Author Topic: Is Batch Size the source of too much carbonation ?  (Read 4908 times)

Offline SkyFlyer

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Is Batch Size the source of too much carbonation ?
« on: December 16, 2010, 10:02:40 PM »
Hello all ...  Hope the brewing is going good with you all!
I'm sorry for the length of this post, but I need to note all the issues if I can hope for any help from the forum.

So, I'm having a little issue of over carbonation in my bottled product.
I do all grain batches of roughly 10 gals.  I have attached the .bsm for my latest recipe.
My temps and volumes are coming out pretty close to the recipe.  No real issues with the mash/boil.
I haven't got to kegging yet, so I am doing bottles.
I really do clean my equipment, bottles, etc.  I clean when I am done, and then again when I start a new batch.
I use Star-San sanitizer.  So, I don't think that is where my problem is.

The problem I am having is this ...
When I open and pour the beer into a glass, in some cases, I get instant foam.  And mostly foam.  Not much beer.
Sometimes I get a fair amount of beer, but still too much foam.
So, I have been trying to figure out what is going on with my process.  Why is there so much foam?
My first thought is that I am putting too much sugar in at bottling time, but I am using what the BeerSmith recipe is telling me.
I know it is hard to figure out someone else's problems without actually being there, but I'll tell you as much as I can.
Ask questions if you need more info.  I hope I can get some good ideas.

Here is my latest thought on this. 
I just stumbled onto this while looking at the BeerSmith Carbonation Tool and at my recipe.  I had not used this tool before.
I went to the Cabonation Tool and entered the information, and it was telling me to use just over 8 oz. of corn sugar (for 10 gals at 65* and 2.4 vols).
I have been using the 9.2 oz. of corn sugar that is suggested in my recipe.
That is a big difference, 8 oz. vs. 9.2 oz of sugar for around 10 gals.  Perhaps this is why I get too much carbonation and foam.
So, help me get this straight.  I think my issue is with the Batch Size in my recipe.
I currently have the batch size set up at 11.5 gals because I use two 6.5 gal carboys for my primary fermentation and want to fill them up.
I do my secondary fermentation in 5 gal carboys, and by that time, I have lost some of the beer to racking.
So, by the time I bottle, I am closer to 10.5 gals or so instead of the 11.5 gals batch size in the recipe.
The amount that I brew and the amount that I bottle are clearly not the same amount.
I think the sugar calculation should be based on the amount of beer to be bottled, not the amount you start with, but I'm not sure that is what BeerSmith is doing.
When I look at the Carbonation tool for a 10 gal total, I get the 8.2 oz. of corn sugar.
That might be the reason for the excess foam.
If I am incorrect, someone please set me right.

If I use 11.5 gal as the batch size in the recipe, it shows to use 9.2 oz of corn sugar.
If I use 10 gal as the batch size, then it shows to use 8.2 oz. of corn sugar.
But if I start with a 10 gal batch size in the recipe, then by the time I get to the secondary I won't have enough to fill the carboys.
So, I am properly confused, and I hope someone can help get me straightened out!

From Help:     Batch Size - The finished batch volume - i.e. the amount of beer you hope to brew. 
                  Batch size is used in calculating most of the elements in the beer profile.
                  
I assume the amount of beer you hope to brew is the amount that goes into the primary fermentation, right?
Maybe I should use the Carbonation tool to figure out my sugar for each batch instead of the amount noted in the recipe?
So, what can I do to fix this issue?
Any thoughts on this?
Thanks, Bob

Offline BobBrews

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Re: Is Batch Size the source of too much carbonation ?
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2010, 07:01:26 AM »
SkyFlyer,

I have had problems with over carbonated beers in the past. I tried to solve it by kegging! True to form I usually have my gauges maladjusted and still over carbonated! Oh well !!!

My bottling problems turned out to be two things. First I always used 3/4 cup of corn sugar. The amount of beer in my buckets was never the same. Sometimes it was over 5 gallons and sometimes under. For some reason I never realized that my carbonation problems sprung from the "beer to priming sugar ratio"?

My second problem was that I never checked that my fermentation was completed. My yeast may have quit to early because of lack of oxygen or nutrients or a quick temperature change? This meant that my wort still had too much unfermented sugar and I bottled with my 3/4 cup of corn sugar as regimented! When the priming sugar reawakened the sleeping yeast I was over carbonated again!

I hope my problems solve some of yours? Good luck!
Bob Brews
Brew in a Bag Brewer BIAB
http://www.biabrewer.info

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Is Batch Size the source of too much carbonation ?
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2010, 08:18:07 PM »
            
I assume the amount of beer you hope to brew is the amount that goes into the primary fermentation, right?
Maybe I should use the Carbonation tool to figure out my sugar for each batch instead of the amount noted in the recipe?

I was doing the same thing.  If you change the settings in the Recipe to match the Carbo tool, I believe you'll get the same results.  The Recipe does take the batch size, whereas the Carbo tool uses what you entered. 

I purposefully set my batch size to 4.25 gallons, but stop filling carboys at 4.0 exactly.  And there is another 1.0 gallon of sludge below the valve that is part of the "loss to boil trub and chiller."

The other thing that actually makes a difference is the temperature the beer is fermented at, b/c a colder fermentation will retain more CO2, so you need less 'additional' CO2 from priming.  So, verify you have the Carbo tool temperature set to match your beer's temperature. 

Offline SkyFlyer

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Re: Is Batch Size the source of too much carbonation ?
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2011, 08:21:45 PM »
I am getting ready to brew up another batch of beer soon.
I still have questions about BeerSmith.
My issues are with Batch Size and the amount of sugar added for carbonation.

From my previous post ...
If I use 11.5 gal as the batch size in the recipe, it shows to use 9.2 oz of corn sugar.
If I use 10 gal as the batch size, then it shows to use 8.2 oz. of corn sugar.
But if I start with a 10 gal batch size in the recipe, then by the time I get to the secondary I won't have enough to fill the carboys.
So, I am properly confused, and I hope someone can help get me straightened out!

I know that I want to start with 11.5 gallons.  This is what I have been using in my recipes.
I then end up with around 10 gallons to bottle after primary and secondary rackings.
However, I don't believe my sugar amounts are correct.  This is probably why I am having excessive carbonation issues.
I run my numbers through the carbonation tool and it confirms that I am probably using too much sugar.
So, what should I be doing for batch size?
I'd like to be able to trust BeerSmith!
If this still doesn't make sense, ask me some questions.
Thanks, Bob
Thanks, Bob

Offline SkyFlyer

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Re: Is Batch Size the source of too much carbonation ?
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2011, 08:38:38 PM »
My apologies ...
I may have been too hasty with my last post.
After spending some time and trying different numbers with my recipe, I think I might have made a mistake.
The numbers from the recipe now match the carbonation tool.
I'll give the batch a try and see how things work out.
Great forum.  Sorry about the clutter ...
Bob
Thanks, Bob

 

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