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Old 04-26-2012, 06:32 PM   #1
HibsMax
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Default Carbing Issue

I have two cases of Newcastle Brown Ale clone that I bottled on April 6/7th, so about 3 weeks ago. I bottled the beer and realized I had no caps (read : I had a brainfart and they ended up in a pan of water on low for a very long time - now I sanitize the caps). I covered the bottled beers with paper and went out for a couple of hours (dinner with SWMBO). I came back and covered each bottle with sanitized foil. The next day I picked up some new bottle caps, re-primed each bottle manually with 1.5tsp of dextrose and capped them. All in all the beer was uncapped for less than a day and, for what it's worth (little) I tried to keep the bottles as covered as possible. My LHBS said that the yeast would have consumed the priming sugar very quickly which is why I reprimed.

I have tested a couple of bottles over the last week and there's practically nothing in terms of carbonation. I don't mean that they seem a little undercarbed, I mean that there is literally practically nothing. At this point I am leaving them in a dark closet, out of sight, out of mind and I will see what's happening in a few weeks time, but the purpose of this thread is to collect ideas of what might be going on. I know there is no lack of food for the yeast which makes me think that the yeast isn't viable. I suppose I could open a bottle and measure the SG and compare with what I read before I bottled, that would let me know if anything is going on. Let's assume that the SG is higher than before bottling which would mean the priming sugar hasn't been consumed. What can I do? Can I open each bottle, pour gently into a bottling bucket over a yeast / sugar solution and then rebottle? I am going to try that eventually anyway. Anything rather than pouring it down the sink.

Any ideas?

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Old 04-26-2012, 06:39 PM   #2
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Were they stored above 70? First I would give it a couple more weeks just to make sure that they're just not carbed because it's not time yet, not because of not capping them right away.

You don't need to go through a grav reading to determine that, just giving it sufficient time. Besides the amount of grav increase the priming sugar would actually have added would barely register from non sugar added beer.

If you decide to add more sugar AFTER MAKING SURE THERE IS NOT ANY LEFT IN THERE. You DON'T want to pour the beer back into a bucket. That's a sure way to cause MORE damage to the beer, by oxydizing it. What do you think you'd be pouring it through, jello? No it's falling through the enemy of beer, oxygen.

You would add sugar TO THE BOTTLE, and re-cap.

The best bet would be to add priming tabs like coopers to the bottles.

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Old 04-26-2012, 06:39 PM   #3
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[QUOTE=HibsMax;4032228] At this point I am leaving them in a dark closet, out of sight, out of mind and I will see what's happening in a few weeks time\QUOTE]

Do this, 2-3 weeks and see what happens

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Old 04-26-2012, 06:52 PM   #4
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I can't tell you exactly what the temperature is / was but they are stored in the warmest place in my house - the attic - it's a heat trap. I am sure it was about 70 but I will invest in a thermometer for that area. I failed to mention, stupidly, that other beers that I bottled before and after then have had no issues with carbing (I popped open a Smithwick's, which was in the same closet, after only about a week and it was plenty fizzy - not finished but still showing good signs of carbing).

I hear you re: the oxidization. I was thinking that pouring the beer gently would be similar to when you syphon the beer into the bottling bucket. I was hoping that gentle pouring would mean less surface disruption and less oxidization. But it seems too risky.

How long would you recommend waiting before pulling the plug on this beer? I have read a lot of stories about people having crappy beer, finding it months later and really enjoying it. But is that likely to happen with a carbing issue? I guess I'm asking, what is the longest period of time you've seen a brew take to carb properly? I'll wait one more day than that.

Thanks, Max

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Old 04-26-2012, 07:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HibsMax View Post
How long would you recommend waiting before pulling the plug on this beer? I have read a lot of stories about people having crappy beer, finding it months later and really enjoying it. But is that likely to happen with a carbing issue? I guess I'm asking, what is the longest period of time you've seen a brew take to carb properly? I'll wait one more day than that.

Thanks, Max

There's never a reason to "give up" on a beer. I've had beers take 6 months to carb. I explain that here.

If it doesn't carb then you would simply just add sugar AND fresh yeast and it will carb for sure. You should never just willy nilly add sugar if you aren't sure the existing sugar isn't consumed, but you can add yeast safely any time without worrying about bottle bombs. BUT if there sugar is fermented out then adding fresh yeast won't do anything.
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:15 PM   #6
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There's never a reason to "give up" on a beer. I've had beers take 6 months to carb. I explain that here.

If it doesn't carb then you would simply just add sugar AND fresh yeast and it will carb for sure. You should never just willy nilly add sugar if you aren't sure the existing sugar isn't consumed, but you can add yeast safely any time without worrying about bottle bombs. BUT if there sugar is fermented out then adding fresh yeast won't do anything.
Thanks (again).

The only reason I reprimed is because my LHBS convinced me that even with less than one day, the yeast would most certainly have consumed all the yeast.

I'm going to go and read that thread you linked.

EDIT : read the thread. so the simple fact of the matter is I shouldn't let my mind wander to how I might better use those 12oz bottles, I should just leave the beer alone, let it do it's thing and check up on it this time next month.

I'm learning all the time. I was convinced, for no reason whatsoever, that beer carbonation would not be one of those problems fixed by time, but clearly I'm wrong. Again.
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:30 PM   #7
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Yup. If your beer is totally flat AND the sugar is gone, add sugar and yeast. You're just going to ferment that tiny bit of sugar to produce more co2 and trap it inside the bottle.

If you know there's sugar present add yeast.

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Old 04-26-2012, 08:06 PM   #8
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Last question - how do I know if there is any sugar left in the bottle? you said the priming sugar wouldn't change the SG that much, so how would I tell? I know for a fact that I added the "usual" 3/4 cup when bottling and then a further 1.5tsp / bottle when I capped but I don't know how much is still there.

Next Last question - when adding yeast to a bottle....that seems tricky. Any recommendations on doing that?

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Old 04-26-2012, 08:10 PM   #9
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1) Usually making sure the beer is above 70 degrees, shaking the bottle a bit to rouse the yeast and giving it a few more weeks (like a month) to allow the yeast in there, if possible, to eat the sugar.

2) Rehydrate said yeast in water (or use liquid) in a sanitized container, get a children's medicine dropper with ML gradients like this,



Sanitize it, open beer bottle, suck up slurry into sanitized eyedropper, squirt 1 ml of yeast into bottle, then re-cap. Give the bottles a shake, and then walk away for another 2-3 weeks to give that yeast a chance to do the job.

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Old 05-01-2012, 07:39 PM   #10
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Just wanted to give an update.

Today I was in my LHBS picking up some extra yeast and I was speaking with the owner. I've discussed this issue with him and we were talking about it again today. He suggested one thing I could do is take a bottle, pitch in some champagne yeast and see what happens. Just an experiment. So I got back home and grabbed a couple of bottles to test. Lo and behold, I pop open the first one and it's nice and frothy. I didn't touch the second one yet. I cannot believe the difference between today and a few short days ago. Night and day, no exaggeration.

Thanks for the suggestions and reassurances!

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