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Old 02-17-2013, 05:22 AM   #1
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Default Getting Ready for First Batch: Ideal Carbonation Recommendations

Hello guys,

As I get ready to work on my first batch (currently studying as much as I can) I wanted to ask about something that caught my eye: over carbonation (a.k.a. exploding bottles).

Even though this could/will happen to the most cautious, I wanted to see what is the best recommendation you can give to someone who is pretty new to this art.

Anything I should keep it mind, dos and don'ts, etc. Just advice on what will eventually avoid dangerous situations.

Thanks!

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Old 02-17-2013, 06:21 AM   #2
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What bottles are you using? It makes a huge difference. I have found that you can go over quite a bit without hurting anything but it depends on how much you let your beer age and how much sugar you put in. I know that others with disagree with me here and say it is not sanitary, but i have found putting 1/4 tsp of corn sugar in each 12oz. bottle was perfect if my beer was done. It's not as sanitary as you should be... and actually I'd recommend boiling your sugar in water but I've done it both ways and my best heads and suds have come from just putting 1/4 tsp. in each bottle. Now if you are keg carbing that's a different story.

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Old 02-17-2013, 06:29 AM   #3
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The best thing you can do actually, if find out how how much carbonation you want then boil that amount of sugar in some water. Then either pur that sugar water into your main fermenter slowly and stir slowly, or put it in a bottling bucket and then slowly drain your beer into that. Either way, if you put all the sugar in at once you want to do it slowly as as to not get any oxygen in it. After that just bottle it and wait for it to carb.

That's why i prefer putting sugar in each bottle. Yes it is less sanitary but I've never gotten anything bad from it. That way you know each bottle will be just about as much carbed as all the others.

But I Keg carb now so it's not an issue anymore. If I was still bottling, I'd put 1/4 tsp. in each 12 oz. bottle. It obviously goes up if it is a bigger sized bottle.

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Old 02-17-2013, 09:57 AM   #4
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Here is a good read on the topic from Palmer's book.
http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter11.html

Boil about 2 or 3 cups of water, turn off the heat, add the sugar, and let it cool down some. This way it is sanitary and well mixed in solution. Then add it to the bottling bucket before transfer.

The bottling bucket with bottle wand has been the easiest for me. Approx 1 oz (by weight) corn sugar per gallon. I just use the 5 oz corn sugar packages from the brew store. If the batch is a little less than 5 gallons, I don't worry about it.

On transfer, make sure that the siphon hose is on the bottom of the bottling bucket to avoid splashing. The sugar will mix as it fills, and you can stir it some afterwards to get an even mix. I always give it a stir a few times during bottling - say every couple gallons or so I give it a stir.

I always use the thickest bottles - either the EZ cap swing tops or the thickest empty bottles from beers that I buy.

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Old 02-17-2013, 11:05 AM   #5
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Overcarbonation is not the same thing as exploding bottles. Bombs are when bottling is done before fermentation is complete. You would have to put a lot of sugar in each bottle to get it to explode.

If your only concern is the safety aspect, RDWHAHB. Just take gravity readings every couple of days and when it's stable, you're safe to bottle.

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Old 02-17-2013, 02:06 PM   #6
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This is the best tip I can give you: Bottling tips for the homebrewer
Also leave it in the fermenter for 3 weeks then check gravity. That gives the yeast plenty of time to clean up and the beer to clear.

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Old 02-17-2013, 10:43 PM   #7
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Default Grolsh Bottles + Sugar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Niv View Post
What bottles are you using?
I actually have no equipment at the moment, just getting ready to get things going for the first time! All I know is that I do not want to use plastic; I only want glass. I would like to buy the bottles that have the caps on them already. The book I am reading now suggests to get Grolsh beer and reuse the bottles (just make sure the gasket is replaced every time, each bottle).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Niv View Post
I know that others with disagree with me here and say it is not sanitary...
If I understand correctly, simply adding the sugar to the bottle is not safe (since everything needs to be disinfected). I actually have seen videos of brewers just adding the sugar straight to the bottle like you recommend.
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:45 PM   #8
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Default How much carbonation?

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Originally Posted by Niv View Post
find out how how much carbonation you want
I like something between the carbonation of a Guinness and a good, hoppy IPA, if that makes sense. Smooth but a bit crispy (not Pilsner crispy; just enough to focus on flavor first).
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jethro55 View Post
Here is a good read on the topic from Palmer's book. http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter11.html
Hahahaha... this URL answers the question I asked Niv already! Thanks man.

QUESTION: I am serious about using the best ingredients. Have you guys tried to use brown sugar instead of commercial, white (as in nutrient-deprived white) sugar? This is the sugar I use for everything around the house.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:11 AM   #10
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I always use corn sugar. It comes pre-packaged in 5 oz sealed bags at the local brew store. It adds no flavors that I can tell and have had no problems.

I tried carbonaton tablets one time when I was adding directly to the bottles. It was handy, but I was unsure about sanitation due to handling and storage.

Regular household sugar works and so does brown sugar. In fact, lots of different sugars work. Even syrups.

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Civilization begins with Beer !

Primary: nothing in the pipeline at the moment
Secondary: some summer beers are imperative
Bottled: Nut Brown, Listermann's Cream Ale, American Pale Ale, Holiday Ale, HopNog, Honey Malt Cream Ale, Irish Stout, English Brown Ale, BIAB English Ale, India Black Ale, Bengal Juice, BIAB Cherry Wheat on the cherries, Belgian Pale Ale, Island Hefe on Mango, Island Hefe on Apricot (and dang -these are awesome beers)

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