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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > How long does it generally take for a beer to carbonate in the bottle?
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:36 PM   #1
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Default How long does it generally take for a beer to carbonate in the bottle?

I understand that carbonation is not the only purpose of bottle conditioning, but how long does it take for a normal beer to fully carbonate in a bottle? By asking this, I am not referring to how long before it's drinkable (aka no longer green etc.), but just until the yeast are fully done carbonating. Is it comparable to how quickly the beer originally fermented in the primary?

How do different yeasts (dry, liquid, etc.) affect this?

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Old 11-19-2012, 08:41 PM   #2
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Like we say repeatedly on here, the average minimum time for an average gravity 12 ounce beer when stored at or above 70 degrees, is 3 weeks . Gravity and temp are the two biggest factors. Some beers take months to carb up. Stouts and porters have take me 6-8 weeks. Some beers like pale ales or hefs or session beers may (emphasis on MAY, not WILL) take less that 3 weeks...more like two. But for all intents and purposes we suggest folks don't bother to touch them before 3 weeks, and don't be concerned that there's a problem until it's been 8 weeks.


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Old 11-19-2012, 08:43 PM   #3
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3 weeks at 70 degrees is the general consensus.
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thehopbandit View Post

How do different yeasts (dry, liquid, etc.) affect this?
In terms of carbonation, yeast is yeast.....the form it was pitched into the wort has no relevance.

What does seem to affect it is type of sugar added. People who use carb tabs or prime with DME have noted that at takes longer than the above for the yeast to break down the sugar and ferment it into carbonation.
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:53 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. I am aware of the general consensus to let the bottles sit at least three weeks. However, I was not sure about the carbonation times. If a beer fully fermented in the primary in less than a week, I just wondered why it would take 3+ weeks in a bottle with the same yeast and fresh priming sugar?

It was my impression that the 3 weeks number was to ensure the beer had time to mellow out, settle, and improve its flavor in addition to carbonating. What I was wondering about was if carbonation completes earlier and the rest of the time is to improve flavor etc?
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:02 PM   #6
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I've only bottled a couple times so I'm just thinking out loud, but wouldn't the time that the beer has spent in the fermenter be a factor?

If beer were left for an extra couple weeks to clarify or cold crashed to clarify, wouldn't that effect the time to carbonate since the viable yeast cells remaining in the beer would be less?
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:10 PM   #7
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It takes longer to carbonate in the bottles because there is a lower concentration of yeast and most of the vital yeast nutrition, and oxygen, that is requires by the preferred metabolic paths in cell division have been depleted. 2 day cold crash then bottle, then 2 weeks at room temperature followed by 1 week in the fridge works for me. But most of what I brew is under 5% abv.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WoodlandBrew View Post
It takes longer to carbonate in the bottles because there is a lower concentration of yeast and most of the vital yeast nutrition, and oxygen, that is requires by the preferred metabolic paths in cell division have been depleted. 2 day cold crash then bottle, then 2 weeks at room temperature followed by 1 week in the fridge works for me. But most of what I brew is under 5% abv.
Cool, thanks for the advice. I've often wondered about cold crashing with bottling. Since bottle conditioning obviously requires the leftover yeast to carbonate, is there any chance that cold crashing could make the yeast cell counts too low to adequately carb the bottles?

What is the best temperature and time length to cold crash the fermenter?
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:38 PM   #9
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C... is there any chance that cold crashing could make the yeast cell counts too low to adequately carb the bottles?
No, there's still BILLIONS of cells left after cold crashing. Plenty to carb up the beer.

The thing to realize is there's way too many variables at play to give you any kind of definitive answer about how long a beer takes to carb, or really ANYTHING for that matter.

All we can give is a guestimate, based on the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of posts on here by folks who's beers weren't carbed under three weeks, but were carbed after.

You just have to realize that carbonation is a foolproof process. You add sugar and the beer will carb. But it will takes EXACTLY as long as it needs to do so, and not a moment before.

There's no way to know when that will be.....So it's best just to wait the observed minimum...if it's carbed, fine, if not, check back in another week or two....and repeat the process as needed.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:40 PM   #10
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Revvy, thanks for the explanation and help. I appreciate it. I'll probably do a few tests at week 1, 2, and 3 to see how the process it going.


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