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Stuck carbonation?

So I have a batch of the world’s largest pain-in-the-ass Belgian tripel that’s being an even larger PITA by refusing to carbonate. Here’s the background, and hoping there’s something I can do to rescue it:

Used a 1 l starter based on WLP550 Belgian Ale yeast. Had a bit of lag (~18 hrs) but a vigorous fermentation. Racked to secondary at 7 days (still had a decent amount of fermentation activity going on). Life got in the way and it sat in secondary for about a month and a half. While in secondary, I noticed that it was suctioning the vodka / sanitizer / water (depending on what I had handy to refill it with) out of airlock every few days. Which was weird. But I hadn’t had time to bottle it. I finally bottled it, nothing smelled or tasted super off. FG of 1.016 (started around the 1.080 mark), I used 4.4 oz corn sugar + 1 c. water, boiled for 5 mins, followed all my standard sanitization procedures, everything was fine.

Enter today. It’s been in bottles for a month so I decided it was time to carbonation test this. Absolutely flat. 100%. Not even a little bit of suds. Second bottle…same thing. Third…same thing. All have a dusting of flocculated yeast on the bottom, all were complete duds.

I’m suspecting all the bottles are like this. Do I have any hopes of rescuing this beer? I’ve taken a sixer, gently swirled them, and put them all back in my regular conditioning closet, and will check on them visually in a few days, and carbonation test again in a month, but my taste buds are pretty sad right now…

The suction came from a change in fermenter temp. The fermenter sucks air back in as it cools to balance the pressure.

What temp are you conditioning at? How long did the beer sit?

Your apparent attenuation is around 80%. This seems high which could mean the yeast is tired.

Try warming the bottles and flipping them for awhile. If it doesn’t work try adding a little yeast and recapping.

Ah yes that makes sense.

Too high. I’m going to use this as an excuse to pull the trigger on a fermentation fridge and temp controller, since this was brewed for my wife and she’s disappointed it hasn’t turned out.

Don’t sweat it yet. I’ve had beers take up to 2 months to carb.

You want to bottle condition at a higher temperature, with anything over 70 degrees F being ideal. Try gently swirling the bottles to rouse the yeast and put them in a warm place for a few more weeks. If all else fails, try adding PrimeDose capsules to each bottle and then recap.

[quote=“Ken in MN”]You want to bottle condition at a higher temperature, with anything over 70 degrees F being ideal. Try gently swirling the bottles to rouse the yeast and put them in a warm place for a few more weeks. If all else fails, try adding PrimeDose capsules to each bottle and then recap.

[/quote]

Do those contain yeast or just priming sugar?

I agree with swirling and letting sit. I have added yeast to bottles in the past. You shouldn’t need more priming sugar.
Rehydrate dry yeast, then use an eyedropper to add a small amount to each bottle. Remember to sanitize everything, including the bottle opener.

Good luck.

They contain yeast and priming sugar. That said, my first guess is that six weeks in secondary isn’t nearly long enough to cause the yeast in your beer to become completely nonviable and unable to carbonate your beer, although racking such a big beer to secondary so soon probably wasn’t ideal.

First, you’ll read this post in Prof. Farnsworth’s voice. Second, it’s carbonating after having been swirled multiple times.

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