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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > High variance in bottles in same batch
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Old 08-24-2009, 06:18 PM   #1
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Default High variance in bottles in same batch

I made my first extract kit over a month ago, bottled and let sit for about 3-4 weeks. Overall, tastes very good. The problem is some bottles come out with incredibly strong alcohol taste and content, others come out very weak, and others come out right where I would expect them to be. The weird thing about it is there's no pattern to it. Some bottles with a high content were bottled immediately before/after bottles with low content.

Any reason why this would occur and/or anything I can do to make sure this doesn't happen again?

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Old 08-24-2009, 07:20 PM   #2
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Just a few questions.

What did you use to clean and sanitize your bottles?
What method did you use to prime the bottles?

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Old 08-24-2009, 07:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salad 419 View Post
Just a few questions.

What did you use to clean and sanitize your bottles?
What method did you use to prime the bottles?
I ran them through the dishwasher after enjoying the commercial beer. Prior to bottling I soaked them the night before in a mixture of bleach and water, then thoroughly rinsed them off just before bottling.

I boiled priming sugar and added to the bottom of the racking bucket. I siphoned the beer out of the primary into the racking bucket into the priming sugar mixture. I think filled the bottles with the siphon hose and immediately capped.
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Old 08-25-2009, 01:00 AM   #4
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Did you stir in the priming sugar while the bottling bucket was being filled?

I had the same problem when I first started. Things I have done to correct the situation are to stop using bleach and to stir the priming sugar in while the bottling bucket is filling.

Even though "they" say the sugar solution will mix by itself, I never got consistent results until I started stirring a few times during the fill up.

I think part of the "harshness" may actually be chlorophenols from left over bleach. I switched to Star San and haven't had any of the off flavors that I used to once in awhile.

The one thing that sticks out for me the most, however is that I'm not sure a dishwasher is able to thoroughly clean the inside of a bottle. It does do well for sanitizing them, but I believe the opening is too small for any significant amount of cleaning solution to enter. You might try the bottle brush in the sink method for cleaning. You may also be tasting some slight off flavors from unclean bottles.

Hopefully, someone else can chime in on this, but those were just my results with your methods. I switched them and got favorable results. Good luck on your next batch and don't give up.

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Old 08-25-2009, 01:22 AM   #5
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None of them taste bad, they all taste good. The only difference is the level of alcohol.

That said, I'm going to move beyond the bleach with my next batch. I also didn't stir the sugar I assumed adding 5 gal of beer to the sugar would sufficiently mix it up, but I did stir the last batch I bottled this weekend.

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Old 08-25-2009, 02:41 AM   #6
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If they are all carbed the same then the sugar solution should have been mixed correctly.

Did you add any additional water beyond the sugar solution and how much did you use in the sugar solution?

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Old 08-25-2009, 02:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
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If they are all carbed the same then the sugar solution should have been mixed correctly.

Did you add any additional water beyond the sugar solution and how much did you use in the sugar solution?
Some seem like they have more head than others, but that might just be a difference in how they were poured. It's a belgian ale so it doesn't have too much head to begin with. Oddly enough, that doesn't seem to be an indicator of the alcohol content. At least not in my experience with them...

I only used 1 cup in the sugar solution. Outside of that, no other water would have made it into the bottle. I even made sure I let the water flow out of the siphon tube before anything reached the racking bucket.
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Old 08-25-2009, 09:34 PM   #8
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I don't see how you can get differing alcohol content from the same batch. You probably are either getting off flavors from inconsistent cleaning and/or sanitizing or inconsistent carbonation that is being perceived as a higher alcohol content. The carbonation could be from the primining solution not mixing. I do try to stir, but often forget, it all ultimatly carbonates but it might be somewhat different bottle to bottle. Could be that you are drinking some that have been in the fridge longer than others, this will alter the carbonation somewhat.

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Old 08-25-2009, 11:36 PM   #9
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were all the bottles chilled before being opened, in a consistent manner?

the warmer the beer, the more hop aroma, malt aroma and both hop/malt flavor get perceived.

i.e. I can see an 'ice cold' beer tasting very alcohol-ish, while the same beer at 46F degrees has a wonderful, balanced flavor.

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