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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > The great bubble debate
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Old 10-29-2009, 11:40 PM   #1
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Default The great bubble debate

I've seen all sorts of speculation about bubbles in beer. Some think that natural carbonation results in finer bubbles than force carbonation. Others think that priming with table sugar results in coarser bubbles than priming with dextrose or malt extract. Still others say that yeast type will impact bubble "fineness" (i.e., champagne yeast makes fine bubbles, while ale yeast makes bigger ones).

I contend that temperature, dissolved CO2 content, viscosity, sugar content, protein content, hop compounds, etc are the things that impact how a beer "bubbles." After all, dissolved CO2 doesn't care about its source; it simply wants to be in equilibrium, bubbling to the surface when released from the confines of a pressure vessel (i.e., bottle or keg).

Discuss.

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Old 10-30-2009, 12:16 AM   #2
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i agree for the most part. bubbles form in nucleation points, which are just tiny pits in a surface and CO2 is CO2. the composition of the finished beer and what is used to carbonate the beer will coat the inside of the bottle or keg. this will affect the formation of nucleation sights.

temperature and dissolved CO2 content will affect the quantity of bubbles but not their quality.

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Old 10-30-2009, 03:36 AM   #3
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I agree, natural vs. force carbonated has no affect on bubble size. If it does, I've never seen any credible argument to support it. From a chemistry perspective it shouldn't matter.

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Old 10-30-2009, 03:44 AM   #4
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I generally keg most of a batch and naturally carb 6 or 12 bottles. I haven't noticed any difference in the appearance or feel of the CO2 bubbles between the keg and the bottles.

The recipe has everything to do with the texture of the head and the mouthfeel of the beer.

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Old 10-30-2009, 03:54 AM   #5
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Oh come on guys, we all know that CO2 bubbles are sentient life forms that spring to life in different ways. If you force carb, the CO2 creates different bubble-lives than the CO2 farted out by the yeasties.
Gosh.... IDIOTS!

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Old 10-30-2009, 04:52 AM   #6
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I think CO2 is CO2. No matter if a yeast farted it out, or a 20lb tank farted it out. There is likely 100 different factors for bubble size, texture, etc., but I doubt the source of CO2 is one.

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Old 10-30-2009, 01:36 PM   #7
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CO2 is CO2. I don't think that anyone would disagree with that concept. The thing that intrigues me is the "source" of co2 and the method of introduction into the beer. Wouldn't the creation point make a difference?

If the CO2 is created within the liquid, and the liquid itself is bubbling, shouldn't it react different than CO2 that is dissolved from the top down?

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Old 10-30-2009, 01:47 PM   #8
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I'd like to know the direct path to finer bubbles when and in whatever beer I choose.

I've noticed it more in my darker beers, but I have no clue why and how, but I like it. Not so much in pales or IPA's...and that's cool, too.

I don't like viscous or sweet in any of my beers, and it would seem protein would be close between the pales, IPA's, browns and stouts that I prefer.

Hasn't this been discussed and solved by at least one of the many brewing book authors?

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Old 10-30-2009, 02:09 PM   #9
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Come to think of it, the beers I've made that had really low FGs (1.002-1.006) had coarser bubbles than the beers I've made that had higher FGs (1.010-1.024).

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Old 10-30-2009, 04:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
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If the CO2 is created within the liquid, and the liquid itself is bubbling, shouldn't it react different than CO2 that is dissolved from the top down?
answer... no. it doesn't matter how the CO2 got in there it is still CO2. the only thing that would affect bubbles in beer is the nucleation sites in the bottle. now what affects the nucleation sites on the other hand. the bottle/glass its poured in and the composition of the beer would affect the bubbles.
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