture once a package is opened.

What was your original yeast strain, by the way?
3 smack packs of 1056 american ale. The muntons was from an extract kit a ways back before i moved to AG and liquid yeast.

I'll definitely take your advice and get a pack of nottingham. The only reason I havent thrown the muntons out was, well I seem to find it hard to throw anything homebrewing related out...

If I add some yeast and give it a few weeks and still see no results, should I reopen and add carb tabs? Or, by that point I'm I just screwing around so much that its probably already ruined?

You nailed it on the time money and effort comment - the RIS is easily the most expensive of the few dozen batches I've made so far.
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Old 03-23-2010, 11:39 PM   #10
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Yes, if you add some fresh yeast and don't get any results at all, you may want to consider carb tabs. I would be afraid to do that, since you've already primed, so that would be "double priming" and you'd have to be careful. I think the issue is the pooped out yeast, so try that first.

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