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Bottling: inconsistent carbonation

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georgepburdell

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Hi,
I am a newbie and have two beers under my belt now. The first, a wheat beer and the second is a cascade pale ale. In both cases, I've had inconsistent carbonation in the bottles. I'll use the example of the first wheat beer for this.

I mixed 65g of dextrose monohydrate to 2.5 cups of warm/hot water. After letting the solution cool, I added it to 2.35 gallons of fermented wort in the bottling bucket for a target CO2 volume of 3.

The temperature during bottling and conditioning was about 25C / 78F. I conditioned for a week and then chilled before serving. Due to some off tastes, I stuck all of my bottles in my fridge for about another week before opening one.

All the bottles have been subject to the same temperatures and I remember mixing the sugar solution fairly well into the fermented wort. Some bottles had a good head and carbonation level and others ranged from almost flat to slightly flat. ]

One thing to mention - I inverted some bottles to slightly agitate the liquid to check for carbonation progress. The FG was 1.019, much higher than my target FG of 1.007. I used WB 06 yeast and fermentation showed signs of being a little stuck (the kreusen settled within 24 hours and bubbling stopped within 36 hours of pitching).

Could there be some issues with my method? Anythings I should watch out for or missed?
 

CodeSection

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Hi,
I am a newbie and have two beers under my belt now. The first, a wheat beer and the second is a cascade pale ale. In both cases, I've had inconsistent carbonation in the bottles. I'll use the example of the first wheat beer for this.

I mixed 65g of dextrose monohydrate to 2.5 cups of warm/hot water. After letting the solution cool, I added it to 2.35 gallons of fermented wort in the bottling bucket for a target CO2 volume of 3.

The temperature during bottling and conditioning was about 25C / 78F. I conditioned for a week and then chilled before serving. Due to some off tastes, I stuck all of my bottles in my fridge for about another week before opening one.

All the bottles have been subject to the same temperatures and I remember mixing the sugar solution fairly well into the fermented wort. Some bottles had a good head and carbonation level and others ranged from almost flat to slightly flat. ]

One thing to mention - I inverted some bottles to slightly agitate the liquid to check for carbonation progress. The FG was 1.019, much higher than my target FG of 1.007. I used WB 06 yeast and fermentation showed signs of being a little stuck (the kreusen settled within 24 hours and bubbling stopped within 36 hours of pitching).

Could there be some issues with my method? Anythings I should watch out for or missed?
Just a few quick items....
1. Based on your info and desired CO2 volume, your amount of dextrose should have been 81.6g. This link may help https://www.northernbrewer.com/pages/priming-sugar-calculator
2. You did not mention how the solution was introduced. In a five gallon bucket, I pour the priming solution in it when there is about an inch of beer in it so as it can start mixing. Then when the bucket is full, I gentle stir with a large spoon.
3. Before I started cold crashing, I would condition the bottles at room temperature for at least two weeks before chilling. Now that I cold crash, I have extended that to three weeks...
 

davidabcd

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You should boil the solution next time and use less water (1 cup for that size batch) or replace the water with beer.
It sounds like you stirred well so I'd say some of your caps aren't on properly.
As mentioned above, condition the bottles longer than 1 week. Start off with 2 weeks. 78°F is maybe higher than I would bottle condition but that's probably okay.
Question: how does inverting the bottle indicate progress? Are you using plastic and agitating to see if the bottle gets firm?

That FG is a bit of a problem but as long as you checked the gravity 2 days apart and it was the same, it's safe to bottle. Did your beer end up too sweet?
The fermentation sounds normal to possibly fast, but something is amiss whether it's the yeast or your temperature during fermentation or something like that. A little more info on that part of the process would be helpful.
 
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georgepburdell

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Just a few quick items....
1. Based on your info and desired CO2 volume, your amount of dextrose should have been 81.6g. This link may help https://www.northernbrewer.com/pages/priming-sugar-calculator
2. You did not mention how the solution was introduced. In a five gallon bucket, I pour the priming solution in it when there is about an inch of beer in it so as it can start mixing. Then when the bucket is full, I gentle stir with a large spoon.
3. Before I started cold crashing, I would condition the bottles at room temperature for at least two weeks before chilling. Now that I cold crash, I have extended that to three weeks...

Thanks for your input! I followed a recipe that called for 65g. I had already bottled by the time i learned about CO2 volumes. You're right, though, 65g would not give me 3 volumes. As for the method of introduction, I poured the sugar solution slowly while stirring the liquid in my bottling bucket with a long spoon. Once the sugar solution was done, I stirred it clockwise and counter-clockwise for about 1-2 minutes, doing so slowly to prevent any oxidation.

Do you condition/ cold crash differently depending on the type of beer (except hefeweizens)?
 

CodeSection

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Thanks for your input! I followed a recipe that called for 65g. I had already bottled by the time i learned about CO2 volumes. You're right, though, 65g would not give me 3 volumes. As for the method of introduction, I poured the sugar solution slowly while stirring the liquid in my bottling bucket with a long spoon. Once the sugar solution was done, I stirred it clockwise and counter-clockwise for about 1-2 minutes, doing so slowly to prevent any oxidation.

Do you condition/ cold crash differently depending on the type of beer (except hefeweizens)?
I would make a slight change in applying the priming solution. I'm not sure how you are transferring the beer from the fermenter into the bottling bucket. If you are transferring the beer with tubing and the tubing is lying in the bottom of the bottling bucket, consider pouring the priming solution in the bottling bucket when there is about an inch of beer in it so as it can start mixing with the rest of the beer you are transferring in. Then when the bucket is full, gently stir with a large spoon. I think you will experience a better mix by following this process.

I just started cold crashing and am on my fourth batch. Currently, after fermentation, I crash to 36F for 48 hours before bottling.
 

davidabcd

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Not to get too far off base, but why not cold crash after bottle carbonation is complete? It seems to be easier to get the bottles carbonated that way instead of having fought the cold first.
 

CodeSection

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Not to get too far off base, but why not cold crash after bottle carbonation is complete? It seems to be easier to get the bottles carbonated that way instead of having fought the cold first.
I'm cold crashing before priming and bottling to help clear the beer and to leave less sediment in the bottles. With that process, I have the bottles condition at room temperature for three weeks. With that said, my carbonation and bottling process will be changing soon.

In the near future, I'm planning on carbing in my CF10 via spunding and/or with a carb stone. In the past I did not want to do that as using a counter pressure bottle filler was a much slower process as opposed to using a bottling bucket and wand. I recently discovered a four head counter pressure bottle filler that will definitely speed bottling up. I'm constantly trying to refine my processes....
 

davidabcd

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Thanks.
Had to look up "CF10" and "carbonation stone." Cool equipment. Don't have the equipment to do that but I've always liked the idea of spunding.
Are there drawbacks to cold crashing after bottle conditioning besides extra sediment?
 

CodeSection

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Thanks.
Had to look up "CF10" and "carbonation stone." Cool equipment. Don't have the equipment to do that but I've always liked the idea of spunding.
Are there drawbacks to cold crashing after bottle conditioning besides extra sediment?
I'm not aware of drawbacks other than extra sediment as eventually the beer will clear. Thinking out loud...I wonder if the extra sediment will affect shelf life.

For me, I wanted to give to my clients clearer beer with no sediment or the least amount of sediment possible. It is a presentation thing... Plus, I suspect some clients may not drink my beer in a glass...just a guess even though in the past I have tried to educate about pouring the beer into a glass.
 

bobeer

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Conditioning for 1 week before chilling and serving isn't enough time to properly carbonate the beer. The rule of thumb is 3 weeks at 70 degrees F then chill in the fridge for 5-7 days, then serve. The cold helps the c02 absorb into the beer so it's always a good idea to chill freshly carbonated/conditioned bottled beer.

When I bottle I always pour the priming solution into the bottling bucket first then rack the whole batch of beer on top of it so it mixes as it racks over.
 
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