10% Stout not carbed.

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BongoYodeler

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Back in July we bottled my wife's first ever homebrew - a one gallon 10% Imperial Coffee Stout. After a 28 day fermentation we siphoned from the fermenter to a bottling bucket and gently stirred the beer. We added one level tsp of table sugar to each of 7 bottles prior to filling them with beer, ( a method I picked up from @TwistedGray ) . We then bottled in swing-top Grolsch style 16oz bottles. Completely filled 6 bottles, the 7th one we were only able to get about 2/3 filled. Fermentation temps were room temperature, which mostly occurred during the summer to fall. Average daytime temps in the house would have been around 72-75° during the day, and 68-70° at night.

Fast forward to mid November when we opened the partially filled bottle. It was perfectly carbed and tasted wonderful. We've opened three more of the filled bottles since then and each one was not carbed at all. Tasted wonderful though.

Some thoughts - the 7th bottle contained more sugar per oz than the others. The 7th bottle contained more trub (maybe that includes more yeast??) than the others. First time using swing-top bottles. Are they ok for longer term storage? I'm assuming they are.

Yeast was 1/2 packet of dry Nottingham, which is probably pushing the boundaries for a 10% beer, but it fermented as expected per Beersmith.

OG: 1.094 (measured)
FG: 1.018 (measured)

Recipe was:
78.9% 2-Row
7.2% Crystal-80
3.6% Chocolate Malt
2.7% Flaked Barley
2.7% Flaked Oats
2.7% Special B
2.2% Roasted Barley
.5oz. Nugget @ 60mins.
1oz Centennial @ 5mins.
2oz Medium Roast Coffee, coarsely ground, hopsack-steeped at ~170° for ~30 mins.

Even though the coffee favor didn't make it through I can definitely recommend this recipe, it smells and tastes absolutely wonderful!!

Any thoughts on if and how I can carb the remaining bottles? A little yeast and a little sugar perhaps?
 
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hout17

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I would suspect that with older swing-tops, but these were brand new. First time using them actually.
I've had brand new ones do the same thing as well. When I purchase swing tops I generally replace the gaskets before they see beer.

The problem may be elsewhere but I would still suspect the swing top.

Did the uncarbed beer taste sugary at all?
 

Novacor

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I had a similar thing happen to me with an imperial pumpkin ale that was pushing 10%. Most bottles were completely flat after a few months, but every once in a while I'd open one that was carbonated perfectly. I figured that the high abv messed up my yeast, but still can't explain why a few random bottles carbonated.
 
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BongoYodeler

BongoYodeler

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I've had brand new ones do the same thing as well. When I purchase swing tops I generally replace the gaskets before they see beer.

The problem may be elsewhere but I would still suspect the swing top.

Did the uncarbed beer taste sugary at all?
Interesting.
No I can’t say it tasted sweet. If anything it kind of reminded me of a non-carbed , less viscous Ten Fidy.
 
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BongoYodeler

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Update. This morning I took one of the remaining three bottles and gently shook it for a minute or so and then placed it on a heating mat to warm it a couple degrees. After about 8 hours I thought I'd open it and add a touch of sugar (maybe a 1/4 tsp) and seal it back up. As I opened it *pop* the unmistakable sound of opening a beer under pressure. So now I'm thinking if I'd kept the beer a couple degrees warmer and occasionally roused the yeast bit they probably would have been fine. I'm now doing the same thing (rousing and warming) with the other two bottles. I'll refrigerate and open one in a few weeks.
 

Transamguy77

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What you just did I was going to recommend, swirling and heating a bit might help, actually it looks like it did. Hope those last 2 work out and you can enjoy them.
 

Birrofilo

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Update. This morning I took one of the remaining three bottles and gently shook it for a minute or so and then placed it on a heating mat to warm it a couple degrees. After about 8 hours I thought I'd open it and add a touch of sugar (maybe a 1/4 tsp) and seal it back up. As I opened it *pop* the unmistakable sound of opening a beer under pressure. So now I'm thinking if I'd kept the beer a couple degrees warmer and occasionally roused the yeast bit they probably would have been fine. I'm now doing the same thing (rousing and warming) with the other two bottles. I'll refrigerate and open one in a few weeks.
I use and recommend using an aphrometer when you bottle. It's a simple instrument which gives you a clear idea of the beginning and proceeding of carbonation inside the bottle. You would put it only on one bottle. You can see immediately if there is a carbonation problem, and you can store your beers in a cool place only after you know that carbonation has happened and is complete.

Some of those are very expensive but some are more affordable (around €40) and with a bit of DIY they can also be homemade.

 

Vale71

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Update. This morning I took one of the remaining three bottles and gently shook it for a minute or so and then placed it on a heating mat to warm it a couple degrees. After about 8 hours I thought I'd open it and add a touch of sugar (maybe a 1/4 tsp) and seal it back up. As I opened it *pop* the unmistakable sound of opening a beer under pressure. So now I'm thinking if I'd kept the beer a couple degrees warmer and occasionally roused the yeast bit they probably would have been fine. I'm now doing the same thing (rousing and warming) with the other two bottles. I'll refrigerate and open one in a few weeks.
That's just CO2 being released by the beer into the headspace as it gets warmer. It might give you the illusion of increased carbonation when you're actually reducing the CO2 content of the beer itself. Once chilled the beer will be as flat as it was prior to warming it up.
 
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BongoYodeler

BongoYodeler

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That's just CO2 being released by the beer into the headspace as it gets warmer. It might give you the illusion of increased carbonation when you're actually reducing the CO2 content of the beer itself. Once chilled the beer will be as flat as it was prior to warming it up.
Perhaps. I'll be opening the next one a week from today.
 
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BongoYodeler

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Wrapping this thread up with one last update. Today is the wife's birthday, and she wanted to try her stout again after having gently shaken and warming it about 5 degrees over a few days. I threw a 16oz swing top bottle in the fridge for a couple hours to chill it a bit. A nice pressurized POP! when opening it sounded promising. It's definitely got some carbonation now, though still on the low side. Certainly made it more enjoyable at any rate. I think rousing and warming it helped a bit.
I'll probably make a 5 gallon batch of this in the future and keg it, as I do most of my beers. It's a good stout, over 10% and not a bit of heat on the palate, but warming me up after half a glass.

IMG-0616.jpg
 
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