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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Variations of Carbonation in bottles due to bottle capper?
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Old 05-01-2013, 02:06 PM   #1
stephenabney
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Default Variations of Carbonation in bottles due to bottle capper?

I started home brewing 4 months ago, and have bottled about 200 beers so far. All in all, I'd say it's been a success, as far as carbonation and bottling goes. However, there is variation and some unexpected results sometimes. Probably about 10 bottles have been unexpectedly flat and 10 have been unexpectedly foamy.

here's a similar capper like I am using http://csibrewers.org/content/?p=134

Since this last batch I bottled, I think my hand held bottle capper has had enough. It was getting hard to push down, pushing down sideways/halfway, and then it broke a bottle. I limped through that a little frustrated, and I knew that I was going to upgrade to something better.

So two questions.

Could my experiences with the variation of carbonation have been due in part to a cheep bottler?

What should I purchase next or is there another method that is better than what I do now? (kegging is not an option for me yet)

Thanks!


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Old 05-01-2013, 02:11 PM   #2
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Could be your priming sugar is not mixing well causing some bottles to have more sugar and some to have less. I think if it was a capper issue you'd have more bottles that were flat, and it would be less likely to cause an overcarbed bottle.


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Old 05-01-2013, 03:55 PM   #3
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Yeah, this is definitely a case of not getting a good mix of priming sugar. The bottler has nothing to do with it.

Are you racking on top of the priming sugar solution prior to bottling? You definitely want to rack on top of the dissolved priming sugar water and get a good swirl going so the sugar mixes well throughout the solution. Once it's all done, it doesn't hurt to take a sanatized spoon and give a few more gentle swirls. Just be careful not to introduce foam/froth, which is an indication that you are oxidizing the beer, which could have adverse taste consequences down the line.

Good luck!
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:30 PM   #4
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No question this is bad mixing. When I used to bottle I would stir the beer with priming sugar (careful not to aerate)for about 30 seconds just before I started bottling. You'll get some stratification if you let it sit.
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Old 05-01-2013, 06:59 PM   #5
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Great, sounds like a consensus! Guilty as charged. I had not been stirring after adding the sugar. I had been dissolving the sugar in a cup of hot water, adding it to the bucket, then assuming that the swirling of the beer from the fermenter into the bucket via the siphon would be mixing it up good enough.
Good news is. this last batch, I had a hunch about that, and I got a spoon and stirred it really good. That batch will be ready this week, so I will report the results.

As for the annoying bottle capper, and breaking a bottle, just normal from time to time, bad luck, or time for something better?

Thanks!
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Old 05-01-2013, 08:20 PM   #6
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Bad luck? I have a red baron capper that gets a little stuck on some of my bottles, i could see it breaking a bottle that may have had flaws in it. If your sticking to bottling, it might be worth it to upgrade. I bottle infrequently so its something i just deal with.
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Old 05-02-2013, 03:08 AM   #7
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I've been bottling for 4+ years and have encountered most bottling problems, lol. I agree that it's mostly a bad mixing of your priming sugar, but something I've also found is that if you add about a half vile of yeast (similar to the one you fermented with) with your priming sugar before bottling you can get a very consistent result. Also, from what I've found, the bottles are almost perfect after a week and a half in bottles.

Now when it comes to bottles, not all are created equal!! I use only reclaimed Sierra Nevada bottles or Sam Adams like bottles. They are usual thicker and stand up to a little bit more pressure, but also have the perfect lip for the hand bottler. If your gonna continue bottling I suggest making a bit of investment on the better bottles. I just went out and bought a bunch of Sierra Nevada when it was on sale and saved the bottles. Took the labels off with a soak in oxy clean, rinsed, and then ya have some perfect unlabeled bottles.

I know that was a bit long winded, but hope it helps! Prost!


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