Bottling at 1.020 in 24 hours

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Joshua Steele

Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2019
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Hey brothers and sisters

So I've been making a Chai infused Porter (some in the boil, some dry) everything has been going great.

got about 3 more litres than expecting so may have made a few math errors but still had a gravity of 1.064 when put into the primary

used S-04 at 19C and it went really nicely, day 4 we were at 1.020. Checked again at day 7 still 1.020, so i gave it a stir and upped to 20C

now at day 10 and still at 1.020, thought i could add more yeast (dont have any though) to mop but here is the problem. I HAVE to bottle it tomorrow, as i am going away for a month i really want to get it out of my fermenter and leave it in some bottles.

last time i had this (this is only my 4th beer) I waited a further two weeks with no change, even after adding yeast, when i went to bottling (even with sugar) it came out flat and i think my yeast had died.

anyone got any pointers on how i should approach my bottling?

-add no sugar and hope the yeast mops up for some fizz
-add a tiny bit of sugar to hopefully kickstart some yeast action
-just carry on as normal and see what happens

hope you guys can help, i have 24 hours to make all decisions!
thanks!
 

RM-MN

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2010
Messages
14,518
Reaction score
5,275
Location
Solway
If this is an extract kit, your beer is done as you proved by not getting any more fermentation in 3 days. Prime it as normal and bottle it.

I would bet that your previous batch that didn't carbonate had lids that leaked. I'm sure that your yeast didn't die. Check your capper. There should be a metal "bell" that does the crimping. It is usually screwed on. Make sure it is screwed on all the way or the caps won't seal.
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
17,061
Reaction score
7,189
Location
Pasadena, MD
50/50, flip a quarter.

An FG of 1.020 is a little high coming from 1.064. It's very possible it's done, staying a little higher due to a higher % of unfermentables.
Or it stalled before reaching terminal gravity. I've had an issue with S-04 stalling, and nothing I did could budge it.

If you decide to bottle, store them in a coolish area to carb up slowly, and you may want to keep them contained, (in a thick plastic container, clean garbage/recycling can) to prevent extensive damage just in case they explode. The container needs to be able contain 5 gallons of liquid plus all the glass.
 

Jag75

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 24, 2018
Messages
6,125
Reaction score
2,607
Location
Taft
Did the extract kit instructions say what the approximate FG should be? I always leave in my fermenter for about 3 weeks . I dont usually even check the gravity till then .
 
OP
J

Joshua Steele

Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2019
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
50/50, flip a quarter.

An FG of 1.020 is a little high coming from 1.064. It's very possible it's done, staying a little higher due to a higher % of unfermentables.
Or it stalled before reaching terminal gravity. I've had an issue with S-04 stalling, and nothing I did could budge it.

If you decide to bottle, store them in a coolish area to carb up slowly, and you may want to keep them contained, (in a thick plastic container, clean garbage/recycling can) to prevent extensive damage just in case they explode. The container needs to be able contain 5 gallons of liquid plus all the glass.
Yeah I'm sure the last time I used s-04 the same thing happened too

Would you add extra sugar to get the carb going? I'm a bit worried that if it is done and I don't then I'll have some flat beer, it's porter so only need a light sparkle

Its a full train recipe and apparently is meant to be done at 1.010
 

Rob2010SS

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 16, 2017
Messages
2,760
Reaction score
960
Location
Spring Grove
You need to add sugar to get the beer to carb. I would follow the recipe instructions and add how ever much it tells you to add. If it tells you to add 5oz of sugar, I'd add the 5oz of sugar. You don't want under carbed beer.

I would take @IslandLizard advice though and store the bottles in a container that could contain exploding bottles, just in case.

My guess is that your beer will carb just find and you won't have any issues, but better to be safe than sorry.
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
17,061
Reaction score
7,189
Location
Pasadena, MD
You add just enough (priming) sugar for the carbonation level you want to achieve. Don't add anything extra, you may create bottle bombs. There is still plenty of yeast in suspension to digest the sugar and carb your bottles.

The only thing is, if at some point after bottling fermentation starts up again, for whatever reason, the yeast may start to attenuate where it has left off, definitely causing bottle bombs with 8-10 points to go.

We recommend in these cases to monitor the carbonation level, and as soon as it has been reached, to stick the bottles in a cold fridge, and drink ASAP.

If you bottle now, hope you're lucky and when you return after a month they are perfectly carbonated, but not overly or worse.
 
  • Like
Reactions: NGD

NGD

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Feb 22, 2018
Messages
1,326
Reaction score
1,304
You add just enough (priming) sugar for the carbonation level you want to achieve. Don't add anything extra, you may create bottle bombs. There is still plenty of yeast in suspension to digest the sugar and carb your bottles.

The only thing is, if at some point after bottling fermentation starts up again, for whatever reason, the yeast may start to attenuate where it has left off, definitely causing bottle bombs with 8-10 points to go.

We recommend in these cases to monitor the carbonation level, and as soon as it has been reached, to stick the bottles in a cold fridge, and drink ASAP.

If you bottle now, hope you're lucky and when you return after a month they are perfectly carbonated, but not overly or worse.
To piggy back on this, try getting a 12oz PET water bottle, drink the water, spray with sanitizer and fill that while your doing the rest of the bottles. Leave it closed and you’ll have have ghetto pressure gauge to tell your approx carb Level.
 
OP
J

Joshua Steele

Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2019
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
So it's all bottled up

Interestingly the gravity has gone up to 1.023

There was a whole heap of chai added a few days ago for aroma, I've got a feeling it's adding some sugar too

Is there a chance that's where all my unfermentable sugar has come from? Or still thinking that the fermentation has got stuck

I don't have enough experience to make a judgement call

Anyway, it's outside at 10-12 degrees and have wrapped and covered with a tub and some fly screening for bomb protection.

In these situations with potential bombs, in one month if they have survived are they safe to bring in and age?

Wish me luck!
 

NGD

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Feb 22, 2018
Messages
1,326
Reaction score
1,304
Well, it won't carbonate very fast out there at those temps if at all. Any chance they may even freeze?.
I think he means Celsius. I HOPE he means Celcius. Even at 10-12C, thats a little cool to promote good carbonation.

You may get an unintended surprise awhile after you bring them in to age.
 

NGD

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Feb 22, 2018
Messages
1,326
Reaction score
1,304
In these situations with potential bombs, in one month if they have survived are they safe to bring in and age?
I recently had a beer that I thought was stuck at 1.020. After batch aging for 4 months it dropped to 1.014. Just be careful and test outside or in a sink with leather gloves on if theres doubt. Look at the bottle bomb thread if you think I’m kidding.
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
17,061
Reaction score
7,189
Location
Pasadena, MD
@Joshua Steele When you measured your final gravity of 1.020 you used a hydrometer, correct? Not a refractometer.

Don't you have a cool basement or so to put them in? Somewhere in the 18-20C range?
And yeah definitely in a sturdy watertight (beertight) container that can withstand bottle explosions if fermentation picks up unexpectedly while you're away.

Shards from exploding bottles are known to pierce plastic totes, drywall walls, paneling, and shatter glass shower doors.
When one goes, it tends to damage others which are also over-carbonated and ready to burst, a chain reaction sets in.
 
  • Like
Reactions: NGD
OP
J

Joshua Steele

Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2019
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Yeah it's a floating hydrometer that I'm using and yeah it's 12C here right now.

So even if I carb slowly out there, when I bring them in they might just kick start and ferment up again anyway?

The tea was a looseleaf chai mix, mostly spices and cocoa, a bit of black tea.

See lots of warnings to wear gloves, is it likely to be a very volatile thing to open then?
 
Last edited:

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
17,061
Reaction score
7,189
Location
Pasadena, MD
Yeah it's a floating hydrometer that I'm using and yeah it's 12C here right now.

So even if I carb slowly out there, when I bring them in they might just kick start and ferment up again anyway?

The tea was a looseleaf chai mix, mostly spices and cocoa, a bit of black tea.

See lots of warnings to wear gloves, is it likely to be a very volatile thing to open then?
The thing is: You really can't stop fermentation!
If there are any fermentable sugars left they will ferment out, sooner or later. Unless you kill the yeast. But then they can't carbonate your bottles either.

As I said before, it's 50/50. It's well possible the batch fermented out as far as it could. You primed it and 2-4 weeks from now they should be perfectly carbonated.
On the other hand...

Since we don't know, that's where the recovery container, leather gloves, long sleeves, face shield, etc. come in.

10-12°C is really too cold for yeast activity, it may take much longer to carb up. Lowish 'room temps' are best.

It's A-OK when using a hydrometer for gravity readings, we just needed to verify that. We had to rule out the chance you used a refractometer, since they read too high due to alcohol content, and need a correction formula applied to arrive at the beer's true gravity.
 
  • Like
Reactions: NGD
OP
J

Joshua Steele

Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2019
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Ok nice, firstly really appreciate everyone's help, it's really helping me understand what loads of this stuff actually means

I should add all my bottles are lever top/suction cap types, no idea what difference it makes but feels pertinent

I just brought them inside and get them in a big plastic box wrapped in fly net (in the box). It's about 16/17C in my cellar and if it's gonna blow, it's gonna blow. Would rather at least get the carb right.

Will update this chain but I'm hopeful that there was a bunch of unfermentable stuff in the tea and that's what I'm seeing!

Just one last question, if they are all good in a month, should I still treat them with caution until they are drunk, or just treat them like any other beer?

Thanks again
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
17,061
Reaction score
7,189
Location
Pasadena, MD
Just one last question, if they are all good in a month, should I still treat them with caution until they are drunk, or just treat them like any other beer?
Yes, meaning... treat with caution! You may have potential bottle bombs in hand with this batch. I'd definitely wear leather work gloves and a face shield (at least eye protection) when handling them.

Even if the first of those bottle turns out perfect in 3 weeks, the next one may not be as graceful. The more you've opened and have been found to be good, the larger the odds the next one will be good too. There are always some variations across a bottled batch.

One thing about brewing I can't emphasize enough is that it's NOT painting by numbers, 1,2,3, and it turns out 'beautiful.'
It IS about understanding the processes.
 

chickypad

lupulin shift victim
Joined
Jul 19, 2010
Messages
5,817
Reaction score
1,342
Location
SF Peninsula
Forgive me if I'm missing something but I'm not quite sure why we are so overly concerned with bombs on this batch. Gravity was stable over 6 days, including after a swirl and making sure temp wasn't too low. It is at about 69% apparent attenuation with SO4 which seems in range, and I'm presuming a porter recipe has some unfermentables in it. 1.020 doesn't sound excessively high for this beer, especially as RM-MN mentioned if this is an extract batch. I assume the new 1.023 reading is due to adding the priming sugar. I mean, it's never a bad idea to be prepared for bombs but there is nothing particular that is making me overly worried here.

Hope I didn't just jinx you :p
 

NGD

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Feb 22, 2018
Messages
1,326
Reaction score
1,304
I assume the new 1.023 reading is due to adding the priming sugar.
Thats a good question. I thought the extra sugars were due to the Chai added.

Either way, having a little caution when opening the first bottle or two wouldn’t hurt.

16c is better than 10. I would expect them to be slightly undercarbed even after a month. S-04s low end temp is around 18c. They might actually be spot on though. The recipe sounds great and hope to hear how it turns out when you get back.
 
Top