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Old 04-23-2009, 05:43 PM   #1
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Default High gravity beer not carbonating

Hi gang,

I've just done my first attempt at a DIPA: mashed at 148, 7 days in primary and 2 weeks in secondary. 3.75 gallon batch (lost a ridiculous amount due to hops / trub). OG was 1090, FG is 1015; over 10% alc vol. I primed with 3/4 cup corn sugar and was concerned that this was too much given how little beer was left.

Bottles were left in a warm place (too warm at about 75 to 80 degrees; I'm in SoCal)

After 2 weeks in the bottle I cracked one open. It was crystal clear (I think I finally fix my chill haze problem by using a lower mash temp) and it tasted outstanding. But flat and no head. There was a very faint fsst sound when I popped it open so carbonation had clearly started. I left it a week and cracked open another one. I noticed one or two bubbles and an extremely thin 'head'. Still flat.

Did I kill most of the yeast due to the high alcohol content (it's WLP001 yeast)? Or do do high gravity beers simply need more time to carbonate? Or should I have added more yeast when when adding corn sugar?

Any suggestions to fix this? I just tried rousing the sediment in the bottles yesterday and plan on leaving it for another week. The only other thing I can think of is to dump all the beer back into a bottling bucket, stir in some dry yeast (Nottingham?), bottle again and wait another 2 weeks.

(Or buy a keg and force carbonate. Life is too short.)

I'm a newbie at this, and I started doing high gravity beer without studying all the caveats. Any advice would be much appreciated...

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Old 04-23-2009, 05:58 PM   #2
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Higher gravity beers often take longer to carbonate. I've had some take 5-6 weeks to really get there, the rousing you did should help some. I've never added yeast at bottling so I can't really speak to that.

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Old 04-23-2009, 05:58 PM   #3
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That is a lot of priming sugar for the volume... but the problem is probably with the yeast. The fact that it seems to have started to carbonate is a good sign. Your idea to shake the bottles and wait is best. If that doesn't work, and you do decide the open the bottles, it's less painful to add yeast to the bottles. Just re-hydrate your Nottingham (or Safale) use a sanitized eyedropper to add a couple of drops to each bottle, and re-cap. High gravity beers usually carbonate just fine, but adding the dry yeast at bottling is cheap & easy insurance.

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Old 04-23-2009, 07:38 PM   #4
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I always pitch an extra pack of yeast into the bottling bucket when i do high gravity beers. I usually use S-05. It's probably not necessary, but i have never had a problem with them conditioning. I've had beers up to 11.5% be carbed up in under a month doing this.

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Old 04-23-2009, 10:11 PM   #5
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Sounds like it is carbonating, just not quickly, usually the case with high gravity beers.

You are refrigerating the beer for a day or two before opening it right?

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Old 04-24-2009, 02:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelerguy View Post
Sounds like it is carbonating, just not quickly, usually the case with high gravity beers.

You are refrigerating the beer for a day or two before opening it right?
Of course! I usually chill them for 2 days minimum.
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Old 04-24-2009, 11:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelerguy View Post
Sounds like it is carbonating, just not quickly, usually the case with high gravity beers.

You are refrigerating the beer for a day or two before opening it right?
Why would this matter? Thanks,

Jim
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Old 04-24-2009, 11:45 AM   #8
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Generally speaking the 3 weeks at 70 degrees that we recommend is only a guideline, a minimum...the higher the grav, the longer it takes to carb and condition. Don't forget, just because a beer is fizzy doesn't mean it is still not green, and tastes like a$$...

I've had stouts and porters take 4-6 weeks to carb...I have a 1.090 Belgian Strong Dark Ale that is 2.5 months in the bottle and it is barely beginning to carb up, I don't think it will even begin to stop tasting green and like rocket fuel for about another 2-3 months....

Hell during the winter I am lucky if I get ANY BEER to carb up inn 8 weeks, since my loft stays in the low 60 all winter...I wrap them in sleeping bags and other things to keep them warm.

this ain't koolaid we are making....

Read this, and Relax.

Revvy's Blog; Of Patience and Bottle Conditioning.

SO the answer is Patience, Patience, Patience That's a might big beer you are waiting on...big beers mean [b]months/[b] not weeks...

Roll thoses babies back and forth a couple times to re-rouse the yeasties, and put them back in the closet.

You might wanna consideri doing that once a week for a few...but other than that, it's a time things....

SOemthing to remember is that it is actually carbonate a bottle of beer simply by bottling it without priming sugar or yeast (playing with numbers in beersmith for carb levels is surprising) but they take months to achieve a basic level of carbonation eventually......SO if a little beer can carb up with nothing being done to it, in time...your beer will too....

And it will probably still taste like rocket fuel for a little while after that, but it will mellow eventually.

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Old 04-24-2009, 05:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pappers View Post
Why would this matter? Thanks,

Jim
To get more of that C02 that is sitting in the head space to dissolve into the beer. If you just pop in freezer and and chill for 30 mins, you can get a pretty loud pfft when opening the bottle but not much fizz in the beer.
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Old 04-24-2009, 05:30 PM   #10
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I made this handy chart a while back for determining the time it takes beer to properly carbonate and bottle condition. Hope this helps!


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