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Old 10-07-2009, 06:07 AM   #1
Sep 2009
Palo Alto, CA
Posts: 7

Hey there!

I bottled my 2nd batch of beer (the Belgian Dubbel recipe from Papazian) the other day and I have a couple of newbie questions about it:

1) I forgot to top off my fermenter with water so that it would contain 5 gallons of wort/water. Instead, it ended up containing about 4.5 gallons of beer, so I adjusted the 3/4 cup of priming sugar accordingly and added a little more than 2/3. Was that a good idea? I'm hoping the beer doesn't end up undercarbonated (my last batch was... for other reasons).

2) I don't know if larger bottles call for more/less space at the top. I ended up leaving 1-1 1/2 inches of space for my 12 oz as well as 22 oz bottles. Anything out-of-the-ordinary I should expect?


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Old 10-07-2009, 10:59 AM   #2
Grinder12000's Avatar
Jul 2008
Columbus WI
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Not the preferred technique but just off the top of my head I can't see any real problems with #1 and #2 seems fine. I don't think I have any difference with head space with bombers.
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Old 10-07-2009, 12:31 PM   #3
Edcculus's Avatar
Jun 2007
Greenville, SC
Posts: 4,546
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You were right in adjusting the priming sugar. I don't have any programs in front of me, so I couldn't tell you if the amount was correct. The biggest thing that helped me with carbonation was Beersmith and a scale. This way you aren't guessing. Put in the volume, temperature of the beer and amount of carbonation you want. It will give you a measurement (by weight) of how much to use. My carbonation was all over the place efore I started measuring by weight.

Are you using a bottling wand? That really takes the guesswork out of it. Just fill to the top of any size bottle, then withdraw the wand. The space the want took up will leave the perfect amount of head space in any bottle.

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Old 10-07-2009, 12:35 PM   #4
Oct 2009
Philadelphia area, PA
Posts: 176
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Adjusting the sugar rate was fine...if anything Belgian's benefit from carbonation on the higher side. A lot of it depends on how old the beer is and if you pitched a good healthy yeast so that it can get the traditional bottle fermentation.

As far as the spacing goes, I just leave about an inch of space on any bottle, and it's worked fine in the past.

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Old 10-07-2009, 12:50 PM   #5
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
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Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
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If you use a bottling wand and fill from the bottom up, when you pull the wand out it automatically leaves the same amount of headspace regardless of the size bottle you use, it is done by the displacement of the wand in the bottle at the time of filling.

There's a bunch of great tips (not just by me) about bottling here,
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Old 10-08-2009, 03:01 AM   #6
Sep 2009
Palo Alto, CA
Posts: 7

Thanks for the very helpful responses!

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