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Old 02-08-2007, 12:46 PM   #1
mattk
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Howdy folks. I recently produced an imperial stout from northern brewer's kit. Followed everything to the letter, used a secondary fermenter etc. The stout has been bottle conditioning since mid december. I opened two just to see how they'd taste and both were flat! I added boiled/dissolved corn sugar to the bottling bucket prior to bottling per the instructions (and as I've done in the 4 other batches I've made to date) so I'm not sure why this happened. Other than the flatness, it tastes great. This batch is technically supposed to bottle condition until at least mid March but that shouldn't affect carbonation at this stage.

I've noticed that there are little sugar drops that can be put into each bottle before capping to carbonate the beer. I wonder if I could uncap, insert those and recap the beer. I'd hate to waste a potentially great stout. Advice?

Thanks so much!

Matt

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Old 02-08-2007, 01:02 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattk
Howdy folks. I recently produced an imperial stout from northern brewer's kit. Followed everything to the letter, used a secondary fermenter etc. The stout has been bottle conditioning since mid december. I opened two just to see how they'd taste and both were flat! I added boiled/dissolved corn sugar to the bottling bucket prior to bottling per the instructions (and as I've done in the 4 other batches I've made to date) so I'm not sure why this happened. Other than the flatness, it tastes great. This batch is technically supposed to bottle condition until at least mid March but that shouldn't affect carbonation at this stage.

I've noticed that there are little sugar drops that can be put into each bottle before capping to carbonate the beer. I wonder if I could uncap, insert those and recap the beer. I'd hate to waste a potentially great stout. Advice?

Thanks so much!

Matt
I have a nice heady oatmeal stout AG that has had very little carb. the tabs were prolly for the first round, but i have faith if you allow it to sit at warmer temps it will indeed carbonate!
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Old 02-08-2007, 01:26 PM   #3
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How much sugar did you prime with? Maybe you just under-primed. Is there ANY carbonation in them? You can tell by pouring really hard into a big glass and look for ANY foam that comes up.

And is there any yeast sediment at the bottom of each bottle? If so, try opening a bottle with lots of sediment and see if it is carbonated. Maybe you just didn't mix the sugar into the beer bucket well enough, and some bottles never got any (i.e. first bottle you opened?).

Perhaps you are storing your bottles in too cold an area? Try this trick -- gently shake/swirl your bottles to resuspend the yeast that has sedimented at the bottom of each bottle and move them to a warmer spot (say about 65F). Give them a couple of weeks and see what happens.

Last resort is to use carbonation drops. These work OK (I used them once after I bottled a whole batch and THEN realized I forgot to prime it -- duh). I have also tried to use them on some under-primed bottles, but they will cause an instant gusher in your beer bottles if they have partial carbonation.

Let us know how you made out.

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Old 02-08-2007, 01:55 PM   #4
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I used 5 oz of priming sugar for the 5 gal. batch. Sounds like getting it in a warmer place would be the first step and then see what happens. Will try to mix the bottles up a bit as you say. It probably is a bit too cold in my kitchen where they are sitting.

I tried pouring hard into a glass and got really nothing.....strange.

Thanks for the advice. We'll see in a couple of weeks!

Matt

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Old 02-08-2007, 04:20 PM   #5
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Personally, I always use 6-8 oz of priming sugar, but there should still be some carbonation. How long did you have it in the secondary, it is possible that the yeast went dormant before you ever got around to bottling.
For now I would just wait a little while longer at warmer temps. If all else fails, drink it anyway! It should still taste good, get a couple of buddies together and see how trashed you can get on homebrew, then you will have bottles for your next batch.

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Old 02-08-2007, 06:00 PM   #6
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Okay...I'm quickly becoming an expert at this. Allow me to relay what I've discovered:

  • If you condition in secondary for longer than 3 weeks, it is a good idea to add a few pinches of rehydrated dry yeast to the cooled priming solution. This will ensure bottle fermentation.
  • Find yourself a large closet or small room, get a space heater (if it's winter) and leave your recently bottled brews in there until they are carbonated.
  • Your stout will probably not carbonate. I've had a Wheat Doppelbock that I aged in secondary for awhile, then bottled without adding more yeast. After 3 months in bottles, it still has very minimal carbo. I've accepted that fact. I even tried swirling/shaking up all the bottles to rouse the yeast, then putting them in a hot room for awhile. Still, not much.

Question: is there ANY sound (like "pffft) when you open the bottles? If so, then you're at least getting a little bit.

But luckily, of all the beers that can deal with very little carbo, stout is near the top of the list.
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