Totally flat with carbonation drops

Hey & Help…
I’m an extract brewer and have been using the standard carbonation drops (the sugar candy things, not the NB vitamin looking things) with perfect results until recently.

My general rule of thumb is to not make anything under 7% ABV. The carbonation drops have been perfect, seriously perfect, with every batch until my last two. Every step of my process is dead on, perfect fermentation, gear is ultra clean, my water hasn’t changed, and allow time for beer to condition.

I thought my last flat batch, a IIPA, was unusual. Then I just opened an imperial stout and it’s flat too.

I have no clue what’s going on.
I always use a secondary and then transfer to the bottling bucket with the siphon.
My bottle capper is solid - i even bought a new one between the last two flat batches.

Any ideas?

How long was the beer in secondary and what temperature are you keeping the bottles while conditioning? Could be with the cooler temps on us it may be getting too cold. I had an issue awhile back where some beers wouldn’t carbonate and it turned out to be conditioning temp stalling the yeast.

There could also be an issue with yeast health on 7+ ABV. Do you oxygenate prior to pitching yeast and are you pitching an appropriate number of cells e.g starter or multiple packs?

The temperature is an interesting idea. I keep it in a basement closet to both ferment & bottle condition. I’ll keep an eye on that. Assuming that’s the issue, would simply moving the bottles somewhere a bit warmer help out?

Aside from that, yes, I do oxygenate & use starters.


Warmer is gooder for carbing…70-75 works well.

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Yeah if the temp is the issue just move then to somewhere warmer and conditioning should take off. Wouldn’t hurt to inert the bottles but probably not necessary.

It seems to be a common thread topic that the carbonation with the drops happens a lot slower.
I would give the bottles a shake to help resuspend the yeast and warm them up to mid-high 70’s. And give them another couple weeks.
Good luck!

I’ll move everything and give it a shot. Thanks for the feedback!

The 7% “shouldn’t” be the issue unless that’s coupled with unhealthy yeast. There’s only a few fundamentals that you need to focus on with bottle carbonating. Yeast (Health/amount), sugar, temps, and holding pressure. In my opinion, you will always have sugar and some form of temperature. Even a bottle at 65DF will eventually carbonate. The only factors that you may not have are bottle pressure(which you say you have) and healthy / enough yeast. However, I’ve had batches of beer that took 3 weeks to carbonate. The downfall is that sometimes you’ll have so much yeast in suspension that the bottles continue to carb even past your desired amount.
In summary, it doesn’t sound like there is anything that stands out as the culprit; even tho there is one somewhere in this mystery.

I must be lucky because I have recently used the carbonation drops on a few batches and was able to carbonate in just a few days, similar to table sugar. Wasn’t completely ready for imbibing but definitely on par with sugar for me.