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Old 08-07-2007, 04:54 PM   #1
jvh261's Avatar
Jan 2007
Lyons, Illinois
Posts: 417
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts

Opened a couple of my Belgian Tripels last night for a little after dinner treat. They were bottled on 7/11 so wasn't expecting them to be perfect but wanted to give them a little taste. To my dismay, no sound at all when I popped the caps and the beer was dead flat. Tasted ok, just flat.

So what do I do... I'm assuming the rest of my batch is the same way. They're capped tight. No leaks, etc. But they're not carbing. I primed with 5oz. corn sugar for the 5gallon batch as usual. Is it possible I just got bad caps? They're the standard brewer's best caps.

Luckily I have 12 ez caps euro bottles and I'll crack one of those tonight maybe. If its carbed I know its the caps.

If it is, what should I do?

I have no experience using carbonation drops. Do I give it a shot? Do they work ok? I'd hate to lose 14 bombers of Belgian style goodness.
Primary: Zombie Dust clone
Brewing Next: Jamil's Evil Twin, SN Celebration Ale clone, Russian Imperial Stout w/ bourbon soaked oak chips
Kegged: Zombie Dust clone, Centennial IPA

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Old 08-07-2007, 05:13 PM   #2
homebrewer_99's Avatar
Feb 2005
Atkinson (near the Quad Cities), IL
Posts: 17,792
Liked 133 Times on 99 Posts

Since it's a triple it'll take a much longer than a month to get "right".

My dubbel turned 1 year old in June. I tried one last week and it was great!
HB Bill

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Old 08-07-2007, 05:51 PM   #3
FlyGuy's Avatar
Jan 2007
Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 3,605
Liked 183 Times on 53 Posts

It probably isn't the caps if there is absolutely no carbonation. If you have leaky caps, you typically get some carbonation out of the beer. Does it foam at all when you pour it? If so, get another couple of bottles and put balloons over the cap and neck of the bottle. Shake the bottles up really good to knock out the CO2 and see if the balloons inflate.

Also, here is some text I copied from a post I made to another thread. Just bear in mind that I didn't write this to answer your question specifically, but it should be generally helpful:

Step 1: If you aren't sure what has caused the under-carbonation, it is always safest to assume first that it was a yeast problem. One easy solution to lack of carbonation is to gently agitate your bottles (swirl them around, or even gently roll them across a table top) to resuspend the yeast, then move to a warm place (75-80F is perfect). After a week, check the carbonation again.

Step 2: If that doesn't work, you will have to see if adding some new yeast will get the bottles to carbonate. Pop the tops off a few bottles and add a few grains of dry yeast to each bottle (be as absolutely sanitary as you can). Move to warm temps for a week and see if that improves the carbonation. If it does, then you have a yeast problem -- add yeast to all bottles and recap, then let carbonate for 2 - 3 weeks again.

Step 3: If you are now sure that it isn't a yeast problem, you must have under-primed. You can add new sugar to the bottle if you have access to carbonation tabs. The Muntons tabs are better because they are small and you can control your carbonation level by selecting the correct number of tabs. I don't like the Coopers drops because they are too big to allow good control over how much sugar goes into the bottle.

Before you add your carb drops, you MUST get rid of any existing CO2 in the bottles. Otherwise, when you place a carb drop in the bottle, it will cause a major gusher (you can guess how I discovered this). Make sure the bottles are at room temperature, then shake them gently to drive out some of the dissolved CO2. Pry open the cap just enough to vent the gas, and repeat (you may have to do this more than once). Before you take the cap right off, chill the beer down in the fridge overnight.

Once the beer is cold, it won't foam when you put the drops in. Working quickly, take the top off the beer, add your drops, and replace the top. A spray of StarSan on the mouth of the bottle would be a good idea, too.

Once the beer is capped, move to a warm spot for 2-3 weeks and enjoy!

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