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Southern climate and carbonation issues

I have been a home brewer for 20+ years and I have never had carbonation issues this bad before. Most of my brewing experience is in Northern climates. Until I moved to FL in June, NYC was the furthest South I have ever lived.

Anyway—I have made about 5 full-grain batches of beer since I have moved here using recipes that I have been using for decades and they are all coming out severely under carbonated. I have tried upping the dextrose to 1.5 oz./gal. and still no joy.

These beers were all brewed with high-gravity Wyeast smack packs doubled in yeast starters. The water here is harder than the water in NYC so I added no salts. The only difference is in my process is the temperature parameters. The boil chill only gets down to about 80° as the tap water here is about 77°! The beers have been fermenting in my house which is only cooled to 74°.

So I have had some beers cold bottle conditioned for months now and still they are flat.

At this point, I am trying to figure out how to carbonate them. Should I unbottle them all, re-pitch yeast, and rebottle them? Or should I unbottle, force carbonate, and rebottle them?

I guess the third option is just to drink them like cask beers.

Thoughts?

Jon

I’d set up a swamp cooler if I were you, those ferm temps are too high for most yeasts. Whether that is causing your carbonation problems, I don’t know but wouldn’t think so. Try using plain sugar, and adding a bit of yeast when you bottle. Maybe things are finishing more completely and rapidly due to the higher temps, and you aren’t getting enough yeast carrying over. I would NOT add more sugar than you are supposed to, eventually one of those take soff and its going to blow.

I was thinking along the lines of accelerated flocculation…

I have a mostly operational air conditioner. I was thinking about trying to convert that to a cooler of some kind if I can hack the controller for it.

Can’t remember what its called but there is an item thst allows you to fool the AC unit into constantly cooling…
Been trying to convine the wife to allow me to build a walk in with an AC and the device…
A no go right now…

[quote=“w1jp”]I was thinking along the lines of accelerated flocculation…

I have a mostly operational air conditioner. I was thinking about trying to convert that to a cooler of some kind if I can hack the controller for it.[/quote]

Could you build an insulated box around it? My local nano brewer’s fridge is a window AC unit, going into a approx. 8x12 wooden box, with metal floor and doors.

Are the beers reaching the same FG as they did when you were brewing in NYC? If not, you may have an issue with something in the water that is killing the yeast. Unlikely, but thought I’d ask.

The one issue that is definite is that if your beers are at a higher temperature when you bottle them than you are used to, they will have degassed more of the CO2 left over from fermentation and you will need more sugar to get the same carbonation level. I suspect however that the difference would not be enough to make them “flat”, only less gassy.

[quote=“Loopie Beer”]Can’t remember what its called but there is an item thst allows you to fool the AC unit into constantly cooling…
Been trying to convine the wife to allow me to build a walk in with an AC and the device…
A no go right now…[/quote]

“CoolBot”,me thinks…

By swamp cooler, I’m talking about a large container with maybe 5gal of water in it that you can put your fermentor in. Then you can add frozen water bottles in to cool, put a t-shirt over the carboy and run a fan on it, or something like that to attenuate temp.

Coolbot is an option although its expensive. I think a simple thermo controller would work, you just have to move the AC unit’s thermocouple to the outside so it never thinks its below 60F and shuts off.

[quote=“Stealthcruiser”][quote=“Loopie Beer”]Can’t remember what its called but there is an item thst allows you to fool the AC unit into constantly cooling…
Been trying to convine the wife to allow me to build a walk in with an AC and the device…
A no go right now…[/quote]

“CoolBot”,me thinks…[/quote]
Me thinks you are right! :wink:

Are the “cask ales” noticeably sweeter? If so then your yeast may be dead before you bottle.

Next time, when bottling, throw a pack of cheap dry yeast (Nottingham) in the bottling bucket, give it a good swirl and let it sit for a while and then bottle.

The new yeast and the bottling sugar should give you enough yeasties to create ample carbonation.

Is it possible that the carbonation is leaking out? Are you using the same bottles, caps and capper as you used up north?

Stressed yeast seems like a likely cause, but at 74* ambient, I don’t think that would stress yeast. That has me wondering if there is a different cause.

[quote=“Loopie Beer”][quote=“Stealthcruiser”][quote=“Loopie Beer”]Can’t remember what its called but there is an item thst allows you to fool the AC unit into constantly cooling…
Been trying to convine the wife to allow me to build a walk in with an AC and the device…
A no go right now…[/quote]

“CoolBot”,me thinks…[/quote]
Me thinks you are right! :wink: [/quote]

Save $250 and pull the temp prob out of the AC unit and place it beside a night light to raise the temp around it.

Then use a digital controller to turn it on and off.

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