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Old 12-20-2011, 04:41 PM   #1
nigel31
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Default Carbonation problem (involving broken capper)

Hi Gang,

In March, I brewed up a really big (10%) all-grain Scotch ale and bottled it, after a couple months, with maple syrup. I've used maple before and really enjoy what it brings. (FYI: I used a great amount of liquid yeast and did up a good-sized/appropriate starter using a stir plate.)

Here'e the problem: On the batch before this one, part of my red baron (two-handled capper) broke on a bottle it didn't quite fit. Two little tabs snapped off. After waiting a month or so after bottling the Scotch ale, I opened one--then another and another--to find that they all had ZERO carbonation; in fact, the caps came off way too easily, almost sliding off.

I sprinkled some good dry yeast (Munton's Gold) into each bottle and recapped them (not realizing it was due to the capper). Waited a few weeks: nothing. Seems that my capper must not have done its job fully since those tabs snapped off. (I've brewed many batches, and never had a problem with the capper before this event.) Any carbonation/gas must've leaked right out, leaving me with a delicious but dead-flat batch of ale.

Did it one more time (after buying a new red baron capper)with the same flat effect. No pssst at all when opening them and zero carbonation. Pancake flat.

So...I have this wonderful, strong, delicious batch (still ~40 bottles) that won't carbonate. Added yeast twice and nothing. It seems to me that the first (or second) batch of yeast gulped down most of or all the sugars, but then the gas escaped through gaps in the incompletely sealed caps.

NOW what to do? Any suggestions short of measuring priming sugar for each bottle and re-adding yeast? I sure don't want bottle bombs (every brewer's nightmare).

Thanks a LOT for any suggestions.
Nige

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Old 12-20-2011, 04:47 PM   #2
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Well, if yeast have been added twice and nothing, you are probably out of fermentables to produce anymore CO2. I'm not sure anything short of adding more sugar to each bottle will do the job. Sorry, it's not what you wanted to hear. Maybe others have ideas, but I don't.

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Old 12-20-2011, 04:48 PM   #3
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I think your only option is to add a small amount of sugar to each bottle. Adding yeast at this point will not help at all, I wouldn't add any more. The easiest way to do it would be to use carbonation drops, that way you don't have to worry about measuring it.

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Old 12-20-2011, 09:47 PM   #4
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Thanks, guys. The Coopers drops may just be the way to go for me; hadn't considered that. Maybe I'll use 1/2 a tablet for each bottle; as it's a heavy Scotch ale, I wouldn't want it overcarbed and prickly. I'll experiment with a couple bottles and then do the whole batch when I've decided the dosage. Great idea--thanks!!!

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