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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Carbonation question
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Old 02-22-2012, 11:16 PM   #1
mortal888
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Default Carbonation question

This was my third batch of beer and came out great. It is a high gravity porter that I fermented for two weeks, secondaried for a week, and bottled for four weeks.

My only complaint is that I wish it had carbonated better. It has only a little bit of carbonation and doesn't foam much when I pour it. I used a priming sugar packet like normal and left about a half inch of air at the top of the bottle. My buddy says that its the type of beer that I brewed that caused it and there's not much you can do about it.

So question: What could I do in the future to ensure better carbonation?

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Old 02-22-2012, 11:24 PM   #2
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It sounds like you're using a pre-measured dose of priming sugar from a kit? You can try adjusting that at bottling. There are a few carb calculators on the web, plug some CO2 volumes in for the particular style and then use the upper end of the range.

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Old 02-22-2012, 11:29 PM   #3
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I say give it more time... High gravity beers can take along time to properly carb. Put them back in a box and put them in a warm closet for another 3 weeks or so. Then pop'em in the fridge for a week. What temperature have they been stored at? What was the alcohol %?

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Old 02-23-2012, 12:16 AM   #4
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Post the recipe along with OG and FG numbers. Need to know what yeast you used too (especially) since that will help determine if it was close enough to it's tolerance to need more time to carbonate (or if it's done all it's going to do). Also need to know how much sugar (in how much brew) you primed with.

I do agree that it needs more time to carbonate (3 weeks at 70F is the MINIMUM time before checking the brew). Also, chill a bottle for at least 4-5 days before you pour a glass to test/sample.

BTW, I think your buddy is full of it. I've had porters carbonate just fine (when I was bottle carbonating). Of course, now that I'm kegging, it's much easier to ensure proper carbonation levels in all that's on tap.

Something else, a high OG brew usually needs more than 2 weeks in primary before it's fully attenuated (depending on yeast and conditions). Moving it to secondary could have removed most of the yeast you needed to both finish, and carbonate the batch. So, you need to give it time to get the job done. I would also watch out for bottle bombs, and over-carbonation. Doubly so if you didn't confirm the FG by taking two (or more) SG reading that were identical at least 3 days apart.

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Old 02-23-2012, 11:11 PM   #5
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I used this kit in mini mash: http://www.austinhomebrew.com/produc...ducts_id=13189

The gravities were spot on. I used a double pitch of White Labs yeast.
I've been drinking on the bottles for three weeks now so that makes a total of 7 weeks they've been in the bottle. Like I said, great brew, just not enough carbonation.

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Something else, a high OG brew usually needs more than 2 weeks in primary before it's fully attenuated (depending on yeast and conditions). Moving it to secondary could have removed most of the yeast you needed to both finish, and carbonate the batch.
Got it, so three weeks in the primary next time for this recipe. After that long in primary, should I just skip the secondary? Would that help with the carbonation also?
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:52 PM   #6
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My higher gravity ales were left to condition for a couple months. My Burton ale took 5 weeks to finish in primary & settle out clear. It was def in strong ale territory. And 2 weeks fridge time to get decent head & carbonation.
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:57 PM   #7
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It may simply not be done carbing up yet. High gravity beers can take longer - the yeast can get sluggish.

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Old 02-24-2012, 12:03 AM   #8
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My point exactly,HBD. High gravity ales wil test your patience the first time around. I got some 10 months under my belt before trying my first high gravity ale. I have revvy to thank for pointing me to an irresitable quest. 1 or 2 more tweaks for next time around on the #3 Burton ale clone. That brew was said to have died as a style about 1890. So when he showed me that one,it was on! Extinct beers FTW...
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Old 02-24-2012, 12:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mortal888 View Post
Got it, so three weeks in the primary next time for this recipe. After that long in primary, should I just skip the secondary? Would that help with the carbonation also?
More like 4+ weeks in primary. But, do NOT use calendar days to decide when the brew is finished. Be 100% sure it's at the FG before you take it out of primary. I typically let my lower OG porters (around 1.070) go a full month in primary. Bigger brews get longer in primary (6-8 weeks so far). IF they're complete I then decide if they're going to keg, or if I'll be aging them on something. If not aging them, then it's off to keg where they ARE carbonated in 2-3 weeks.

While I've not had issues getting higher OG batches to carbonate when I was bottle carbonating, others have. I did use a packet of EC-1118 in my first old ale, since I was concerned about it not finishing with the original yeast. While the SG/FG didn't change, it probably provided the additional yeast to get it to carbonate in about 3 weeks. That was also about 2 months from boil to bottle. Three weeks later, they were carbonated.
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