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Old 09-03-2010, 08:07 PM   #1
PuppetmanInBC
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Default Priming Beer - some questions after a few batches went wrong

I've made about 6 batches of beer (partial mash), mostly IPA, but a Hefeweizen as well.

When I made the Hefeweizen, I primed it with 1/2 cup of dextrose prior to bottling. The beer came out flat - there would be a small head when first poured, no bubbles, and eventually it would be like drinking juice - no fizz at all.

The next batch I made was an IPA. Eager to overcompensate for my Hefeweizen issue, I decided to increase the dextrose to 3/4 cup. Some of the beer went in large 1-litre bottles, and the last bottle from this batch had most of the 1-litre pour out as foam when opened - it was a beersplosion.

Is it normal that a Hefeweizen needs more priming, and an IPA less? How much dextrose to use in priming seems to vary. My copy of How To Brew says 3/4 cup, if I recall (my brother-in-law is temporarily hording my copy).



Help appreciated.

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Old 09-03-2010, 08:16 PM   #2
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Welcome.

You haven't told us how long you wait before openning your bottles or what temp you store them at to carb and condition.

The 3 weeks at 70 degrees, that that we recommend is the minimum time it takes for average gravity beers to carbonate and condition. Higher grav beers take longer.

Stouts and porters have taken me between 6 and 8 weeks to carb up..I have a 1.090 Belgian strong that took three months to carb up.

Everything you need to know about carbing and conditioning, can be found here Of Patience and Bottle Conditioning. With emphasis on the word, "patience."

In basic brewing it's traditional to use between 4.5 and 5 ounces of priming sugar regardless of the beer you are bottling (which produces between 2.5 and 3 volumes of co2.) BUT many folks "carb to style" meaning that yes, different styles have different levels of carbonation. Generally higher gravity styles tend to have lower carbonations (this is a generalization though many Beligain are high gravity and highly carb) but traditionally a Barleywine will not have much carbonation, while your traditional light lager will be highly carbed.

Some info about that is here http://www.byo.com/resources/carbonation

But first and foremost make sure your beer is sitting above seventy degrees, for at least 3 weeks, but some take much longer.

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Old 09-03-2010, 08:20 PM   #3
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Greetings from elsewhere in the Lower Mainland. A Hefeweizen should be more highly primed than an IPA, stylistically speaking.
I use this as a guide for priming, since one amount of corn sugar doesn't work for every style:
http://oz.craftbrewer.org/Library/Me...pleGuide.shtml

How long were they bottle conditioned for, and how long were they fermented for? Were all of the bottles equally primed, or was it a mixture?

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Old 09-03-2010, 08:20 PM   #4
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What I screwed up about my first bottle priming is that I had the cases sitting on the floor in the basement. The basement itself was in the correct temperature range, but the floor kept the bottles just a little too cool to carb correctly.

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Old 09-03-2010, 08:27 PM   #5
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Hefeweizens should generally be a little on the fizzy side.

The IPA might not have been done fermenting, so you may have been dealing with carbonation from both the dextrose and unfermented sugar from the wort. 3/4 cup sounds about right for an IPA.
Did you check the FG a few times over the course of a few days to make sure it was done fermenting before bottling?

There is an online version of an older edition of the Palmer book available online, to check until your BIL gives yours back:
http://www.howtobrew.com/sitemap.html

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Old 09-03-2010, 08:33 PM   #6
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Do yourself a favor and get one of these. You will be much more precise in your measurement of bottling sugar as well as hops and additives for general brewing. I use mine multiple times during each brewday and bottling session.

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Old 09-03-2010, 08:57 PM   #7
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Jeepers - thanks for all the replies. Answers below:

Both batches were in a primary till they stopped bubbling, and then in a secondary for 10 days (approx).

Both batches were made in the spring. The foam-fountain IPA was opened just last week. The Hefeweizen still lingers-on in a case in the closet (down to 10 or so bottles). So carbonation should have finished.

I am very specific about the temp I ferment and condition the beer at - I use exactly the same temperature as the temperature in the house. Ya - it varies from 66 F in cooler weather, to 88 in the evening of a hot summer day.

There was a decent yeast colony at the bottom of the Hefeweizen, so I suspect it was a priming issue, not a storage/fermentation issue.

I boil up the priming solution, let it cool, add it to the (now empty) primary fermentor, and then siphon the beer over from the secondary - the priming sugar should be pretty evenly mixed.

The "Essential Guide to Bulk Priming" is a great resource - thanks. Looks like I should have reversed the dextrose - 3/4 cup for the Hef and 1/2 cup for the IPA.

I do have a very accurate digital scale I use for baking, that measures to the gram - will be perfect for the dextrose.

soundsandsuds - do you belong to the homebrew club?

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Old 09-03-2010, 09:39 PM   #8
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No, I don't but i'm planning on joining. Are you talking about Vanbrewers?

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Old 09-03-2010, 09:43 PM   #9
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Yes - that's the one.

Everything interesting seems to happen on a Wed night - my wife works, so I am looking after the kids. Not sure how encouraging she would be of me bringing a 5 and 7 year old to a meeting about beer. And neither could drive me home if I had more than a couple.

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Old 09-03-2010, 10:01 PM   #10
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I've got a newborn, so it probably won't happen in the near future. Not until everything's settled down here and my wife's comfortable with the baby by herself. (I'm on parental leave right now.)

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