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Old 03-16-2012, 11:40 AM   #1
sentfromspain
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Default Beer bubbles?

So I did a 5 gallon batch of stout, added 130 grams or 4.6 oz of dextrose sugar (which according to some tables is too much for that style, but it was my decision), and bottled.

After three weeks I pick a bottle, pour the beer into a glass, and while there is some head, the bubbles seem very very small. It isn't like forced carbonation where you can see and feel the bubbles rising. And while that may be some people's preference, I am sure that if I give a person this beer (lets say, somebody who doesn't appreciate craft beer), they will say that it is flat.

The easy solution would be to force carbonate the beer, but I'm a strong supporter of bottle conditioning. Is there a way to make the bubbles more noticeable? Bigger? A different sugar maybe?

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Old 03-16-2012, 12:45 PM   #2
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let it sit another week or two. maybe it's just not done yet. also, did you stick it in the fridge before drinking it?

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Old 03-16-2012, 01:02 PM   #3
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So, volume of carbonation isn't the problem, but the size of the bubbles, correct?
Some brewers prefer the bottle conditioning because it has smaller bubbles and some people like force-carbing for the reasons you just mentioned. Personally, I've started force-carbing because I can hook up my keg to the tap for a quick pull or switch out my beer-gun to travel with some brews. And the biggest benefit, I don't have to re-excite the yeasties to carb the beer.
All that said, I don't think you can get different carbonation profiles with different primers, only different flavors. Someone will probably (hopefully) correct me on that.

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Old 03-16-2012, 01:30 PM   #4
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Wait... Force carbed beer has different sized bubbles than bottle carbed beer?

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Old 03-16-2012, 01:34 PM   #5
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I've never noticed any difference.

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Old 03-16-2012, 01:41 PM   #6
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I stuck the beer in the freezer for an hour or so before drinking.

So there's no way to get bigger bubbles using different sugars? And why would force carbonating make bigger bubbles?

The reason why I ask is that there are beers, like Sierra Nevada, which are bottle conditioned and yet have bubbles as big as any force carbonated beer.

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Old 03-16-2012, 01:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sentfromspain View Post
I stuck the beer in the freezer for an hour or so before drinking.

So there's no way to get bigger bubbles using different sugars? And why would force carbonating make bigger bubbles?

The reason why I ask is that there are beers, like Sierra Nevada, which are bottle conditioned and yet have bubbles as big as any force carbonated beer.
Put your beer in the fridge for a couple of days. After they have conditioned for 3 weeks near 70 degrees.

As to bubble size, two thoughts:

First, I have never paid attention to the size of the bubbles in regards to whether the beer was flat or not.

Second, maybe the recipe has something to do with the size of the bubbles. I always use corn sugar and the bubble size is different in my different style of brews.

Head retention on your beer is somewhat determined by ingredients in your recipe.
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Old 03-16-2012, 01:59 PM   #8
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The 3 weeks at 70 degrees, that we recommend is the minimum time it takes for average gravity beers to carbonate and condition. Higher grav beers take longer.

Stouts and porters have taken me between 6 and 8 weeks to carb up..I have a 1.090 Belgian strong that took three months to carb up.

And just because a beer is carbed doesn't mean it still doesn't taste like a$$ and need more time for the off flavors to condition out. You have green beer.

Temp and gravity are the two factors that contribute to the time it takes to carb beer. But if a beer's not ready yet, or seems low carbed, and you added the right amount of sugar to it, then it's not stalled, it's just not time yet.

Everything you need to know about carbing and conditioning, can be found here Of Patience and Bottle Conditioning. With emphasis on the word, "patience."

If a beer isn't carbed by "x number of weeks" you just have to give them more time. If you added your sugar, then the beer will carb up eventually, it's really a foolroof process. All beers will carb up eventually. A lot of new brewers think they have to "troubleshoot" a bottling issue, when there really is none, the beer knows how to carb itself. In fact if you run beersmiths carbing calculator, some lower grav beers don't even require additional sugar to reach their minimum level of carbonation. Just time.

I've carbed hundreds of gallons of beer, and never had a beer that wasn't carbed, or under carbed or anything of the sort (Except for a batch where I accidently mixed up lactose or Maltodextrine for priming sugar). Some took awhile, (as I said up to six months) but they ALL eventually carbed.

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Old 03-16-2012, 02:23 PM   #9
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^
and after it's carbed up, let it sit in the fridge for a while, for the co2 in the neck to dissolve down. i don't have the brews under my belt that Revvy does, but i do have patience

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Old 03-16-2012, 02:34 PM   #10
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When you carb at 70 degrees, a good bit of the carbonation actually stays in the headspace of the bottle, because it is difficult for it to absorb into the beer at that temp.

To finish proper carbonation in a bottle, you really need to have the bottle in the fridge at 34-50F for a good THREE days to allow the CO2 in the headspace of the bottle to absorb into the beer.

The one that you put in the freezer had all the proper CO2 in the bottle, but NOT absorbed into the beer itself after just an hour or so in the freezer.

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