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Carbonation inconsistency

I’ve had some inconsistency issues with carbonation. Reading through some of the threads here it seems that higher alcohol content need more time, but I’ve also had some inconsistency with brews at around a 5% ABV where some bottles were more carbonated than others. My most recent one (9.4%) had really low carbonation after 2 weeks - also with a few bottles having higher carbonation than others. Super bummed because the beer itself is super delicious!

Wondering if its my equipment. I use the bottle cap thing that comes with the NB starter kits, gold crown caps, and 3-4 tablets of Brewer’s Best conditioning tablets in each bottle.

Would appreciate any thoughts on how to fix for the next batch.

There is a Gentleman on here, Flars, that has the cats meow… Domino sugar cube…(s). I trust he’ll weigh in and tell about it… I believe some others on here use that method also… One per bottle… no priming of the finished wort. Sneezles61

Using the same number of carbonation drops in each bottle will rule out too much and too little sugar in each bottle. The caps not forming a good seal would give you flat beers in some of the bottles. After capping a simple twist will tell you if a good crimp has formed unless some of the bottles you cap are the twist off style. The twist off style bottle can be tightly crimped but still not form a good seal.

I suspect it is the amount of time you are expecting full carbonation. I would give the moderate ABV beers at least three weeks to condition if they can be kept in the range of 70° to 75°F. Higher ABV beers four to five weeks. The carbonation drops take some time to dissolve for the full amount of sugar to become available to the yeast. It is much different than adding corn sugar or table sugar that has already been dissolved in boiled water to the bottling bucket then filling the bottles.

Hope this helps and some extra time cures the carbonation problem.

After extra conditioning time chill a bottle for at least a day in the refrigerator to force the CO2 produced into solution. Otherwise most of the CO2 will be in the head space and just exit the bottle when it is opened.


In addition, drop the carb tabs. Many posts on here about inconsistent carbonation using those things.

Another suggestion with high ABV is to turn the bottles every day while carbonating. The yeast on those higher ABV beers are super tired and if you didn’t pitch a healthy amount initially only makes them more tired.

Turn as invert? That’s what I do after a few days

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Thanks everyone. I’m going to brew this again but aim for a lower ABV, let sit for longer and drop tablets. For going from tablets to sugar itself, do you put sugar in the whole batch in a bucket prior to bottling? And if so, how long do you let it sit to dissolve before bottling. Or do you measure an amount per bottle

I dissolve the priming sugar in 2 to 3 cups of water that has been boiled. The boiling sanitizes the kettle being used. Northern Brewer has a good carbonation calculator for different types of sugar which can be used for priming.

I begin the racking from the fermentor then add the priming sugar solution to the bucket. Avoid any splashing which can add oxygen to the beer. The end of the siphon tube is flat on the bottom of the bottling bucket and curled around the base of the bucket. This creates a gentle swirl as the beer is siphoned. The swirl will mix the priming solution throughout the beer.

Bottling should begin immediately to limit the time the beer is exposed to the air at the surface in the bottling bucket.

The temperature to use in the calculator is the highest temperature the beer fermented at, or rested at, after CO2 production by the active fermentation has ceased. This helps determine how much CO2 remains in solution. CO2 leaves solution faster at high temperatures than lower temperatures.

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Thought I would add this picture.

I have the carboy tilted to increase the depth above the yeast to maximize the beer that can be siphoned. I’ll remove the siphon from the clip when the level of the beer is getting close to the trub layer and lower it by hand to finish.

Thanks for the pic! I need to up my equipment game

Correct, as in invert. Thanks @brew_cat and sorry if I was ambiguous.

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