BeerSmith™ Home Brewing Forum

Brewing Topics => Brewing Discussion => Topic started by: Bill365 on September 03, 2017, 03:33:05 AM

Title: Carbonating my bottled beer?
Post by: Bill365 on September 03, 2017, 03:33:05 AM
I've been trying to work around a secondary fermentation problem I have. Usually I just have patience and wait for the secondary fermentation to carbonate my beer but this time it isn't working. So I have a strong beer that just won't condition up. What can I do?

One thought I had was could I use one of these soda making machines? I have looked at many but they all seem to require their own bottle and don't allow for the fitting of a crown capped bottle neck. I could buy a soda syphon and just pour my beer into it when I want to drink it but this is very limited because I would only be able to serve a single bottle (maybe 2?) at a time.

Do any of you have any ideas which I have overlooked?
Title: Re: Carbonating my bottled beer?
Post by: KellerBrauer on September 03, 2017, 06:18:40 AM
Greetings Bill365 - if I understand your question, you have a strong beer that has been bottled and it's not carbonating???  My response will be based on this assumption.

1). when you say "strong", what is the alcohol content, SG, FG.

2). how long was the primary and how long was the secondary (assuming you completed a secondary fermentation prior to bottling)?

3). how much and what type of priming sugar did you use?

The answer to question 1 could imply the yeast may be intolerant to a high alcohol content.  Therefore, there is no yeast available to condition your beer.

The answer to question 2 could imply there is no yeast remaining TO condition if the primary and secondary fermentations were extended or prolonged.

The answer to question 3 could imply a lack of sufficient priming sugar.

Personally, I would stay away from any soda making equipment.  Instead, I would look into any of the possibilities I have outlined and take corrective action based on that.
Title: Re: Carbonating my bottled beer?
Post by: Bill365 on September 04, 2017, 10:33:49 AM
When I say strong I should have been more specific. OG 1130, FG 1043 so calculated ABV is 11.8% assuming 50% fermentation of the 1.5g Primer sugar (just white caster sugar) added on bottling. I have gone ahead and bottled today. I am convinced the fermentation was finished so I can only assume that the alcohol level killed off the yeast. Primary fermentation was 3 weeks with racking each week. The secondary fermentation started today (if it does which I doubt) in the bottles.
Any suggestions are welcome but as I say I have bottled and if it isn't conditioning up in a few weeks I will investigate plan B with the soda syphon to provide blanket CO2 and a little sparkle on serving. I have decided the soda stream machines are not an option a. because they don't accept crown capped bottles and b. they inject CO2 into the beer via a tube which would cause over flow problems. But the old fashioned soda syphone filled carefully with clear flat beer could well be the answer to this beers presentation.
Title: Re: Carbonating my bottled beer?
Post by: KellerBrauer on September 04, 2017, 03:11:28 PM
Greetings Bill365 - I'm sorry, but so much of your posts make no sense to me.  "1.5 grams of priming sugar". I'm not sure what that quantity will actually do for you assuming you used it in a 5 gallon batch.  Also "primary fermentation lasted 3 weeks with racking each week."  Does that mean you moved your beer to a different vessel three times? If so, why?  Also you mentioned the yeast was killed off from the alcohol content.  That's very concerning to me.  Was the strain of yeast you used a high alcohol tolerant yeast?  Your post makes me think it was not.  Therefore, without the proper amount of priming sugar and no viable yeast left in suspension following fermentation, the likely hood of a successful bottle conditioning seems impossible at best. And how are you measuring the gravity?

Again, I wouldn't resort to using a soda machine to carbonate your beer.  Perhaps you would consider using these tablets:

I have never used these before.  Therefore, I cannot attest to their effectiveness and I don't even know if they would work given the questionable and confusing circumstances you have shared.  But it may be worth some research and perhaps another brewer on this forum may have some experience with this product.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Carbonating my bottled beer?
Post by: Bill365 on September 05, 2017, 07:07:21 AM
Dear KB, perhaps we have a language barrier? 1.5g sucrose priming sugar per bottle. Racking does in fact mean transferring into a different sterilized FV at the end of each week. This produces a clear beer and separates the lease from the beer thereby avoiding off smells and tastes. I used a yeast called 'Danstar Nottingham dried Yeast' I was assured it was tolerant to high levels of alcohol but I have produced a wort with 1130 OG and the fermentation stopped with the FG reading 1043. I use ordinary beer hydrometers to measure SG. The HMR&C calculation of ABV is as follows:- 1130-1043=87*0.134=11.66% ABV plus the calculation for the 1.5g primer (HMR&C ask for the assumption of 50% conversion of this primer sugar to alcohol in a volume of 500ml) so 0.75% ABV may be added to the 11.66 which makes the beer strength 11.8% ABV. Normally 1.5g primer per bottle is plenty to give a good carbonation. Hope this explains my methods satisfactorily.
I will look into carbonation drops. I suppose I could wait and see for 6 months and then if still flat open each, pop in a drop and reseal with new crown cap. My worry is that they will affect the taste of the beer.
Title: Re: Carbonating my bottled beer?
Post by: Bill365 on September 05, 2017, 07:18:21 AM
Dear KB, I have had a look at Coopers Carbonation drops and they seem to be made of sugar. Why you suggested I try these is beyond me. I think I have a dead yeast, killed by high levels of natually fermented alcohol, so adding more primer isn't going to help. I could do with pellets of solid CO2 to use in each bottle. Thanks anyway.
Title: Re: Carbonating my bottled beer?
Post by: BOB357 on September 05, 2017, 10:38:03 AM
Your theory that transferring into another fermentor every week produces a clearer beer may very well be true, but it is doing so by reducing the amount of yeast each time you transfer. This probably explains a good part of not only your problem with carbonation, but the relatively low attenuation as well.

You likely did your initial transfer before active fermentation was complete and by greatly reducing the amount of yeast slowed the process considerably. High gravity beers require a considerably larger number of healthy yeast cells than do normal gravity beers, so this premature transfer was not a good thing for fermentation/attenuation.

The second transfer even further reduced the amount of yeast again, likely before the now slower than normal fermentation had completed. Between the reduced numbers and the high alcohol concentration, the remaining yeasts will take considerably longer to carbonate your beer if they are up to the task at all.

Many experienced home brewers, myself included, don't generally rack to secondary. This allows primary fermentation to complete and the yeasts to clean up the off-flavors they created, floculate and settle out. In the case of a high gravity beer I would go 3 weeks in primary and transfer into a glass carboy for bulk aging, only after gravity readings had stabilized at a reasonable level..

Sorry I can't offer anything more, but you didn't post any specific information about the actual ingredients, volumes or your brewing process. I would advise you to read John Palmer's latest edition of How To Brew and other texts on the brewing process and avoid high gravity beers until you master the process.
Title: Re: Carbonating my bottled beer?
Post by: Kevin58 on September 05, 2017, 12:05:54 PM
 I believe BOB357's assessment is correct; you racked out your active yeast during each of those transfers. I think we would all agree that you should leave your beer in the primary fermenter until fermentation is complete. However long that may take. The primary step isn't where you should be trying to clear your beer anyway. Finings, gelatin, cold crashing and careful racking are some methods that work really well. Good luck.
Title: Re: Carbonating my bottled beer?
Post by: twhitaker on September 05, 2017, 02:29:05 PM
get a keg carbonating/dispensing system. You can enjoy your brew draught conditioned.
Title: Re: Carbonating my bottled beer?
Post by: KellerBrauer on September 06, 2017, 05:42:21 AM
Greetings Bill365 - my recommendation was based on two assumptions from your post. First, I assumed you used only 1.5 grams of sugar to bottle condition your batch and second, I incorrectly assumed there was still some yeast in suspension. However, after reading your following response, along with the responses from the other brewers, I can clearly see you racked away any remaining yeast you may have had. Therefore, I agree, the recommendation I made clearly would not have worked.