Bottle cappers & no carbonation?

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Gee Tee

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Are all bottle cappers created equal? After ordering a starter kit from Northern Brewery I bottled my first batch of included Block Party Amber two weeks ago along with Kveik yeast as my apartment is at a minimum of 80 degrees. I cracked my first one open yesterday. It is drinkable but there is only very mild natural carbonation. It is possible it needs more time, but has anybody ever heard of issues from Northern Brewer bottle cappers? Or maybe I did something wrong? Could it be that the "no rinse cleaner" that I let drip dry and didn't rise out kills carbonation?
 

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Your capper looks identical to mine, and mine works okay. If the caps are crimped down like a normal beer, and feel solidly tight to your hand, I doubt it is the capper. I do not know about the cleaner question. I would try another bottle from the batch, just in case the first one is a fluke that did not seal properly. Two weeks seems like ample time for some carbonation. How big a batch, and how much priming sugar did you use?
 
I brewed 5 gallons of the block party amber ale that came with the kit and just used the corn sugar packet that came with it (I threw it out so can't remember how much). It's super helpful to know that the bottle capper isn't a dud - I probably didn't use it properly as I managed to pop a bottle open with my hand. I'll, no doubt be playing Russian roulette with the beers which is OK as a) I was pretty sure that the first batch would be "experimental" and b) I've already brewed another batch - 5 gallons of ESB - which is ready for bottling....Thanks for your help, Dinadan...
 
I brewed 5 gallons of the block party amber ale that came with the kit and just used the corn sugar packet that came with it (I threw it out so can't remember how much). It's super helpful to know that the bottle capper isn't a dud - I probably didn't use it properly as I managed to pop a bottle open with my hand. I'll, no doubt be playing Russian roulette with the beers which is OK as a) I was pretty sure that the first batch would be "experimental" and b) I've already brewed another batch - 5 gallons of ESB - which is ready for bottling....Thanks for your help, Dinadan...
Look for some capping tutorials, such as on Youtube.
The capper wings should be about horizontal at the end of the crimp. There's a little push at the very end, at about 80% of the way, to get it there.

Also make sure you use standard bottles. The distance between the bottom of the "grip rim" (where the bottom of the capper grips underneath) to the top of the lip (where the cap goes) should be correct for the capper used.
 
Thank you for this advice, Island Lizard. Capping seems so easy though, the devil is in the details! I've also noticed that when the bottle is capped properly, there is an indent from the capper on the top of the cap, so next time I'll be able to tell if it's on right. I'm considering taking the bottles that I didn't cap right, adding some sugar and recapping them again for a couple of weeks. Do you think it's a good idea and what might be the safest amount of sugar to add to avoid any bottle bombs? I was thinking of a 1/2 teaspoon in each bottle, but I'm only guessing...
 
As @IslandLizard stated, the bottle configuration may be your problem. I've got a wing capper very similar to yours that also came from a Northern Brewer kit. It works fine for "standard" bottles, but doesn't crimp enough on the bottles with a shallow lip (see attached). The bottle on the left is what I would consider a standard bottle. The solution, at least in my experience, is a bench capper. Also be aware that some breweries, mostly European, use a bottle with a larger diameter mouth and requires a larger bell and bottle cap. Good luck.

IMAG0540[4772].jpg
 
Do you think it's a good idea and what might be the safest amount of sugar to add to avoid any bottle bombs? I was thinking of a 1/2 teaspoon in each bottle, but I'm only guessing...
Use a priming calculator:
https://www.brewersfriend.com/beer-priming-calculator/
For 2.2 volumes of CO2 you'd need 1.8 grams of sugar, that equals to a little less than 1/2 tsp, 0.43 tsp according to this:
https://www.inchcalculator.com/convert/teaspoon-sugar-to-gram-sugar/
Many small volume measurement tools are not quite that accurate, while the actual measurement method itself is on shaky ground.

Do you have a small scale that can measure 1.8 grams quite precisely?

You could make a sugar solution and add it with a syringe or (graduated) pipette if you have one. Adding liquid also prevents foaming; adding powder or crystals creates nucleation sites.
 
I'm considering taking the bottles that I didn't cap right, adding some sugar and recapping them again for a couple of weeks. Do you think it's a good idea and what might be the safest amount of sugar to add to avoid any bottle bombs? I was thinking of a 1/2 teaspoon in each bottle, but I'm only guessing...
You don't know the existing carbonation in these bottles. If you guess wrong (low), you would be adding too much sugar and could get bottle bombs. I would just drink them with low carb and learn from this. (I've done it before.)
 
Use a priming calculator:
https://www.brewersfriend.com/beer-priming-calculator/
For 2.2 volumes of CO2 you'd need 1.8 grams of sugar, that equals to a little less than 1/2 tsp, 0.43 tsp according to this:
https://www.inchcalculator.com/convert/teaspoon-sugar-to-gram-sugar/
Many small volume measurement tools are not quite that accurate, while the actual measurement method itself is on shaky ground.

Do you have a small scale that can measure 1.8 grams quite precisely?

You could make a sugar solution and add it with a syringe or (graduated) pipette if you have one. Adding liquid also prevents foaming; adding powder or crystals creates nucleation sites.
Thank you for the advice. This looks like an accident waiting to happen and I'll probably just drink them with minimal carbonation the way I drink traditional British ales!
 
You don't know the existing carbonation in these bottles. If you guess wrong (low), you would be adding too much sugar and could get bottle bombs. I would just drink them with low carb and learn from this. (I've done it before.)
Well I loved traditional hand pumped English ales with no carbonation so I don't mind. Lessons learned...
 
As @IslandLizard stated, the bottle configuration may be your problem. I've got a wing capper very similar to yours that also came from a Northern Brewer kit. It works fine for "standard" bottles, but doesn't crimp enough on the bottles with a shallow lip (see attached). The bottle on the left is what I would consider a standard bottle. The solution, at least in my experience, is a bench capper. Also be aware that some breweries, mostly European, use a bottle with a larger diameter mouth and requires a larger bell and bottle cap. Good luck.

View attachment 697192
Thank you Wally & Island Lizzard. You actually pre-empted my next question. I used recycled Lagunitas bottles which has an opening like the middle bottle (I've attached a picture). Maybe that's not the best seal? Of course I'm not ruling out "human error", but do you know for sure that these bottles don't work? I'm bottling another 5 gallons on Thursday so will probably use some old screw top wine bottles and some recycled bottles like the far left. The beer is still drinkable so I'm not too bent out if shape but don't want to make the same mistake twice!
 

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Thank you Wally & Island Lizzard. You actually pre-empted my next question. I used recycled Lagunitas bottles which has an opening like the middle bottle (I've attached a picture). Maybe that's not the best seal? Of course I'm not ruling out "human error", but do you know for sure that these bottles don't work? I'm bottling another 5 gallons on Thursday so will probably use some old screw top wine bottles and some recycled bottles like the far left. The beer is still drinkable so I'm not too bent out if shape but don't want to make the same mistake twice!
It's probably not the opening/lip itself, per se. The distance between the bottom of that lower clamping ring and the top of the lip may be the culprit. Compare with the regular long neck on the left in that picture of the 3 next to each other.

If you really need to force trying to get a good crimp, wear welders gloves. Or at least leather working gloves.
I had a non-US-regular bottle (of British origin) break/shatter while trying to clamp the cap on, before I noticed the differences in bottle necks. That Lagunitas bottle reminds me of those.
 
Something else to consider -- after you added your priming sugar, did you stir?

If the sugar isn't mixed throughout, you may have inconsistent priming, which means some may be flat and others might become geysers.
 
Something else to consider -- after you added your priming sugar, did you stir?

If the sugar isn't mixed throughout, you may have inconsistent priming, which means some may be flat and others might become geysers.
Yes, I do stir. I just bottled another batch and added a little extra sugar (around an eighth of a teaspoon) which might be a terrible idea or a really good one - I'll know in 10 days!
 
Tbh, there are eplenty of calculators to tell you what kind of an idea it was (how that amount vs. volume will change your OG)... But my gut reaction is that you won't notice a difference
 
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