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Old 09-26-2012, 08:46 PM   #1
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Default Second batch in a row, flat and no head

Brewed a ginger saison recently, and a Chimay Blue Clone a few months back and they were both flat and had no head. For priming sugar, I use the Northern Brewer calculator and have been successful with prior batches.

I've noticed that the saison is a bit thin in body. I also experimented with open top fermentation with both batches, covering each bucket with voile cloth.

So I've narrowed down the issues on what I think may be the culprit, and I obviously could use some expert opinions:

- Open top fermentation
- Poor mash conversion (I use a cooler and screen as a mash tun, I notice that I'm up to 5*F lower than my target mash temp)
- Bad crush (I'm using my LHBS grain mill, maybe it needs to be re-calibrated?)

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Old 09-26-2012, 08:50 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by tsname View Post
Brewed a ginger saison recently, and a Chimay Blue Clone a few months back and they were both flat and had no head. For priming sugar, I use the Northern Brewer calculator and have been successful with prior batches.

I've noticed that the saison is a bit thin in body. I also experimented with open top fermentation with both batches, covering each bucket with voile cloth.

So I've narrowed down the issues on what I think may be the culprit, and I obviously could use some expert opinions:

- Open top fermentation
- Poor mash conversion (I use a cooler and screen as a mash tun, I notice that I'm up to 5*F lower than my target mash temp)
- Bad crush (I'm using my LHBS grain mill, maybe it needs to be re-calibrated?)

None of those would cause poor carbonation in the bottle.

The only things that could cause this are:

1. Above the yeast ABV's tolerance, normally in a "big" beer
2. Dormant yeast, but that's more likely after a very lengthy lagering period
3. Inadequate priming sugar
4. Unmixed priming sugar- but then you'd have some bottles overcarbed and some undercarbed.
5. Too cool temperature in the bottle storage (under the yeast strain's fermentation temperature).

I don't like those priming calculators, but if you put, say, 4-5 ounces of corn sugar by weight in a 5 gallon batch it should be carbed up.

If they beers are not 10% ABV lagers, and they are all flat, it has to be either #3, or #5.
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Old 09-26-2012, 08:57 PM   #3
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See forgot the most common reason for uncarbed beer threads...

6) Not waiting long enough before declaring a problem.

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Old 09-26-2012, 09:06 PM   #4
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Had no head or had no carbonation. If there is no carbonation of course it won't form a head. If it carbonates and still has no head, expect to find your glassware or your bottles to have a soap residue. It doesn't take much to completely eliminate head forming. BTDT

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Old 09-26-2012, 09:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsname View Post
Brewed a ginger saison recently, and a Chimay Blue Clone a few months back and they were both flat and had no head. For priming sugar, I use the Northern Brewer calculator and have been successful with prior batches.

I've noticed that the saison is a bit thin in body. I also experimented with open top fermentation with both batches, covering each bucket with voile cloth.

So I've narrowed down the issues on what I think may be the culprit, and I obviously could use some expert opinions:

- Open top fermentation
- Poor mash conversion (I use a cooler and screen as a mash tun, I notice that I'm up to 5*F lower than my target mash temp)
- Bad crush (I'm using my LHBS grain mill, maybe it needs to be re-calibrated?)
You try buying her dinner first? Oh wait, you said "batch"
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:24 PM   #6
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My last Saison took 3 weeks of conditioning before it carbed. I have another belgian that i just tried after 1 week, and looks like it's going to be the same deal. IDK why, but Belgian yeasts seem to need more time to bottle condition than other ales.

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Old 09-26-2012, 10:39 PM   #7
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tsname,

Something I have run into that rarely gets mentioned is how you cleaned you bottles. If you have high levels of chlorine in your water, and you used that water to clean your bottles, there can be a residual trace left inside of them once the water dries. Depending on the level of cl2 coming into your source water, that trace amount may be potent enough to kill off the yeast in the beer you place in that bottle therefore preventing carbonation.

Chlorine has a half and dies off the longer it stays in water. When you brew/bottle/clean etc. you use a lot of water. The more water you run in your home the "fresher" the chlorine is coming into your home and that means it is stronger. I would check the chlorine in your water, and make sure to run the water for a good 10 mins before you test it to get an accurate reading.

It may be a long shot, but I hope this helps.

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Old 09-27-2012, 06:11 AM   #8
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@redbeard - that's definitely something I need to consider, I haven't noticed any odor or taste, but testing would be important.

@hamsterbite - makes sense, I should let the beer sit a while longer, Belgian yeast is quite an interesting creature.

@revvy - I for some reason thought bottle conditioning is ready in 2 weeks and not 3, so I definitely need to wait another week and then some

@all - thanks for the feedback, I'll definitely keep you posted on what happens in the next week and a half

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Old 09-27-2012, 07:39 AM   #9
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Is there any signs of carbonation at all. Like lil bubbles shooting to the top but not strong enough to disrupt the surface. If your beer has these bottle conditioning is taking its sweet time or there was not enough priming additive added. If your brew is completely still with no life u have a slight issue. I'm hoping for the best for your brew.

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