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Old 06-03-2011, 06:23 AM   #1
hshiggins
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Default Quick burst carbing producing bitter beer?

First off, these are my first two brews ever and obviously my first time force carbonating. I've been reading these forums for a while but was unable to find a good answer to this question. If I missed a post somewhere feel free to link and I'll go away.

My soon to be kegerator (just a fridge at this point) arrived late and forced me to try to carb my beer faster than I would like since I have a BBQ in two days (this saturday). I have two kegs and no splitter at the moment so my plan was the 36 hour 30 PSI advice that I've seen on here.

It's been 48 hours now on keg 1 at 30 PSI as last night (at 36 hours) I went to check the levels and noticed that beer is considerably more bitter than before I started carbing and still tastes flat and almost flavorless, a dramatic drop from precarbing. I did some reading and searching and found some people stating that this flavor profile can develop with over carbing. I assume it's not over carbed as when I dispense it at around 10 psi I get a decent head and taste very little carbonation. No huge foam baths by any means. Dropping the pressure to 5 psi and dispensing is almost like pouring a glass of water as it has no head on it what so ever.

My question is this: is it possible to over carb a beer to develop this type of flavor profile yet the product not be carbonated? That just doesn't make sense to me from a newbie perspective but I'm at a loss as to explain why my beer is getting more bitter as time goes on. I fully and very thoroughly cleaned and sterilized both kegs when I got them so I'm sure it has nothing to do with the kegs. Both brews were sitting around for a few weeks in the keg and tasting them before carbing they tasted great.

For the time being I've disconnected the first keg and left 30 PSI in it. I thought about dropping it to serving levels of around 12 but since it still tastes flat I'm reluctant to do that. I've connected my other keg up and have it at 30 in the fridge as we speak but I'm fearing the same results.

Does anyone have suggestions? I'm stopping by my LHBS tomorrow to explain the situation to see if they have any additional advice but I thought I'd ask here first.

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Old 06-03-2011, 11:40 AM   #2
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I've noticed a bit of a bite right after force carbing, but it mellows out considerably after a day or two. I've read it described as an acidic or carbonic bite from the CO2. Also the fist pint or two often has bits of yeast/hop oils that can make it seem stouter than the rest of the keg. You're probably fine.

Congrats on your first 2 brews!

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Old 06-03-2011, 11:46 AM   #3
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It might taste flat, even if overcarbed, if the beerlines are short and there is foaming.

What happens is the overcarbed beer shoots out of the line (like a firehose) and "knocks out" the co2 that is in the beer. The resultant beer seems flat and foamy. But your beer isn't foamy.

what temperature is the beer being stored at? That makes a huge difference in the amount of carbonation that is absorbed.

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Old 06-03-2011, 06:20 PM   #4
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Thanks for the response guys. It's right around 38 degrees which is why I thought it'd have no issues carbonating. Since it's not foaming, do you all think I should just keep carbonating it? I'm all paranoid I'm going to be serving bitter flat beer tomorrow heh.

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Old 06-03-2011, 07:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hshiggins View Post
Thanks for the response guys. It's right around 38 degrees which is why I thought it'd have no issues carbonating. Since it's not foaming, do you all think I should just keep carbonating it? I'm all paranoid I'm going to be serving bitter flat beer tomorrow heh.
It seems like it should be fairly carbed if you've already had it on 30 for two days and 38 degrees. Can you see any bubbles come out of solution when you hold it up to the light? What about if you swirl your glass? Don't know how light the beer is, but you should be able to see CO2 coming out of solution if you give it a swirl. I suppose you could swirl a commercial brew for comparison. If it's too flat for you, I'd say hit it again for a while, but keep a close watch cause it's easy to over do it with that high pressure. Good luck!
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Old 06-04-2011, 12:52 AM   #6
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That sounds like overcarbonation, exactly what I've just discovered with my beers. I could never work out why the beer was Foamy but not bubbling within the liquid. All the great flavors before racking were completely gone and replaced with a metallic twang. I had been putting the reg at 30+ psi for 3-4 days straight after racking. I have shaken and released a lot of c02 but the taste is still there. Waiting to see if it balances out

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Old 06-04-2011, 04:19 PM   #7
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I talked to my LHBS store and they told me to go ahead and roll or shake it around so I came home and did just that. I put 30 PSI on the line, rolled it around for maybe 30 seconds and then let it sit for an hour or so with the valve off. Tried it and it was almost over carbonated.

Since then I've poured maybe 10 pints out of my keg without even having to use any c02 pressure (the valve is shut off even) yet each pint that comes out has a massive head on it. I wouldn't think a few shakes would accomplish that from flat beer so I'm kind of at a loss to explain what happened. Im guessing the agitation was needed on some level.

All in all the beer is back to being great so tragedy averted. Thanks for the advice all.

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Old 06-05-2011, 12:46 PM   #8
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All in all the beer is back to being great so tragedy averted. Thanks for the advice all.
Glad it's back on track. Now go get that third batch going!
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