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Old 03-11-2013, 06:18 AM   #1
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Default Carbonation problem

I brewed a bourbon barrel porter that I left in the primary for 2 weeks, then transfered to a barrel and added bourbon. I left it in the bourbon barrel for over 3 weeks, then bottled it. When I bottled it I used priming sugar that I boiled with water as directed and added it to the bottling bucket and mixed thoroughly. I bottled it and I checked a bottle today after 2 weeks of bottle conditioning and it tasted good, however it's not carbonated? I will add that it was in the coal room in my basement while bottle conditioning at 55 to 60 degrees. What should I do next? should I warm it up? should I wait longer? or should I add carbonation tabs which could create bottle bombs?

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Old 03-11-2013, 06:25 AM   #2
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There are a number of things that can cause problems with carbonation. First, did you add sufficient sugar? Next, 55 degrees is a low temperature for most ale yeast and they will grow slowly. I would give them at least a month at that temperature or warm them up. The yeast may also have been stressed by high alcohol. What is the ABV of the beer? Then there is the loss of viability of yeast over time. That is probably not a big problem if your ABV is less than about 7%. I recommend you warm it up and give it at least another few weeks. If it does not carbonate at all by then and you added enough sugar initially, you might try adding a bit of a fresh yeast starter to the bottles.

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Old 03-11-2013, 06:40 AM   #3
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Thanks for the info. The beer is about 5.5% ABV. I added the recommended amount of sugar. How would I add yeast starter to the bottles? How do you calculate and add that?
Thanks

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Old 03-11-2013, 04:51 PM   #4
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Well, I'm not quite sure. The good news is that if you add too little, yeast can multiply, it just might take some time. If you add to much, it won't matter in terms of carbonation since they can only produce as much CO2 as there is sugar to ferment. That all said, make sure to bring them up to at least 65 degrees and give them a few weeks. I think that's going to do it. The yeast probably are fine at 5.5% ABV.

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Old 03-11-2013, 04:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jefft321 View Post
II bottled it and I checked a bottle today after 2 weeks of bottle conditioning and it tasted good, however it's not carbonated? I will add that it was in the coal room in my basement while bottle conditioning at 55 to 60 degrees. What should I do next? should I warm it up? should I wait longer? or should I add carbonation tabs which could create bottle bombs?
The reason that you beer isn't carbed at ONLY two weeks, is pretty much all in here.

There are no carbonation problems, only patience ones.

The 3 weeks at 70 degrees, that we recommend is the minimum time it takes for average gravity beers to carbonate and condition. Higher grav beers take longer. Beers stored colder than 70, take longer.

Stouts and porters have taken me between 6 and 8 weeks to carb up..I have a 1.090 Belgian strong that took three months to carb up.


Temp and gravity are the two factors that contribute to the time it takes to carb beer. But if a beer's not ready yet, or seems low carbed, and you added the right amount of sugar to it, then it's not stalled, it's just not time yet.

Everything you need to know about carbing and conditioning, can be found here Of Patience and Bottle Conditioning. With emphasis on the word, "patience."

Carbing is foolprrof. You ad the right amount of sugar, leave it at the right temp, and it will carb.

If a beer isn't carbed by "x number of weeks" you just have to give them more time. If you added your sugar, then the beer will carb up eventually, it's really a foolroof process. All beers will carb up eventually. A lot of new brewers think they have to "troubleshoot" a bottling issue, when there really is none, the beer knows how to carb itself. In fact if you run beersmiths carbing calculator, some lower grav beers don't even require additional sugar to reach their minimum level of carbonation. Just time.

Bring them up where it's warmer, and leave them be. After a week give them all a shake to re0suspend the yeast, after the yeast wakes up then leave them alone for AT LEAST another week.
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Old 03-11-2013, 05:39 PM   #6
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Well, I think you'll see from my last post, I agree with Revvy. He just said it much more clearly (i.e., forget about adding more yeast, its silly). I have found that a 12% belgian that's been in the fermenter for a couple of months does benefit from a dose of fresh yeast at bottling. Not that it won't carb, but you can shorten the three months timeframe to around a month. Is it required, no. Does it make sense to open already capped bottles, probably not. To his credit, Revvy is a more patient man than I.

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Old 03-11-2013, 09:19 PM   #7
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Great info, thanks so much for the help. I moved the bottles to a warmer area, and I will wait a few more weeks.

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