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Old 05-22-2012, 01:24 AM   #1
rb2112
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Default Help with Carbonation Problem Please!

Hi-I'm a somewhat new brewer and have recently upgraded from Mr. Beer to a five gallon set up. This is a message I sent to Brewers Best-any help troubleshooting this problem would be appreciated!:

Hi- I have bought a total of 4 of your ingredient kits and have had trouble with all of them with carbonation. I upgraded from Mr. Beer and never had a problem with any of those recipes not carbonating right. My first 2 kits I got from you were the American Cream Ale and the Belgium Carmel Wit. With each of these kits I split the batch between 2 Mr Beer kegs-each overfilled to about 2.4 gallons each (4.8 gallons total). I used all of your included ingredients and followed the instructions to the letter. I will detail each further on, but when each of these is poured, you get a quick, Alka Seltzer like head (sounds just like alka seltzerand looks just like alka seltzer) with larger bubbles that disapates in about 5 seconds. Then no head and no lacing on the glass what so ever. There are small bubbles coming up from the glass and the beer does taste somewhat carbonated-but the beers look flat and not very impressive. I just bottled your Kolsch and then I just upgraded to a 5 gal system from Mr Beer and brewed your Summer Ale and bottled it a couple days ago. In more detail, The American Cream Ale was brewed on 3/30/12, bottled on 4/13/12, bottled primed with cane sugar approximately 3/4 teaspoon each bottle. The beer was brewed with all of your ingredients with no subs, and fermented at 65-68 degrees-and bottled conditioned at 70 degrees for 2 weeks. It displays the alka seltzer characteristics with no lacing outlined above-had a warm bottle from my basement (66 degrees) tonight 5/21/12 (same thing). The Belgium Carmel Wit is the exact same way (had a test bottle tonight (5-21-12). Brewed on 4/14/12, bottled on 4/28/12. Exact same pour characteristics as the Amer. Cream Ale. The beer was fermented and bottle primed exactly as the American Cream Ale. I also brewed your Kolsch on 4-28-12, bottled on 5/16/12-have had a test bottle (5/21/12) and it appears to be on the same track as the American Cream Ale and the Belgium Wit. I had early test bottles of these beers as well and at this point it is similar to the American Cream Ale on the Belgium Wit at this point and time. My Mr Beer recipes either brewed as is or modified by me with upgraded yeast, DME, UME , hop additions (brewed 17 batches all in the same conditions as your beer kits) were almost all carbonated perfectly after only 1 week and displayed a great head and great lacing. Your beer kits were my first step away from Mr. Beer and I'm really disappointed so far. I did just upgrade to a 5 gallon set up (no secondary) and brewed your Summer Ale with this new set up in the same fermenting and bottle conditioning as outlined above. I batch primed Your Summer Ale with your included Corn Sugar and followed your instructions to the "T". I took a OG reading and FG reading, within the range of your recipe with a final Alcohol content of 4.2%. This beer was brewed on 5/6/12 and bottled on 5/18/12 (i have not tested it yet) If this turns out like your other recipes I'll be super disappointed. WHAT AM I DOING WRONG! WHY WILL MR BEER(or modified Mr. Beer) carb perfectly and show great lacing and your beers do not? They are brewed in the exact same conditions. I have searched for answers and can not find any suitable answers. Please help. I've invested around $100 in your kits and I am too embarassed to give your beer away to friends and family-because it looks like crap in the glass. Please let me know what I am doing wrong-or ask me any other questions to troubleshoot this. I want your recipes to turn out great. In fact the reason I bought your first kit- I saw a review of your American Cream Ale on Youtube that got rave reviews has a super head and awesome lacing. Not mine unfortunately. Please get back to me. Thank you, RB

Thanks for your help

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Old 05-22-2012, 01:41 AM   #2
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Few thoughts ...

Are you bottle conditioning all these for at least 3 weeks at 70F? That is really best practice, but 2 weeks is often enough.

You need to determine whether this is a carbonation problem or a head retention problem. Can you tell whether they are well carbonated by listening to how much psst sound there is when you pop the caps. What does the off gassing look like? Is it vigorous and quick ending or is there overall weak bubbling?

I assume you're using the same drinking glassware between the Mr. Beer and Brewers Best kits? Might be worth pouring into a disposable plastic or something very clean to see if it is a glassware problem.

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Old 05-22-2012, 01:43 AM   #3
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The corn sugar that brewers best puts in their kit is for priming bro. I have never used 3/4 teaspoon of table sugar per bottle. I mostly use corn sugar, 5 oz in 2 cups of water boiled, then added to beer in the bottling bucket. I think your flaws are in your processes, not their kits.

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Old 05-22-2012, 01:46 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rb2112 View Post
I also brewed your Kolsch on 4-28-12, bottled on 5/16/12-have had a test bottle (5/21/12) and it appears to be on the same track as the American Cream Ale and the Belgium Wit.
Definitely too early to make any judgements on the carbonation. Some beers (in that OG range) will definitely take three weeks to be well carbed - and bigger beers even longer.

I've never brewed a BB kit, so I can't really speak from experience on the head retention qualities.
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Old 05-22-2012, 02:05 AM   #5
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Hi Thanks for your reply- that is exactly how I batch primed my latest Summer Ale-2 cups of water, 5 oz corn sugar (my first batch prime-have not tried it yet-to early) I always bottle primed my Mr. Beer and my 1st three Brewers Best Kits with 3/4 teaspoon of cane sugar. Mr. Beer turned out great-Brewers best 5 gal kits did not carb right

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Old 05-22-2012, 02:08 AM   #6
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Hi - The BB Amer. Cream Ale has been bottle carbed for over 5 weeks. The Carb. has gotten better, but is still Alka Seltzer 5 sec fizz and no lacing. I'll be surprised if it gets better. Thanks, RB

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Old 05-22-2012, 02:13 AM   #7
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Hi- There is definately a "Psst" when you open the bottle. After that its is a 5 sec Alka Seltzer head, absolutely no lacing and tiny bubbles coming up from the glass-drinking and testing in a Belgium "Piraat" glass tulip- in the center of the glass there are alot of very small bubbles constantly coming up from the center of the glass-but no foam on the top of the beer and no lacing. It is vigorous and quick ending like Alka Seltzer (actually even quicker) and I'm using the same glassware for Mr. Beer or Brewers Best. Thanks for your help, RB

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Old 05-23-2012, 12:42 AM   #8
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Quote:
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It is vigorous and quick ending like Alka Seltzer (actually even quicker)
But then does the off gassing from within the beer come to a total or near stop? Does it have a carbonated taste (carbonic acid)?

If there is a louder psst when you pop the top and the beer is not carbonated, it could be that the yeast generated CO2 has not dissolved. That could be solved by putting a bottle in the fridge for a week - the lower liquid temps increase the CO2 solubility in the beer.
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Old 05-23-2012, 03:44 AM   #9
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First, wait longer.
A few days is not nearly long enough. Three weeks might not be long enough.

Make sure you refrigerate your bottles for a few days before opening. The cold stops the yeast, and helps to dissolve the CO2 produced by the yeast into the beer.

There's nothing in BB kits that will cause them to carbonate improperly - the kits are just ingredients, there's nothing special about them.

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Old 05-24-2012, 01:10 AM   #10
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I have the exact same problem with the belgian caramel wit kit. When fermentation appeared to be about completed I took a FG reading and then took another the next day and then another the day after that. It remained the same so i waited 2 more days (per the instructions) and then proceeded to bottling. I added the priming solution to the bottling bucket and stirred in then bottled. Left it in the bottle for 3 weeks and get the same poor head as FB.

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