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Old 02-12-2005, 06:00 PM   #1
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Default No Carbonation - I知 Stumped?!

I can’t figure out where I went wrong. I brewed an extract with grains alt and bottled it four weeks ago. It’s about as flat as it was the day I bottled it. It tastes good! Nice, malty and pretty well balanced. I finished it, it was so good! But it has no carbonation. I fermented it at 40-45 degress and kept it at that temperature after I bottled it. I figured that might delay the carbonation process, but four weeks?!

This is my ninth brew and none have ever had a carbonation problem. This alt had an OG of 1084 and an FG at bottling of 1020. I used 1-¼ cups of plain DME to prime and mixed it nice and slowly in my bottling bucket.

I bottled an Irish stout two weeks later using the same method and it turned out fine! In fact, it may be my best yet! I just can’t see where I went wrong with this alt.

I think I’m going to be resorting to using popping the tops, using Primetabs and rebottling.

Any ideas?



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Old 02-12-2005, 06:40 PM   #2
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Well, DME is going to take longer than priming sugar for sure, but it sounds as if you attempted to carbonate at too low a temp.

In most cases (that I am aware of) you are supposed to let the temp raise into the 70s to aid in the carbonation process. After the brew is carbonated (testing a bottle after a week or so) then you can lower the temp again to stop the process.

Have you always carbonated at low temps or was this a first time lager?

I could be wrong, but I've never done it any other way.

Does anyone else have any insight?



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Old 02-12-2005, 07:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homebrewer_99

Have you always carbonated at low temps or was this a first time lager?
Thanks! No, I usually do ales and ferment and bottle at room temperature, which is around 70-72 degrees. But the Alt style of ale is normally fermented warmer in the primary, then cooler in the secondary, so I was trying to follow that tradition. Maybe I'll bring them in for a couple of weeks and see if anything changes. Or is it too late?

I have my first lager in the secondary right now. I'm wondering if I should prime it and bottle at a warmer temperature. Or willl that be flirting with off flavors?
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Old 02-12-2005, 07:28 PM   #4
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I believe that once the fermentation/carbonation process has stopped due to the colder temp it's all over.

You could try re-priming each bottle, but exactly how much suger will be the tricky part.

I usually bring my lagers in from the cold for a day or so to slowly raise the temp before adding priming sugar. It's a lot like making sweet iced tea. You have to add the sugar while it's hot (warm) not cold. The cold doesn't allow the sugar to dissolve. I wouldn't worry about off-flavors at this point because the beer is already fermented and the amount of priming sugar is minimal just enough for carbonation.

Good luck.

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Old 02-13-2005, 10:49 AM   #5
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is the alt style of ale a low carbination beverage? that is the way with some of the old english style ales, bitter being one. the english bitter i brewed is very low carbination and tatses better with each passing day. been in the bottle over a month now and is just starting to mature and develope a decent head when poured.

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Old 02-13-2005, 05:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homebrewer_99
You could try re-priming each bottle, but exactly how much suger will be the tricky part.
Before you go and do this swirl each bottle to mix up the yeast that has fallen out and put them in a room that can hit the 70's. Leave them there for a couple weeks then cool them back down for drinking. I am betting that it was the cold temps. If that doesn't help then you can use prime tabs for this and it should work fine. I keg but usually fill a couple of bottles and have been very happy with the prime tabs.
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Old 02-13-2005, 05:46 PM   #7
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Good advice. I don't know how I overlooked agitating each bottle.

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Old 02-13-2005, 07:12 PM   #8
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Yea, just warm 'em up shake 'em up, let 'em sit for a while, perhaps a few weeks, at household temps (are you keeping the brew in the garage? you said "bring them in" so I was guessing). I would imagine that this should bring the yeast out of dormancy, which is likely what has happened to it sitting out in the cold. I definitely wouldn't open the bottles and re-prime, far too much danger of infection, and you might end up with an oversweetened beer (I would think that a 1 1/4 cups should be plenty). Sounds like a heavy brew too! I made a tripple once that had an FG of somewhere near where yours ended up, and I wanted to avoid sweetening the beer anymore, so I just bottled it without any priming sugar. That was probably a mistake , because it was really quite flat for a while. But I let it sit in my cellar for about 5 months, and guess what, I actually is nicely carbonated now, and has a nicely mellowed flavor ! Good luck, I'm sure everything will be fine in a few more weeks!

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Old 02-14-2005, 04:49 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the advice, everyone! Yes, they were in the garage - good deduction. I brought them into the house and they are in an area where they can reach ~70 degrees. I will give each one a shake and wait a couple of weeks.

I'm very glad I posted this question. Otherwise, I would've made the same mistake with my lager.

For anyone interesxted, here's a nice article from BYO on Alt: http://www.byo.com/feature/856.html

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Old 02-14-2005, 05:14 PM   #10
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Yeah, you have to warm them up to get carbonated BEFORE you start the lagering process.

Glad to help.



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