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Old 10-01-2012, 08:12 PM   #1
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Default bottle conditioning a barrel aged beer?

About a month ago I bottled a barleywine that I'd aged in a small 5 gallon bourbon barrel. Decided to crack one open the other day to see how it was coming along only to notice that there was very little carbonation - the beer smelled and tasted great, but it was almost totally flat. I guess it might be possible that's its just moving along slowly and could yet gain a bit more carbonation, but after speaking with some friends I'm thinking I might have needed to add more yeast in at bottling time in order for it to carbonate - it was suggested that most of the yeast likely died off/settled into the wood so when I transferred from barrel to the bottling bucket, virtually no viable yeast was brought over to bottle condition the beer with.

I don't yet have any kegging equipment (but I am looking) so what might I be able to do in the meantime to alleviate this issue on future barrel aged batches?

I'm wondering if it might work to sort of rouse what's in the barrel a bit before transferring into the bottling bucket... would that do the trick? Would I be better served just adding fresh yeast into the beer at bottling time, or maybe using a krausening method like the one mentioned here:

thanks in advance for any input you might be able to provide...


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Old 10-01-2012, 08:58 PM   #2
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It sounds like the yeast are just dormant or tired. Either that or you're not adding enough priming sugar. Personally, I would add just a simple pack of dry ale yeast a few days before bottling. That way you know you have enough healthy yeast to carbonate your beer.

As for your current batch, you can open the bottles and add a couple of grains of dry yeast to each. It's kind of tedious, but it might help them carb up.
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