Soda bottle to tell when conditioning is done

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Calypso

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So for the first time, I filled a 1 liter ex-tonic water bottle with beer so that I could tell how conditioning is coming. I did this because it's a big RIS that was in primary and secondary for an extended period of time (added some fresh yeast at bottling though).

My question is, now that I've done this, how do I actually tell it's done? I know it's carbonating, because the bottle puffed out and has become hard, but that doesn't really tell me anything about progress, other than there is some.
 

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So for the first time, I filled a 1 liter ex-tonic water bottle with beer so that I could tell how conditioning is coming. I did this because it's a big RIS that was in primary and secondary for an extended period of time (added some fresh yeast at bottling though).

My question is, now that I've done this, how do I actually tell it's done? I know it's carbonating, because the bottle puffed out and has become hard, but that doesn't really tell me anything about progress, other than there is some.
When it's pretty hard, that's a good indication that it's carbed up.
 
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Calypso

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Well that's good. It's only been three days, which made me a little suspicious. That's faster than most of my small beers that didn't get extended bulk aging. Maybe it's because I added the fresh yeast...?
 

z-bob

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When the bottle is hard, that means it is carbing. That's all it means. I always find the the 1L bottles carb faster than the 12 oz glass bottles (no idea why.) Give them at least a week before you open one.

The bottle is hard after 3 days is a good sign, but don't read too much into it. ;)
 

olotti

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Is there permeability between plastic and glass? I just mark my last 4-6 bottles since they'll b the ones with any hop debris an those are the first I try usually at 7, 10 and 14 days and if it's good at 14 if not 10 days they get moved to the basement and some into the fridge.
 

millstone

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When I was bottling I would always bottle one 12oz plastic water bottle with the batch. I would fill it to about one inch from the top, then squeeze the bottle until the beer reach the top rim, cap it, and put it with the rest of the bottles. As it carbs, the bottle starts to expand, it would take about two weeks before the bottle became very firm (this is from memory). I still gave it a full 3 weeks before drinking but the water bottle gave me an indicator as to how well the fermentation was going.

Tom
 

Biscuits

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I am no expert or anything but in my mind, carb'ing and conditioning are separate things. As a standard, I give at least 2 weeks to carb because even though your bottle may be hard, it doesn't mean the gas has dissolved into the solution completely. Conditioning, to me, is when the flavors of the beer have mellowed and melded, but there is no way to be sure when this is done, or peaked...I just give it another couple of weeks and go from there.
 

Ike

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When the bottle is hard, that means it is carbing. That's all it means. I always find the the 1L bottles carb faster than the 12 oz glass bottles (no idea why.) Give them at least a week before you open one.

The bottle is hard after 3 days is a good sign, but don't read too much into it. ;)
I've had similarly disappointing results. I've tried a few times for batches of cider and root beers that were heavily backsweetened (read as: potential bottle bombs until they're pasteurized). But in each case, as z-bob says the plastic bottle is rock hard before the glass bottles will even hiss when opened.

My next experiment is going to be to leave a greater amount of headspace in the plastic bottle, to see if I can find a point where it is a better indicator. The tricky part will be finding a volume that will allow carbonation to continue longer and fill the empty headspace vs. having enough brew in the bottle to create enough CO2, I'm afraid.

Ike
 

Rhumbline

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I also do the PET bottle just because I'm impatient. typically takes 2-3 weeks to carb, but a big RIS? Longer is better.
 

Ike

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have a read through this thread if you want to be confused about headspace pressure vs carbonation.
You're right!

...now I AM confused. :mug:


But, that's been a steady-state condition since I started brewing, so... I just figure one thing out, which turns me onto another thing to get confused about.

Example: "hey, my extract beers are turning out pretty good, I'm starting to understand how this all works. I wonder if I should try all grain..." --> :confused: once again!
 

sablesurfer

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I tried this once. The soda bottle was firm, and that is the only indication. There is no way to tell if it is fully carbed or not from the one time I tried it. Like you, I saw results in a few days, knowing full well that same beer has barely carbed in less than two weeks. I have given up on this. Now I just wait, zen like, until the perfect moment....or something.
 

ol-hazza

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You're right!

...now I AM confused. :mug:


But, that's been a steady-state condition since I started brewing, so... I just figure one thing out, which turns me onto another thing to get confused about.

Example: "hey, my extract beers are turning out pretty good, I'm starting to understand how this all works. I wonder if I should try all grain..." --> :confused: once again!
I figure if I'm not confused I'm not thinking about it hard enough.
 

dkevinb

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I've always used 1/2-liter amber PET beer bottles for all my beer. They don't get firm when they're carbed, they get rock hard. Feel an unopened 1/2-liter Coke bottle and you'll know what I'm saying. They'll get that hard in a week. I let them sit 2-3 weeks (mostly 4.5 - 5.5% ABV session ales) before I put them in the fridge. I've only ever had one not carb properly, and that was due to a loose cap, after about 1,400 bottles. I also use a priming calculator religiously.
 

Singletrack

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I've always used 1/2-liter amber PET beer bottles for all my beer. They don't get firm when they're carbed, they get rock hard. They'll get that hard in a week. I let them sit 2-3 weeks before I put them in the fridge. I've only ever had one not carb properly, and that was due to a loose cap, after about 1,400 bottles.
I respectfully suggest an intervention. After 1,400 bottles, you really could stop doing the 1/2 liter PET bottle. Just wait 2-3 weeks before fridging. You know how this works. :)

Now excuse me while I calculate my total bottle count to see if I have as many as you -- though I use bombers.

I'm back. Yeah, about the same number of bombers. Maybe a few less.
 

slym2none

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I use a 16-oz Coor's Light stubby aluminum bottle, more to tell if my beers are carbing at all, not necessarily when. Young beers will be drank young, and big beers will condition longer, OWOTO. I just want to know that the beer is carbing up, that's all.
 

dkevinb

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I respectfully suggest an intervention. After 1,400 bottles, you really could stop doing the 1/2 liter PET bottle. Just wait 2-3 weeks before fridging. You know how this works. :)

Now excuse me while I calculate my total bottle count to see if I have as many as you -- though I use bombers.

I'm back. Yeah, about the same number of bombers. Maybe a few less.
My other brewing friends insist I should start kegging now that I'm doing 8 to 10 gallon batches. I like my amber PET bottles. They're light, unbreakable, fast and easy to cap, never leak, never explode and I own a bunch of them.
 

z-bob

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I really like using 1L plastic tonic bottles, even though they are clear. Gonna fill a couple of 2L Fresca bottles next time I bottle -- pretend they are disposable growlers.
 
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