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Old 12-23-2013, 12:07 AM   #1
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Default Another "beer didn't carb" question

My bottled beer didn't carbonate. Have read other lack of carbonation questions but they don't apply to this situation. Here is what I have done:

Been brewing all grain almost 3 years, never had this happen before. Brewed an Imperial Stout and hit all estimated gravity readings, or very close to them. It is a very high alcohol beer at 11.1 ABV. Use a tertiary brewing system in glass carboys in a temp controlled fridge, 3 weeks primary at 68 F, 1 week secondary / Dry Hop at 68 F, 2 weeks cold condition at 38 F, add priming sugar and bottle condition at 68 F for 4 weeks. NO CARBONATION. Added Coopers tabs, one per bottle. What I noticed is most bottles had no reaction but 6 foamed up as soon as the tab was added. I put these in a cooler in the house which is usually 72 F in case I had bottle bombs. I bottle conditioned the beer for another 4 weeks at 68 F in the temp controlled fridge but the beer did not carbonate, except for the 6 beers in the cooler in the house. Thinking maybe I did not add enough sugar or didn't stir the priming sugar well enough so only 6 bottles got enough sugar to partially carbonate. If that were the case the Coopers added to each bottle should have caused all the beer to carbonate, not just the 6 beers in the cooler, but it didn't.

Believe me, have been drinking the flat beer and the 11.1 ABV alcohol is there so the yeast is not dead and did what it is supposed to do, except carbonate when the priming sugar was added.

What is the next step to carbonate this beer? I am thinking of gently pouring all the beer, to avoid oxidation, back into a brew pot, heating to 75 F, pitch 1/3 yeast the recipe called for (1 pack instead of 3 packs, maybe even 1/2 pack), carboy at 68 F for 3 weeks, add priming sugar (assuming the yeast will have eaten all the sugar and produced an even higher ABV), bottle and see what happens.

Any thoughts?


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Old 12-25-2013, 01:00 AM   #2
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Why don't you pour all that beer into a keg, cool it down, and hit it with CO2 to carb it.


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Old 12-25-2013, 01:44 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by LibertyBrewer View Post
Why don't you pour all that beer into a keg, cool it down, and hit it with CO2 to carb it.
This is snide. The next worst suggestion would be to send it to goose island or sam adams and beg them for help. This is a forum to be helpful, not keglier-than-thou, or glass-is-better-than-bucket-headed.

OP, It sounds like your yeast isnt tolerating the high ABV, I had a similar problem with a roughly 11.5%abv barleywine. I ended up growing a starter of new yeast, and getting it right at krausen, then using a sterile syringe I added a small amount to every bottle. I made an effort to quickly, gently uncap and then recap quickly after adding yeast. It worked, but it only holds a minimal carb.
You could try other strains of yeast that are more tolerant of high ABV, you could try agitation by way of inverting the bottles then keeping it at 75F instead of opening then heating then definitely introducing oxidation, you could try a brett strain if you were interested in the long haul or funky flavors (I would imagine that at this point it would be very tricky anyway).

There isnt every piece of info in your post, but I think the first think i would try would be to flip the bottles gently, reflip in 8hrs, and bring it to 75-78F.

If that doesnt work, I would think of adding champagne yeast, or a high krausen starter of high-ABV tolerant yeast to the bottles in a non-oxidizing manner.
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Old 12-26-2013, 06:05 PM   #4
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At the risk of "snide" wouldn't*LibertyBrewer's idea work if he had a kegerator?

"Why don't you pour all that beer into a keg, cool it down, and hit it with CO2 to carb it"

I am having a a similar issue with my last batch of beer, it won't carbonate either. I was considering making a kegerator with the hope that I could save my beer. I'm also getting tired of bottling anyway.

Thoughts?
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Old 12-26-2013, 06:29 PM   #5
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Oh I agree it work, but it seems he is trying to get it to bottle condition, and liberty's post sounded more like "kegging is the only way to carb, bottling sux".
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Old 12-26-2013, 06:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ImperialStout View Post

What is the next step to carbonate this beer? I am thinking of gently pouring all the beer, to avoid oxidation, back into a brew pot, heating to 75 F, pitch 1/3 yeast the recipe called for (1 pack instead of 3 packs, maybe even 1/2 pack), carboy at 68 F for 3 weeks, add priming sugar (assuming the yeast will have eaten all the sugar and produced an even higher ABV), bottle and see what happens.

Any thoughts?
I would pour back into a bucket, and mix in a pack of CBC-1 mix it will and then rebottle and leave it alone for like 2 months. I would not add more sugar, if the yeast had eaten it you wouldn't have this issue.
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Old 12-26-2013, 06:43 PM   #7
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Thanks NuclearRich. Think your assessment is correct, especially where the small 5.5% beer made from this batch carbonated well. The yeast was Safale US-05 with medium flocculation, high attenuation and good for up to 10% ABV, but as with all product advertising, your mileage may vary. Actually got 80% attenuation, 1.104 OG to 1.021 FG. Funny though the 12% Barleywine I made with the same yeast came out fine.

The 11.1 ABV beer was most likely beyond the range of this particular batch of yeast or maybe I did something wrong rehydrating it to make it so. Still think looking for a yeast with higher, reliable alcohol tolerance is in order. Any thoughts? I typically make Imperial Stouts, Imperial IPA's and Barleywines in the 10 to 12% range.


I am reluctant to put re-hydrated dry yeast directly into each bottle as the amount will vary and am concerned with bottle bombs. Since I believe the yeast is dead I plan to pour the beer into the brew pot, heat to yeast temp, pitch a new batch of yeast, ferment in a carboy at 68 F for 3 weeks and, assuming the yeast has eaten all the sugar (corn sugar added at bottling time and the Coopers added later), add priming sugar and bottle, then bottle condition at 68 F for a month. Sounds like a lot of work to save 30 or so 16 ounce bottles of beer but figure doing so, if it works, will add to my understanding of the beer making process.

One problem with this method may be oxidizing the beer but am very sure I can transfer it to the brew pot without doing so. One time bottled a batch and then realized no priming sugar had been added. Poured all the beer back into the bottling bucket and added the sugar without any ill affects.
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Old 12-26-2013, 06:44 PM   #8
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Pouring it out is really going to oxidize the beer. However, maybe just add a little to opened bottles and recap.
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Old 12-26-2013, 06:48 PM   #9
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.
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Old 12-26-2013, 07:07 PM   #10
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Thanks poptarts. Never heard of CBC-1 but will pick up some tomorrow. Given my plans to heat the beer to yeast pitching temp, the amount of sugar and 11% ABV already in the beer, any thoughts on how much yeast to add? Originally used 3 packs of Safale US-05 for a 5 gallon batch, 640 ounces. Now have 20, 16 ounce bottles, 320 ounces, so thinking of adding 1.5 packets of yeast to make sure all the undigested sugars get eaten by the yeast.

An argument could be made to pitch less yeast because of the 11% ABV. An argument could also be made to pitch more because all the sugar that needs to be consumed by the yeast. What is your opinion?

Thanks


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