Pellets vs sugar

Of those of you who bottle, do you all use some form of sugar or the pellets? I have only done a handful of brews (using corn sugar) and they carbed fine. Now I have Karl’s 90 (using 5/8 cup table sugar like instructed) and it just won’t carb up. Kept in the mid 70s for almost two weeks and in the fridge for another week, but still lackluster bubbles.

I’ve not brewed the Karl’s 90 so I can’t speak to how the beer would carb up. However, I’ve used the Cooper’s drops and they work fine… used them with a Bavarian Hefe, and Cream Ale, no problems with carbing.

I did have trouble with an Amber Ale not carbing up (using corn sugar)… I pushed the temp up into the low 80’s and it carbed up after about a week. A friend had a 6 of the same batch and kept it in the mid 70’s and it took near twice as long to carb up. Still a nice beer though.

I use table sugar for all my bottle conditioning. Your problem is that higher ABV beers often take longer to carbonate completely. Putting them in the fridge completely stops the fermentation too. Take it out, warm it up and shake them to rouse the yeast and wait another two weeks. This time of year things get drafty and cool, so find a good warm spot and carb will go faster.

I have yet to experiment with pellets. For me it’s been all DME or corn sugar. I prefer DME. I’ve used a light DME and, of late, more wheat DME (better head retention?). In the past I’ve kept the ration low, using between 1/2 and 3/4 C per 5+ gallons. Usually hasn’t been ready in 2 weeks but as time goes on, these have aged really well. My latest is a weiss, so I used the full 1 1/4 C of wheat DME because I was going for more carbonation. Carbed up nice and quick (more to the style than any technique on my end, I can assure you). Was drinking it less than two weeks from bottling day. Would love to hear how the pellets turn out.

I don’t think the problem typically lies in the sugar type used, as long as you measured correctly…I think it’s more yeast viability left in the beer when bottling. I have no more information than that, but if you have less yeast than you should, it would seem logical that it would take longer to carb, and vice versa. Is the 90 a high alcohol brew? What did you pitch originally for yeast? Did you make a starter, etc?

When I bottle condition I usually will be sure to transfer just a little of the yeast cake to the bottling bucket, especially if the beer has cleared really well.

Thanks for the replies. To n8young: I did make a starter, but being the newb I am it was with dry yeast. I just followed the directions on the NB yeast starter kit which I think was for 400 mL. It isn’t an overly high alcohol beer either. I also used a really old bottle capper for the first time on this beer and noticed that the bottles aren’t carbed equally. I did stir it in pretty well (I thought anyways) to make sure it was mixed in. Maybe the caps aren’t on that great and some slowly leak? I am going to split my next batch with two different cappers and see if there is a correlation there.

I’d suspect winter in Maine combined with a higher gravity beer. 2 weeks is probably the shortest time we can expect for a normal beer under the best of circumstances in New England, most of the year. I never expect that in the WInter.

Just for information sake, I use coopers tablets a lot and really like them. Super easy and effective. :cheers:

Hey didn’t even notice you were from Maine…always good to see a fellow Mainer on here. Merry Christmas!

And to you! Maine-iac to Maine-iac!

Cheers guys, but I think we’d better put another log on the fire today. :cheers: