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Old 07-04-2009, 02:36 AM   #1
mickchelski
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Mar 2009
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I am new to the forum and I am a novice brewer; just completed my second extract kit. I have been brewing saison style ale.

I have used two different kits, and have been very happy with the flavor profile, alcohol content, color etc. Fermenting temps and times as well as OG and TG have been in line. However, I am not happy with the level of carbonation and head.

I have reviewed various forums and based on my storage time 3 weeks + at 70 degrees + and priming sugar 4.5 oz per five gallon batch. The bottles doo hiss slightly upon uncapping but I feel I should be getting better results.

Also some forums suggest that sometimes the caps are not tight enough. ( I am using a low cost red two handed capper.) Considering the fact that I have had two different kits have the same problem I assume I am having a problem at the bottling stage.

I just recently had someone else's american ale home brew (in swing top bottles) with a super nice head and plenty of carbonation (they said they used a cuo of brown sugar.) I would like to have my brew be similar, can a quarter cup of sugar make that big a difference??

I would like to hear others with more experience thoughts comments or suggestions on the matter.


 
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Old 07-04-2009, 04:02 AM   #2
KayaBrew
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Use this handy tool next time you bottle: The Beer Recipator - Carbonation
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Old 07-04-2009, 04:03 AM   #3
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Instead of using a generic 4.5 oz package of sugar, calculate how much sugar you need to add for the level of carbonation you want and the temperature of the beer at the time of bottling. Any brewing software and several free web-based calculators will be able to do that for you (search "priming sugar calculator", and I'm sure you'll be able to find something).

For instance, if you want a nicely carbonated ale at 2.6 volumes of CO2, and the beer is at 76 degrees, you need about 5.4 oz of priming sugar (at least using my equipment, which yields about 5.5 gallons of beer).


 
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Old 07-04-2009, 03:15 PM   #4
brian_g
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When I first started my beers seemed under carbonated as well. One of the contributing factors, that affected the appearance of carbonation was how I poured the beer. The instructions will say, pour carefully to avoid getting yeast in the glass. This can be taken too far. You can pour a beer so slowly that you get almost no head at all. I was letting the beer trickle down the side of the glass. You really want to pour the beer normally for about the first 2/3s of the bottle, then slow down at the end to avoid the yeast.

The other thing is that while 3 weeks at 70 degrees should be enough time for carbonation, it may not be quite done yet. I'd say give it a month or two before making a judgment. I use the standard amount of priming sugar for all batches regardless of style and other factors, and I've been pretty happy with the results. This is not to say that fine tuning your carbonation using various equations can't add anything, but IMO, it's not really necessary for a decently carbonated beer.

 
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Old 07-04-2009, 05:38 PM   #5
LarryC
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KayaBrew View Post
Use this handy tool next time you bottle: The Beer Recipator - Carbonation
Can you help me understand how I would know what the "Desired Volume of CO2" would be? Maybe that's somewhere on the forum or in the How to Brew book but I haven't come across it yet. Is it something that is in a table by beer type?

 
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Old 07-04-2009, 06:31 PM   #6
brian_g
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryC View Post
Can you help me understand how I would know what the "Desired Volume of CO2" would be? Maybe that's somewhere on the forum or in the How to Brew book but I haven't come across it yet. Is it something that is in a table by beer type?
There's a table available online, but I don't have time to look for it right now.

 
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Old 07-04-2009, 06:33 PM   #7
brian_g
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I guess I did have time.

Brew Your Own: The How-To Homebrew Beer Magazine - Carbonation Priming Chart

 
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Old 07-04-2009, 06:35 PM   #8
marubozo
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Code:
        -------------------------------------------
        Beer style                      Volumes CO2
        -------------------------------------------
        British-style ales              1.5 - 2.0
        Porter, stout                   1.7 - 2.3
        Belgian ales                    1.9 - 2.4
        European lagers                 2.2 - 2.7
        American ales & lagers          2.2 - 2.7
        Lambic                          2.4 - 2.8
        Fruit lambic                    3.0 - 4.5
        German wheat beer               3.3 - 4.5
        -------------------------------------------
        Typical CO2 levels in bottled beers
More info about priming and carbonation levels can be found at A Primer on Priming

 
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Old 07-05-2009, 08:04 PM   #9
mickchelski
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Thanks for the responses. Going to roll the bottles around and give it two more week and see what happens. I am definitely be more careful to properly measure priming sugar bottling next time around.

 
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Old 07-05-2009, 08:07 PM   #10
Yooper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickchelski View Post
Thanks for the responses. Going to roll the bottles around and give it two more week and see what happens. I am definitely be more careful to properly measure priming sugar bottling next time around.
Also, it's better to weigh the priming sugar. Sometimes 3/4 cup of corn sugar is more packed down then 3/4 cup of a different brand of corn sugar. The only predictible way is to weigh it.
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