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Old 11-16-2012, 02:55 AM   #1
Coolhand78
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Default inconsistent carbing?

Hi everyone, Brewed my first extract kit (True Brew Oktoberfest) 6 weeks ago. Everything went pretty well I think. Boiled my priming sugar and added it to my bottling bucket before siphoning my beer in. Didn't stir or anything; just relied on the flow of the beer to fully mix with the priming sugar.

After 1 week in bottles, I decided to test one. It was awesome. Nicely carbed, good head retention, and good flavor. I was really surprised, and I even posted about it on here about how happy I was. A week later I tried another one, and it had WAY too much head, but it still was good beer. Tonight, after 3 weeks in bottles I had another one, completely expecting it to be great. However, on this beer there was very little carbing and almost no head at all. I'm kind of disappointed.

What are your thoughts on this inconsistency? I was planning on sharing a bunch of these, my very first homebrews, this weekend with family. I really hope this latest beer was just an anomaly, and the rest are much closer to that very first beer I sampled 2 weeks ago.

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Old 11-16-2012, 03:03 AM   #2
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I had a similar issue with a honey wheat beer I did having one bottle that was perfect, the next under carbonated and the next over. I didn't stir my priming sugar in either and thought that may have been the issue. I left them to age for another few weeks and they mostly evened out. I gently stir my beer when priming now (being sure to avoid getting air in it) and haven't had that issue since. Not sure if that was the cure to this issue or it was just something with that particular batch, but it seems to have worked for me so far.

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Old 11-16-2012, 03:06 AM   #3
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I always gently but thoroughly mix my priming sugar with my beer, I use my plastic mash paddle, I make sure not to splash or draw air down into my beer while doing this.

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Old 11-16-2012, 03:18 AM   #4
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I've had some really inconsistent head too. In fact, the one I JUST poured is one finger of beer and the rest is foam! The last batch I added my sugar to 2 cups of water instead of my usual single cup. So far that seems to have done the trick.

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Old 11-16-2012, 03:39 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bleme
I've had some really inconsistent head too. In fact, the one I JUST poured is one finger of beer and the rest is foam! The last batch I added my sugar to 2 cups of water instead of my usual single cup. So far that seems to have done the trick.
Yeah, my first one was just 2 fingers of foam (perfect for only being in bottles for one week), 2nd was 1 finger of beer and the rest foam at 2 weeks, and now at 3 weeks no foam at all. I don't get it.
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Old 11-16-2012, 03:46 AM   #6
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Some will tell you not to stir and that racking on top of the priming sugar is good enough to mix it... I say MALARKEY!!!
Stir it gently as others have said and do yourself a favor and weigh your priming sugar instead of measuring by volume.

Fyi you should NEVER have good carbonation after 1 week. It should take 3-6 weeks for it to fully carb in the bottles.

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Old 11-16-2012, 04:19 AM   #7
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3-6 weeks... But I want to drink my beer now and it's not even in the bottle. But so as the gentle stirring goes, good idea right?

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Old 11-16-2012, 04:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dallasdb
Some will tell you not to stir and that racking on top of the priming sugar is good enough to mix it... I say MALARKEY!!!
Stir it gently as others have said and do yourself a favor and weigh your priming sugar instead of measuring by volume.

Fyi you should NEVER have good carbonation after 1 week. It should take 3-6 weeks for it to fully carb in the bottles.
This was my beer after 1 week: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/tested-my-first-homebrew-today-365061/
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Old 11-16-2012, 05:49 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Coolhand78 View Post
To clarify my previous comment. If you would've stirred and/or had consistent carbonation throughout your entire batch that you bottled you would've never had that much carbonation after 1 week. AKA that one bottle probably has a $@#% ton of priming sugar in it to carb that quick that fast.

If you wait a few weeks you will probably have some beers that will be a fountain of foam spewing all over the place and some that will have little to no carbonation. I've been there, done that, and I bought the shirt!

Heck you might even have some bottle bombs if you wait long enough. Been there too!

It's a learning curve for sure but remember, sanitize something to stir with after you rack on top of the priming sugar, stir it gently without breaking the surface or making air bubbles (aka don't let oxygen get into the beer).

For me I used to stir 30 seconds gently in one direction, wait until the beer almost stopped swirling then gently stir 30 seconds the opposite direction, then bottle.

I bottled and served 6 batches for my sister in laws wedding September 10th. EVERY bottle was consistently carbed and carbed to style. Example: Oatmeal stout has low carbonation, Cream ale had med/high carbonation.

I weighed the priming sugar instead of measuring by volume and differed the weight of priming sugar for the different styles and differing carb levels.

Sorry for the novel but I'm trying to prove a point and save you a headache next batch. It took me 6 batches before I realized stirring gently before bottling was the way to go.
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:26 PM   #10
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Ok, thanks for the explanation. Now I know what you meant. Before bottling, I read a lot of opinions on stir vs. don't stir. It seemed the prevailing opinion was not to stir. However, if all of these bottles are wildly inconsistent, I'll have to give stirring a try. Or perhaps siphon on top of half the priming sugar, and half way add the rest?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dallasdb View Post
To clarify my previous comment. If you would've stirred and/or had consistent carbonation throughout your entire batch that you bottled you would've never had that much carbonation after 1 week. AKA that one bottle probably has a $@#% ton of priming sugar in it to carb that quick that fast.

If you wait a few weeks you will probably have some beers that will be a fountain of foam spewing all over the place and some that will have little to no carbonation. I've been there, done that, and I bought the shirt!

Heck you might even have some bottle bombs if you wait long enough. Been there too!

It's a learning curve for sure but remember, sanitize something to stir with after you rack on top of the priming sugar, stir it gently without breaking the surface or making air bubbles (aka don't let oxygen get into the beer).

For me I used to stir 30 seconds gently in one direction, wait until the beer almost stopped swirling then gently stir 30 seconds the opposite direction, then bottle.

I bottled and served 6 batches for my sister in laws wedding September 10th. EVERY bottle was consistently carbed and carbed to style. Example: Oatmeal stout has low carbonation, Cream ale had med/high carbonation.

I weighed the priming sugar instead of measuring by volume and differed the weight of priming sugar for the different styles and differing carb levels.

Sorry for the novel but I'm trying to prove a point and save you a headache next batch. It took me 6 batches before I realized stirring gently before bottling was the way to go.
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