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Old 10-11-2012, 04:54 AM   #1
bose301s
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Default Beer Didn't Carbonate

Well, not sure if this is the correct place to post this or not but since I am a beginner and it is somewhat of a beginner problem I will post it here.

Anyway, we made a batch of beer from our own recipe. We used 1lb of Gambrinus Honey Malt steeped for 20 minutes. Then added 6lbs of Northern Brewer Wheat LME and 1oz American Saaz Hops for a 60 minute boil. At 30 minutes another 1oz of American Saaz. With 5 minutes left we added 1oz bitter orange peel and 0.5oz coriander. At flame out we added in 3lbs Northern Brewer Clover Honey and cooled in an ice bath in our sink. After that we transferred to the fermenter, topped up to 5gals and added Wyeast 1056 American Ale yeast. It was in there maybe 1-1.5 weeks, not 100% sure, then transferred to secondary for probably 3-4 weeks, again not sure. It definitely fermented in the primary as there was a nice yeast cake and the airlock was bubbling a lot for a few days. After the secondary we bottled, we used 5oz corn sugar added into the bottling bucket, then siphoned the beer in. We never stirred but the action of siphoning and the time it takes should have stirred it up and allowed time for the sugar to equalize through osmosis. The secondary did not have much of a yeast cake or sludge, though it did have some. We then bottle and used the O2 absorbing caps.

Now, here is the issue, after even 6 weeks they are all still flat. It's sad because other than being flat it tastes good. We have no clue what caused the issue, but the yeast pack was somewhat swelled when we got it and after smacking it, it was so swelled it felt like it was going to pop. What we are thinking of doing is opening all the bottles, maybe adding another 2.5oz sugar(?) and possibly a new smack pack of yeast and stir it up and rebottle it.

After reading this novel of mine, what do you all think.

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Old 10-11-2012, 05:16 AM   #2
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I think you transferred off the primary yeast cake before the beer was done fermenting and the beer stalled. I think it will carbonate, but it will take time. Did you take gravity readings? What were they when you transferred, and before you bottled? I'm not going to give the "secondaries aren't necessary" speech, but you did definitely transfer too soon.

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Old 10-11-2012, 05:27 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by bottlebomber View Post
I think you transferred off the primary yeast cake before the beer was done fermenting and the beer stalled. I think it will carbonate, but it will take time. Did you take gravity readings? What were they when you transferred, and before you bottled? I'm not going to give the "secondaries aren't necessary" speech, but you did definitely transfer too soon.
Really? This was our first batch of our own concoction, was our 4th overall, and all the kits we've done have you primary only a week, so that's why we transferred it when we did.

We broke our hydrometer making our first batch and just haven't replaced it. My work schedule has me working every other weekend and we do all of this on weekends so usually everything is in 2 or 4 week steps and since I have been told that letting the beer sit extra time, as long a its reasonable, say under a month or so, isn't a big deal we figured we didn't need a new hydrometer since everything would be done by the time we were ready for the next step, lol.

Anyway, how long should we have primaried it for? Also, only used 1 yeast pack and no starter, should we have used a starter?
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:36 AM   #4
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I don't think a stalled fermentation is your problem I have brewed plenty of beers that never saw close to a week and a half before being racked over to secondary. What temp are the bottles being stored at? and what were your gravity readings?


Before uncapping and doing all of that jazz try bringing one in the house somewhere youll see it. Twice a day pick it up and invert it. if after a week you've got no fizz then I would think about next steps.

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Old 10-11-2012, 05:36 AM   #5
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Your OG for this recipe was around 1.060, so yes a starter would have been good. You NEED a hydrometer. It is your most valuable piece of brewing equipment after your kettle and fermenter. Without that it becomes very difficult to help you, because you haven't been able to monitor the fermentation process. As a general rule you should leave the beer in primary for around 3 weeks. 99% of beers will be stabilized by then.

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Old 10-11-2012, 05:41 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by ggoodman View Post
I don't think a stalled fermentation is your problem I have brewed plenty of beers that never saw close to a week and a half before being racked over to secondary. What temp are the bottles being stored at? and what were your gravity readings?


Before uncapping and doing all of that jazz try bringing one in the house somewhere youll see it. Twice a day pick it up and invert it. if after a week you've got no fizz then I would think about next steps.
Room temp, all our fermenting, secondary and bottles sit in our laundry/furnace room. We live in a relatively small apartment so it make it a bit difficult to find a good place. I will try your suggestions.
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Originally Posted by bottlebomber View Post
Your OG for this recipe was around 1.060, so yes a starter would have been good. You NEED a hydrometer. It is your most valuable piece of brewing equipment after your kettle and fermenter. Without that it becomes very difficult to help you, because you haven't been able to monitor the fermentation process. As a general rule you should leave the beer in primary for around 3 weeks. 99% of beers will be stabilized by then.
Ok, we will start doing primary for longer and get a new hydrometer. Will look into them as I am going to bet if we get a glass one again I will have it broken quickly.
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:49 AM   #7
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If these refuse to carbonate you could sanitize the bottles and add some rehydrated champagne yeast and they will carbonate. That's a last resort though.

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Old 10-11-2012, 05:51 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by ggoodman
Twice a day pick it up and invert it. if after a week you've got no fizz then I would think about next steps.
This can work too, I've done it. It has to be with beer that is to be drunk pretty quickly though as it can oxidize the beer pretty badly.
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:34 AM   #9
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Ok, just opened 1 up that has been in the fridge for maybe a week, definitely still flat at teh start, but as it warms up it is getting a bit of a head and some carbonation. I have hope for this yet. Also, I must say, having it sit for so long has been a pretty cool experience, I have really been able to tell that maturation of the beer in the bottle over the weekly to biweekly trials we have had, it's definitely cool.

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Old 10-11-2012, 02:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bose301s
Ok, just opened 1 up that has been in the fridge for maybe a week, definitely still flat
Were they in the fridge the whole 6 weeks?
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