No carbonation after 3 weeks

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SaisonMan

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Hi, everybody. I bottled a Northern Brewer Belgian Dubbel extract kit three weeks ago (after six weeks in the fermentor). I opened a bottle today and there was no carbonation. Opened another bottle thinking it wasn’t capped properly. No carbonation. Tastes good but no bubbles or head. I used NB’s canned priming solution and Wyeast 1214. Everything went fine throughout the process. OG and FG were where the kit said they should be. The two bottles I tried were at room temperature for four days, then sat in the refrigerator for over two weeks while I was away. Any thoughts? Any way this can be salvaged?
 

Chorgey

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I believe that the beer did not carbonate long enough at room temperature. 4 days does not seem to be long enough to carbonate. Your bottled beer should be stored at 70-75F for 2-3 weeks or until fully carbonated, once that is done, you can refrigerate it.
 
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SaisonMan

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Ahhhh. I only refrigerated those two bottles. The rest have been at room temp for three weeks. I would be so happy if you’re right. Thanks. I’ll put a few in the fridge now and give an update tomorrow. Fingers crossed!
 
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SaisonMan

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Actually, the other bottles had been sitting for four days at room temp and then for more two weeks at 55 degrees while I was away. Maybe I should let them warm up before putting a few in the fridge?
 

Chorgey

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Since the bottles are at 55 degrees, try one of those without refrigerating. According to craftbeer.com, they suggest the serving temp to be 50f to 55f.
If it does not seem carbonated enough, either put them in a warmer environment or just let them sit at the 55f for a longer period of time.

 

MikeCo

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I made the all grain version of that kit 5 or 6 years ago. I left it in secondary for 4 weeks. I also used WY1214, and it took 6 weeks to carbonate at room temperature. After that, I have always used fresh yeast for bottling.

Put the bottles somewhere warmer and be patient.
 
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SaisonMan

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I made the all grain version of that kit 5 or 6 years ago. I left it in secondary for 4 weeks. I also used WY1214, and it took 6 weeks to carbonate at room temperature. After that, I have always used fresh yeast for bottling.

Put the bottles somewhere warmer and be patient.
Wow. I’m pretty new to this but it never occurred to me that carbonation could take that long. I’ve held to the conventional wisdom (in HBT) of three weeks. I think I’m going to take your advice and just leave them alone for a good while. Everything I’ve read about Dubbels is that it takes a long time for the beer to mature anyway. I’ll drink my other stuff, get ready to move to all grain and attempt patience. Home brewing is teaching me I’m not good at patience. Thanks.
 

hotbeer

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SaisonMan

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Why are you keeping the beer at such low temps when the recipe says 68 - 78°F for fermenting. And even for bottling, it says room temperature, which IMO is also in that same temp range.


IMO, for ales and other beer with the various strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae you don't want to put them at cooler temps until everything is finished, including the carbonation.
My wife insisted that the thermostat be set to 55 while we were on vacation. I answer to a higher power. Temp is back to 68 now.
 

hotbeer

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My wife insisted that the thermostat be set to 55 while we were on vacation. I answer to a higher power. Temp is back to 68 now.
When you are fully bit and succumb to the beer brewing bug, then there are inexpensive temperature controllers that you can use to control various heat sources or cooling sources so you can maintain a custom temp. If you are using a carboy, it might be as simple as putting it in a box or cooler with a heat mat wrapped around it using one of those controllers. Though you can go down a big rabbit hole of bigger and better cooling and heating controllers and sources which might also raise the eybrow of your cost conscious spouse!



 

Dancy

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I bottled an all grain Belgian Dubbel 7 days ago. Used Mangrove Jack M41 dry yeast. At bottling time, I added Lallemand CBC-1 yeast along with corn sugar to give (hopefully) a carbonation level of 2.5. My place has a room temp of 72+F. I refrigerated one yesterday (only 6 days old) and when I poured it, there was already a modest head and I was surprised it tasted quite good already. Of course it’ll improve with time. I use bottles for Belgian brews to prevent bottle bombs. *EDIT* Definitely allow at least 3 weeks for peak fermentation— at least that’s been my experience.
 
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SaisonMan

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The directions called for 1-2 weeks in primary and then another month in secondary. I skipped the secondary and just kept it in the fermentor for six weeks. I’m a newb and I do what I’m told. It tastes decent flat so if it ever carbonates I think it will good.
 

Dancy

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The directions called for 1-2 weeks in primary and then another month in secondary. I skipped the secondary and just kept it in the fermentor for six weeks. I’m a newb and I do what I’m told. It tastes decent flat so if it ever carbonates I think it will good.
It is commonly stated on HBT that kits advise a secondary fermentation and that is old advice -- the brew shops haven't updated their directions and I agree. I've used a secondary when I've added cherries, for example. As for length in the primary, I wanted to bottle my Dubbel at 3 weeks but simply didn't have time so I let it go to 4 weeks. Personally, I am more comfortable with 3 weeks than two just because I feel more certain the fermentation is complete -- though it likely is completed at 2 weeks much of the time.
 
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SaisonMan

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That HBT wisdom is why I skipped the secondary. I don’t think keeping it in the fermentor for as long as I did caused any problems, but I’m not sure I’d do that again. While I waited for it, I brewed a Weizenbock, and I’m enjoying one right now. When one door temporarily closes, another one opens. ;)
 

balrog

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Three weeks to carbonate "rule" depends on 70F temperature, and two weeks will get you decently there, but the temp is important as the biochemical process slows with low temps. Also higher alcohol can slow carbonation down a bit.
 

MikeCo

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In addition to temperature and alcohol level, other important factors are yeast strain, yeast health, and aging time. I only bottle Belgian and barrel aged beers anymore. These usually have higher alcohol content and/or have been aged for an extended period. To assure good refermentation in the bottles, I always add fresh yeast.
 
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