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Doug

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Hey all -

My third beer has been bottle conditioning now for 11 days, and I think I've got trouble - very little carbonation. I opened one up just now, and heard only the smallest "ssst" when I cracked the cap. It poured like juice, and has a sugary, flat taste to it. I have noticed very little yeast sediment accumulating on the bottom of the bottles, so I am guessing the yeast didn't make it to the bottling.

What did I do wrong? I did this the same as my last batch - 1 week primary, 2 weeks secondary, 2 weeks in the bottle. I guess the secondary was more like 15 days compared to 11 or so on the last batch... I have heard that 99% of the yeast is suspended, but should I have made more of an effort to stir it up before racking to the bottling bucket, or before bottling?

Last, is there anything I can do to save this batch?

Thanks again,

Doug
 

Sir Sudster

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Doug , did you prime it with anything prior to bottling? if so, just be patient.
If not , then panic!
 

jjsscram

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Don't panic yet, the best beer I have made to date took allmost 5 weeks to carbonate up.
 
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Doug

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Man, I love this forum... every time I've gotten worried, the advice is don't panic - it will turn out. It always has too! I'm still more doubtful now than ever, but slightly reassured.

I primed with 5 oz priming sugar, and I did boil that in 1 cup of water before adding it to the bottom of my bottling bucket. The bottles have since been in a steady 66-68 degree environment. Should I move them to warmer areas?

- doug
 
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Doug

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I have a 4 level split house and I live in Minnesota. This time of year, the lower basement is constant 65-68. The next basement is probably 68-72, the main floor is probably 72-85, and the upper is 77-90.

Think I am ok getting up to 85 at this stage? I'd say I'd move it around, but I'm out of town a lot and it ends up getting stuck wherever I leave it.

- doug
 

El Pistolero

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Send it all to me...I'm spending $400 a month to maintain my one level at exactly 74F. I promise I'll send it all back when it's ready :D
 

MaltyRod

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Doug said:
Man, I love this forum... every time I've gotten worried, the advice is don't panic - it will turn out. It always has too!
- doug

I think thats because a good number of us has read Charlie Papazian who always says "Relax, Don't worry, Have a homebrew"
 
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Doug

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It is pretty clear, but it's a bit hard to tell, because it's a cream ale, and was pretty light colored all along.
 

Turricaine

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I have memories of sweet/flat beers the same as I have memories of overcarbonated beers that would disturb yeast sediment upon opening and fizz all over the place.

In your case the problem would have been caused by the brew temperature being below 20C IME. What this means is you have to wait a while longer for the fermentation to finish. There are other reasons besides temperature that could have resulted in retarded yeast action. But for me, temperature has been the biggest pit-fall.
 

andre the giant

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The only reason to panic is if you go to grab a homebrew and realize its your LAST ONE!!!

As far as carbonation goes, give it some time, and raise the temperature a bit. I think you'll find it carbonates just fine.

It is important to remember though, even if you rack on top of the priming sugar mix, the beer/priming sugar can stratify leaving you with some over carbonated bottles, and some under carbonated ones.

My Chocolate porter turned out that way. After a very gentile racking to the bottling bucket, I assumed the beer and priming sugar mixed itself well enough. I was wrong. Some of the beers are still a bit flat, and some of them are quite lively.

Now, I stir the beer with a santitized spoon, ever so gently, and only a few strokes. That makes sure the priming sugar solution is evenly distributed. Since then, carbonation has been very consistant.
 

DuallyBrew

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El Pistolero said:
Send it all to me...I'm spending $400 a month to maintain my one level at exactly 74F. I promise I'll send it all back when it's ready :D
Preachin to the choir bro...

100+ temps for the last 20+ days here in central CA... not looking like a good outlook either...

I'm lucky if I can keep my house at 78!
 
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Doug

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Ok, I've moved it to the warmer level, and hopefully that will have an effect. I have always brewed at 68 or so. Should I be in a warmer area? It's probably layed out elsewhere, but what actually ARE the suggested temp ranges for ale in the following stages?

Primary
Secondary
Bottle Conditioning

It was my understanding the secondary should be somewhat colder (65?) than the fermentation temps 65-75?, and bottles should be kept warm for 2 weeks 75?, then cold.

I've got a honey porter that needs bottling next week - maybe I'll move that straight to the warmer areas when it's in the bottles.

- doug
 

Punn

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i am quite lucky, my brothers basement has a old windowless coal celler area, with a door. stays at a constant 68 degrees!! Plus we have an extra fridge to cold lager in. Got it at 48-52 degrees! It seems everything for me is working perfect........ almost too perfect!
 

Turricaine

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Anything from 20-25C is perfect for beer. When I have had trouble we are talking about temperatures as low as 14C. It would have been alright except for the fact that I did not appreciate that it would take longer at lower temperatures.
 
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Doug

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Well,

It's been a full three weeks now, and a little over a week at the warmer temps. Throughout the week I've been testing, and it's been steadily carbonating up for me. I've gone through a few beers this way, but I figured it was a good experiment anyway.

Still no head to speak of - only a little fizz on top, but it's definitely MUCH better. I'll keep waiting and sampling, but thanks again, forum, for the help!

- doug
 

Wayne Havens

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homebrewer_99 said:
I stir while bottling also. Seems to keep each bottle consistant. :D
When I rack to the bottling bucket, I let the beer swirl while transfering. Put the hose to the side parallel to the bucket wall, the natural swirls has always given me even mix and carbonation.
 
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