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No Carbonation

I brewed the NB Mustache Envy Belgian Stout (OG 1.080), left it 2 weeks in the primary, 4 weeks in the secondary, and bottled it (2 weeks ago). After I bottled it, I realized I had only used 1/2 cup priming sugar instead of 3/4 cup. I was concerned that maybe the carbonation would be on the low side so I opened a bottle after 2 weeks to see if it was going to have any carbonation. The flavor was great, but no carbonation at all. What should I do at this point? Add some conditioning tabs to each bottle? Any suggestions would be appreciated if you have run into this problem.

If you’re not storing them at more than 70*F you’ll have low/no carbonation after 2 weeks. Also, high gravity beers will take longer to carbonate. You’ve got sugar in all the bottles, my advice is to turn all the bottles over once a day for the next week and move them to a warmer area. Also, get a scale and weigh out the priming sugar.

“Also, get a scale and weigh out the priming sugar.” Do you mean when I bottle the next batch?

I had kegged my previous two brews using 1/2 cup priming sugar, and I was still in that mindset when I bottled the Belgian Stout, which is why my quantity of sugar was off.

Assuming that the high-ish OG and month in secondary did not thrash your yeast, and that you got an even distribution of sugar across all the bottles, doing the swirl and flip routine for a week, keeping the bottles in the 75-80F range, ought to produce a noticeable improvement in the carbonation. Chill a couple of bottles for 2-3 days before sampling, and then if you still don’t have carbonation you can either re-yeast (and maybe add a little more sugar) or if you have an open keg you can pour the beers into the keg and force-carb, then re-bottle.

[quote=“netswoj”]“Also, get a scale and weigh out the priming sugar.” Do you mean when I bottle the next batch?

I had kegged my previous two brews using 1/2 cup priming sugar, and I was still in that mindset when I bottled the Belgian Stout, which is why my quantity of sugar was off.[/quote]
Yeah for future batches. Weighing is more accurate. A cup of sugar can differ in weight depending on how you pack it, if it’s level etc. If you weigh it, you always know you’ll be consistent.

This actually kind of helped me a bit but I wanted to get some input on one difference if someone here doesn’t mind?

I’ve got a Scottish Wee Heavy that was 2wks primary, 4-5 weeks secondary (if not longer- I don’t recall right now) and has been in the bottles now for three weeks. I probably used too much priming sugar- in a moment of “WTF was I thinking” I dumped 5 OZ of corn sugar into the bottling bucket.

Late last week I tried two that were if anything over carbed, but the next two I tried were damn near flat (and tasted a little sweeter than they should). I did have quite a few bubbles rising in the glass and a small ring of foam around the glass but NO head.

It’s possible that the first two I tried were the same two I was regularly pulling out of the case and checking for sediment buildup- thus doing the same as turning the bottles. It’s also possible I left those in the fridge longer.

Any ideas why some are all foam and some are flat? I think I will start turning them, but just wanted to see what someone else thought.

[quote=“indymedic”] I probably used too much priming sugar- in a moment of “WTF was I thinking” I dumped 5 OZ of corn sugar into the bottling bucket…Any ideas why some are all foam and some are flat?[/quote]If you truly just dumped dry sugar into the bottling bucket, there’s pretty much no way that you got that sugar to dissolve and distribute evenly throughout all the bottles, so some have too much sugar and some close to none, leading to inconsistent carbonation. And there’s not much you can do to fix it now since you don’t know which are which.

No it wasn’t that bad. It had been boiled and dissolved thoroughly.

Hi, I’m having the same issue: little carbonation / no head.

I just brewed my first batch of extract, Brewer’s Best ‘American Amber Ale.’ Beer smells great, deep color (probably left the specialty grains in a bit too long), tastes great, no sediment in the bottles / very clean - but almost no carbonation.

I did first week of fermentation in the bucket, second week in glass, added sugar no problem, a week in the bottles in my basement. Saw bubbles in the airlock heavy first two days, tapered off the third, still had some bubbles in the airlock after two weeks.

When I racked it for primary fermentation, I ran the wort through a s.s. sieve. Is this where I made a ‘mistake?’

Thanks -

[quote=“JBcville”]When I racked it for primary fermentation, I ran the wort through a s.s. sieve. Is this where I made a ‘mistake?’ [/quote]Didn’t have any impact on the carbonation, but you likely severely aerated the beer which will lead to oxidation and a nasty wet cardboard flavor in a couple of weeks. Couple of pointers:

  1. Do not follow a recipe for when to rack your beer - take a gravity reading, wait a couple days, take another, and if they match, the yeast is done the bulk of fermenting. Wait at least a couple more days, then rack to secondary if using one, or leave in primary for at least another week, then bottle/keg.
  2. If you have low- or no carbonation, try moving the bottles to an area where they’ll sit at 75-80F and turn them upside down once per day, swirling to re-suspend the yeast. Do this for a week, pop one in the fridge, wait at least 24 hours, then sample. Repeat once if still low on carbonation. If that doesn’t work, you either have a poor distribution of sugar in some bottles or you don’t have enough yeast (or both).

Shadetree,

Thanks for the response. I was thinking that maybe I had strained out too much of the yeast from the wort.

I have been reading the book ‘How to Brew’ by Palmer. He describes the need to aerate the chilled wort to add oxygen for the yeast. It is my understanding that aeration is bad only AFTER fermentation begins. Is Palmer incorrect?

Wet cardboard doesn’t sound appealing! I’ll move the rest of the bottles from the basement to the porch and cross my fingers.

Thanks again.

[quote=“JBcville”]He describes the need to aerate the chilled wort to add oxygen for the yeast. It is my understanding that aeration is bad only AFTER fermentation begins. Is Palmer incorrect?[/quote]Sorry, I misread your original statement about “racking for primary” as “racking from primary” (as in, fermentation was over) and thought you strained on the way to the bottling bucket. You definitely want to aerate before primary fermentation gets going and running the wort through a strainer will do the job (with no ill effects on the beer or on the carbonation).

The last post is definitely confusing, considering he was straining with yeast.

If you strained after adding yeast, and after fermentation then you aerated. A liquid through a strainer adds air to the liquid.

You probably just need to give the bottles more time. One week isn’t usually enough time to see full carbonation. Temperature is a big factor. 2 weeks minimum at 70*F.

Probably not the issue at hand, but if you’re noticing that some bottles aren’t carbed while others are over carbed, it’s poor distribution of sugar like Shadetree said.

Once you add the sugar solution to your bottling bucket and add the beer, make sure you give it a nice, but slow stir. It will mix it together evenly, and then after you fill a few bottles, stir a little more, and repeat. Just sure whatever you use to stir is SS and properly sanitized.

I had that problem with mix-matched carbonation. And I started stirring while bottling, never had that problem again.

[quote=“HellBound”] Just sure whatever you use to stir is SS and properly sanitized.
[/quote]
Why SS?

[quote=“mvsawyer”][quote=“HellBound”] Just sure whatever you use to stir is SS and properly sanitized.
[/quote]
Why SS?[/quote]

Easier to sanitize IMO

Again my thanks for the responses.

Ok, I need to clarify that I filtered the wort through a stainless steel strainer into the primary fermentation bucket after chilling in the sink full of ice. Then I added the yeast and gave it a nice stir with the plastic stirring spoon that came with my Brewer’s Best Deluxe Kit.

Thus I did not filter any yeast out - sorry, my mistake.

Everything was soaking in Star San before and after each use.

It is possible that I didn’t stir the priming sugar enough.

I carefully measured the temperature of the water when re-hydrating the yeast.

Pouring the beer into a glass I get a few big bubbles that don’t last, not the nice little champagne-like bubbles. Again, the beer tastes just fine - no off flavors or odors.

I also took a brewing class through the local community college that was taught at one of the local breweries. The Master Brewer told us he recommended using 2 packages of yeast when making beer from a home brew kit. Does anyone else agree with this recommendation?

I’ve moved the rest of the beer to the porch and given them a quick turnover.

+1 to 2 packs. Or a starter.

1 pack of dry yeast contains enough yeast for a 5 gallon batch of beer.

Thanks for the clarification. I think you may just need more time. A warmer spot and agitation will help.

Are you talking about dry yeast? One packet is usually plenty up to 1.090OG for an ale. For a lager I’ll go with two if the OG is over 1.050.

Liquid yeast is another story. Two smack packs is necessary if the OG is over 1.045 for ale. Any lager will definitely need additional packs or a starter.

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