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Old 11-30-2008, 07:19 PM   #1
hooligansteve
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Default beer tastes better but is flat

I bottled a batch of American-style pale ale about 2 months ago. The beer was awfully bitter and I hoped it would improve with time (indeed, much advice on this forum suggests that is true). I bottled in swing top glass bottles. I cracked another open today and the bitterness had indeed receded and the beer was approaching respectability. However, it was totally flat. The first couple I had tried were nicely carbonated. Has anyone had problems with swing top bottles?
Any suggestions on what I could do to this batch?

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Old 11-30-2008, 07:20 PM   #2
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Did you use all swing top? What was your bottling procedure? Did you replace the gaskets (or whatever they call those little rubber things) at all?

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Old 11-30-2008, 10:06 PM   #3
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I bottled this way: Cleaned and sanitized the bottles, boiled the bottling sugar with the specified amount of water. Added to the bottling bucket, then racked the beer into that. Used a bottling wand to fill the bottles, capped each one after it was full. The gaskets are all new.

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Old 11-30-2008, 10:54 PM   #4
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I've had mixed results with swing tops from the LHBS. My Grolsch bottles haven't failed yet.

Are your bottles Grolsch or other? The brand new and replacement gaskets I got looked to be pretty poorly made, so I made my own with a thicker gasket material. I also bent the wires on the swing tops to make

You might have luck replacing the gasket and adding a few carb tabs, and maybe a few grains of dry yeast if your bottles have been sitting for a long time. The easiest would be to just open a flat bottle and a carbed bottle, then mix the two to get two glasses of carbed beer.

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Old 11-30-2008, 10:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kungpaodog View Post
I've had mixed results with swing tops from the LHBS. My Grolsch bottles haven't failed yet.

Are your bottles Grolsch or other? The brand new and replacement gaskets I got looked to be pretty poorly made, so I made my own with a thicker gasket material. I also bent the wires on the swing tops to make

You might have luck replacing the gasket and adding a few carb tabs, and maybe a few grains of dry yeast if your bottles have been sitting for a long time. The easiest would be to just open a flat bottle and a carbed bottle, then mix the two to get two glasses of carbed beer.
"dog's got a good idea, but the issue is going to be deciding whether it is going to need yeast, or prime tabs...you may have to do a test bottle of two of each...

I agree it's probably the seals. You may also want to test the seals whether or not you replace them by putting balloons over them...if you get expansion then you've got leaks.
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Old 11-30-2008, 11:04 PM   #6
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I agree it's probably the seals. You may also want to test the seals whether or not you replace them by putting balloons over them...if you get expansion then you've got leaks.
That's a darn good idea! I was wondering how in the heck to test for leaks!
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Old 11-30-2008, 11:09 PM   #7
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won't the bail keep the balloon from getting a good seal?

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Old 11-30-2008, 11:17 PM   #8
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I'd think that after two months in bottles, there should still be some viable yeast to eat any more sugar that you add, so the new grains of dry yeast would be a last resort.

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Old 11-30-2008, 11:24 PM   #9
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won't the bail keep the balloon from getting a good seal?
If you can get it around the bail, it won't really have to be a great seal...just enough to see if there is any balloon expansion...try to pull the balloon down the neck of the bottle and try to get the bail into the ballon itself...

You could also cut off the neck of the balloon, put the round part over everything and rubberband it below the bail....then shake up the bottle a bit and leave it...OR on the empty ones you drank thea were flat, add a little vinegar and baking soda in those...you'll see if they'll leak or not.
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Old 11-30-2008, 11:30 PM   #10
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I sometimes get mixed results with my swing top bottles because i dont position them flat on the lip of the glass on 2 or 3 of the bottles. But it is probably the seals that came with the bottles if it is a problem with multiple bottles. Do the ballon test that everybody is talking about

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