My beer was flat.

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hotbeer

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I opened a beer last night from a batch I bottled 9 days ago. I put it in the fridge 2 days ago. It was dead flat, but tasted great. Although a tad sweet for me.

I'm thinking it's just that I kept these bottles at 69°F for most of the time after bottling. Usually I keep them at 74°F. And I realize that 1 week is too early to really be worried, but normally I'd have some carbonation going on after day 7.

Assuming I haven't done anything wrong with measuring and mixing the priming sugar, I'm left with this one question for y'all.

Does sugar get too old? I'd run out of the priming sugar I normally use and thought I'd get rid of a bottle of corn syrup that I know has been sitting on the pantry shelf for 15 years. It's in a glass bottle and unlike the not quite as old bottle of the same syrup next to it in a plastic bottle which was too viscous to even pour, this seemed perfectly normal, although it had started to darken ever so slightly from what I assume is caramelization.

Kayro light Corn Syrup is what I'm talking about. Do you think it can somehow become unfermentable with age?
 

VikeMan

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Kayro light Corn Syrup is what I'm talking about. Do you think it can somehow become unfermentable with age?

My guess would be no. I mean, slow maillard reactions during storage could use up some sugar, but I doubt that all or even most of it could be used.

You mentioned that you only let this go for 7 days before refrigerating. I'd recommend letting the bottles warm up and see what happens over the next couple of weeks.

Also, how did you calculate the amount of syrup to use?
 

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I've noticed a difference in the amount of time it takes for my beers to carbonate just between sitting on the floor near a door as opposed to sitting on a shelf 16 inches above the floor and 10 feet farther from the door. From that I would venture a guess that your cooler storage slowed the carbonation.
 
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You mentioned that you only let this go for 7 days before refrigerating. I'd recommend letting the bottles warm up and see what happens over the next couple of weeks.
I've noticed a difference in the amount of time it takes for my beers to carbonate just between sitting on the floor near a door as opposed to sitting on a shelf 16 inches above the floor and 10 feet farther from the door. From that I would venture a guess that your cooler storage slowed the carbonation.
That's more in line with what I'm thinking. I have just today moved them to a cooler with a heat mat in it and am raising the temp slowly till I get it the bottles back up in the 73 - 74°F range that I've had good results with before.

This is US-05 yeast in a heavily hopped during the boil IPA. 1.070 OG and 1.010 FG. I wish I'd thought to take a SG reading and see if it had any priming sugar in it, but I drank it all before I thought of that. Not wanting to open another right now.

The corn syrup was just the only other thing I had different besides the temp I had them at. Usually I'd been using Agave Nectar that I had from another recipe that called for a couple tablespoons and I could only get it in a big bottle. I'm thinking I'll use either corn sugar or table sugar after this.
 

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At lower, "cellar temps," it can easily take a month to fully condition/carbonate a bottle of beer. At lower temps it can take longer, or not happen for several months.
Under warmer conditions it will speed up.

It also depends on the yeast strain used, her age since pitching, and health at bottling time.

More than once I've had ranched or harvested Belgian yeasts stored in small 4 and 8 oz canning jars buckle the lid after a few months, stored in a full box with other yeast in the fridge at 34F. The other yeasts didn't do anything.

Also, how did you calculate the amount of syrup to use?
That's an important factor.^
 

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I had this happen to me once, with almost the same set of circumstances. My beer was also a high-ish gravity ale (I don't remember exactly, but it was north of 1.065), plus I did a two week cold crash out of necessity rather than intention, and used gelatin finings.

The beer was damn near crystal clear, but I think that the combination of the high abv, plus the removal of yeast from suspension by the finings and cold crash simply left far to little yeast to do the job. I ended up opening, dumping them back into the bottling bucket, pitching a little champagne yeast, and trying again. That ended up working for me. It was a real PITA plus I more than likely oxygenated the crap out of it in the process, but it did end up working. Hope that helps! Cheers!
 

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I can count on one hand the beers I’ve bottles that are actually bottle carbed after 2 weeks. At basement temps most yeasts have been more like 3 weeks for me.
Just give it another week or two. Maybe put a couple beers in a warmer spot for a week.
 

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I have the same problem! I have made beer for a long time and have just returned to it after a long lay off. I have never had any problem getting my beer conditioned in the past but this first batch on my return is a carbonation hiccup . I bottled the beer on the 1st of Feb it was on the worktop for two weeks at room temp... totally flat. I have since moved it to my fermentation fridge and had it at 20C for the last ten days ... slight hint of carbonation but not much. I have now upped the temp to 24C and I will give it another week see if anything happens. The up side is that the beer tastes quite good but I find a bit of carbonation lifts the beer a bit .
 
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hotbeer

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Also, how did you calculate the amount of syrup to use?
I went by the calculator on Brewers's Friend which I'd been using for the Agave Nectar which pretty much is the equivalent of corn syrup. Of course I don't know if BF's version of corn syrup is my version of corn syrup.

I did note that the nutrition information on the Agave Nectar and the Kayro corn syrup bottles showed they had about the same amount of sugars. I've just assumed all those sugars are fermentable.

At lower, "cellar temps," it can easily take a month to fully condition/carbonate a bottle of beer. At lower temps it can take longer, or not happen for several months.
Under warmer conditions it will speed up.

I've been curious about others that had posted about slow to carb bottles. So I did intentionally leave these at a lower temp than normal. However 69°F isn't cellar temps and it's well within the ideal for US-05 yeast of 64-79°F (18-26°C ). They were in a temp controlled cabinet too, so there wasn't any more than 1 maybe 2 degrees variance.

So if these carb up at the 74°F (23°C) they are soon to be at then I'm going to be wondering if that might indicated that bottled beer should be carbonated at a 5°F (2.8°C) higher temperature than it was fermented at if a 2 week carbonation period is desired. My fermentation temperature for that batch was the 69°F that I was keeping the bottles at.

Now I'm wishing I'd have left a few bottles at the 69°F to see what they might have done in the coming weeks as a comparison to the rest. Oh well.....
 
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ike8228

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Would an infection cause a beer not to carb? Some may have see my similar issue ina Kolsch thread a few weeks back. I opened my first bottle of a session IPA today and no carbonation. Two batches in a row. Perhaps a little early as well but one would think there would be some kind of carbonation. I have never had an issue with conditioning until the last two batches in a row. I even used different caps and capper between the two batches. Similarity would be equipment, infection? Beer doesn’t taste infected, just flat…
 

VikeMan

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Would an infection cause a beer not to carb? Some may have see my similar issue ina Kolsch thread a few weeks back. I opened my first bottle of a session IPA today and no carbonation. Two batches in a row. Perhaps a little early as well but one would think there would be some kind of carbonation. I have never had an issue with conditioning until the last two batches in a row. I even used different caps and capper between the two batches. Similarity would be equipment, infection? Beer doesn’t taste infected, just flat…

I imagine Lactobacillus or Pediococcus could eat your priming sugar without producing CO2. But even then, their presence wouldn't inhibit your primary yeast strain from also eating some of that priming sugar, and that would make CO2. Also, Lacto and.or Pedio would sour your beer, and you said it doesn't taste infected.

And looking at wild yeast (e.g. Brett), they would make CO2.

TLDR: your lack of carbonation is probably not due to an infection.
 

ike8228

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I imagine Lactobacillus or Pediococcus could eat your priming sugar without producing CO2. But even then, their presence wouldn't inhibit your primary yeast strain from also eating some of that priming sugar, and that would make CO2. Also, Lacto and.or Pedio would sour your beer, and you said it doesn't taste infected.

And looking at wild yeast (e.g. Brett), they would make CO2.

TLDR: your lack of carbonation is probably not due to an infection.
And last time I caulked it up to a mess up with my amount of priming sugar, this time I made sure and even added a little extra to be sure….not sure what is happening. I am about to go down a hole guys. Dark times. LoL
 

IslandLizard

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And last time I caulked it up to a mess up with my amount of priming sugar, this time I made sure and even added a little extra to be sure….not sure what is happening. I am about to go down a hole guys. Dark times. LoL
You can (slowly) pour the beer you have from its bottle into a small plastic (PET) soda bottle, then re-prime and close tightly with the screw cap. If that bottle gets hard after a week (or 2) at room temps, that may help pointing to a problem with your original bottles/capping.

At the same time fill another plastic bottle the same way, prime with the same amount, and add a few (2-5) granules of fresh dry yeast (pretty much any variety will do), to check if lack of residual yeast is the issue.

How much and what kind of priming sugar did you add? How big is the finished batch?

Another thought. Did you perhaps, unintentionally, add sorbitol to your beer with the sugar, a fruit syrup, or back sweetener, or so? Sorbitol will stunt yeast growth.
 

ike8228

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You can (slowly) pour the beer you have from its bottle into a small plastic (PET) soda bottle, then re-prime and close tightly with the screw cap. If that bottle gets hard after a week (or 2) at room temps, that may help pointing to a problem with your original bottles/capping.

At the same time fill another plastic bottle the same way, prime with the same amount, and add a few (2-5) granules of fresh dry yeast (pretty much any variety will do), to check if lack of residual yeast is the issue.

How much and what kind of priming sugar did you add? How big is the finished batch?

Another thought. Did you perhaps, unintentionally, add sorbitol to your beer with the sugar, a fruit syrup, or back sweetener, or so? Sorbitol will stunt yeast growth.
I did not add anything but priming corn sugar. I used 4oz in a a little over 5gal. Got 42 12oz bottles out of this batch.
 

VikeMan

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I did not add anything but priming corn sugar. I used 4oz in a a little over 5gal. Got 42 12oz bottles out of this batch.

How did you add the sugar? i.e. did you dissolve it in boiling water first? And how did you mix it with the beer? And have you tested bottles from both ends of the bottling runs of each batch?
 

ike8228

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How did you add the sugar? i.e. did you dissolve it in boiling water first? And how did you mix it with the beer? And have you tested bottles from both ends of the bottling runs of each batch?
I have not tested multiple bottles yet.

I dissolve the sugar in about 2 cups of boiling water. I add to the bottom of my brew kettle (I use it as a bottling bucket) and syphon the beer out and in through the ball valve at the bottom to let it mix as it goes in. I have done this same method many times.

I just took half of my beers (gave them a flip to stir up some settlement) and put into my chamber at 75F and left the other box in the closet that is in the high 60s. I have a thermometer in there heating up now to find out. I will check a bottle from each in another week and see if there is a difference there. But I did do this with my entire batch of Kolsch and it didn’t seem to help in that regard.

I did check a number of caps but I was not able to budge/spin any of them.

I have always done everything close to the same process. The only thing I can think of is I have been more willing to leave some of the beer in the fermenter by not syphoning everything out. I am probably not getting some of the yeast from the cake as I normally would.

I do crash to 35 for usually 48hrs (finings depending on beer style, but not this one) and bottle at about 55, wherever the beers gets to on a particular day during the time it takes to bottle. Oxygen caps, and fill to the bottom of the mouth ring (about 1/4 in from top).
 

VikeMan

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Just a long shot... are you sure the corn sugar you used isn't something like maltodextrin? They can look pretty similar.
 

ike8228

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Just a long shot... are you sure the corn sugar you used isn't something like maltodextrin? They can look pretty similar.
Good idea, but I am certain I used the corn sugar. I went to check my supplies, and I actually had left the corn sugar on top of the container I keep it because I forgot to put it away.
 
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Just to update this thead...


Almost two weeks now with the bottles at a ambient temp of 73-74°F, the one I popped the top on last night after being in the refrigerator for two days is not much more carbonated. It is carbonated some, but not much.

Beer is sweet, so I'm thinking that somehow that corn syrup was either changed to a less fermentable sugar due to it's age, or I simply measured wrong. I measure by weight, so if it's me, then I must not have tared the scale or used the wrong container to put back on the scale after zeroing it out.

I do have another batch bottled of the same recipe. This time I just used table sugar. And not a decade old bag either! :) So hopefully in another week or so, I'll have some decently carbonated beer to drink.

This is probably where a pressurized growler or something similar would save this batch of seven remaining bottles. Other than being a tad sweet, the flavor is spot on for what I wanted.

Maybe I'll play with them and add some table sugar to some and cap them again to see how they compare to others I did nothing to as well as the new batch of the same recipe.
 
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I did just look at my bottles of corn syrup after writing the above. I noticed that the one I used lists high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient and the other does not.

While I'm pretty sure high fructose corn syrup is fermentable, do any of you know if it ferments significantly slower than other sugars?
 
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it totally is fermentable. sugar is sugar, more or less. depending on the product, a little more or less is required to carbonate how you want.
That wasn't the question.

I was asking if perhaps it is one that the yeast are slower chewing through it. HFCS is a little more complicated sugar molecule isn't it?

I've read that HFCS does ferment completely. But there seems to be some question about how fast that happens with anecdotal stuff posted here and elsewhere. I haven't found a more scientific write up comparing it's fermentation rate with other types of fermentable sugar.
 

VikeMan

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I did just look at my bottles of corn syrup after writing the above. I noticed that the one I used lists high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient and the other does not.

Kinda makes one wonder why a priming calculator would list "corn syrup" as an option, when they are not all the same.

While I'm pretty sure high fructose corn syrup is fermentable, do any of you know if it ferments significantly slower than other sugars?

I wouldn't expect the speed of carbonation to be much different between various simple sugars. But corn syrup (regardless of type/brand) isn't just sugar.

If you really want to know if you under-dosed, take a look at the nutritional information. Note the serving size (in mL or tsp or whatever) and the sugar content (grams per serving). Weigh out the serving size to get it in grams. Divide the serving size grams by the sugar grams per serving. The answer will be the number you need to multiply a priming calculator's "table sugar" answer by to get the amount of your corn syrup to use.

ETA: Looking at the calculator's answer for "corn syrup," I suspect that's going to under-dose pretty much every corn syrup I've seen.
 
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If you really want to know if you under-dosed, take a look at the nutritional information. Note the serving size (in mL or tsp or whatever) and the sugar content (grams per serving). Weigh out the serving size to get it in grams. Divide the serving size grams by the sugar grams per serving. The answer will be the number you need to multiply a priming calculator's "table sugar" answer by to get the amount of your corn syrup to use.

ETA: Looking at the calculator's answer for "corn syrup," I suspect that's going to under-dose pretty much every corn syrup I've seen.
I think you are on to something. Although I looked at the labels when I hastily grabbed the corn syrup and looked at the carbohydrate values and found them to be within a gram or two of each other, I now see that the corn syrup is for two teaspoons/serving and not the 1 tablespoon/serving of the agave nectar.

Also the corn syrup list carbohydrates as being 31 grams for those 2 tsp's. But the sugar as only 12 grams. I don't have the bottle of agave nectar I used prior, nor do I remember what brand it was. So maybe I went by the total carbohydrates and not the total sugars when I was in my hurry to bottle.
 
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