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Old 01-27-2012, 01:52 AM   #1
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Default Incorrect amount of priming sugar desperate solution

Hi all,

I've been doing this for so long that I thought I no longer needed a checklist or a book. I was wrong.

A couple of days ago I was bottling 5 gallons on auto-pilot, without thinking much about it. I primed with regular sugar. After bottling all five gallons, I tasted the leftover primed beer in my bucket, which is usually syrupy because of the priming sugar. I was very confused not to find it as sweet as usual, but I made no big deal.

Later that night, away from home, I was thinking about it and realized what the problem was: I had added only 1/3 cups of sugar instead of 2/3! How horrible.

So, the next day, I decided to add the other 1/3 cup. Yes, I know. CRAZY.

This is what I did: I opened one bottle and poured it GENTLY in a small pot. It was already very fizzy after only 20 hours. I heated it to 120 F to make it easy to dissolve the sugar without evaporating the alcohol. Then I poured it GENTLY in my bottling bucket. Then, I opened every single bottle. YES. I did that. I opened every single bottle and poured it GENTLY into the bottling bucket. Most of them were already fizzy. After just one day! Anyway, when I had poured all 5 gallons back into the bucket, I refilled every single bottle and capped again with new caps.

I figured, if this works, all I lose is a couple hours of time and a few caps. If I don't try it, I might lose 5 gallons of beer.

So, what do y'all think? I have to wait two weeks to see what happens, but I'm curious as to what other homebrewers might think of my desperate solution.

Thanks!

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Old 01-27-2012, 02:02 AM   #2
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This is the kind of situation that carb tabs were invented for. Drink quick and I'm sure you'll be fine, but there are easier ways out there.

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Old 01-27-2012, 02:15 AM   #3
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Next time relax and let it be.

Please report back in two weeks to let us know if this technique works.

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Old 01-27-2012, 11:38 AM   #4
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Next time relax and let it be.
But... if I had let it be with only 1/3 cup, the beer would be flat, wouldn't it?
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Old 01-27-2012, 04:36 PM   #5
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But... if I had let it be with only 1/3 cup, the beer would be flat, wouldn't it?
I don't know how carbonated it would be but you could have waited to find out and added a little more to each bottle or carb drops as mentioned. The pouring and heating was not a good idea.

Don't sweat it. It will probably still be beer.
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Old 01-28-2012, 11:21 PM   #6
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Isn't the concern with carb tabs in this situation that they could provide nucleation sites for the CO2 already in solution? You could have a Diet Coke + Mentos scenario on your hands adding carb tabs to a partially carbonated bottle.

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Old 01-28-2012, 11:30 PM   #7
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Isn't the concern with carb tabs in this situation that they could provide nucleation sites for the CO2 already in solution? You could have a Diet Coke + Mentos scenario on your hands adding carb tabs to a partially carbonated bottle.
thanks for that advice. won't be adding them but thought about it.

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The pouring and heating was not a good idea.
why wasn't it? maybe there is some aspect that i'm missing, and if that's the case i really want to know. i didn't evaporate the alcohol because i heated just to 120, and even if there was a change in flavor, i only used a pint to make the "re-priming solution", so that flavor change (if actually present) would have a negligible effect in the 5 gallons.

i thought it was a pretty unorthodox solution, but given the situation, a creative and possibly even smart thing to do.
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:17 AM   #8
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thanks for that advice. won't be adding them but thought about it.



why wasn't it? maybe there is some aspect that i'm missing, and if that's the case i really want to know. i didn't evaporate the alcohol because i heated just to 120, and even if there was a change in flavor, i only used a pint to make the "re-priming solution", so that flavor change (if actually present) would have a negligible effect in the 5 gallons.

i thought it was a pretty unorthodox solution, but given the situation, a creative and possibly even smart thing to do.
If you are looking for a science project, then go at it. However, heating up beer is pretty advanced and isn't really a good idea in your case. We're talking about beer not unfermented wort. Don't heat it up. Instead, if you want to heat liquid to break down the sugar crystals, then mix a cup of water with 3 oz sugar and heat that, then chill it and add to each bottle with an eye dropper, teaspoon or whatever. But really plain old sugar works with no diluting and heating.

That was the heating part, now for pouring. Never a good idea to pour beer into a vessel and rebottle. You oxydized for sure. It may not be a big deal in taste, but it did happen none the less. Oxygen kills fermented beer.
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Old 01-29-2012, 01:22 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by brunomoises View Post
why wasn't it? maybe there is some aspect that i'm missing, and if that's the case i really want to know. i didn't evaporate the alcohol because i heated just to 120, and even if there was a change in flavor, i only used a pint to make the "re-priming solution", so that flavor change (if actually present) would have a negligible effect in the 5 gallons.

i thought it was a pretty unorthodox solution, but given the situation, a creative and possibly even smart thing to do.
It's a bunch of things: oxidation, certainly, and there are plenty of volatiles in beer that cook off at temperatures cooler than alcohol. The main thing I'd be concerned about, though, is yeast thermal death kinetics. I'm just going off of memory here, but I believe brewers yeast has a 60 second kill at 55ºC. At 120ºF, you're dangerously close to that line. I'll be interested to hear your results, and things may turn out completely fine, but my hunch is that you might have killed your yeast.

Also, did you add the full 2/3 cup of sugar, or just the missing 1/3 cup when you re-sugared? If the beer was already significantly fizzy, you're in a tough situation. Whatever carbonation had already taken place was removed by the heating, but it's tough to know just how much that was. If most of the sugar had already been consumed, the addition of 1/3 of a cup would just put you back where you already were. But, if only some of the sugar had been fermented, 2/3 of a cup would have left you over-carbonated.

Anyway, I don't mean to be negative. You'll likely have drinkable beer, and you'll certainly have new knowledge. I'm curious to see what turns up from all this. Who knows, maybe everything will have worked out fine.

Quote:
Isn't the concern with carb tabs in this situation that they could provide nucleation sites for the CO2 already in solution? You could have a Diet Coke + Mentos scenario on your hands adding carb tabs to a partially carbonated bottle.
Hmm...interesting. I've never tried, but you make me curious. I've added both sugar solution and hop tea to carbed beer without trouble, but I've never actually tried using carb tabs. Interesting fact according to the internet: mint mentos + Diet Coke = geyser, but fruit mentos + Diet Coke or mint mentos + regular Coke does not. Not sure exactly what that means for beer. Maybe I'll try later tonight.
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Old 01-30-2012, 05:13 AM   #10
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It's a bunch of things: oxidation, certainly, and there are plenty of volatiles in beer that cook off at temperatures cooler than alcohol. The main thing I'd be concerned about, though, is yeast thermal death kinetics. I'm just going off of memory here, but I believe brewers yeast has a 60 second kill at 55ºC. At 120ºF, you're dangerously close to that line. I'll be interested to hear your results, and things may turn out completely fine, but my hunch is that you might have killed your yeast.

Also, did you add the full 2/3 cup of sugar, or just the missing 1/3 cup when you re-sugared? If the beer was already significantly fizzy, you're in a tough situation. Whatever carbonation had already taken place was removed by the heating, but it's tough to know just how much that was. If most of the sugar had already been consumed, the addition of 1/3 of a cup would just put you back where you already were. But, if only some of the sugar had been fermented, 2/3 of a cup would have left you over-carbonated.

Anyway, I don't mean to be negative. You'll likely have drinkable beer, and you'll certainly have new knowledge. I'm curious to see what turns up from all this. Who knows, maybe everything will have worked out fine.
Well, even if heating removed carbonation and also killed the yeast, i don't think it will have a big effect on the beer because, again, i only heated up one pint. then i mixed in the bucket with the rest of the five gallons.

i do agree that i have risked oxidation. i tried to pour carefully and slowly, pouring the beer on the side of the bucket to avoid splashing it. it went smoothly. i hope that it won't mess up the beer too much (fingers crossed).

finally, it had been only 24 hours since i first bottled, so I figured there was plenty of the initial priming sugars left for carbonation, and added only a heaping 1/3 cup.

i'll keep you posted. i'm also very curious about what will happen.
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