Lackluster carbonation

Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:37 am

Hey guys,

first post, been listening for a while to the podcast.

Just made a porter, my second batch and while I was clean, had a very stable ferm and secondary temp (65 in a drop in freezer with temp thermom), the carbonation was almost nill.
I used extract, pale at 9lbs and a single vile of white labs california ale.
starting was 1.065

I had a moderate bubble during fermentation and when bottling my FG wad 1.012, so I know the yeast was active - 6.8abv.

I used a pre filled bag of sugar the homebrew store gave me, the one they use with there recipes, not sure how much but it looks like a cup.

My last batch was a lower OG and the fermentation was about 4 deg warmer, that batch had great carbonation.

any tips or help in why this might have happened. I'm thinking either not enough priming sugar or the yeast pooped out on the OG by the end.
mikevarela
 
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Re: Lackluster carbonation

Mon Jun 16, 2014 4:57 pm

Welcome=

A few more questions-

1) How long were they left carbonating?
2) What temp was it where they were left carbonating?
3) By chance were they left on bare concrete? (Concrete sucks the heat out big time - they will carbonate but it takes a LONG time).

4) How well would you say the sugar was stirred in? A good way to do this without introducing oxygen is to boil your sugar and dump it into the bottom of your bottling bucket. Then, you make sure the siphon has all the beer swirling. This will help spread the priming sugar out.

5) How many bottles have you tried? If the sugar was not stirred in very well, then it is possible that you have some highly carbonated bottles and some with low carbonation.

FWIW, I leave mine at around 70F for at least 2 weeks. One way to do that is to put them on TOP of your fridge, where a continuous stream of warm air moves up from the back and out over the top.

HTH-
-B'Dawg
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BDawg
 
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Re: Lackluster carbonation

Mon Jun 16, 2014 5:51 pm

Thanks for the reply.

Fermenting 2 weeks, secondary 2 weeks, bottle 2 weeks

I left several bottles in the temp controlled fridge at 68 and others in my cupboard, thinking thats around 72. Both bottle exhibited the same results, no carbonation.

I boiled the sugar and poured into the bottleing bucket, then siphoned in the beer from the secondary into that, so I'd say it was a fairly even dispersion, especially because the swirl from the exit of the siphon hose.

I've only tried 2 bottle, both same result.

Good note on leaving them on top of fridge, thanks
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mikevarela
 
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Re: Lackluster carbonation

Tue Jun 17, 2014 1:19 am

I'd give them another week to see what happens.

A single vial is a little light for a 1.065 OG, especially if you don't know how fresh it was, but I don't think it'd be completely pooped out & not carbonate for you. It would also help to know how much sugar there actually was in the package they gave you. If you have a scale, try to make a habit of weighing it on your next batches.
Lee

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Ozwald
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Re: Lackluster carbonation

Tue Jun 17, 2014 2:10 pm

How long did you leave the bottles in the fridge to cool down? It takes time for the CO2 in the headspace to get re-absorbed back into the beer. If you only put them in the fridge for a few hours then that probably isn't enough time for the beer to be fully carbed up before trying them.
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Re: Lackluster carbonation

Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:29 pm

brewinhard wrote:How long did you leave the bottles in the fridge to cool down? It takes time for the CO2 in the headspace to get re-absorbed back into the beer. If you only put them in the fridge for a few hours then that probably isn't enough time for the beer to be fully carbed up before trying them.


Good points, but I don't think that would be the difference between "almost nil" & acceptable. Even if that were a contributing factor, I think there's something else going on here.
Lee

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"Every zoo is a petting zoo if you man the fuck up."

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Re: Lackluster carbonation

Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:58 pm

In the fridge they may soak heat out through the bottom, same as if they were on the bare floor.

Warm 'em up.
They'll kick back in and you'll have a better idea if they really needed something else.
-B'Dawg
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Re: Lackluster carbonation

Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:27 pm

Thanks guys, by fridge I meant in my temp controlled drop in chest freezer (68 degrees) But, the others were in a kitchen cupboard in southern California, like 72 ish.

I think it might be a combination of not enough yeast and not enough sugar, but, it's the packed sugar the homebrew shop puts together for recipes. in any case, I've just ordered a Erlenmeyer flask and a scale for measuring. I'm gonna start doing 2L starters from now on.

oh, and the beer has been in secondary for two weeks and two weeks in bottle. carbonation should have happened by now. 1st bad batch (though tastes good) so it's chalked up to learning curve.
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