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Re-carbing Heather Ale

8 weeks after bottling my heather ale, in which I used 3 oz of primer sugar, it’s still flat as can be. Warm temps, much shaking has not helped. I used 3 oz this time, because last batch I used 4.5 oz and had gushers.

So, this evening, I’m planning on popping the tops and adding 1/4 tsp sugar to each bottle and re-capping.

Any suggestions are welcome. I know, I’m taking a risk of introducing an infection.

Are you sure it wasn’t lack of viable yeast cells? 3 oz does seem a little low (Assuming 5 gallons) but it should at least be somewhat carbonated.

I had a similar problem. Check to make sure the caps are fully on. My Red Baron capper was not crimping them enough so it appeared they were capped but releasing all the CO2. Luckily I also have a black bottle capper that I used on the remaining bottles. After using that I could see the difference. Gave each one a little shake and they eventually all carbonated.

The yeast seemed healthy enough during the blowoff. I’ve never carbed this low.

I use a super Agata bench capper. Never had an issue before in the last 6 years, at 30+ batches a year. So, I’ll continue on with my plan to add a little sugar.

I’m having the same problem with a batch of Caribou Slobber extract. Just under 4 ounces of priming sugar and still pretty flat after about 8 weeks. I’ve done the shaking and warming to no avail also. I like the sugar addition idea. Might have to give it a try-thanks for the post.

Ron

Matt, got to thinking about your comment. Good point. Think I’ll try re-sugaring one bottle to see if there are enough yeast cells before perhaps wasting effort on the whole batch.

Ron

Hey Paul, just curious to see if the recarbing worked out. I recarbed my Caribou Slobber with boiled sugar water and it worked out great.

Ron

[quote=“Frenchie”]Hey Paul, just curious to see if the recarbing worked out. I recarbed my Caribou Slobber with boiled sugar water and it worked out great.

Ron[/quote]

Hi Ron. I added 1/4 tsp of sugar to each bottle, and they are still flat. I’ll just make sure on the next batch, I’ll increase the primer sugar a little. I’m glad to hear you CS recarb work out well.

I’m thinking that a deficiency in fermentable sugar in your beer is not the issue here. You may very well just not have enough yeast left in the beer for carbonation to happen. Did you use any kind of finings in your beer? If you did, then the yeast would have completely dropped out of suspension, too, and you won’t get carbonation unless you add some more yeast at bottling time. I don’t know nearly enough about your whole brewing process on this one to come up with a really educated guess, but my instincts tell me there must be an issue with your yeast.

I used no finings at all. I also made a 2 L starter with WLP011, and had a substantial blow-off. This was my 3rd batch at this. The other 2 batches were over carbed, so I backed off the sugar. That was the only change I made, besides adding 2 more ounces of heather tips.

I’ve had great luck re-carbing brews by adding 1 teaspoon priming sugar solution plus 1 drop (using sanitized eyedropper) rehydrated yeast solution to each bottle.

I used the calculator at

to determine the necessary Vols of CO2 for the style to determine the necessary concentration of priming sugar solution that I needed to make.

Also, when you rehydrate your yeast (something like US-05) don’t forget to boil the water first, let it cool, then add your yeast to the now cooled and sanitized water. this is not the time to introduce an infection. :wink:

cheers.

I’m still thinking the yeast is probably the problem. When you bottled, did you add any yeast when you added the sugar, or did you use some yeast from the fermenter? If all you did was add a tiny little bit of yeast from the fermenter, it’s possible that you needed to add a little more. I don’t know. There are really only two factors in the bottle conditioning equation, as far as I know, and that’s sugar and yeast. We know you definitely added enough sugar, so by logical deduction, the only other factor to consider is the yeast, right? The only other possible factor I can identify is the tightness of the seals on the bottles. If the bottle caps weren’t on tightly, the carbon dioxide gas produced by the fermentation process could escape, thus leaving the beer flat. I highly doubt that this the case, of course. I’m sure you’ve been doing this plenty long enough to know how to properly cap a beer bottle. Sorry, buddy, that’s all I can come up with. Good luck getting to the bottom of this one, and if you do figure the problem out, by all means post your findings for the rest of us to learn from. :slight_smile:

You know, I’ve never used yeast while bottling. I guess it’s something to consider. Maybe it’s because I let it sit for 4 weeks in pri. I’m making another soon, so will adjust a bit.

I would think that it is the yeast or lack of yeast. two questions. how long did it ferment before bottling? Is there any yeast settling at the bottom of your un carbonated bottles?
the batch I just bottled a while back has a lot less yeast at the bottom of the bottles and they are not carbing up like I’m used to. my thoughts on this would be to little yeast at bottling time and or the yeast that are left just do not have any thing left in them.
to check your bottle capper just put some pop(soda) in a bottle ,cap it, and open it the next day.
if its not flat you should be good.

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