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Over two months in bottles, still flat

I already checked out the FAQ, searched and read all the posts about bottle conditioning I could find, and still haven’t been able to find a solution to my problem. This is my second batch, and the first batch never carbonated. That was impatience. This batch is the NB 115th Dream Hopbursted IPA. It had an OG of 1.072 and FG of 1.018 after three weeks in primary, then in secondary for three weeks, bottled on July 15, 2012. I used the proper measure of sugar, boiled in water, and stirred it. I am quite certain that the priming sugar is thoroughly mixed. I am also pretty certain that the bottles were properly sanitized. I still don’t have carbonation. It is getting a little less sweet, but nothing even resembling a head or carbonation, not even remotely. From what I have learned reading the other threads, I put the bottles in a warmer location, over 70 degrees a couple weeks ago, then shook and roused the yeast a week ago. So, unless anyone has any miracle cure, I move onto my actual question. If there is actually not enough yeast left to condition the beer, how do I safely add more yeast? Is that even a possibility? In what manner? How much yeast? Do I need to add more priming sugar?

I am very frustrated, and want to drink some good beer!! HELP!!

I’ve only had this problem once and it was also with a large IIPA. I waited probably three or four months just to be sure and then I re-yeasted the bottles. This is obviously a last ditch effort but I just mixed some dry yeast (I don’t remember which on but probably Champagne or US-05) with a bit of water, opened up every bottle and very “scientifically” put random amounts of yeast in each bottle with an eye dropper. I had also used the 20oz soda bottle trick so I opened that up for some fresh yeasties and that puffed up in a week so I cold crashed a bottle and popped it. Good to go. Still have a few of these bottles hanging around and they are aging nicely into more of an American Barleywine.

It’s always hard to guess what could be going wrong with another brewer’s process but given that the gravity of your beer was pretty high, you may have had pretty sick yeast by the end, especially if you didn’t build up a large enough starter. Transferring to the secondary would have reduced your yeast population quite a bit, so it is possible that you didn’t have enough healthy yeast for carbonation.

If you’re doing a high gravity beer, especially using a conditioning step, it might be worthwhile to add a bit of fresh yeast at bottling.

I have also gotten rid of “secondary” (conditioning) steps in most of my beers. Three weeks in primary is usually enough.

I have never tried to add yeast to bottles that failed to carbonate.

First, chill the bottled beer into the 30s to help preserve whatever carbonation they already have. Boil 200 mL water for 15 minutes, cool to ~110F, and measure 100mL into a sanitized bowl. Re-hydrate ~5 grams of US-05 in the water (I usually use 1-2g of yeast, but this is a bigger beer and you want to make sure it carbs, so use a little more). Set up your capper and get your caps ready. Use a sanitized baby medicine syringe or pipette to pull 2mL of the yeast mix, then open one bottle, dose with the yeast, and immediately re-cap. It’s probably worth transferring one bottle to a 12-oz PET bottle to use as a canary for carbonation. Once they’re all dosed, store at 75-80F for a couple of weeks.

You mentioned you rousted the yeast once, 1 week ago. I shake my bottles 1-2 times a day.

Re yeasting per Shadetree’s direction my be a good idea because of the alcohol content and time this beer has been around.

At 8+% ABV, you have a big beer that likely pooped out all of the yeast. I don’t have experience with rebottling yeast or the calculation of volumes, but Shadetree’s advice seems to be right. Erring on the low side of the amount of yeast would seem to be the better way to go and a half sachet is probably necessary with the big beer, since the re-introduction may kill off some of the new yeast added before they are able to perform.

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