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Old 02-23-2010, 03:12 AM   #1
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Default No carbonation in bottle after six weeks -- what to do?

Hi all,

I brewed a Chimay Blue Clone (Austin Homebrew extract kit) a while back and left it in the primary fermenter for two months. I then bottled it (after adding the priming sugar) and it has been six weeks. when I popped one open yesterday (after refridgerating for two days) it had zero carbonation. No pop, perfectly flat.

Now, I'm aware of the llazy_lama's famous graph about high OG beers requiring more time to carbonate (although I don't have it handy). But this seems like more than that. Is it possible that all of my yeasties have died? If so, should I open all of the bottles, pour back into a bucket, re-pitch some yeast, and re-bottle? Is there anything else I can do to ensure good carbonation?

Obviously, I'll sanitize everything along the way. How much do I have to worry about oxidation and such?

Thanks for any and all advice!

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Old 02-23-2010, 03:21 AM   #2
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Three questions:

1. What was the highest temperature your beer reached after the active fermentation ended (approximately)?

2. How much priming sugar did you use?

3. At what temperature are you storing the bottles?

I highly doubt your yeast died. From what I hear it would smell pretty awful.

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Old 02-23-2010, 03:26 AM   #3
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The beer has been consistently between 60 and 70 since it was bottled, possibly up to 72 or something. I used 4.5 oz priming sugar (standard in Austin Homebrew kits).

I've had great, great luck with AHS kits -- this is the first time it hasn't worked for me. The beer doesn't smell or taste bad -- perhaps a little on the sweet side compared with "real" Chimay Blue, but this is an extract kit after all.

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Old 02-23-2010, 03:29 AM   #4
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Can you see a layer of yeast on the bottom of the bottles? I'm guessing you should. If so, shake those things up and give it another couple weeks and see if that helps.

Absolutely do not pour the beer back into the bucket, though. If it still isn't carbed up, get some carb tablets and add them per the directions to each bottle and recap.

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Old 02-23-2010, 03:34 AM   #5
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Thanks so much for your help, mojotele. No residue at all in the bottom of the bottles. I'm worried about adding even more sugar to the bottles at this point -- I already primed it.

Out of curiosity -- why do you say "absolutely do not pour back in the bucket"?

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Old 02-23-2010, 03:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peripatetic View Post
left it in the primary fermenter for two months.
Maybe you were just extra careful when racking and didn't get enough yeast in there. Might take even longer to carbonate with so little yeast.

How did you add the priming sugar? You may also be at risk of having some low/non carbonated ones and some uber carbonated bottle bombs..
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Old 02-23-2010, 03:55 AM   #7
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I added the priming sugar like I always do -- boil the sugar in a cup of water, let it cool, pour it in the bottom of a bucket, and then siphon the beer from the carboy into the bucket with the end of the siphon submerged and causing a slow circular motion. It should be very well mixed.

Maybe I'll give it another month and see what it is doing. But right now it is absolutely, perfectly flat, with not even a hint of a hiss when popping the cap.

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Old 02-23-2010, 04:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peripatetic View Post
I added the priming sugar like I always do -- boil the sugar in a cup of water, let it cool, pour it in the bottom of a bucket, and then siphon the beer from the carboy into the bucket with the end of the siphon submerged and causing a slow circular motion. It should be very well mixed.

Maybe I'll give it another month and see what it is doing. But right now it is absolutely, perfectly flat, with not even a hint of a hiss when popping the cap.
Try another bottle, that is weird. Did you rack it above the yeast cake, trying not to agitate it? Because you may have very very little yeast if you did that and left it for two months. I'd suggest buying some dry yeast and adding a very little sprinkle to each bottle if they are still not carbonated in a few weeks.. I don't know what to say about priming again. If there is no "hiss", the priming sugar is probably still in there..
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Old 02-23-2010, 04:23 AM   #9
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Pour them back into the bucket, stir in some dry yeast, then re-bottle. Just try to avoid a lot of splashing. Don't add more sugar. Been there done that.

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Old 02-23-2010, 04:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peripatetic View Post
Thanks so much for your help, mojotele. No residue at all in the bottom of the bottles. I'm worried about adding even more sugar to the bottles at this point -- I already primed it.

Out of curiosity -- why do you say "absolutely do not pour back in the bucket"?
Wow. No residue at all. Sounds like you have little to no yeast in there. What yeast did you use?

I said to "absolutely" not pour it in the bucket to avoid oxidation. But, if your yeast content is that low, it may be unavoidable. If it comes to that, lower the bottles as far down in the bucket as possible without dunking your hand in there and pour against the side to avoid splashing. Then follow the advice in the post above.
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