Carbonation Question?

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Brews-n-Blues

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Hello out there to all you Brewers!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all of you!
So I have a question about the carbonation process?
I have Brewed 2 different 5 gallon Beer kits so far.
The first was an English Porter and the second was a favorite style of mine,
a Hefeweizen! I'm having the same problem with both styles?
The carbonation levels?
I did it exactly how it instructs in the Brewer's Best kit? I dissolve the priming sugar in heated water for the instructed time. I then pour this sugar solution, after cooling, into the bottling bucket. Then I Siphon the Beer into the bottling bucket, so that it swirls, stirs and mixes the liquid equally, before bottling? I then store all the bottles inside a large dark tote,
the "Bomb-Shelter" at room temp. (73°),
for 2 to 3 weeks. I try one and if it's carbonated to my liking, I put the rest in the refrigerator to share and enjoy!
I've noticed on both kits, that the carbonation level is all over the place!?
One will be perfect, one will be OK and then one will be flat?? The flavors are pretty much on mark, with a little variance, I'm thinking because of the lack of carbonation? But, thankfully I haven't had any bottle-bombs!
I don't understand why the levels have been radically different? Some seem to not have any carbonation at all?? Flat?
Does the cooling temp have anything to do with ruining the carbonation level?
Should I not put all the bottles in the fridg, if the one tester is perfect?
The guy at the Brew supply shop said that it's because I'm using the priming sugar in the kit? He said that he always uses the priming drops, "sold seperately" in a bag, that you put one drop in every bottle, then cap.
Should I use this method instead of the priming sugar that comes in the kits?
Or should I just bite the "cost bullet" and start kegging and force carbonating?
I really want to learn this process?
I hate going through this "hit-or-miss" stuff when popping a Beer!?
It can be such a let down?
Any info on this is much appreciated!
Have a great weekend!
Cheers to the Craft!
🍺😎
 

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InspectorJon

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The most likely cause for inconsistent bottle carbing across the same batch is not mixing the priming solution well enough into the beer. Try mixing better. Priming dots work but are kind of expensive. 1/2 tsp sugar in each bottle will do the same thing. There is a great thread about individual bottle priming HERE
 

doug293cz

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I never had issues with just using the swirl while siphoning to the bottling bucket method when I used to bottle. But, inadequate mixing is a possibility to look into. If you do additional mixing, stir very gently to minimize excess O2 pick up.

The other possibility is inconsistent cap sealing. Leaky caps will lead to flat beer. Hopefully you are not trying to cap onto twist off bottles, as those are almost impossible to get a good seal on.

Brew on :mug:
 

hotbeer

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The "trick" of racking the beer into the priming pot so it swirls or whirlpools has never resulted in even mixing of the two for me. It also means you have to accurately know the amount of beer you'll get out of the fermenter so you can calculate your priming sugar amount.

So I always siphon the beer into the pot first and then once I know it's volume, figure my priming sugar, get the priming solution mixed and cooled, then add it to the beer. If you have a decent amount of light shining into the pot, you can see wavy lines in the solution. That is the denser priming solution against the less dense beer. I stir gently till the wavy lines are no more.

Happy Thanksgiving!
 

bracconiere

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The other possibility is inconsistent cap sealing. Leaky caps will lead to flat beer. Hopefully you are not trying to cap onto twist off bottles, as those are almost impossible to get a good seal on.


looks like he's using flip top bottles, so i'd agree leaky lids, but with replaceable rubber washers? inspect the flat bottles washers... :mug:
 

kartracer2

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Yeah, I'd agree it sounds like your priming sugar didn't get mixed well enough.
I batch prime and when I am adding my prime to the bottling bucket I position the hose so that it causes somewhat of a swirl as it fills. I don't add the prime all at once, I sort of dribble/pour slowly it in as the bucket fills. I'll still stir the mixture once before I start filling bottles, not violently though, actually more of a back and forth motion rather than around.
I do have a question for you though, Have you run into bottles that seem to be over carbed? That prime had to go somewhere if you have bottles that were low in solution, if you follow my thinking. What is your ratio of flat to OK?
As far as loose caps, I haven't had a "loose" cap in all my bottle capping. (I only bottle). That's not to say it couldn't happen though. I just got some new swing tops but yet to use them. Are yours new? I did have a couple of regular bottles that had chipped rims that I didn't see until after the fact.
I hope your future bottling goes well.
Cheers, :mug:
Joel B.
 

hotbeer

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If the swing top bottles and their seals are in good shape, then I wouldn't focus too much on that as the issue unless you find that the seals are not in good shape. Or you never have successful batches in the future with them.

If you do decide to switch to crown capped bottles before going all out into kegging, then I'd recommend a bench capper and not one of those two handed cappers that are only slightly less expensive.
 
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Brews-n-Blues

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Thank you all so much for sharing your experience and info with me!!
I really appreciate it!
I have used these flip top bottles twice now, so I will get more replacement gaskets for them? Is there a normal timeline for replacing the gaskets or
can I just flip the rubber gaskets on the next bottling event, or is it best to just replace them all after using once?
They all looked like they were in good shape, no dry rot noticed, just the rim dent from being used once before?
I did notice that every used "Grolsch" Beer bottle I used, the carbonation was perfect? These were stored in another box until I used them for this bottling day? The gaskets looked the same, but a little thicker which would mean a tighter seal. Also, the few regular 12oz Beer bottles that I used and capped were fine as well? I may try to use mostly 12oz bottles for the next run?
Also, the secondary slow mixing of the primer is a great idea?
I didn't even consider that the sugar solution was denser than the Beer.
One word: DA!?? 😅
I can't can't believe I didn't realize this?
Again, Thank you all very much for all the great info! I definitely appreciate it!
Hopefully the next bottling day, which will be a double IPA!!
Can't wait!
Cheers to the Craft!!
🍺😎
 

kartracer2

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@Brews-n-Blues I tend to think that you probably had a blending issue with the priming solution. The flip top gaskets should last several uses. If you feel they could be your problem most HBS's sell them or find them on line, they're cheap insurance. Maybe replace them so you know that they are in good shape, that's your call.
Next bottling session maybe take note of when what bottles and type were filled. (as in first 12 or so, next 12, etc). If the problem persists you'll have a better insight on the issue.
Cheers, :mug:
Joel B.
 

doug293cz

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Thank you all so much for sharing your experience and info with me!!
I really appreciate it!
I have used these flip top bottles twice now, so I will get more replacement gaskets for them? Is there a normal timeline for replacing the gaskets or
can I just flip the rubber gaskets on the next bottling event, or is it best to just replace them all after using once?
They all looked like they were in good shape, no dry rot noticed, just the rim dent from being used once before?
I did notice that every used "Grolsch" Beer bottle I used, the carbonation was perfect? These were stored in another box until I used them for this bottling day? The gaskets looked the same, but a little thicker which would mean a tighter seal. Also, the few regular 12oz Beer bottles that I used and capped were fine as well? I may try to use mostly 12oz bottles for the next run?
Also, the secondary slow mixing of the primer is a great idea?
I didn't even consider that the sugar solution was denser than the Beer.
One word: DA!?? 😅
I can't can't believe I didn't realize this?
Again, Thank you all very much for all the great info! I definitely appreciate it!
Hopefully the next bottling day, which will be a double IPA!!
Can't wait!
Cheers to the Craft!!
🍺😎
I think the correlation to bottle type, and the lack of overcarbed bottles, supports the leaky seal hypothesis over the poor mixing of priming solution hypothesis.

Brew on :mug:
 

RufusBrewer

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I siphon the beer from the fermenttor into the bottling bucket. I add the sugar water to bottling bucket. I see only disadvantage to adding to the fermentor, then transfer.

The bottling bucket method gives me a last chance to dial the sugar level. How? I make up 1 liter of my priming sugar. The 1 leter is intended for 5 gallons of beer. If my final volume is less than 5 gallons, I hold back the appropriate amount of priming sugar. Probably more OCD than required, but why not.

Also, I do not go out of my way to cool the sugar water. I gently pour it down the side of the priming bucker. If it kills a few cells of yeast, I am OK with that. And a good amount of swirling to mix teh sugar is a good idea.
 
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