Carbonation question... Hear me out :)

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s3n8

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So my neighbor and I did a 10 gallon batch of Belgian Golden Strong Ale. Supposed to be Delerium Tremens-ish. We split the wort, I pitched 3787, he Wyeast Chimay strain (1214?). In any case, both fermented fine, we dosed both with a some sugar and a can of Lyles Syrup. Both bottled around mid-January.

I opened one a month ago, flat, so I moved the bottles to a warmer location, agitated, etc. They had been in the basement where the temps had dropped to the low 60s on occasion. Tried one 2 weeks ago, flat. warmed, agitated, rolled, twisted. No luck so far. The bottles are in a spare bedroom, low 70s. This weekend, we opened one of each. Both were sweet & flat. His have been in a closet at ~70 since bottling. OG on both was about 1.090, so I think we both have room left in the yeast alc % tolerance dept.

Other than being patient, rolling the bottles around, and keeping the temps up, what else can I do? I have never had it take more than 4 or 5 weeks to carb up properly. I rack onto the sugar and swirl the beer around with the siphon hose before bottling. Even bigger beers have carbed up properly for me. If the yeast truly are pooped out, will carb tabs work?
 

david_42

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I'd try adding carbtabs and a little dry yeast to 2-3 bottles and see what happens.
 
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s3n8

s3n8

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Are the carbtabs just sugar? The priming sugar is still in there, so I don't really wanna add more and end up with bottlebombs. You think 2 grains of nottingham in a 1.090 - 1.008 beer will live? Thats better than any idea I have, and worth a shot.
 

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What was the FG on them? The 3787 has an attenuation of up to about 80%, so if it finished at 1.017 or so, there's probably nothing left for that yeast to give. I think the Chimay has a bit less attenuation, so it's probably finished, too.

I'd suggest doing what David suggested, and add some dry yeast. Just a grain or to to each bottle would be enough.

Edit- wow- Fg of 1.008? That's over 90% attenuation!
 
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s3n8

s3n8

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We mashed at 149 for 90 minutes, and added the simple sugars after the krausen fell in primary, all to get a nice dry finish. I always seem to get great attenuation since going AG. I hadn't really thought about the apparent attenuation as the reason the yeast were at the end of their ropes. I guess its a very likely scenario.

I am going to pop one this weekend, and if its flat, I am going to give them all a grain or 2 of Nottingham.
 
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I was trying to find a source and asked some internet friends of mine how warm is a Belgian bottle conditioning warm room. I got this link and answer for you:

Glazen Toren began as a 50L hobby but now has a 2,500L capacity. Its backyard has the makings of a small construction site so that capacity can grow further. The installation of a new warm room, where the bottled beer conditions at a toasty 29.5 °C (about 85.1 °F), means more storage. And that, Marc explained to us, means that the trio can double their weekly output if they want, brewing on two days instead of just one.
http://www.thirstypilgrim.com/2009/01/first-new-warm-room-next-world.html

About 5 degrees warmer than I thought.
 
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s3n8

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Thanks all for the great suggestions. My neighbor has his wrapped up in an electric blanket at 75, and is going to bump them up to 80. I have to rely on good old room temp for the time being. I will update with some more info if I find something that works.
 
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s3n8

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I ended up dosing all of the bottles with some Nottingham last weekend. I started out putting in just a few grains, but by the end, I was probably pouring in 50 grains or so. I would rather have some sediment than flat beer I decided. I still used way less than a packet of yeast, maybe less than 1/4?. Bottles are sitting in a spare room under a blanket, temps should be 72 or higher. I will report back when I pop the next one.

2 or 3 of the ones I popped had a pretty good hiss, I probably should have added a bit more sugar to those, but did not.
 
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s3n8

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Partial success. I opened one a few minutes ago to a slight hiss. They have been warm (low to mid 70s) for 2 weeks since adding fresh yeast. There was little to no head when pouring, but there is lacing on the glass? How'd that happen? In any case, the cloying sweetness is GONE! So not 100%, but its certainly getting better. I hope another week or 2 will have this one where it needs to be.
 

Matt Up North

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Now just get a kegging setup so that you can force carb them the next time ;)

I am actually interested in this because I have a Belgian Barleywine that I am just about to rack out of the fermenter and into a keg to carb it up and bulk storage. I will bottle from the keg because I have heard a lot of stories about lackluster carbonation on big beers when bottle conditioning. I know that I won't have that lovely yeast layer on the bottom, but I would rather have a little bit of carbing than none.
 

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I ended up dosing all of the bottles with some Nottingham last weekend. I started out putting in just a few grains, but by the end, I was probably pouring in 50 grains or so. I would rather have some sediment than flat beer I decided. I still used way less than a packet of yeast, maybe less than 1/4?. Bottles are sitting in a spare room under a blanket, temps should be 72 or higher. I will report back when I pop the next one.

2 or 3 of the ones I popped had a pretty good hiss, I probably should have added a bit more sugar to those, but did not.
how did these end up carbonating? Im having the same issue but im worried that if i add more sugar i will overcarbonate. My Dubbel which ended up at >8.5% only attenuated down to 1.014...nottingham attenuated down below 1.008 or so and im worried that if i add priming sugar, the raise in gravity plus the residual sugars in the brew will lead to overcarbonation....have you popped one open since they carbed?
 
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s3n8

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I opened one this past weekend, 3 weeks since Nottingham. There were bubbles, but not much if any head. The pop was weak when i opened the bottle (flip top). My neighbors (using completely different yeast) is exactly the same. I have no idea why.
 

bierhaus15

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I am in a similar situation. I have a dark strong (OG 1.090, FG 1.010) brewed with WY3787 that does not want to carbonate. Its been in bottles for over 2 months now and while it does have some tiny bubbles, it has no head and is cloyingly sweet from the priming sugar. Also there is hardly any yeast sediment in the bottles.

I washed the 3787 yeast, so should I add some of the washed yeast to the bottles or do it with notty? I would really like to have at least 2 bottles ready for the state fair come August.
 

jkarp

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I've got a batch of my Delirium Tremens clone carbing up right now. The trick is to read Brew Like a Monk and do it like they do. At bottling I added sugar for 2.5 volumes and another dose of WLP570, held back from the pitching starter. I now have the bottles, plus one 1.5 gal Tap A Draft bottle in a cooler with a heating pad warm conditioning at 80 deg. After only 5 days, the TaD bottle is rock hard...
 

scinerd3000

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I've got a batch of my Delirium Tremens clone carbing up right now. The trick is to read Brew Like a Monk and do it like they do. At bottling I added sugar for 2.5 volumes and another dose of WLP570, held back from the pitching starter. I now have the bottles, plus one 1.5 gal Tap A Draft bottle in a cooler with a heating pad warm conditioning at 80 deg. After only 5 days, the TaD bottle is rock hard...
what would you suggest in my case...i used a slurry of trapist yeast AND saison yeast. It would be mighty expensive to buy both and repitch with sugar...but if thats the way to go it could be worth it.

What about pulling sludge from the bottom and using that for a starter? it might take some coaxing but im guessing there some thats still viable
 

jkarp

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Well, the Belgians seem to think the fermentation yeast have pretty well 'shot their wad' chewing through 20 plato or so of sugars so just about all re-pitch at bottling. The other common denominator among Belgian Strongs is warm conditioning. REALLY warm.

I don't think the actual yeast type is terribly important for bottle conditioning - just pitch something relatively alcohol tolerant (S-04 perhaps?) and get those bottles WARM.
 

Jumbo82

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I have a similar problem with a O.G. 1.090 stout. Brewed it on 1/18/09, two packets of Nottingham in a 4 gallon batch. Bottled on 3/3/09 after reaching 1.027 (a bit on the high side, but 70% attenuation seemed close enough to the 75% that Notty should do). Tried a bottle on 4/6/09 - completely flat. Tried another tonight (4/13/09) - completely flat. So I went ahead and opened a packet of Lavin EC-118, figuring that it should be able to chew through enough residual sugars to get the carbonation I want. I used the bent head of a nail as a measuring spoon to add a consistent amount of yeast to each bottle. One scoop was roughly a dozen grains (I doubt I even used a 1/4 packet). My plan is to keep all the bottles at around 70 degrees and slowly sample them one at a time until I get to the desired carbonation level. Then I'll put them all in the fridge to halt further fermentation. As an afterthought I decided to look on HBT to see if anyone else has tried this. I'm glad I'm not the only one. Rather than start a new thread, I'll just post back here in the coming weeks (months?) to let you know how it turns out.
 

Doog_Si_Reeb

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I did something similar with my 999 Barleywine yesterday. The bugger has been refusing to carbonate so I made a small starter Friday and dumped in a pack of Nottingham. I let it do it's thing and when it was on the tail end of eating the starter, I poured it into a tupperware. I then used the small dropper for my refractometer and dropped 3 drops of the yeast mix into each bottle.

This method gave me consistency from bottle to bottle and I know the yeast was already going when I dropped it into each bottle. I don't know if it will work, but I plan to crack one next week to see the progress.
 
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s3n8

s3n8

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I promise to update this thread when I get back home this weekend. It should be plenty of time for the Nottingham to do its thing.

Man, booze is expensive in Canadia. No wonder there are so many home brewers :).
 
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s3n8

s3n8

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So I opened a bottle last night. Carbonation was weak, little head. There is a bit of carbonation and it leaves lacing on the glass. The sweetness is gone, but I guess there was not enough residual sugar for the Nottingham to eat. I read Brew like a monk, but figured the yeast would still have enough oomph left to do the job. The weird think was that my neighbor who took half the batch and used completely different yeast had EXACTLY the same results. Next time I make a big Belgian I am going to add half a packet of dry yeast to the cooled priming sugar and then bottle.
 

scinerd3000

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i ended up making a starter with wlp500 belgian yeast, decanted the liquid and poured ~150ml of the starter into 6 gallons i was bottling. The rest is building up in a bigger starter which i will store for later. I added enough priming sugar to go for 2.5 volumes of co2 and well see where it takes me....
 

barrooze

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Great thread. I brewed a Strong Golden and got 96.7% attenuation and am having the same carbing issues. I also have a Tripel about to be ready for bottling and it's in the 95% attenuation range. For the Strong Golden I used WLP570 and for the Tripel I used WLP575.

I washed the 570. Do you think I should make a small starter and add half to the bottles of SG and the other half to the Tripel bottling bucket or should I just use dry yeast as others have been using?
 
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how did these end up carbonating? Im having the same issue but im worried that if i add more sugar i will overcarbonate. My Dubbel which ended up at >8.5% only attenuated down to 1.014...nottingham attenuated down below 1.008 or so and im worried that if i add priming sugar, the raise in gravity plus the residual sugars in the brew will lead to overcarbonation....have you popped one open since they carbed?
Dubbels have a lot of unfermentable residual sugars. That's why they have that sweet flavor while tripels are dry. You're fine because those residual sugars are unfermentable.
 
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One thing I find with Belgian yeast is once they are done, they are done. I used 575 on a golden strong at 1.090 and tried to yeast wash for pitching into a dark strong at 1.000. I had a real hard time getting the washed yeast to grow in the starter. It took using four different containers and aerating the crap out of them before I finally got two of the containers to reproduce. However once I did they were super Belgian yeast because I ended up massively underpitching into the dark strong and fermentation took off in a couple hours. (I wanted the first pitching to be stressed and develop esters while I grew up the second starter to pitch, but the first one did the job.) I haven't had that problem with other beers I've brewed with that yeast, but they were some tired yeast at first.

So part of your problem is that the yeast were tired. The other problem that stands out to me is that you added straight sugar to the fermenter after fermentation was done. The risk, which obviously played out against you here, is that the yeast have used all of the available nutrients in the beer on the initial fermentation so they didn't have all of the other necessary nutrients available to ferment the table sugar and syrup. The remedy for this would have been to add nutrient and/or energizer along with the sugar and syrup.
 
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