Why no carbonation????

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Chalkyt

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I just opened one of this year's Granny Smith and Cox's Orange Pippin cider, bottled a month ago (opened just to check on it, of course). I was expecting a nice fzzzz when I took the cap off the bottle... but nothing!!!

I have no idea why this is so, except perhaps the cap was faulty. So opening another one had the same result.

The original process was to fermented down to 1.010 then added sugar syrup to 1.015 and cap the bottles. When the test bottle gauge reached 2 Bar/2 vols the bottles were heat pasteurised up to 65C over 12 minutes in a constant 65C bath and allowed to cool. Done this heaps of times with complete success, in fact I was expecting the carbonation to be a bit too much when I opened the bottle.

So, any ideas that might have happened?

The plan at this stage is to decant some bottles into a 2 litre carboy, add yeast (the SG of the opened bottles is 1.015), see if carbonation starts then rebottle, pasteurise, etc. If this works then repeat with the rest of the bottles. Any other ideas?... this is one of life's little mysteries.
 

doublejef

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I did experiment the same problem, carb was too high when I pasteurized the bottle and the cap let the CO2 out during the heating.
I saw it because some cap was under water so some bubbles appear. You may have some bottle that still have some carb because all the cap may not let all the CO2 out.
 
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Chalkyt

Chalkyt

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Yes. I was pondering about that in my waking hours. I did have one batch that let a few bubbles out but can't remember if it was this lot. After that I made sure that the top of the bottles were under water so I could check for leaks. Also I think I remember opening and drinking the test bottle which doesn't get pasteurised because it has a pressure gauge in a grolsch capp. It was a bit overcarbonated and I wondered if I had a batch of mini-volcanos.

Instead, I have the opposite!!!
 

doublejef

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You can pasteurize the keg into a big kettle or use chemical to kill/stop yeat and then force carbonate it.
 

doublejef

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50l (±13 gallons) I can pasteurize 3 soda keg int the same batch.
As I'm also homebrewer, I already have it but here we can fing it for 50$, maybe a bit more today.
 

bracconiere

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Must be a very big kettle.

and i wonder how that works with the rubber?i tried doing a double boiler thing in my 15 gallon pot, and about 5-6 gallons, crushed my hot plate, imagining trying to do it on the stove with a 5 gallon corny is tickling my funny bone! :mug:
 

Maylar

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When using a keg how do you pasteurize if you want to keep some residual sweetness?
You don't. You let the cider ferment totally dry, let it clear, bulk age it if you like, stabilize with K-Meta and Sorbate, then back sweeten to taste (in the keg). I use FAJC, it adds some flavor as well as sweet without diluting the ABV. Easy peasy.
 

doublejef

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and i wonder how that works with the rubber?i tried doing a double boiler thing in my 15 gallon pot, and about 5-6 gallons, crushed my hot plate, imagining trying to do it on the stove with a 5 gallon corny is tickling my funny bone! :mug:
Use a false bottom to protect you rubber from the heat.
 

Upstate12866

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I too have a question about this. I have some recorded data to share so I will make my own post in the forum. But my ciders are consistently dry (sub 1.004) without producing much carbonation when I prime. So in other words, I know the yeast is working through all the sugar, and I get a dry cider, but without as much CO2 as my beers. It's so consistent I think there must be an explanation to at least satisfy my curiosity.
 

Kees

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I too have a question about this. I have some recorded data to share so I will make my own post in the forum. But my ciders are consistently dry (sub 1.004) without producing much carbonation when I prime. So in other words, I know the yeast is working through all the sugar, and I get a dry cider, but without as much CO2 as my beers. It's so consistent I think there must be an explanation to at least satisfy my curiosity.
Not all sugar is converted into alcohol and CO2, especially when wild yeasts are present.
 
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Chalkyt

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Just an update. "Recovering" the flat bottles seems to be working at this stage. I split the bottles into two batches and decanted them into two primary carboys.

The first lot had a small amount of S04 and DAP added. After a week it was showing "normal" bubbling and was then bottled at 1.010 with one bottle fitted with a pressure gauge. After 2-1/2 weeks it is showing 1.8 Bar/28psi (a bit under 2 vols of CO2)... seems quite normal.

The second lot seems to be behaving in a similar but slower fashion, but had no extra yeast added. Bottled three days ago and the gauge is showing 0.4 Bar/6psi... also seems normal.

The dilemma is that this seemed to be the pattern when the cider was originally bottled back in July. When it was opened then, the test bottle showed pressure and gave an appropriate fizz (almost too much), but a few weeks after they were pasteurised to stop fermentation, the capped bottles had nothing. Hence this attempt at recovery.

Same caps as last time so in the next couple of weeks it should be interesting to see what happens to the CO2. I hope this isn't another case of doing the same thing and expecting a different result. If this is the case I might just have to drink it flat !!!

BTW, I have been scratching around and it seems that you can get 2 and 5 litre "kegs" that are driven by small CO2 cylinders for a low setup cost so it might be worth exploring. Youtube seems to be full of crude but effective ways of counter pressure bottling.
 
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CKuhns

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I had passably good results with bottle carbonating and pasteurizing. Never really like decantig out the sediment, seemed like a waste. Occasionally ran into issues like you mentioned in some bottles attributed it to leaks. But not with the whole batch. Went to kegs a 1.5 Gallon and 5 gallon set ups after a few years and never regretted it.

Sorry - Just encouraging the transition. :cool:
 

jseyfert3

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BTW, I have been scratching around and it seems that you can get 2 and 5 litre "kegs" that are driven by small CO2 cylinders for a low setup cost so it might be worth exploring. Youtube seems to be full of crude but effective ways of counter pressure bottling.
What is a low setup cost? I seem to recall reading someone who wanted to set up small one gallon kegs with paintball CO2 canisters but it didn’t seem to really save that much money over a “full size” setup.

If you want to bottle to share or take your cider on the go, there are many ways to do that. I saw the cheap counter pressure filler here with a picnic tap but eventually decided to just get the Tapcooler counter pressure filler for $100. Plugs into my forward sealing taps, hook up a CO2 line and bottle away.
56EB6097-A934-4450-A5C5-40499E914CCD.jpeg
 
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Chalkyt

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Re the cost. A 5 litre keg plus lines, tap, filler etc would run to about $120-$150 here in Oz. The CO2 cylinders are 16 ounce at around $5 each. Don't know how long (i.e. number of bottles) the CO2 would last, but seems worth exploring. Any tips on carbonating in the keg then bottling?
 

jseyfert3

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Re the cost. A 5 litre keg plus lines, tap, filler etc would run to about $120-$150 here in Oz. The CO2 cylinders are 16 ounce at around $5 each. Don't know how long (i.e. number of bottles) the CO2 would last, but seems worth exploring. Any tips on carbonating in the keg then bottling?
That setup seems quite reasonably priced if you're good with doing 5 liter batches at a time. I can't remember exact prices but my pictured setup above, rough prices were:
  • $180 for a 20 lb CO2 tank ($30 for exchanges from now on)
  • $80 per 5-gallon keg
  • $50 per faucet
  • $60 for a regulator
  • All sorts of hoses, fittings, CO2 manifold, etc
  • The freezer and parts to convert to a kreezer (that freezer was $600, but it is huge, small ones start at about $150, and parts to convert run about $50 or so)
On the flipside I can make, keg, and carbonate 5-gallon batches, and it's all on tap. On tap is how the majority of the beer/cider I've made to date is consumed.

As far as carbing then bottling from keg, I haven't bottled a lot from a keg. That filler I pictured above I just got, and I've only bottled a 6-pack to date but I plan to bottle a bit more this weekend to clean up a couple of kegs that are almost gone. Before that counter-pressure filler I had bottled some directly off the faucet, that looses carbonation. The counter-pressure filler maintained much more carbonation.

What is your goal for kegging? Do you plan to have small kegs that you dispense directly from, or are you kegging simply to force carb before bottling? I would venture that if bottling is primary, you definitely want some sort of counter pressure bottle filler. Lots of ways to do this from crude and cheap to fancy and expensive, as you alluded to.

What is your typical batch size though? If you typically make 5 liters or less, your setup is nice and cheap. But if you are splitting a 5 gallon batch into 4 separate kegs to force carb before bottling, you may want to strongly consider larger corny kegs so you can keg one batch in a single go.
 
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Chalkyt

Chalkyt

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I have five different types of apple trees and had a bumper crop this year so made all sorts of 1 gallon batches just to get some blend and straight comparisons. It was an interesting exercise with Granny Smith plus Cox's Orange Pippin, straight Red Delicious (not bad with some malic acid added to bring up the TA), Red Delicious plus Gravensteins, etc, etc. This approach suits 5 litre kegs which would let me produce around 15 x 330ml (12 oz) bottles. I thought this sort of setup might be worthwhile.
 
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