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Old 02-19-2011, 05:49 AM   #1
Jan 2010
Posts: 28

On January 1 I brewed my first all grain. It was a red ale and extremely simple. I ended up getting just over 75% efficiency and everything went very well. I bottled just over 4 weeks ago and it's barely carbonated. I've checked a few bottles over the last two weeks and noticed in the last week that my carbonation is no longer increasing. I understand that patience is key but it's pretty clear that this isn't going to get more carbonation. My temps have been consistent around mid-60's from ferm on and I used about 5.5 oz's of primer sugar. Now when I look back at even the beers I've done partial mash I've also had problems getting anything more than a little carbonation. Typically my carbonation lasts about 5 minutes after opening the bottle. Any ideas what I'm doing wrong? Please help me out. As cool as it would be to start kegging I'd like to figure this out.

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Old 02-19-2011, 06:01 AM   #2
Golddiggie's Avatar
Dec 2010
Posts: 11,995
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What are you using for bottles? If you're crimping caps on, try using some Grolsch style bottles in the next batch you bottle. Just to rule out bad crimping... I'm just tossing that out there since I've only used Grolsch and now Belgian bottles, so no crimped caps (don't even have a capper)...With that much sugar, you should have had good levels of carbonation (if not more than the style range)...

What temperature was the wort at during fermentation? Not air temp, wort temp... That determines how much CO2 is left in the brew, so it impacts how much sugar you need to get to the right range.

Do you put the priming solution in the bottom of the bottling bucket, then rack into the bucket, getting it to mix as you go? How do you mix the sugars in?? How much liquid/water do you use along with the sugar?

Mash efficiency shouldn't impact how much carbonation you'll get... If all the bottles are carbonated the same, then you're getting decent mixing of the priming solution...

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Old 02-19-2011, 06:10 AM   #3
emjay's Avatar
Jan 2011
Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 12,792
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Priming has nothing to do with AG vs extract brewing. You could carbonate water with that sugar as long as there was yeast present.

Three things come to mind:

-Is enough yeast getting into the bottles? If the yeast has settled a lot, try dragging the racking cane/autosiphon along he bottom to get some yeast back into suspension.

-Are you storing the bottles in a warm enough place? People might just store bottles in the fridge, but the yeast isn't going to do a whole lot at those temperatures.

-Are you letting the bottles chill for a while before drinking? 48 hours is a really good amount of time. The CO2 that the yeast produces largely remains in the headspace until it's cooled, and even then it's not instantaneously dissolved into the beer, it needs a bit of time. In particular, the practice of sticking bottles in the freezer to quickly bring beer to a drinkable temperature is an extreme example of this, but even sticking it in the fridge for just enough time to get cold enough is going to result in the beer itself being less carbonated than it should be, even though there is an appropriate amount of CO2 in the bottle overall.

Oh, and make sure the sugar is mixed into the beer VERY WELL before bottling. If the above three things don't appear to work, it's probably this, and can be demonstrated by using carbonation drops in each individual bottle instead.

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Old 02-19-2011, 03:33 PM   #4
Jul 2009
Posts: 79

are you using the proper bottle for capping? no twist off bottles.
just a thought.

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Old 02-19-2011, 04:22 PM   #5
Jan 2010
Posts: 28

Thanks for all the help. I feel that at least my thoughts have been confirmed that my carbonation has nothing to do with brew day. I do tend to let my beers sit in secondary for an extended period of time so I'll try to grab more yeast when I transfer to my bottling bucket. In my latest red ale I haven't put any in the fridge. I have been sticking them in a snow bank or into the freezer to enjoy 30 minutes later. Thanks again.

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Old 02-19-2011, 04:23 PM   #6
Waste Allocation Load Lifter - Earth Class
passedpawn's Avatar
Apr 2009
☼ Clearwater, FL ☼
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Put them in a warmer spot. They will carb. Mid 70's would be great.
- Andrew

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