My Beer is Flat! - Home Brew Forums
Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > My Beer is Flat!
Cool Brewing Giveaway - Supporting Membership Drive & Discount

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 06-28-2012, 09:19 PM   #1
CurtHagenlocher
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Recipes 
 
Mar 2012
Mercer Island, WA
Posts: 52
Liked 2 Times on 1 Posts



Help! Of the last five batches I've bottled, three have turned out essentially flat. To the best of my knowledge and (poor) record-keeping, my process did not vary notably between the two successful batches and the three failed ones.

I'm hoping the good people of HBT will help me to identify
a) ideas on what I need to change to avoid this problem in the future
b) whether or not anything is salvageable from what I have already bottled

Here's my process:

1) Boil ~4-5 gallons of wort. Chill and transfer to a fermentor without trying to filter out break or other solids.
2) Primary fermentation in a 6.5 gallon bucket for ~1 week
3) Secondary fermentation for 2-3 weeks split between a 3 gallon carboy and a 1 gallon carboy. I don't want to get into the "secondary" debate, but the main reason I do this is to free my sole bucket for other uses (ie bottling or more brewing).
4) Siphon the contents of both carboys back to the bucket for bottling. I use 3.5 oz of dissolved corn sugar and add it in stages to the beer to encourage reasonable mixing.
5) Beer is in bottles for at least two weeks before I sample it.

Some more-specific details:
1) Batches 1, 4 and 5 are the ones that are flat. Batches 2 and 3 are good.
2) Much of batch 1 was accidentally exposed to oxygen during siphoning into the bottling bucket because I didn't notice that a cracked racking cane was aerating the beer. Until the failures of batches 4 and 5, I assumed that this was responsible for the problems with #1.
3) The successful batches were both dry-hopped, and both had higher gravities than any of the failed batches.
4) Batches 4 and 5 were bottled 2.5 weeks ago, so there's still the potential for more carbonation. But batch 1 was bottled over two months ago and hasn't showed any signs of improving.
5) Most of the beer goes into 12oz bottles, but I usually fill 2-3 20oz bottles as well. For batch 1, the 20oz bottles seemed to have much better carbonation than the 12oz bottles.


Any ideas?

Thanks!



 
Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2012, 09:27 PM   #2
Mongrel
Recipes 
 
Oct 2010
Sisters, Oregon
Posts: 1,745
Liked 238 Times on 149 Posts


Quote:
Originally Posted by CurtHagenlocher View Post
4) Siphon the contents of both carboys back to the bucket for bottling. I use 3.5 oz of dissolved corn sugar and add it in stages to the beer to encourage reasonable mixing.
Add your priming solution to the bottling bucket prior to siphoning. Have your siphon tube curve around the bottom of the bucket and you'll get a nice mix just by racking into your bucket.

What temp are you storing your bottles at while they carb up?



 
Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2012, 09:28 PM   #3
CurtHagenlocher
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Recipes 
 
Mar 2012
Mercer Island, WA
Posts: 52
Liked 2 Times on 1 Posts


The filled bottles are being stored at ~68-70F.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2012, 09:31 PM   #4
homebrewdad
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
 
homebrewdad's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Jan 2012
Birmingham, AL
Posts: 3,269
Liked 382 Times on 278 Posts


What's the OG of the beer? Bigger beers can take longer - even significantly more so - than three weeks (which you haven't reached yet for batches 4 & 5).
__________________
Check out the priming sugar calculator, yeast starter calculator, and the beer calorie calculator.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2012, 09:39 PM   #5
CurtHagenlocher
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Recipes 
 
Mar 2012
Mercer Island, WA
Posts: 52
Liked 2 Times on 1 Posts


I don't have my notes handy, but I seem to recall that the "failures" were all under 1.050 while the "successes" were both over 1.050.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2012, 09:41 PM   #6
Yooper
Ale's What Cures You!
HBT_ADMIN.png
 
Yooper's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Jun 2006
UP of Michigan, Winter Texan
Posts: 68,519
Liked 7370 Times on 5210 Posts


I typically use 5 ounces (by weight) of corn sugar for 5 gallons to prime the beer.

Are they totally flat (like from leaky caps), or just undercarbed a bit?
__________________
Broken Leg Brewery
Giving beer a leg to stand on since 2006

 
Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2012, 09:46 PM   #7
CurtHagenlocher
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Recipes 
 
Mar 2012
Mercer Island, WA
Posts: 52
Liked 2 Times on 1 Posts


They are almost totally flat. I do get a very slight hiss when I open the bottle, and I'm using batches of caps (and a capper) which have previously produced the expected result -- so I'm inclined to think that nothing is leaking. But is there a good way to confirm that?

EDIT: As I typically end up with about 3.75 gallons of finished beer, 3.5 ounces of corn sugar seems reasonably equivalent to "5 ounces for 5 gallons".

 
Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2012, 09:50 PM   #8
Yooper
Ale's What Cures You!
HBT_ADMIN.png
 
Yooper's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Jun 2006
UP of Michigan, Winter Texan
Posts: 68,519
Liked 7370 Times on 5210 Posts


Quote:
Originally Posted by CurtHagenlocher View Post
They are almost totally flat. I do get a very slight hiss when I open the bottle, and I'm using batches of caps (and a capper) which have previously produced the expected result -- so I'm inclined to think that nothing is leaking. But is there a good way to confirm that?

EDIT: As I typically end up with about 3.75 gallons of finished beer, 3.5 ounces of corn sugar seems reasonably equivalent to "5 ounces for 5 gallons".
Yes, that does seem like a good amount of sugar - that's why I"m puzzled.

How long do you chill the bottles before opening?
__________________
Broken Leg Brewery
Giving beer a leg to stand on since 2006

 
Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2012, 09:52 PM   #9
MisterTipsy
Recipes 
 
Jun 2012
Sketchytown
Posts: 1,024
Liked 226 Times on 147 Posts


Quote:
Originally Posted by CurtHagenlocher View Post
They are almost totally flat. I do get a very slight hiss when I open the bottle, and I'm using batches of caps (and a capper) which have previously produced the expected result -- so I'm inclined to think that nothing is leaking. But is there a good way to confirm that?

.
immerse upright bottle in a bucket of water and check for bubbles

C-Rider Likes This 
Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2012, 10:11 PM   #10
CurtHagenlocher
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Recipes 
 
Mar 2012
Mercer Island, WA
Posts: 52
Liked 2 Times on 1 Posts


I chill for at least 24 hours before opening. I understand that this may not be long enough for an optimal experience, but I find it hard to believe that it would make such a dramatic difference.



 
Reply With Quote
Reply
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Fix Flat Keg Beer? Craig311 General Beer Discussion 4 11-01-2011 08:13 PM
Flat commercial beer: Carb myself, drink flat, return? Triocd General Beer Discussion 9 02-04-2011 10:10 PM
Flat Beer ZoneOne General Beer Discussion 13 04-18-2010 04:57 PM
How much flat beer have you drank? anastasis General Beer Discussion 12 02-12-2010 02:26 PM
Flat Beer pmoneyismyfriend General Beer Discussion 9 10-25-2009 03:19 PM


Forum Jump