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Carbonation question?

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Brews-n-Blues

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Hi All,
Sorry, this is a long one?
Please ask any and all questions to help me Brew a better batch next time!

I just completed a 5 gal batch of Robust Porter. It was a partial grain, LME Beer kit. Everything went good, as far as the schedule and target gravity numbers.
After a vigorous fermentation, that blew my air-lock off in the middle of the night, causing me to replace it with a "dump-tube" set-up, was complete in about 3 days and the Krausen completely dropped! I then followed the instructions of the kit and racked into a secondary Fermentor for about 2 days, but was told by many that I didn't need to do a secondary at all?? I should just leave it in the primary for 3 weeks or more depending on the style of Beer I was doing. They also told me that a lot of times the process instructions in these kits aren't up to today's Brewing standards. Good to know in the future! So after finding this out, I then reracked and split the 5 gal batch into 2
(2-1/2 gal batches).
I flavored one batch with a tincture I made from steeping vanilla beans in Barrel-Aged, Dark-Cherry Vodka for
2-1/2 days. I strained this first and then added to the smaller 3 gallon fermenter.
I then racked the Porter on top, to swirl-mix it and bring it up to 2 1/2 gal.
I then filled the other 3 gal Fermentor with the remaining 2-1/2 gallons left of the original 5 gal batch of the regular recipe of Robust Porter.
I followed the instructions for priming the split batches before bottling.
I used all brand new 16oz
swing-cap "Grolsch" type bottles to bottle condition the Beer in.
I sanitized my bottles and let dry on the bottle tree.
None of the cap gaskets looked old or damaged? I sanitized those as well.
I also tried as best I could to minimize aeration while racking, as well as bottling, by covering the top openings of the carboy and bottling bucket with a sanitized sheet of foil.
It smelled fantastic as I was bottling.
I put all the bottles back into the fridge-converted fermentor for 2 weeks to condition and carbonate.
I even bumped up the temp in the chamber to 70°F (2 degrees higher than the recommended Fermentation temp of 68°F) To reactivate the yeast on the priming sugar.
After 2 weeks, I put a few bottles in the regular fridge to chill before pouring.
I wanted to pre-taste test, to see how the Brews turned out, before I brought them to the party.
The first bottle of the regular batch of robust Porter came out only slightly carbonated and very close to a British "Cask" Porter! The flavor was good, but I just hoped the carbonation would've been a little better? The mouthfeel was a bit "thin" as well?
When I opened the first bottle of my Flavored Porter, the carbonation was a little more on point. There was only a very, slight hint of Vanilla to it, but no other flavors of the Dark-Cherry Vodka?
This was surprising to me, since I used 2 whole fresh Madigascar Vanilla beans, scraped and chopped up to steep in the Vodka for almost 3 days? Still, the flavor was good like a Porter should be.
I then brought a few more bottles to a party for tasting. I had them in ice before serving. When we opened another bottle of the original recipe batch, it was almost the same, but a little less carbonation to this one? When I opened a third, I was surprised at the fact that there was NO carbonation at all?? The flavor was pretty much there, but altered a little with what seemed like more bitterness?
When I opened the second bottle of the flavored batch, the carbonation was definitely there, if not a little too much??
If you poured a little too fast in the glass the head would overflow and when you took a sip, it had a good flavor, but the carbonation again, was a little too much?
So, my questions are:

1. I don't understand how bottles that were primed alike and bottle conditioned for the same amount of time could come out so different?
Is this normal in Home Brewing?
2. When creating a flavor tincture, should I have let it steep a lot longer than 3 days?
It smelled great when I used it in the Fermenter?
3. The only thing different I did to The Beer was put the bottles in ice to take them to the party? Can putting the bottles in Ice create such a drastic change in carbonation and even slightly affect the flavor as well?

Thanks for your patience with reading this! I just wanted to include all I could,
to give you all the info you would need to hopefully guide me to a better Brew next time!?
Thanks again for your time and suggestions!
Cheers!
Rock
 

VikeMan

It ain't all burritos and strippers, my friend.
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1. I don't understand how bottles that were primed alike and bottle conditioned for the same amount of time could come out so different?
It sounds like your priming sugar was not evenly mixed throughout the beer before bottling. Thus the one bottle that was "a little too much." Can you describe your priming procedure?
 
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Brews-n-Blues

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I dissolved 3.5oz of priming sugar in 2 cups of boiling water. I then poured half into each of the sanitized 3 gal carboys.
Then I racked half of the primary batch (2.5 gal) into the carboys by laying the siphon tube down around the bottom of the fermenter to create a whirlpool action to mix as it fills. It seemed to be a good swirling action as it filled the carboys?
When I bottled later, I capped each bottle right after it was filled. I rinsed quickly with water to remove any Beer residue, then sat aside until the batch was bottled. Then I returned the batches to the Fermenter for 2 weeks.
That's was it?
 
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Brews-n-Blues

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The quantity of the priming sugar and prep procedures were in the Brew kit process. I followed it exactly.
 

VikeMan

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It seemed to be a good swirling action as it filled the carboys?
The "racking swirl" is sometimes not enough to ensure even distribution. I have a hunch that's what happened here.
 
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Brews-n-Blues

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Wow? Ok!
And here I thought I had a MacGyver moment going on!? 😅
Thanks for the tip!
I'll definitely remember that for future batches! And I plan to do MUCH in the future!!!
Cheers to Home Brewing!!!
🍺😎❤🔥
 
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