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Old 03-22-2013, 11:40 PM   #1
woozy
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Default Carbonation failure-- any way to save three weeks down the road?

So my first *real* batch (Mr. Beer's instant beer in a can doesn't count... well, maybe it should...) of beer utterly failed to carbonate. Could be for millions of reasons but probably my bottles simply weren't airtight. (Intructions say siphon or pour beer "gently" during bottling; I was actually very "rough" when I bottled this batch. Would *that* cause carbonation to fail?)

Whatever the reasons, the beer itself seems really good (flavor and color are excellent) that the carbonation failure seems a shame. Is there any way to save it? Buy a carbon infuser?

Sorry if this has been covered before. Couldn't find it in the faqs.

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Old 03-22-2013, 11:45 PM   #2
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did you add priming sugar?
I wouldn't be surprized if instructions that mentioned pouring beer into bottles might skip that step.

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Old 03-22-2013, 11:54 PM   #3
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And if you did add priming sugar, what temp were they being stored at?

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Old 03-23-2013, 12:07 AM   #4
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If the bottles were not airtight you would taste a heavily oxidized flat beer rather than just a tasty but flat beer, so luckily that is not the problem.

Roughness when bottling wouldn't cause carbonation to fail (can cause some oxygen damage to the beer though, although don't worry about a splash and some foaming here and there just be as gentle as you can).

How long have you been carbonating them? Minimum recommendation is 3 weeks in a room temperature place and then 2 weeks in a cold place to force some of the Co2 from the headspace back into the beer.

If the priming sugar has been added, then maybe a warmer place and a gentle shake (I just turn them upside down slowly and back again a few times, as when first bottling) might get them carbonating again. Don't add any more priming sugar if there is some already there. If the priming sugar has not been added and the beer has hit the target for its actual final gravity before bottled, you could use half teaspoons of sugar, or get carbonation tabs/drops and pop the bottles open, add the sugar/tabs and then close them up again. A pain, but there'd be little or no loss to the beer (though I have heard that tabs can take longer to break down, and sugar to bottles can be quite inconsistent).

Alternatively, you could do this:

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Old 03-23-2013, 12:15 AM   #5
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Yes, I added priming sugar.

"Pouring" was my words, not the instructions. However, I *did* modify the instructions as I am using a Mr. Beer fermenter and didn't have a second container. My first "unreal" batch I added a spoonfull of granulated cane sugar to each bottle and that worked fine. (The beer was so-so but the carbonation was fine.) The second (first "real") batch I had priming sugar and I decided to "play grown up" so I mixed that with water put it into a plastic jug and added my wort (via a spigot so that part was properly racked). But then I didn't have a siphon so I "poured" from jug to the bottles trying to be as gentle as I could (that part *wasn't* properly racked). I'll admit I don't know what effect racking gently vs. mixing my wort and priming sugar will a blender will ultimately have. (I assumed whatever ill effect would be on flavor-- a bruised beer-- but not on carbonation. The results however were an excellently flavored utterly flat beer.) I'm willing to give my rough handling a 50% likelihood of being the reason for the carbonation failure. Then again, I bottled the beer in re-used plastic water bottles. I'm equally willing to give *that* a 50% likelihood for the failure.

But whatever the *cause* of the failure, is there any way to reconstitute this beer?

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Old 03-23-2013, 12:25 AM   #6
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>>If the bottles were not airtight you would taste a heavily oxidized flat beer rather than just a tasty but flat beer, so luckily that is not the problem.


Maybe they are oxidized and I'm too dumb to notice.

>>And if you did add priming sugar, what temp were they being stored at?

"room temperature". In my closet. No thermometer there but I imagine mid to high 60s. 2 1/2 weeks (recipe said 2 - 3 weeks) so I *could* test in a week or so but the bottles are *really* soft and I'm not going to fool myself. They aren't going to get harder.

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Old 03-23-2013, 12:29 AM   #7
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I would just leave them a while longer. I hate throwing out beer.

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Old 03-23-2013, 12:35 AM   #8
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Just give it time, when it takes off it'll be quick. If all else fails put it in a corny and force carb it. Any other way would be to messy and costly.

And if all else fails drink it flat and use it for
Cooking.

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Old 03-23-2013, 12:37 AM   #9
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I could have mismeasured the priming sugar.

I honestly don't remember what I did. I had a five gallon kit and I measured 40% (for two gallons) and I might have screwed up with my scale. Measuring 40% seems like an easy thing but when you cut open the bags and they spill and then you forget to account for the tare of the scale container and/or the ingredient bags and your scale is dinky kitchen scale from god knows and the leveling lines appear differently depending on whether you are looking at it at eye level or not and... Not ever doing that again; I'll just by the ingredients for two gallon batches directly. Bottled the remaining 3 gallons tody. Invested in real bottles and carbonated tabs this time. But I digress.

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Old 03-23-2013, 12:40 AM   #10
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I'll give 'em another week. Meanwhile I've got batch number #3 (or #1 1/2) to look forward to.

This seems to be a fun hobby, but if I'm to be honest with myself, I may not have the patient temperment for it. (I tend to be serially obsessive... oh, well.)

Thanks all.

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