Bottling carb issue with priming sugar vs fizz drops

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TheCache

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It sounds like you are doing the things the right way. 69˚ might be a tad low for storing, so it may take a bit longer, but it should still work. I would guess you may need to mix a bit more thoroughly, but without seeing your exact steps and quantities its hard to be certain. And I assume you are leaving about 1" headspace in the top of the bottle? A little, 1/2-1" is necessary for proper carbonation. Also, the bottles should be sanitized/sterilized, but don't run them through a dishwasher with soap and/or rinse aid. Both of those things can have a negative effect on head retention. Just run them through on a sanitize cycle without soap or rinse them by hand in sanitizer.

Here's my priming sugar steps:

Boil proper amount of water (1.5 cup for 5g, .75 cup for 2.5g), add priming sugar as the water is heating. I use corn sugar, 4.5-5oz for 5g is usually good, but you can use a calculator like the one on Brewersfriend to get more exact amounts if you want to carbonate to the style.

Bring the sugar water to a boil and let boil for 3 to 5 minutes. 15 minutes is probably longer than is really needed even though most kit instructions say 10-15. The boiling insures the water/sugar mix is sanitized and that the sugar is completely dissolved.

Let the water sugar mix cool to near the beer temp. Plus/Minus a few degrees won't hurt, but don't dump super hot sugar water into the beer.

I dump the sugar into the bottling bucket first which forces some mixing as I siphon the beer in. I do this in case I forget to stir it before bottling (it's happened more than once, but even then my beer carbonated fine).

Once all the beer is in the bucket, stir gently. Try not to introduce more oxygen by splashing. I use a large spoon and bring the bottom beer up as well as stirring around in both directions for about a minute.

Bottle then store warm for 10-14 days.

I try to store my bottles at 70-72˚ and often test one around 7-10 days. Sometimes at 7 days the carbonation is still bit low, but by 10-14 days it is usually where it needs to be. I always try to leave my beer in carbonation storage for at least 14 days. High alcohol beers may take even longer. If it's not done, let it sit. It won't hurt to go a few more days. I think a bit more time spent in the carbonation phase helps the head mature. I read about the science of this somewhere on this site, but can't find it now.

When the carbonation is done, I move my beer to a cellar (55-62˚) for a while and only put a sixer or two into the fridge at a time. The extra cellar time helps the head mature and the beer flavors to come together.

Cheers
 

amber-ale

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I individually prime the bottles then bottle.

But if you add powdered dextrose then add wort, you must be quick because the crystals in the sugar will trigger the dissolved co2 to come out of the wort= fizz.

I dissolve the priming sugar 1 teaspoon per 500 ml bottle in water and divide the resulting solution by the number of bottles. Syringe it into the bottles and add wort. Cap. Age. Drink.
 

balrog

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At 10 days, you're still a little early. Keep them warm, wait 2-3 weeks, then chill them a couple days, then try.

To discuss head retention is kinda another topic and we'd have to start with what recipe and process was used.

You're now at only 12 days.

Patience for another week or two. Brewing processes are not light-switch-flipping-quick.
 
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youngson616

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Let the water sugar mix cool to near the beer temp. Plus/Minus a few degrees won't hurt, but don't dump super hot sugar water into the beer.
Whoops.....

I poured the hot sugar mixture into the bottling bucket right off the stove. Siphoned beer onto it right away. I followed the other instructions exactly.
 

balrog

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Whoops.....

I poured the hot sugar mixture into the bottling bucket right off the stove. Siphoned beer onto it right away. I followed the other instructions exactly.

That's fine. The hot liquid will kill a few yeast, but after a quart or two the temp will be fine and the yeast in the next 4.5 gallons will be fine.
 

balrog

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5 gal * 128oz/gal / 12oz/bottle = ~ 53 bottles in (3 to 5)*60s or 180-300sec means about 3-5sec per bottle

I'd have granular sugar all over the danged place if I tried that.

I myself prefer all sugar in some water, heat to dissolve and pasteurize, pour in bucket, rack over, gentle stir because you don't want to oxygenate as that's not good for hop flavor/aroma and staling.

But it does take a little more than 3-5 minutes.
 

TwistedGray

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5 gal * 128oz/gal / 12oz/bottle = ~ 53 bottles in (3 to 5)*60s or 180-300sec means about 3-5sec per bottle

I'd have granular sugar all over the danged place if I tried that.

Five Mississippi's is a long time ;)

Funnel, scoop, pour, funnel, scoop, pour, funnel, scoop, pour goes pretty quickly.
 
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youngson616

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Opened one today a lot better! I think some more days in bottling will help
 

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hout17

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I second the recommendation cooling the sugar solution down to beer temp as mentioned above and making sure it's thoroughly mixed in without making any splashes.

Glad you are seeing some carbonation now!
 

Dancy

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I really didn’t think it necessary to start a new thread, so…. I’ve used NB’s carbonation drops but have found 1/4 to a 1/3 of them to be too big for a standard 12 oz beer bottle. I end up using a sanitized screw driver to push them in the rest of the way. I like using these for “regular beers” for uniform carbonation. I still mix corn sugar in for Belgians so I can up the carbonation. Can anyone recommend a brand that easily fits a standard 12oz beer bottle w/out getting stuck in the neck?
 

balrog

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I really didn’t think it necessary to start a new thread, so…. I’ve used NB’s carbonation drops but have found 1/4 to a 1/3 of them to be too big for a standard 12 oz beer bottle. I end up using a sanitized screw driver to push them in the rest of the way. I like using these for “regular beers” for uniform carbonation. I still mix corn sugar in for Belgians so I can up the carbonation. Can anyone recommend a brand that easily fits a standard 12oz beer bottle w/out getting stuck in the neck?
Lottta folks swear by the smaller domino dots but you have to get the smaller ones.
 
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youngson616

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I really didn’t think it necessary to start a new thread, so…. I’ve used NB’s carbonation drops but have found 1/4 to a 1/3 of them to be too big for a standard 12 oz beer bottle. I end up using a sanitized screw driver to push them in the rest of the way. I like using these for “regular beers” for uniform carbonation. I still mix corn sugar in for Belgians so I can up the carbonation. Can anyone recommend a brand that easily fits a standard 12oz beer bottle w/out getting stuck in the neck?
Brewers best carbonation drops fit in the bottle necks way better than northern fizz drops, and cheaper. I get them from my local brew shop, sure you could find them online somewhere.

Side note, Im back to priming sugar. I was simply getting the wrong information that the 5 oz. Sugar pack is enough for any situation or scenario. Using the northern brew carb calculator help me out alot when calculating how much prime sugar to use which differs from style to style.
 

TwistedGray

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I really didn’t think it necessary to start a new thread, so…. I’ve used NB’s carbonation drops but have found 1/4 to a 1/3 of them to be too big for a standard 12 oz beer bottle. I end up using a sanitized screw driver to push them in the rest of the way. I like using these for “regular beers” for uniform carbonation. I still mix corn sugar in for Belgians so I can up the carbonation. Can anyone recommend a brand that easily fits a standard 12oz beer bottle w/out getting stuck in the neck?

Why not make it simple and do the 1/2tsp per 12oz bottle method?
 

z-bob

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Lottta folks swear by the smaller domino dots but you have to get the smaller ones.
They don't make those anymore. 😢 I still have a few boxes. I also used the larger sugar cubes (either Domino or C&H) in 500ml plastic bottles. Now I just use granulated sugar, 1/2 tsp per 11, 11.2, or 12 oz bottle, and 3/4 tsp for 500ml bottles, etc. I bought a little stainless steel funnel made for filling liquor flasks from Amazon a few years ago and it works great for bottle priming.
 

Dancy

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My biggest gripe is mixing corn sugar solution in the bottling bucket can give uneven results. I have improved though by stirring GENTLY (don’t want to introduce a lot of oxygen) but for a long enough time to give even distribution. I’m fine with doing this for my Belgian Ales as they need more carbonation than a sugar drop can give. The drops appeal to me for more average carb levels and they’re simple — but they need to fit in the bottle! I think I’ll try the Brewer’s Best but may consider the sugar per bottle method, although that seems a bit tedious. Thanks guys!
 
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aceluby

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Dancy

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This is what I do. Get all my bottles ready and bottle right off the fermenter.
I’m thinking I’d like to do that too — skip the damn bottling bucket — seems unnecessary and another step to add oxygen I don’t want.
 

aceluby

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I’m thinking I’d like to do that too — skip the damn bottling bucket — seems unnecessary and another step to add oxygen I don’t want.
I saw someone replaced their fizz drops with sugar cubes. Couldn’t find any at 3 stores (apparently there’s a shortage?), so just calculated out how much sugar is needed and used 1/2 tsp per bottle. We have these skinny teaspoons that pour really nicely into a bottle.

I used a bottling bucket once, oxygenated it and never did it again. Used fizz drops from some kits that came with them, and now just use sugar. I do put the full bottles on their side once I’ve capped them to get any sugar stuck near the top. It’s so much easier than a bottling bucket, less things needed, and significantly faster
 

TwistedGray

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I’m thinking I’d like to do that too — skip the damn bottling bucket — seems unnecessary and another step to add oxygen I don’t want.

Individual bottle priming makes things more convenient.

I saw someone replaced their fizz drops with sugar cubes. Couldn’t find any at 3 stores (apparently there’s a shortage?), so just calculated out how much sugar is needed and used 1/2 tsp per bottle. We have these skinny teaspoons that pour really nicely into a bottle.

I used a bottling bucket once, oxygenated it and never did it again. Used fizz drops from some kits that came with them, and now just use sugar. I do put the full bottles on their side once I’ve capped them to get any sugar stuck near the top. It’s so much easier than a bottling bucket, less things needed, and significantly faster

We've discovered the same thing ;)
 

balrog

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I’m thinking I’d like to do that too — skip the damn bottling bucket — seems unnecessary and another step to add oxygen I don’t want.
As you bottle from fermenter, what replaces the liquid that goes out? That’s air. Unless you hook up CO2 coming in from a tank. Having said that, of course, racking to bottling bucket gives much more access to air. It is a conundrum with hoppy styles I will grant you. Ferment and serve in keg has some advantages and drawbacks, floating dip tube and all.
 

Dancy

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As you bottle from fermenter, what replaces the liquid that goes out? That’s air. Unless you hook up CO2 coming in from a tank. Having said that, of course, racking to bottling bucket gives much more access to air. It is a conundrum with hoppy styles I will grant you. Ferment and serve in keg has some advantages and drawbacks, floating dip tube and all.
Frankly, I’ve never picked up on any of my beer being over exposed to oxygen to the point of affecting flavor — but then I don’t brew highly hopped beers. I’ll never keg — I don’t have the space to deal with it and I brew for myself pretty much so bottling 5 gallons every so often isn’t that bad. There’s something gratifying about seeing my home brew in bottles.
 

aceluby

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As you bottle from fermenter, what replaces the liquid that goes out? That’s air. Unless you hook up CO2 coming in from a tank. Having said that, of course, racking to bottling bucket gives much more access to air. It is a conundrum with hoppy styles I will grant you. Ferment and serve in keg has some advantages and drawbacks, floating dip tube and all.
The same thing happens racking from fermenter to bottling bucket and bottling bucket to bottle, no?
 
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youngson616

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