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Under carbed and no sediment in bottles

My first beer is finally being sampled regularly (not in love with the result but it was my first). They were bottled about 2.5 weeks ago and used the recommended amount of corn sugar for the beer style (Irish Red). Kept at high 60’s low 70’s during the bottle conditioning.

They are quite a bit under-carbonated. I also noticed that there is no yeast sediment in the bottom of the bottles that I was warned to pay attention to so it doesn’t end up in the glass. Is it possible that there wasn’t a whole lot of yeast left in suspension and it’s taking a lot longer to carb? I left it in primary for a little over two weeks.

Issues that occurred during this brew:

  • Left the lid on the pot on during the boil
  • Got a really crappy boil
  • Fermented in the upper 70’s

It has quite a few off-flavors that aren’t great but its drinkable. I think a lot of that could be ignored if it were properly carbed. Because adding “flat” to all those off flavors is not great.

Any thoughts?

Hi mattnaik,

I just finished up this kit as well and I had much different results (very pleased). As you mentioned, the few issues you encountered could point to the outcome you reached. After you moved your beer from the primary (or secondary if you moved) was the yeast cake resting at the bottom as it should have been? I did also use a plastic bottle and filled it, squeezed out the air and then tightly sealed the bottle, which was my measurement of the carbonation process. Within a matter of days, the bottle expanded and the yeast was settled at the bottom.

I of course allowed the glass bottles to condition for 2 weeks and would frequently check random bottles for clarity, bubbles for carbonination and that the yeast was settled at the bottom.

How many have you sampled thus far? When you added your beer to the bottling bucket after putting in the priming sugar solution, did you lightly mix the two? Could it be possible that some carbonated well and ther others did not? Many different things that can cause a hit/miss in this.

The off flavors are obviously from the higher temps when fermenting, but you understand that.

Another question…did you measure your gravity and what was the final outcome? I just re-read your post and you said you only left in the primary for 2 weeks, which seems short unless you had a stable gravity reading. Could be that fermentation was not completed and there is not enough yeast left to eat the priming sugar and create CO2.

Just for clarification, which yeast did you use, and how much was the recomended amount of sugar?

Yes I had stable gravity readings for the entire final week. I believe it was almost 3 weeks in primary, but I don’t have my log in front of me right now. Wouldn’t bottling before fermentation was complete create too much carbonation?

Yeast was Danstar Nottingham and I used 3.7 oz. of priming sugar for 5 gallons

um, if fermentation was not completed, that means there are still sugars in the beer itself, independent of priming sugars, not to mention plenty of yeast in suspension. In that case, he should be overcarbed.
I can think of a few things that might cause this.
First, I don’t think that any of the problems in the boil would cause undercarbing. Possible off-flavors, (actually more than likely, from both the lid and the high fermentation temps) and under-utilization of hops and off flavors again from the non-rolling boil.
A couple things I’m thinking. First, how many bottles have you opened? What conditions was the beer stored in?
Possibilities to me is that the priming sugar may not have been mixed thoroughly, so some bottles are indeed undercarbed, and others will be gushers. The temp may be too cool for carbing (unlikely, but possible)
Maybe bring a few bottles into still warmer temps, (still out of the light) for a few days to see if you have any action.

Good points to my post, I got things a little mixed up. Thanks for clarifying.

I have sampled around 9 or so of them already taken at random from my storage. Condition i stored them in was inside cardboard boxes in my basement. I did the old “plastic bottle” test and filled it about halfway and squeezed all the air out and the bottle did inflate so there is definitely something going on in there and like i said, there is some carbonation but to get even a hint of a head (less than 1cm) in the glass i have to basically splash the beer into the glass and even then it only lasts a second.

When I chilled them I had them in the fridge for 48 hours so that should be long enough to have the yeast drop to the bottom of the bottle.

I don’t see a 1/2 cup of sugar producing a highly carbonnated beer to begin with. Without looking at a carbonnation chart I’d assume this beer to be moderare to low carbonnation to begin with.

You should still have some sediment in there though, maybe not a ton.

[quote=“mattnaik”]I have sampled around 9 or so of them already taken at random from my storage. Condition i stored them in was inside cardboard boxes in my basement. I did the old “plastic bottle” test and filled it about halfway and squeezed all the air out and the bottle did inflate so there is definitely something going on in there and like i said, there is some carbonation but to get even a hint of a head (less than 1cm) in the glass i have to basically splash the beer into the glass and even then it only lasts a second.

When I chilled them I had them in the fridge for 48 hours so that should be long enough to have the yeast drop to the bottom of the bottle.[/quote]
You may just need more time for it. I’ve seen carbing take as long as 4 weeks for some beers, and as little as a week for others.
The big thing is that you have beer, and presumably you’ll keep brewing.
WE all have been there, and learn and correct things we’ve done ‘wrong’ over times - and it’s actually very rare to have a perfect outcome of the first time.
I would say, take a couple bottles, bring them upstairs, leave them in a closet or something for a week or so, and then try them to see the carb level. You’re right in that being in the fridge should have dropped the yeast out.

Probably the best advice at this point. From my experience the Notingham carbed pretty fast, but usually at higher temperatures.

I have had other yeast take way longer, like into the 1-2 month range to carb fully - though again that was not my experience with Notingham.

Question for NFCTinken: Did you use the same amount of sugar to prime your batch that was successfull, or did you use a higher amount?

I ended up using around 4 oz. of priming sugar in my solution, so not to far off from his 3.7.

No I don’t imagine .3 of an oz is going to create much of a difference - assuming both of you were fairly exact with the measurement.

I’m a noob at this and let me tell you of my experience.
I made my own recipe last year and after bottling I left them in the cases in the basement. Couldn’t wait to try so I popped one open after two weeks and there was barley a pffft. So I start to panic and asked questions and got some good advise from this board.
I moved them upstairs to a warmer location and everyday I would shake each bottle and turn the over. After 3 weeks I tried another and just a little pffft. So now I’m bummed and think that I’ll be drinking flat beer so I buy some yeast with the plan of putting a few grains in each bottle and re-cap them. So 5 weeks I’m already to go with the yeast and I open a bottle a low and behold I get a nice psssst. I pour it in a glass and get a nice head and the beer tasted excellent.
This was the longest that I had to wait for the bottles to carbonate but I was also using a yeast that I’ve never worked with before.

So I guess the moral of the story is wait awhile longer.

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