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Old 07-28-2010, 03:17 PM   #1
MaxPower49
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Default Flat Beer... help me fix it

OK, here is what happened... I’m fairly new at homebrewing. The last two batches I made (all from*alternative beverage) have called for 1 cup of priming sugar right before bottling. Both of those batches came out way overcarbonated (to the point where you can only pour half a bottle of beer in a glass because there is so much head… makes you burp after every drink).

This batch (DFH 90 minute clone) also called for 1 cup of priming sugar, but I decided to only use part of it to prevent over carbonation. I didn’t really measure is, but I think I used about 2/3 of the cup of sugar it came with (I actually bottled this in February… just haven’t had time to fix it yet). When I crack open a bottle, I just get the slightest hiss… no bubbles at all. When racking to the bottling bucket, I was also pretty careful about trying not to suck up much trub.

So I guess the problem could be that I didn’t use enough priming sugar, or that I didn’t get enough yeast into the bottles to carbonate. Any thoughts? What would be the best way to fix it? I was thinking of opening all of the bottles and pouring them back into the bottling bucket. Adding more priming sugar (1 cup this time I guess?) and rebottling. Do I need to add some dry yeast also? Do I need to resanitize the bottles if I’m just going to put the beer right back in?

Need some help here from experienced brewers. Thanks in advance.*

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Old 07-28-2010, 03:30 PM   #2
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"I didn’t really measure..."

That's probably the biggest problem here. It could also be that the priming sugar mixed unevenly. Some of your bottle might be over carbonated. I definately wouldn't re-bottle. You run the risk of oxidizing the beer. Your best bet is to either deal with it, drink what you have and the next time measure. OR, you could pick up some carbonation tabs, and just recap what you have. Granted, this could also lead to overcarbonation and bottle bombs.

I'd say your best bet is to say 'lesson learned' and just move on. Sounds like the beer is at least partially carbonated, and while not great, its drinkable, which is better than totally flat.
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Old 07-28-2010, 03:30 PM   #3
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Did you measure the final gravity before you added the priming sugar? If so, then compare that to the gravity of your beer right now. If they are the same, then the yeast did consume those sugars and that isn't the problem.

If the current gravity is higher than your measured FG, then you could just uncap some bottles and sprinkle a couple dry yeast pellets in each bottle and recap. This could solve your issue.

The only other thing that I could think of is that your bottles are not sealing well.

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Old 07-28-2010, 03:32 PM   #4
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Hello fellow Charlotte brewer. The standard amount of corn sugar to use in most batches is about 3/4 of a cup, but it can vary by style.

You can use carb drops in your bottles to add a bit more sugar and then recap them. I would avoid trying to pour them back into the bucket and repriming as that would be messy, time consuming, it would oxidize your beer and leave it open to infection. Be very careful about how many drops you add though, I would only use 1 carb drop per bottle at most.

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Old 07-28-2010, 03:38 PM   #5
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Typically I use between 4 and 5 ounces (by weight) of corn sugar to carb a 5 gallon batch and I've been happy with my carbing so far.

How's the beer (other than being a little flat)? I don't mind a beer with light carbonation, especially a bigger beer. Going through all the effort of dumping stuff out and trying to fudge the carbonation again seems like overkill and a lot of opportunity for problems.

If you were to do this (and I don't think you should) then I'd say yes you'd need to sanitize everything. If you put in a brand new packet of yeast there's be way to much yeast for just carbing the beer. You'd probably end up with a lot of sediment, could end of with off flavors from the beer sitting on all those yeasties (don't remember what that's called).

What temp have these been kept at? If you were to move them to a warmer location and swish them about a bit to try to awaken whatever yeast remain you might get some more carbonation.

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Old 07-28-2010, 03:39 PM   #6
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Step one: get a straw

Step two: put in glass 'o beer

Step three: blow

There! not flat!

I would say to stick to instructions at least your first time brewing that recipe. I wouldn't experiment with a totally different kind/style/recipe of beer just because of results from a previous brew.

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Old 07-28-2010, 04:15 PM   #7
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You first two batches were likely overcarbed because the beer didn't reach terminal gravity before bottling. If this was the case, then the yeast were still producing co2 when you added the priming sugar.

Your 90 minute clone probably is simply not done carbing yet. Higher gravity beers take longer to bottle condition. I'd wait 1 month from the bottling date, put 1 beer in the fridge for 2 days, and then test. From there, just repeat every week or so until the carb level is what you expect.

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Old 07-28-2010, 04:18 PM   #8
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Drink up....That's what I would do

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Old 07-28-2010, 06:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wonderbread23 View Post
You first two batches were likely overcarbed because the beer didn't reach terminal gravity before bottling. If this was the case, then the yeast were still producing co2 when you added the priming sugar.

Your 90 minute clone probably is simply not done carbing yet. Higher gravity beers take longer to bottle condition. I'd wait 1 month from the bottling date, put 1 beer in the fridge for 2 days, and then test. From there, just repeat every week or so until the carb level is what you expect.
If you read his post, he said that he bottled it in February. That's a long time, way longer than one month. Can a 9% beer really take 5 months to carb?
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Old 07-28-2010, 07:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devilishprune View Post
If you read his post, he said that he bottled it in February. That's a long time, way longer than one month. Can a 9% beer really take 5 months to carb?
Huh, missed the Feb. part. After 5 months its not likely to do anything else. Adding more sugar (carb drops) at this point won't do a thing. The yeast is likely toast from the high ABV. Instead of more sugar, I'd by a pack of US-05, open each bottle, drop in a few grains or yeast, and then reseal...
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