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Westy 12 carbonation woes

Well you know the story, brewed a high gravity beer like the monks. Followed all the steps. 11% ABV. Bottled beer (after waiting 12 weeks) , stored in a room 75-80 degrees for 2 weeks. Went to pop one open, very faint PSST and exactly no carbonation. Flat.
I had done usual priming solution in bottle bucket, always worked in the past with lower gravity beers.

So as I see it these are my options:

  1. Shake bottles, wait another 2 weeks and test one.
  2. Open each bottle and put a priming tablet in and recap
  3. Open each bottle and put a 1/4 tsp of corn sugar and recap
  4. Open each bottle and gently poor into a Keg and turn on the CO2.

Any advice?

p.s. this was a very expensive recipe and I am on FullTilt right about now.

Common theory is tired yeast. If you’ve already primed with the right amount of sugar, I wouldn’t add more. Shake and wait is my vote. If you do add anything, I’d add a little yeast to each bottle. Someone should come up with emergency yeast tablets for these situations. I know it happens pretty often.

What strain of yeast did you use? Most beer yeasts hit the alcohol tolerance limit at between 9 and 11% depending on the strain. My guess is you poisoned the little fellas with too much booze.

The yeast was the all-powerful Wyeast 3787. Built for toughness. I think I will shake the bottles and wait 2 weeks. If there is no improvement I am going to pour them all into a keg. what a waste of time and bottles and caps:(

I’d give it at least a little more time than 1 month total. These high gravity beers can be slow to carbonate, but ultimately get there. I’ve seen it go either way.

[quote=“Wahoo”]I’d give it at least a little more time than 1 month total. These high gravity beers can be slow to carbonate, but ultimately get there. I’ve seen it go either way.[/quote]My thoughts exactly. I’ve had some bottle conditioned big beers take up to 6 weeks for decent carbonation.

Over the years, when I’ve bottled (and that’s been a lot of beer) I have always primed every bottle, that way I know that each bottle has the exact amount of sugar that I want to use. I don’t have to worry about different densities of beer/sugar combinations if it doesn’t get stirred up completely, or if it settles. I’ve made 15 gallons of a clone of Chimay’s Grand Reserve, and it’s always taken a while to carbonate, and I’ll let it sit for 3-4 months before opening any of it anyway. I have about 10 bottles that are 13 months old, and they have the perfect level of carbonation, and have softened a little into a mellow brew.

Give it time. These big beers take a while to carbonate. I usually reyeast when I bottle a big beer. Use a neutral yeast, or a fresh batch of the original yeast. These big beers are usually not ready to drink for several months anyway. My last Westy clone was way to bitter for the first year. The second year it was very good. Just make sure to store it cool so it does not oxidize. If you dump it into the keg, it will still be very sweet from the priming sugar. You should probably add some fresh yeast to the keg too so it will ferment out and not be cloying.

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