Nooooo...flat beer, ideas?

Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:06 pm

So my wife got me a BB Double IPA for my b-day back in June, I made the recipe to a 'Tee'.

Yesterday I crack one open for a test and it's flat. Today antoher ...and it's flat too. This beer looks and smells so nice but I just can't drink flat beer, at 7.9% it should make for some good times :)

The only thing I can think of that I may not have done was to not stir the bottling bucket. I put the pre-boiled sugar in the bucket first, then add the beer, figured the swirling action of the bucket filling from the 1/2 hose would be enough (I thank YouTube for that one!).

So now what to do?
1) wife says crack each bottle, if it doesn't give a nice psssssht, then add sugar and recap. If it does then just throw another cap right back on it.
2) pour it all back into a bucket, re-prime and re-bottle (fawk that's a lot of work that could have been avoided).

Oh, and 'Hi' first post from up here in the Kingdom of Canadia, please be gentle, it's my first serious f-up in nearly 20 batches.

Brewbs
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Re: Nooooo...flat beer, ideas?

Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:17 pm

How long was it in the fermentor?
How long has it been in the bottle?
At what temperature in the bottle?

If your sugar wasn't well mixed, you should end up with highly variable carbonation.
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Re: Nooooo...flat beer, ideas?

Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:10 pm

Strange... the swirling should indeed have stirred up the priming sugar well enough. Very odd. Are you sure you primed with sugar? Not One-Step sanitizer by accident, or something like that? Did you make a 5-gallon (23 liter) batch? So then did you use approximately 3/4 cup of priming sugar? What temperature have your bottles been stored at? If cold, this would be a problem -- they need to be stored at room temp for 2-3 weeks before chilling or else they won't carbonate well.

As for corrective actions, it is unfortunate but the best way might be to dump all the bottles into a bucket again, add 3/4 cup priming sugar again, plus just a sprinkle of fresh yeast (any dry yeast is fine), and try it all over again. Better luck the second time. This happened to me once in my younger days. It will carbonate okay the second time but yes it is a pain in the rear.
Dave

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Re: Nooooo...flat beer, ideas?

Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:42 pm

dmtaylor wrote:As for corrective actions, it is unfortunate but the best way might be to dump all the bottles into a bucket again, add 3/4 cup priming sugar again, plus just a sprinkle of fresh yeast (any dry yeast is fine), and try it all over again.

IF lack of sugar is the culprit, I'd go with carb tablets over dumping them all back out into the bucket. Save on effort and limit O2 pickup.
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Re: Nooooo...flat beer, ideas?

Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:22 pm

Did you measure your priming sugar by weight or volume?

Also, I wouldn't trust the directions in those kits. I've always written my own recipes but helped a first timer last weekend with a kit that came with his brew equipment package. Half of the day was spent explaining why the instructions were wrong.
Lee

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Re: Nooooo...flat beer, ideas?

Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:33 am

7.9% is pretty big right? id give it some more time at roomtemp. if nothing happens i would consider adding healthy yeast!
sugar first and then wort in your bottlingbucket should really mix it up enough in my experience.
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Re: Nooooo...flat beer, ideas?

Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:13 am

Ok some answers.

It was a US 5 gallon batch of approximately 19 litres. I didn't even rehydrate the yeast let alone create a starter. Just pitched and stirred the single pack of us05 as per the instructions. This beer spent 2 weeks each in primary and secondary and was not cold crashed.

For priming the kit came with a 5oz pack of dextrose. This was boiled in a cup of water for a few minutes, added to a sanitized bucket then the beer added affter.

It's aged for 2.5 weeks in my basement. The basement was 70ish for the first week and a half and then cooler for the last week after we had to turn on the A/C.

I've now sampled 3 bottles from different points in the bottling process and they are all the same.

Maybe the single pack of yeast took a shit kicking during fermentation? I took a 24 box upstairs where its mid to high 70s. I'll check it in another week before I do anything extreme like recarbing.

I should note that this was only my 3rd batch in capped glass bottles. First time using these particular bottles so I was worried that I didn't get the caps on well enough however their is definitely a little something cause there is the smallest sound of gas escaping when I crack them...this much is consistent.

Thanks btw

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Re: Nooooo...flat beer, ideas?

Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:33 am

Brewbs wrote:It was a US 5 gallon batch of approximately 19 litres. I didn't even rehydrate the yeast let alone create a starter. Just pitched and stirred the single pack of us05 as per the instructions. This beer spent 2 weeks each in primary and secondary and was not cold crashed.


Always rehydrate dry yeast. Starters are typically not necessary. 2nd, don't time your fermentation in days or weeks, do it in gravity. Those are 2 huge things that are often very wrong in the instructions given with kits.

Brewbs wrote:For priming the kit came with a 5oz pack of dextrose. This was boiled in a cup of water for a few minutes, added to a sanitized bucket then the beer added affter.


Always weigh it. Not in the package, but put a proper container on your scale, tare it & see what you actually have. Relying on an automated machine is nonsense after the time, effort & love you've put into your batch. Use a pitching calculator to confirm the weight of primer you actually need.

Brewbs wrote:It's aged for 2.5 weeks in my basement. The basement was 70ish for the first week and a half and then cooler for the last week after we had to turn on the A/C.


Start cooler & raise temp toward the end of fermentation. Letting the yeast cool down when they're trying to finish up is generally a bad idea.

Brewbs wrote:I've now sampled 3 bottles from different points in the bottling process and they are all the same.

Maybe the single pack of yeast took a shit kicking during fermentation? I took a 24 box upstairs where its mid to high 70s. I'll check it in another week before I do anything extreme like recarbing.

I should note that this was only my 3rd batch in capped glass bottles. First time using these particular bottles so I was worried that I didn't get the caps on well enough however their is definitely a little something cause there is the smallest sound of gas escaping when I crack them...this much is consistent.


That much is good. If they're all the same, you likely got a good mix in the bottling bucket. Raising the temp & being patient is also a wise idea. My guess is that the caps are on fine & that they just need a little more time.
Lee

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