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Old 12-07-2006, 03:40 AM   #1
Wables
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Default Frustrated with bottle carbonation.

I cracked the first bottle of my second batch of beer tonight. It was a Brewer's Best Oktober Fest kit. I did a full boil, 9 days in the primary, 2 weeks in the secondary, and bottled 8 days ago. I added all ingredients per recipe. The bottles were kept in my 70 degree kitchen for 7 1/2 days, then a bottle was put into the fridge for 12 hours. I cracked the bottle tonight, hearing a faint shhht as the cap was opened, poured the beer into a freshly washed pilsner glass, and...nothing, not a bubble. WTF????? I didn't expect full carbonation, only a glimpse into the joy the next 2 cases would bring, but it was like taking a sample out of the secondary.

My first batch, Brewer's Best American Amber, also has a very weak head, even after over a month in bottles. It tastes good, but is flat. I get about 3/8" of head with an agressive pour.

The cases are now in my 57 degree basement to sit for another week. I am frustrated enough to drop the money on a keg rig.

I am worried that I will be bottling a batch of CVCA for my wife this weekend, only to have the same results.

Do I need to condition at warmer temps? Add extra priming sugar? Extra yeast?

Thanks!

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Old 12-07-2006, 03:53 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wables
I cracked the first bottle of my second batch of beer tonight. It was a Brewer's Best Oktober Fest kit. I did a full boil, 9 days in the primary, 2 weeks in the secondary, and bottled 8 days ago. I added all ingredients per recipe. The bottles were kept in my 70 degree kitchen for 7 1/2 days, then a bottle was put into the fridge for 12 hours. I cracked the bottle tonight, hearing a faint shhht as the cap was opened, poured the beer into a freshly washed pilsner glass, and...nothing, not a bubble. WTF????? I didn't expect full carbonation, only a glimpse into the joy the next 2 cases would bring, but it was like taking a sample out of the secondary.

My first batch, Brewer's Best American Amber, also has a very weak head, even after over a month in bottles. It tastes good, but is flat. I get about 3/8" of head with an agressive pour.

The cases are now in my 57 degree basement to sit for another week. I am frustrated enough to drop the money on a keg rig.

I am worried that I will be bottling a batch of CVCA for my wife this weekend, only to have the same results.

Do I need to condition at warmer temps? Add extra priming sugar? Extra yeast?

Thanks!
For one thing, 7 days isn't enough time to build much carbonation at all. You hear people hear talk about the 1-2-3 method all the time: 1 week in primary, 2 weeks in secondary, then 3 weeks in the bottles to carbonate. Using that as a basis, is it any wonder your beer is pretty flat?

Also, if you aren't getting carbonation yet, why did you move the bottles to a LOWER tempeature room? That will just slow down the process even more!!

I never understood the whole head on the beer thing. I know I'm in the minority on this, but I pour to try and avoid as much of the head as possible.
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Old 12-07-2006, 04:00 AM   #3
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It's barely been a week, and it's very cold in your basement. Of course you don't have carbonation! Move the bottles to someplace where it's close to 70 degrees (closet, maybe?) and give them another two weeks, and I guarantee you'll be fine.

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Old 12-07-2006, 04:03 AM   #4
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Bottles were moved to appease SWMBO. I am sure that "her" beer can dwell in the kitchen for longer. I have also read, but may be misinformed, that beer absorbs CO2 better at lower temperatures. I can't believe that 5 oz of sugar isn't consumed by 5 gallons of beer in 7 days. Maybe I need to learn some patience.

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Old 12-07-2006, 04:08 AM   #5
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Sure it absorbs CO2 better when cold, but the yeast that are supposed to be producing that gas are dormant when cold.

Keep the beer in a warm area when bottle conditioning.

For what it's worth, I've been using 1.5 cups of dextrose to prime 5 gallons, and I've had good carbonation after a week.
I keep my bottled beer next to my furnace, and that area sits right around 65F.

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Old 12-07-2006, 04:17 AM   #6
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One and a half cups? Why so much? That's twice the generally recommended amount. You don't end up with gushers (or do they all get drunk within two weeks - not that that is a bad thing! )

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Old 12-07-2006, 04:19 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_bird
One and a half cups? Why so much? That's twice the generally recommended amount. You don't end up with gushers (or do they all get drunk within two weeks - not that that is a bad thing! )


I usually have help.
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Old 12-07-2006, 06:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_bird
One and a half cups? Why so much? That's twice the generally recommended amount. You don't end up with gushers (or do they all get drunk within two weeks - not that that is a bad thing! )
3/4 of a cup? I use 4 oz or a little less and get very good carbonation after 3 weeks.


BTW: Picking up my kegging freezer tomorrow! Now I need a regulator and connectors to start drinking draught beer.
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Old 12-07-2006, 06:34 AM   #9
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Bottle conditioning is one of those things which has a bit of a 'try it till you get it right' factor. Start by conditioning your beers a little warmer like the guys have said and then add or subtract sugar in future batches. I found I had to add quite a bit more than the recommended amount of priming sugar to get good carbonation. I'm wondering if it has to do with elevation, as Calgary is at 1048m.

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Old 12-07-2006, 06:38 AM   #10
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Interesting thought cheyco. I'm at about 100 meters, maybe a little less.

This is the head I got on my last 4oz batch, an APA. It was only in the bottle for a little over a week at this point so it wasn't really well carbonated throughout yet. Now it's nicely carbonated as well as building a nice head.



for my ESB I dropped the sugar down a little to 3.5 oz because I didn't want that much carbonation in an ESB.

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