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EWildcat7

lack of carbonation

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Hi gang

I am having a problem with my beers not being carbonated.  I have made 7 recipes - 5 Coopers and 2 Mr. Beer.  On every recipe, I leave them in the bottles longer than the recipe calls for before trying my first beer.  Each of the Coopers have been under (or no) carbonated, but the Mr. Beer have been fully carbonated (and taste great).  I am using 740 ml bottles and 2 carb drops for everything, so no variation there.  Does anybody have a possible explanation (or solution) as to why the Coopers are not carbonated, but Mr. Beer are?

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1 hour ago, EWildcat7 said:

Hi gang

I am having a problem with my beers not being carbonated.  I have made 7 recipes - 5 Coopers and 2 Mr. Beer.  On every recipe, I leave them in the bottles longer than the recipe calls for before trying my first beer.  Each of the Coopers have been under (or no) carbonated, but the Mr. Beer have been fully carbonated (and taste great).  I am using 740 ml bottles and 2 carb drops for everything, so no variation there.  Does anybody have a possible explanation (or solution) as to why the Coopers are not carbonated, but Mr. Beer are?

This sounds like a bit of a doozey.  Often it can be the bottles or how tight the caps are done up or the type of caps used. 

For the Mr Beer versus Coopers do you use the bottles that came from each respective kit, or have they just been mixed up or time?  Maybe it could be the caps or bottles, but it would be strange.

Is the carbonation level consistent within each brew?  If it was it would suggest the issue might be recipe related rather than packaging.  Two carb drops is usually fine for most brews.

I have only had the odd bottle in 60-odd brews not carbonate.  Piffed the cap and the offending bottle.  Although it might have been my fault if I forgot to prime the bottle with sugar (I mostly just use table sugar these days).

I am sure others will chime in with opinions and maybe seeking more info about the recipes.

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I've had a couple of whole 23l batches like this. Not dead flat, but not far off. I'm not sure why, as all my processes and carbing is the same. I'm re-using the same PETs and flip tops and if there were issues with those, I'd get them all the time. It could simply be certain kits and recipes?

Edited by Lab Rat
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I have a mix of bottles that have come with the 23L kit, the 8.5 L kit and a couple of boxes of bottles that I have bought.  All of the bottles are Coopers and the same size, but they are all mixed together now, so I can't source any particular bottles to anything. 

I will admit that the beer that I drank tonight was the first of a new batch, so I can't yet say if it was a problem with this particular bottle of beer or if all of the others will have the same problem.  However, in the past batches with the carb problems, it was the same for the whole batch.  I don't think the beers are completely flat because there are some bubbles continuing to come up from the bottom when I poor the beer into a glass.  However, there is no head and it just tastes flat (but I drink it anyway).  When I put the bottles in the fridge, they are rock hard when I give them a squeeze, which I assumed to mean that the pressure built up in the bottle and forced carbonation into the beer.

To further add confusion, the 2 batches of Mr. Beer that turned out well were both brewed in the 8.5L fermenter, while all of the Coopers were brewed in the 23L.  I have a Mr. Beer recipe in the 8.5L right now.  It will be interesting to see how that one turns out.  If it is well carbonated, I think that is enough data to not believe in a coincidence.  However, that still doesn't tell me WHY the Mr. Beer are carbonating so much better than Coopers.

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@EWildcat7 for your secondary ferment, have your bottles been stored at 18C or above to ensure the yeasties can do their thing? If they're stored too cool the carbonation will not be as high.
Another issue could be personal preference. I'm usually happy with my carbonation levels but a friend who I give beers to in return for his honest feedback has suggested my beers are flat to him. Recently I brewed a batch and with a few bottles I added some extra priming sugar to accommodate my friend's tastes. FYI - I used one Coopers carb drop and one sugar cube per 740ml bottle. Sugar cubes are about 4-5 grams each.
The issues with lack of head could be due to fermentables used. If you're only using dextrose your retention might not be as good if you were using brew enhancers which contain maltodextrin and malt which assist head retention. I've never made Mr Beer brews before but I'm assuming they have higher malt content and would explain why you're getting better results maybe.

 

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I'm having similar issues. Some beers carbonate like mad and the PET bottles are rock hard after 5 days and some are as limp as they were when they were bottled after 4 weeks. All stored in the same cupboard at the same ambient temps. I thought it might be the cooler winter weather but then why are others doing fine. It's getting warmer, so we'll see what happens once summer comes around.

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I have had this happen with a few of my bottles. The ones that are bottled first generally have the least amount of yeast cells and therefore take longer to carb up, although I have never had one NOT carb. They just need longer.

Now I keg I rack 19L into my keg then bottle the remainder, this means there is usually some sediment sucked into the bottles as I am taking the last bit of beer from the FV. Since doing this I have found my beers to carb up and bottles to be hard in a few days. I put this down to the extra yeast cells in the bottles. As a result though, I get more sediment in these bottles but that doesn't bother me.

I did a lager that I cold crashed for 2 weeks about 5 months ago and I found that took nearly a month for the bottles to start going hard.

I know it's hard but I really think if you are bottling time is your best friend. Build up enough stock and get a rotation working that allows you to age the bottles for at least 1-2 months.

The other thing I found made a big difference to my carbing with bottles was swapping out carb drops for normal white sugar. I don't know why, but I find the carb to be higher and much more consistent using the sugar. I got myself one of these to measure the sugar with:



Image result for brigalow sugar measurer

Not to mention it saves you HEAPS of $$ over using carb drops.

Mitch.

Edited by MitchellScott
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My beers do eventually carbonate but it seems to take a very long time in some cases. Bottled a dark ale 4 weeks ago and the PET bottles only now start firming up a little. Opened a glass bottle last week and there was no "pfft", not even a fluff.  It was a flat as when it was bottled. Then again, I had bottled an MJ Irish Red a week prior and it was fully carbonated within a few days. 

 

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I always bulk prime in the fermenter,using dextrose. The solution is gently stirred in,which distributes not only the sugar, but, I suspect, the remaining yeast cells as well. The sediment remains completely undisturbed. Never had a problem. Except,of course, the brew I forgot to prime!  When I realised a couple of weeks later I dropped some carb drops in, shook the bottles, coupla weeks,beautiful!

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There are only four reasons why this occurs aside from giving them enough time. No priming sugar, too cold, no viable yeast or the bottles aren't airtight. It will be one or more of those, although no viable yeast is pretty unlikely. It's nothing to do with the kit or what fermenters were used or how big the batch size is. Look at the reasons above. My bet would be temperature or unsealed bottles. 

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19 minutes ago, Otto Von Blotto said:

There are only four reasons why this occurs aside from giving them enough time. No priming sugar, too cold, no viable yeast or the bottles aren't airtight. It will be one or more of those, although no viable yeast is pretty unlikely. It's nothing to do with the kit or what fermenters were used or how big the batch size is. Look at the reasons above. My bet would be temperature or unsealed bottles. 

Considering they eventually carbonate, I think it is temperature. The ambient temps in the room with the bottles is still around the high 10s and low 20s most days, as opposed to high 20s in summer. I just find it odd that some don't seem to be affected but I guess the yeast used has some impact as well. I think it is the S04 batches that take longer.

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Most likely. I never had a batch fail except one. It was with US-05 and bottled in the middle of winter. They got too cold that night or the next, and by the time the weather warmed up again I suspect the yeast were largely dead because they still didn't carbonate any further than the little bit that occurred before they got too cold. 

Point being, it's a simple process. There aren't a million reasons why it would fail. It's just fermentation, so you only need to provide conditions for that to occur: sugar, yeast and appropriate temperature. The only real difference between it and primary is that the container needs to be sealed.

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9 hours ago, Otto Von Blotto said:

There are only four reasons why this occurs aside from giving them enough time. No priming sugar, too cold, no viable yeast or the bottles aren't airtight. It will be one or more of those, although no viable yeast is pretty unlikely. It's nothing to do with the kit or what fermenters were used or how big the batch size is. Look at the reasons above. My bet would be temperature or unsealed bottles. 

Thanks for the checklist.  I definitely add the carb drops (2 per bottle) and I tighten the caps twice per day for the first few days after bottling.  Since you said that the lack of viable yeast is unlikely, that eliminates 3 out of 4, leaving temperature.  Do you mean temperature of the beer being put into the bottles or the temperature of the bottles after filling them?  Since I cold crash, is it possible that the beer is too cold when I bottle?  I have been making beer for about a year now, so I have gone through all of the Canberra seasons and this seems to keep happening.  I keep my bottles inside the house using the ambient temperature of the house.

The most recent batch (black pils - https://www.diybeer.com/au/recipe/black-pils.html) does say that "this style of beer is intended to be aged (3 months or more)."  The one I tried the other day had been conditioning for 2 months, so I gave it a go a little early just to see what it would be like (I have 30 of them, so not a big deal if it was no good).  So, I understand why this particular bottle may have been flat.  But it made me reflect on all of my other batches, which is what led to this posting.

I wouldn't say that any of my batches have "failed."  I think that carbonation is going on inside the bottles because they are rock hard (all of them).  I just can't figure out why they don't taste carbonated.  The beer is drinkable, but I think it could be better...

Edited by EWildcat7

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I mean the temperature they're stored at. I used to bottle mine cold, but because they'd warm up to somewhere in the 20s they would carbonate fine. I just brewed lagers in winter because the yeast would work at the lower temperatures they'd sit at during that time. 

It shouldn't take any longer than a couple of weeks for carbonation to be done. The ageing times for different beers are flavour related, it doesn't mean it takes 3 months for it to carbonate fully. 

You'd think if the bottles are hard then they wouldn't be flat in the glass. How long are they chilled in the fridge before you drink them? 

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25 minutes ago, Otto Von Blotto said:

You'd think if the bottles are hard then they wouldn't be flat in the glass.

I know - that is what is making this so perplexing

 

25 minutes ago, Otto Von Blotto said:

How long are they chilled in the fridge before you drink them? 

always at least 2 days

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I took some plastic bottles on a weekend away and when I got there I had some flat bottles.  I didn't notice them being flat when I packed them.  Did the car travel shake them up - increase pressure so they failed?  I had a 26 week old flat sucked in bottle at home a few months back.  I added the regular sugar priming to it and the bottle became firm and remains so.  I haven't been game to drink it though, I'd probably be posting in the creeping gripes thread if I did.  It is a way to check if the bottle needs to be tossed though.

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On 10/10/2019 at 5:25 AM, EWildcat7 said:

Hi gang

I am having a problem with my beers not being carbonated.  I have made 7 recipes - 5 Coopers and 2 Mr. Beer.  On every recipe, I leave them in the bottles longer than the recipe calls for before trying my first beer.  Each of the Coopers have been under (or no) carbonated, but the Mr. Beer have been fully carbonated (and taste great).  I am using 740 ml bottles and 2 carb drops for everything, so no variation there.  Does anybody have a possible explanation (or solution) as to why the Coopers are not carbonated, but Mr. Beer are?

Of those five full size Coopers kits, which ones did you use? All of the small kits come with the ale/lager yeast strain but the big kits come with a variety of yeast, some of which are 100% Coopers ale yeast. The entire Original Series kits, plus the English Bitter and Blonde kits, come with 100% Coopers ale yeast.

Ale yeasts in general, and Coopers yeast in particular, prefer to operate at temperatures no colder than 18C; they work faster if it is warmer.  If your carbonation temperatures dips below 18C, especially at night, and you are using 100% Coopers ale yeast, your bottles may take ages to carbonate. A bottle does not hold much volume and, once it looses its heat to the air, it doesn't readily warm up again during the day. With the ale/lager blend, if the temperature dips below 18C, the lager portion will continue to work; the blended yeast handles fluctuating temperatures and cooler temperatures better. In the winter I avoid using 100% Coopers ale yeast and stick to kits that come with the ale/lager blend.

Nottingham is an ale yeast than handles cooler temperatures better than most ale yeast, so that is another option. Save the Coopers Ale yeast in the fridge and use them up in the summer time. It handles warm temperatures better than most other yeast. 

Cheers,

Christina. 

Edited by ChristinaS1

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1 hour ago, ChristinaS1 said:

Of those five full size Coopers kits, which ones did you use? All of the small kits come with the ale/lager yeast strain but the big kits come with a variety of yeast, some of which are 100% Coopers ale yeast. The entire Original Series kits, plus the English Bitter and Blonde kits, come with 100% Coopers ale yeast.

Ale yeasts in general, and Coopers yeast in particular, prefer to operate at temperatures no colder than 18C; they work faster if it is warmer.  If your carbonation temperatures dips below 18C, especially at night, and you are using 100% Coopers ale yeast, your bottles may take ages to carbonate. A bottle does not hold much volume and, once it looses its heat to the air, it doesn't readily warm up again during the day. With the ale/lager blend, if the temperature dips below 18C, the lager portion will continue to work; the blended yeast handles fluctuating temperatures and cooler temperatures better. In the winter I avoid using 100% Coopers ale yeast and stick to kits that come with the ale/lager blend.

Nottingham is an ale yeast than handles cooler temperatures better than most ale yeast, so that is another option. Save the Coopers Ale yeast in the fridge and use them up in the summer time. It handles warm temperatures better than most other yeast. 

Cheers,

Christina. 

what an extremely detailed response - thank you!

 

The coopers recipes I made were:

- the lager that came with it - I ignore this one because it was my first try and I had no idea what I was doing

- dark ale (following the instructions on the can) - not much better than the original lager - I still didn't really know what I was doing

aztec gold - my first attempt at a recipe from the website - used the kit yeast - bottled in January

island toasted coconut porter - used nottingham yeast - bottled in March, sampled in May

- black pils - used W-34/70 yeast - bottled in August, sampled first one a few days ago

All of the above have been minimally carbonated, but not completely flat - there was some carbonation, just not as much as I would have liked

 

The Mr. Beer recipes were:

- bliby chocolate porter - used nottingham yeast - bottled in June - well carbonated (I had one tonight); Coopers recipe, but used Mr. Beer ingredients

- rapturous raspberry - used US-04 yeast - bottled in June - well carbonated (best beer I have made)

- blueberry wheat - used WB-06 yeast - fermenting now; will bottle this week

Edited by EWildcat7

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@EWildcat7 Do you live in Australia? Just trying to figure out if January is hot or cold for you.

Lager and Dark Ale kits use 100% Coopers ale yeast. They could have issues with temps <18C.

Nottingham yeast should eventually carbonate if temp is above ~14C.

Aztec recipe uses Mexican Cervesa. Comes with the ale/lager blend. Cool carbonation temps should not be an issue.

Black Pils uses 100% lager yeast. Cool carbonation temps should not be an issue. 

Since you are having issues even with the lager and blended yeast, I don't understand.

What brand of carbonation drops are you using? Are they Coopers or another brand? Coopers are 3gm each, but some other brand makes them 2gm each (this was just mentioned in another thread).

Cheers,

Christina. 

 

 

Edited by ChristinaS1

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3 minutes ago, ChristinaS1 said:

@EWildcat7 Do you live in Australia? Just trying to figure out if January is hot or cold for you.

Lager and Dark Ale kits use 100% Coopers ale yeast. They could have issues with temps <18C.

Nottingham yeast should eventually carbonate if temp is above ~14C.

Aztec recipe uses Mexican Cervesa. Comes with the ale/lager blend. Cool carbonation temps should not be an issue.

Black Pils uses 100% lager yeast. Cool carbonation temps should not be an issue. 

Since you are having issues even with the lager and blended yeast, I don't understand.

What brand of carbonation drops are you using? Are they Coopers or another brand? Coopers are 3gm each, but this was just mentioned in another thread that some other brand's are only 2gm.

Cheers,

Christina. 

 

 

Looks like he lives in Canberra Christina, so yep in Australia 🙂

Canberra gets notoriously cold in winter and we are just coming out of winter now, so that could certainly be a contributing factor. In fact I am willing to bet that is the issue here.

Canberra is freezing in winter!

Mitch.

Edited by MitchellScott

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3 minutes ago, ChristinaS1 said:

@MitchellScott Somewhere in Australia get notoriously cold in winter? Now you have me curious Mitch: what qualifies for "notoriously cold" in Australia? 

Cheers,

Christina.

 

Last time I was there I left my place at 4.30am to get there by 8ish. It was -7C and the whole car was covered in ice.

Sure, compared to other places that might not be cold but in Australia that is f***in cold 😛

Not to mention in Summer it gets 40C+ consistently there too... Its just a horrible place hahahaha.

Edited by MitchellScott

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Sound like our spring and autumn temps. 😆

When you say your whole car was covered in ice, do you mean it was caked in freezing rain, or do you mean frost?

Cheers,

Christina.

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10 minutes ago, ChristinaS1 said:

Sound like our spring and autumn temps. 😆

When you say your whole car was covered in ice, do you mean it was caked in freezing rain, or do you mean frost?

Cheers,

Christina.

Knew that was coming 😛

Just the front end I should've said... It was covered in frost/ice from driving on the highway.

Anyway, it is certainly too cold in winter for Ale yeast to properly carbonate, IMO.

Maybe the Mr. Beer yeasts are a lager hybrid and that is why they have carbed OK? I am not sure. You will soon find out as it starts to warm up. If your beers are all carbed OK then there is your issue.

Mitch.

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Looks like this may be the case.

image.thumb.png.373f8e047bfe86a3c75e2bb409d927a7.png

From what I can see there, it looks like all the Mr. Beer yeasts are an ale/lager hybrid. This would allow them to carb up fine at lower winter Canberra temps, where ale yeast would almost certainly struggle.

Mitch.

Edited by MitchellScott
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