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Old 07-25-2008, 03:02 AM   #1
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Default Bottle carb indications

My first batch, a witbier, has been sitting at around 72 degrees for what is now approaching 3 weeks.

Are there any indications that a bottle is carbing as it should from an outside, cursory inspection of the bottle at room temperature?

-I do know that I shouldn't even think about them being fully carbed before 3 weeks.
-I do realize that bottles need to be chilled for around 48 hours for the CO2 to be properly absorbed into the beer.

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Old 07-25-2008, 03:20 AM   #2
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There's no visual clues to bottle carbonation...Sorry...You obviously know the rest, already!

Remember though 3 week is just a rule of thumb, it's not an absolute...some beers take longer...Don't panic if yours aren't ready at exactly 3 weeks...



Hopefully you've already brewed to take your mind off this batch.

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Old 07-25-2008, 04:23 AM   #3
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If they have been at a constant 72 degrees they should be basically ready. I'd go ahead and chill one and test it out. I just cracked my first English Pale Ale that was bottled on June 30th and it's perfect.

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Old 07-25-2008, 05:20 AM   #4
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Just pop one or two a week.
It's good to taste how the beer is developing.

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Old 07-25-2008, 01:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roasty View Post
Are there any indications that a bottle is carbing as it should from an outside, cursory inspection of the bottle at room temperature?
I suppose you could bottle one bottle in each batch in a plastic soda bottle. Squeezing it would give you an indication of carb level.
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Old 07-25-2008, 02:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fratermus View Post
I suppose you could bottle one bottle in each batch in a plastic soda bottle. Squeezing it would give you an indication of carb level.
That's precisely what I was going to suggest. Every bottling run, I fill one sanitized 500ml plastic soda bottle, leaving some headspace at the top of the bottle. Before screwing down the cap, I squeeze the bottle, pushing the beer to the very lip, then I screw down the cap really, really tightly.

As the beer carbonates, the pressure will push the plastic back into shape. You can watch this process day by day, until the pressure is such that the bottle looks 'normal'. After that, there's usually still a couple of weeks to wait, but you can still judge the carbonation level by physically squeezing the plastic bottle. The harder it gets, the more carbonated the beer. It'll never get as hard as bottled soda, because that stuff's much fizzier than our beer.

And the best part is, after three weeks you can crack it open and drink it.

Bob

P.S. This process was briefly described in last year's 'Gadget' issue of Zymurgy.
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Old 07-25-2008, 03:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fratermus View Post
I suppose you could bottle one bottle in each batch in a plastic soda bottle. Squeezing it would give you an indication of carb level.
Thanks for the responses guys. That gives me a little less anxiety about the invisible carbing...and less reason to open that closet door and go molesting about bottles that really need to just be sitting there in the dark.

Regarding the plastic bottle, I do plan on using one for my next batch which should be bottle-ready in a couple weeks. Revvy is totally right...once that pipeline gets rolling, life gets much less stressful.

I picked up an A&W 20oz plastic bottle root beer from a convenience store the other day just because it was a brown bottle and would be perfect to reuse.
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:08 PM   #8
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Actually, on that note....

I know that time helps flavor mellow out and get to where it needs to be...

So, once a batch is finished bottle-carbing, should they be time conditioned in the fridge or should they continue to sit at room temp (unless I plan on drinking some, obviously)? Or does it not matter? I figured the colder fridge temperature might retard the mellowing of the flavors.

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Old 07-25-2008, 06:18 PM   #9
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Porters and stouts take a while to carb up.. The lighter beers with less solids are ready sooner. I have full carb in two weeks usually with my ales.. My dark beers i wont even crack them till three weeks in the bottle..

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Old 07-25-2008, 06:26 PM   #10
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I've found that beers that I put in a fridge at 3 weeks(after fully carbed) tend to taste less good at 5-6 weeks than beers that sit in the closet until a day before I'm ready to drink them. They seem to taste cleaner.

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