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Old 12-16-2008, 12:59 AM   #1
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Default New PM brewer: flat beers...

I have a carbonation question/issue.

In my short career, I've done some 2 dozen LME batches that are custom recipes of my LHBS with 100% success regarding carbonation. I've recently moved to partial mash (thanks Deathbrewer!). Although the taste is great, most are almost totally flat. Not all, but the vast majority.

The major difference in my procedure is for my LHBS recipes, I use bottling dextrose which is conveniently portioned out into 8oz bags from the store (this is for 6 gallon batches). I boil 1/2 cup of water and mix the sugar in. I pour that mixture into an empty carboy or bucket, and rack on top, and STIR it gently with the racking cane. Then bottle.

My PMs are 5 gallon batches ( cause online recipes are mostly for 5gal batches). I primary for 2-3 weeks, secondary for another 2. Not wanting to use 8oz which works for 6gal on a 5gal batch, I manually portion out a "heaping" coffee spoon into each bottle with a funnel and fill the bottles. I shake a bit to dilute it. The last time I did it I put more dextrose in than usual, I'm fairly sure I used even more than 8oz total for a 5gal batch. This technique has worked well for my wines.

LHBS recipes typically come with Coopers ale yeast; for my PMs I've been using Safale S05.

My PMs (now 3 attempts) are now 30+ days old and are still flat. Some bubbles, but essentially flat with no head whatsoever.

I'm wondering... is it possible that the act of stirring the beer with the diluted dextrose ensures that viable yeast is properly distributed? Or perhaps the non-diluted dextrose I simply tossed in isn't getting consumed properly by the yeast?

Looking for thoughts/ideas. Thanks!

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Old 12-16-2008, 01:10 AM   #2
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I weigh my priming sugar- and use 4 ounces for 5 gallons. That isn't much at all- it's half of what you use for 6 gallons normally.

Do you have the bottles at 70 degrees or so? That really is the "magic" temperature for having carbonation within 3-4 weeks. If it's lower, it'll take much longer for the beer to carb up.

I can't see any reason why your carbonation is lacking. Everything looks ok to me.

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Old 12-16-2008, 01:22 AM   #3
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Admittedly I should be weighing the sugar...

It has been a little cooler as of late what with winter settling in, however the area is hovering around 70-73C. Never below 66F for sure.

Since my LME batches typically have some bubbles after just a week, I figured maybe the slight drop in temps were to blame. But now after 30 days I'm starting to get a little worried, and it's not really that cold in here.

Thanks!

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Old 12-16-2008, 01:35 AM   #4
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When you measured = no problem. When you estimated = problem.

the solution here: Measure. I use 5oz. of priming sugar per 5gal, carbs up nicely. Your procedure is correct (boil water, mix in sugar, stir into beer).

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Old 12-16-2008, 02:06 PM   #5
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Aye, I've already asked Santa for a scale this year...

Still, it would be nice to salvage the work I've already done. I don't really see why it would help to add more sugar and recap, but I can't think of anything else that I could do.

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Old 12-16-2008, 03:43 PM   #6
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If I am reading you right, you used to mix your sugar ahead, and then bottle, but now you add to each bottle.

I'd go back to the other method. I've had more better luck that way myself.

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Old 12-16-2008, 11:51 PM   #7
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I had some bottles not carb up much on my first few brews or they were inconsistent. The ones that come out decent are the one's where I still suck up some of the little beasties off the bottom of the secondary and get them into the bottling bucket. If I don't get much off the bottom or there's still fruit or other types of sediment in the secondary, I use the normal 4oz-6oz of corn sugar and I add into the bottling bucket 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. of a dry clean yeast, give it a good stir and wait about 10 minutes then bottle as normal.

For my blueberry wheat it worked out great. I have 4 other bottled beers sitting and they've all come out just right and very consistent. All I can say is it works for me.

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