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Bottling FAIL

This is only the second time I’ve bottled (i usually keg) and it was an epic fail. Tell me what I did wrong.

  • Racked from carboy to swing top 16oz bottles
  • Added one fizz drop in each bottle and sealed them up
  • Left bottles at ~73F and waited three weeks
  • Cracked open after three weeks and they were flat

Any thoughts?

Swing top bottles are notorious for not sealing properly.

Is one fizz drop enough for a 16 oz bottle? I never used them so I’m not sure. Its cheap and easy to carb with ordinary table sugar dissolved in a small amount of water, I’d recommend that method in the future. That way you can easily customize to the carb level you want and your batch size.

I don’t usually have trouble with them, but it is true that if the gasket on a swing top isn’t clean and in good shape it won’t seal.

I have ~20 old school Grolsch bottles that I like to use as much as possible and they can be tricky. a few batches ago I had 3 that were completely flat and two that had minimal carbonation. My solution has been to only use the red rubber grommet on the cap twice before replacing it. After that I feel the indentation left by the bottle can effect the seal. Also I take extra care to center the grommet over the bottle opening before securing the cap down. With the batch I currently have bottled I filled all of the Grolsch bottles and am down to my last three. So far all have been fully carbonated.

The swing top bottles can be a PITA but they look so much nicer than regular old 12oz bottles. I don’t mind the minimal amount of extra time/cost they take.

I always prime with corn sugar dissolved in about 2 cups of boiling water, then cooled. Also have about 60 Grolsch bottles which have been reused about 4 times now. I haven’t replaced the gaskets yet, but plan on it for my next use. Never had a flat beer yet with this method, although they’re primarily used for my wits & wheats which seem to carb up quicker than some. Corn sugar is pretty cheap, give it a try! :cheers:

I would doubt that his issue has anything to do with the method of sugarifying his beer. My money is on the seals, as the drops are pretty fool-proof (not that I think any of us are fools on here)…

Thanks guys. Screw those bottles. Back to normal 12oz-ers going forward. Better yet- no more bottling. :cheers:

Fizz drops barely carb a 12 oz bottle and if you read the instructions is says two for 22 oz. I would put money that two fizz drops would be good for 16 oz and kept at cooler temps.

Based on what I have read, 70-75F is optimal for bottle conditioning / carbing. Anyone else?

The 70F to 75F range is optimum but when I say cooler I say around 60 because if, in fact, two fizz drops have a chance to over carb a 16 oz bottle then the cooler temps would decrease the chance of the caps popping off the bottles. You would only have to wait a little longer for the bottles to carb since beers take longer to carb in the cooler temps.

Based on what I have read, 70-75F is optimal for bottle conditioning / carbing. Anyone else?[/quote]

Ya I agree, the warmer the better basically. As for 1 or 2 carb drops, I’ve found that 1 is more than enough for a 12 oz bottle, I use them from time to time when bottling just a 6 pack or so and I’ve always thought the bottles end up on the higher end as far as carbonation. I would think 1 in a 16 oz bottle should get you to at least a low but noticeable carb level so I would agree with those who blamed the issue on the seal.

Though I do think it likely sounds like a seal issue, I will add that it is far more preferable to mix up a specific weight of sugar, and add to the entire volume of beer, using an online calculator. Carb drops are ‘easy’, “but what worth doing is easy?” asks the homebrewer? By inputting the highest temp reached during fermentation, desired volumes of CO2 (can look up the style), and volume of beer, you can dial in your carbonation pretty accurately based on the style guidelines/calculators.

Certain styles, I do love to bottle condition, like most belgians, especially wits and strong belgians. Saisons I tend to brew so often, I rarely have the patience for bottle conditioning :?:

[quote=“Chris-P”]This is only the second time I’ve bottled (i usually keg) and it was an epic fail. Tell me what I did wrong.

  • Racked from carboy to swing top 16oz bottles
  • Added one fizz drop in each bottle and sealed them up
  • Left bottles at ~73F and waited three weeks
  • Cracked open after three weeks and they were flat

Any thoughts?[/quote]
Did you get any release of gas when you opened the bottles or was it that the beer was not carbonated?

[quote=“flars”][quote=“Chris-P”]This is only the second time I’ve bottled (i usually keg) and it was an epic fail. Tell me what I did wrong.

  • Racked from carboy to swing top 16oz bottles
  • Added one fizz drop in each bottle and sealed them up
  • Left bottles at ~73F and waited three weeks
  • Cracked open after three weeks and they were flat

Any thoughts?[/quote]
Did you get any release of gas when you opened the bottles or was it that the beer was not carbonated?[/quote]

Yeah, there was a small “psst” when I popped the tops. And I could see some CO2 hovering at the top of the bottle. But when I poured - nearly flat. Booooo!

[quote=“Chris-P”][quote=“flars”][quote=“Chris-P”]This is only the second time I’ve bottled (i usually keg) and it was an epic fail. Tell me what I did wrong.

  • Racked from carboy to swing top 16oz bottles
  • Added one fizz drop in each bottle and sealed them up
  • Left bottles at ~73F and waited three weeks
  • Cracked open after three weeks and they were flat

Any thoughts?[/quote]
Did you get any release of gas when you opened the bottles or was it that the beer was not carbonated?[/quote]

Yeah, there was a small “psst” when I popped the tops. And I could see some CO2 hovering at the top of the bottle. But when I poured - nearly flat. Booooo![/quote]

If you heard the “psst” you probably didn’t have a leak, probably just not enough sugar. A fair bit of CO2 will fully dissolve in beer (more at lower temperatures) meaning that if there’s not enough priming sugar you can have CO2 in there and still no noticeable fizz.

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