Adding More Carbonation

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GoodTruble

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3 weeks ago I bottled a scottish ale with some pumpkin and whiskey flavors. It tastes really good but I goofed up the priming calculation (using post-cold crash temp (50 F) instead of fermentation temp (68 F)). I meant to carb to 3.0 CO2 volume, but instead its less. It's acceptable as is, but I want to pop the tops and add more priming solution to bump up the carbonation.

Any idea how to calculate the additional priming sugar other than just educated guess? My educated guess is to shoot for 1.5 CO2 volume at current temp (72 F) to make up the difference from under-carbing and the CO2 loss from popping the tops for 5-10 seconds.

Any advice welcome. Thank you!
 

3 Dawg Night

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Because I like beer more carbonated. And I try to err on the side of too much carb than too little.
Fair enough. That's one of the reasons we brew our own!

You could use Brewer's Friend's priming calculator to calculate how much priming sugar you should have added vs. how much you did add. For instance, using your numbers above:

Assume 5 gal @ 50F & 3.0 vol target, you did use 5.3 oz corn sugar.

At 5 gal @ 68F & 3.0 vol target, you should have used 6.3 oz corn sugar.

Based on that, if you add an additional 1.0 oz corn sugar distributed evenly across your bottles, you should get the 3.0 vol you're shooting for. Of course, you should run the numbers for yourself; don't just go based off mine!

I've never "recarbonated" bottles, but I have had to recap some bottles for competitions that required gold caps. These were bottles that were already fully carbonated (i.e., bottled several weeks/months before). I cracked them open and then recapped them as quickly as possible. I certainly lost a little bit of CO2, but it wasn't enough to get gigged by the judges. I kept a bottle back to try myself on the day of the competition, and I couldn't tell any difference.
 

odie

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Why? Does gold caps make it taste better?
 
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GoodTruble

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So when you pop the caps, the amount of CO2 loss during that 1-3 seconds isn't much?

I actually did use Brewer's friend and your numbers above are spot on. ButI didn't know if I needed to factor in a bit more to make up for CO2 loss while uncapping/recapping.

Most of my bottles are flip-top or screw top (plastic). So it's relatively easy to open, add more priming solution, and re-seal.
 
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GoodTruble

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I decided to add the equivalent if 1.5X the under-carb amount (about 1.5oz) just to add a bit to cover CO2 loss from recapping.

But I only added it to the flip-tops and left the plastic screw-ons alone. That way I can only screw up about half the beer either way and compare later.

I make priming solution and individually douse each bottle. So I was very surprised to pop one flip-top, and it started slowly gushing. The rest are definitely undercarbed. So I don't know if that one got infected or just carbed faster (they've been carbing 3 weeks). Possible the sugar just didn't evenly mix in the solution. But I'm drinking it now, and this beer is definitely better with more carb (even after gushing subsided).

I plan to to let them carb a few more days and then start drinking. I'll update with any meaningful observations.
 
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GoodTruble

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Quick update - The beer turned out really well overall, but trying to add more carb/priming solution was a bad move. The plastic bottles that I just left alone wound up carbing up more over time than the flip tops I opened to add more priming solution. Oh well, live and learn.
 

camonick

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Quick update - The beer turned out really well overall, but trying to add more carb/priming solution was a bad move. The plastic bottles that I just left alone wound up carbing up more over time than the flip tops I opened to add more priming solution. Oh well, live and learn.
When you added the extra sugar solution, did you agitate the bottles to rouse the yeast back into suspension?
 
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GoodTruble

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When you added the extra sugar solution, did you agitate the bottles to rouse the yeast back into suspension?
No. I opened, added priming solution, and re-sealed as quick as I could. But the bottles were still carbing and had not been refrigerated. So I don't think the yeast was inactive (though possible). I think I just lost more carb from opening than what was added/created.
 
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