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nztayls 01-04-2013 11:46 PM

Lack of carbonation
Hi there,

I am reasonably new at this brewing thing, having only done 4 batches to date. One thing I have noticed is that all my beers seem to be half flat. I have used both dextrose tablets, as well as making a bottling mix with DME and adding to the entire brew before bottling. I find when I then open the bottles there is only a limited amount of fizz, they dont retain a head for long, and go flat quickly.

Is there some trick about this I should know about?. The beers I have made so far have all been extract brews from recipes out of the "Clone Brews" book.


BrewerBear 01-05-2013 12:24 PM

How long are they in the bottle and at what temperature? Also how much DME are you putting in?

aiptasia 01-05-2013 12:49 PM

Quick fix: Add a little extra priming sugar to your bottles. A lot of people advise 3/4 cup of dextrose sugar to a cup of water to make their priming simple syrup. I use a 1:1 ratio as that gives me a better carbonation level IMHO.

Second, let bottles and kegs carbonate in a room temperature environment in the dark for a full three weeks. It seems like a long time to wait but trust me, it's worth it. Your beer will carbonate and absorb more CO2 if you let it condition for a full three weeks after bottling.

Third, cool off your beer in your fridge a full 24-48 hours before you serve it. By cooling it down for a bit, the beer temperature drops and it has more holding capacity for the CO2 gas in the bottle. The pressure from the CO2 will force more of it into solution with a nice long chill.

If you follow those steps, you should have a beer with a nice head and plenty of carbon fizz in your ales.

hercher 01-05-2013 02:21 PM

+1 to BrewerBear's comment: how long are you letting them sit in the bottle? How much priming sugar are you adding? And what are the beers? Keep in mind that high gravity beers are harder to carbonate.

duboman 01-05-2013 02:32 PM

A couple possibilities:

Tabs-yes they work but many people have reported inconsistent results using them
DME-this is one method of bulk priming used however the process takes longer than using dextrose or priming sugar as it is a more complex sugar

The recommended minimum of time required to condition and carbonate bottled beer is 3 weeks at 70F. If the bottles are in an area colder than this then the process takes longer

For bulk priming with dextrose it is recommended to use .75-1oz of sugar to 1 cup of boiled water. Create a simple syrup, pour into bottling bucket and rack beer onto it. The swirl will stir it in for you as the beer racks.

It is best to WEIGH out the sugar as measuring by cup is less than exact and you can either under or over prime as a result so get a small kitchen scale, they're cheap but reliable

Have you checked your caps to be sure they are sealing properly and not leaking? Are you giving the bottles enough time to sit at the proper temperature? They just may need more time.

If the head is disappearing quickly it can be your glassware is just not clean. There may be dishwasher residue or rinse agent left on the glass and that will kill the head. Clean a glass with some hot soapy water and rinse well and pour, see if that problem goes away.

If you are using the proper amount of priming sugar, leaving the bottles for a minimum of 3 weeks at 70 and properly capping there is really no reason the bottles will not properly carbonate, you just need to be patient:)

nztayls 01-13-2013 08:11 AM

Thanks for all the responses. I think I have found the problem. The last batch I bottled I had my wife putting on the tops (plastic PET bottles with screw lids). I went and checked the bottles and noticed that most were not fully tightened. I am guessing that they therefore weren't fully air-tight, hence the beer wasn't fully carbonating.

She's been fired, and is now on filling in the production line.

hoppyale99 01-13-2013 04:06 PM

lol... lots of good info here, my first bottling project in 1 week, good luch with your new hire...

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