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NB Kits Undercarbed?

I’m a rank newb who has three batches under my belt. I’ve been incredibly pleased with the quality of the beer I’ve produced, to the point that my wife and friends have said they prefer my beer to many commercial examples out there.

However, the common flaw in each of my first two batches (third is still in the fermenter) was that they were slightly undercarbed. The carbonation level has held steady in both cases after about three weeks of bottle conditioning in the mid 60s.

Both of my first batches were NB kits, the Caribou Slobber and Bavarian Hefewiezen, so I used 5oz. of priming sugar in each case. Particularly in the case of the Hefe, I thought the carbonation level was low for the style.

Anyone else perceive this? Seems like NB might be trying to minimize the chances bottle bombs for new brewers, albeit by making compromises in style. I’m thinking of bottling my next batch at 3 volumes of CO2–any reason not to?

Try this calculator with your next batch.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/priming-sugar-calculator/

[quote=“dobe12”]Try this calculator with your next batch.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/priming-sugar-calculator/[/quote]

Thanks Dobe. I have used this calculator, which gave me the impression NB was deliberately undercarbing their kits.

I guess I didn’t phrase it exactly right, but my question was more asking whether people had noticed the low carbonation, and if bottling at three volumes would work with standard bottles.

I’ve never made the caribou slobber, but that’s an English Brown ale right? And the other was a hefe? If you used the same priming sugar for both, then you didn’t use the calculator. Those two beers should use wildly different amounts of priming sugar which the calculator confirms.

Both kits got 5oz of priming sugar, per the NB instructions. That’s why I’m slightly confused–that amount would seem a bit high by the calculator, yet the beers seem undercarbed if anything.

I brewed 9 NB kits last year before I switched to kegging because I was tired of cleaning bottles. :lol: Using the calculator linked earlier in the thread, an American Brown Ale needs 3.83 oz corn sugar or just over 1/2 cup at 60 degrees. A bavarian heffeweizen requires 7.05 oz or 1 cup of corn sugar. If you only put in the 5 oz you purchased with the kit then your heffeweizen would be quite undercarbed for the style. The priming sugar addition option for each package is always 5 oz for simplicity’s sake, you may need to add more or less depending on the style and the carbonation you are going for. It probably wouldn’t make good business sense for NB to stock hundreds of different size packages of corn sugar to properly match each style.

My first batch of Irish Red I dumped the whole 5 oz package of corn sugar in but stored the bottles in my basement (averages 60-65 year round) and expected them to be done at 2 weeks. Needless to say they were quite flat. After reading on the forums, I found this calculator and started modifying the sugar additions according to recipe style. I also found that some batches took 3-4 weeks to properly carbonate, patience is key. I used 1 L PET bottles (I had 16 from when I started brewing with Mr. Beer) for half of each batch and I could tell very easily when a batch was carbed by the tension of the plastic when I squeezed them.

I started putting the bottles in a cooler (to prevent any accidental mess from bottle bombs) in my laundry room which runs 5-10 degrees warmer than my basement depending on the time of year. The other thing I found reading the forums was the suggestion to gently swirl your bottles every other day or so to help stir up the yeast. I tried to gently stir the bottling bucket every third bottle or so while filling to make sure the sugar was properly mixed throughout the bucket. This also seems to have helped my carbonation levels.

:cheers:
Rad

This is exactly the issue for me, I think. I was very aware that the hefe would be undercarbed–as my second batch I wanted to keep things simple and not court bottle bombs–but I was surprised that the Slobber didn’t carb up a little more, especially since the calculator seemed to be telling me I’d overdone it a little.

I need to figure out a way to keep my hands off the beer for a bit longer, I think!

I still bottle. I haven’t had a problem with undercarbed NB kits.

If you’re keeping them at 60 degrees, you should try warming them up a bit. I always found that underneath my bathroom sink was a warm spot. I’d give them all a good swirl and then move them to a warm spot for a week. Then chill them for at least 24 hours before you open one. That will help the CO2 in the head space absorb into your beer.

Glad to hear you’re enjoying the heck out of your homebrew. :cheers:

As mentioned above…try conditioning at a higher temp for a couple weeks until carved. 70-80 is good.

From what I have read…the last reply nailed it. I am very new to this (actually ferming my first batch), however from what I have read in this and another forum…it is suggested to condition your bottles at around 70 degrees for 3 weeks. Something about the temperature kicks the yeast into action and helps with carbonating your brew. Like I said…I am still wet behind the ears on this stuff…and try to read as much as possible from the pros. I will follow this thread to see what the others have to say on this topic…as my current brew is also the Caribou Slobber. :cheers:

All their kits get the same 5 oz of sugar. They don’t make any adjustments for style.

Try this for sure. I give my beers four weeks in the mid 60s and they’re carbed just fine. Of course I’ve been brewing for awhile, so it’s easier to wait :smiley:

Carbonation is something that can’t be accurately planned without knowing about the conditions that happened during fermentation. So, my advice is that when you buy a “kit,” treat the carbonation process not as part of the recipe, but as part of your own internal process. The differences in final volume and residual CO2 from fermentation are significant even from batch to batch for a single brewer, let alone for all brewers across the country.

For one I dont feel that NB carbs the beers. That’s up to the brewer. Adjust as you see fit to the style. And 60 degrees is a little on the cooler side for carbing.

Also when I used to bottle, and still do from time to time, I utilize a step I probably read on here. After a week in the bottle I pick up the case and turn it upside down for a second then set it back right side up. This is done to “wake” or “rouse” the yeast back into action.

A couple of weeks minimum is needed to carb beer bottles.

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