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Finished my first brew, the second one is dry hopping in the secondary. I opened a first bottle after 4 days, it tasted flat and a little sweet.

So I waited 2 weeks, put a beer in the fridge for 6 hours and opened a bottle, it had a good head that dissipated quickly, and tasted great, I just wanted to wait another week for a little more carbonation.

So after 3 weeks, I threw some beers in the fridge for 24hrs and opened one up. It had a great pop when I opened it, but no head on it, and it tasted a little flatter than I would have liked, even a little flatter than the one at two weeks. Is this just bottle to bottle variation? Does it have to sit in the fridge a little longer? Any thoughts?

  • Jeff

What temps were the bottles conditioning at?
I know in the summer, when my room temps are in the mid-70’s I can get decent carbonation in 2 weeks, but in the winter months when my house is mid-60’s it’s a minimum of 3 weeks before I can even try sampling one.

It could be a problem with how you mixed your priming sugar into the beer. If the sugar isn’t mixed well, you will get variation from bottle to bottle. A lot of folks will boil the priming sugar in water, pour that into the bottling bucket, and then syphon the beer into the bucket onto the sugar. The beer coming in will effectively mix everything well. If you just pour the priming solution into the beer, it will mostly settle to the bottom.

Head retention will continue to improve as your brewing technique becomes more improved. In the meantime, you can add a half pound of cara-pils to help things out. In the beginning, I had some beers which took up to 6 weeks to fully carbonate and condition.

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