Under Carbed - Honey Primed

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Feb 4, 2014
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Granite Bay
I brewed an Imperial Stout with 1/3 grain bill being Honey for a local Homebrew competition under BJCP Style 31B (Alternate Fermentable).

I've been kegging my beers for quite some time now, but for various reasons decided to bottle this batch instead of keg, force carb, and then bottle off the keg for the contest submission.

Knowing Honey is notoriously difficult to estimate fermentable sugars and carb volumes, I used 4.2 oz instead of the BS calculated 3.8 oz honey in my priming solution.

After two weeks at between 68-70*F we popped two samples and there is a faint hiss when we pop the top, but the beer is essentially flat.

For the contest it's too late to do anything as submissions are due by this Wednesday, but for the 2 cases of 22oz bottles I am splitting with the friend who approached me to co-brew for the contest I am trying to figure out what to do next.

Should I:

1) raise temp to 72* and let em ride for a couple more weeks
2) pop the tops of all the bottles and add a small amount of a dextrose based solution to each bottle and recap
3) Shroud a keg in CO2, pour contents of all bottles gently into keg, force carb, and then bottle my friend's half

The base beer itself is really quite good and would benefit greatly from proper carbonation. We opened one bomber and force carbonated a sample using a SodaStream. The carbonation made a big difference.
Go with numbers 1 and 4. How did you make your honey mixture? What was the yeast used as well as the final ABV? I find most beers get properly carbonated in time but some high ABV ones require extra yeast at bottling. 2 weeks for an imperial Stout is not really enough time though. 4 to 6 would be more like it. Good luck on your competition!
Go with numbers 1 and 4.

#4 Has already been seen too.

#1: This is the direction I was leaning towards as well. Already placed beers in a warmer environment (approx 76*F)

The beer is on the low end of the BJCP guidelines for Imp Stout with ABV of 8.2%. The competition theme for the category we are entering is "California Indigenous Beer" so I used the most California yeast there is: WLP001.

My priming solution was equal parts of 4.2 oz California Valencia Orange Blossom Honey and water, steeped for 10 minutes at 180* with zest of two oranges. Zest was strained into a sanitary container and priming solution added to bottling bucket before beer transfer.

Thanks for the good luck wishes. Unfortunately, our entry will fall flat (pun intended) due to lack of carbonation. Shame, since the base beer really turned out exactly as I had planned and has the perfect balance of chocolate and orange notes.

If in 4 weeks carbonation does not improve, what's the recommendation?
Sorry I didn't reply sooner, I tried but the phone app wouldn't post it. I think that if you haven't gotten good carbonation in 4 weeks then it would be time to address the issue. I would personally add more yeast before sugar because often times my priming woes were from an extended conditioning time coupled with high alcohol content. The yeast were just not up to the challenge of another fermentation. I have added a couple ml of champagne yeast slurry to each bottle with a medicine dropper and they carbed up in a week. If you add more sugar then you could get bottle bombs or gushers if the yeast start to get active.
Thanks for the advice, Kaconga.

We popped another 12oz sample after a week around 72*F. Carbonation has improved.

I also just learned that our beer was selected as 1 of 5 finalists for the CA indigenous beer category. So I'm very surprised and excited by this news.