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Bottle-primed: How Long?

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kitkat

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Sorry, may sound silly, but I have to ask:

I bottled my first brew 2 weeks ago (Coopers Lager that comes with the fermenter + a brewcraft converter pack, SAFlager yeast) - but when I opened 2 PET bottles last week and one tonight, they were almost completely flat. I say almost because you could hear the "hiss" when opening the bottle, and you can see small bubbles on the side of the glass, just nothing when you drink it.
Bottle primed with the Coopers carbonation drops (2 per 750 bottle, so it's not due to the priming sugar not being evenly distributed), OG 1042, FG 1006 (just before bottling), spent a week in secondary, and, beside the lack of bubbles, it doesn't taste bad for a first try (no cardboard or sour taste, light hoppy after taste, would be quite nice with bubbles ... ).

The fact that I can hear the "hiss" gives me confidence something may be happening, but I'm wondering if I left it too long in the secondary (there was sediment at the bottom, yeast?), or if the temperature played a role: it fermented in the 20s, both because I didn't know it should have been lower (found this forum after fermentation), and because I didn't have a choice anyway (no spare fridge - will wait for winter for next lager ...). Bottles are stored at room temperatures.

I have a Coopers Pale Ale bubbling away right now, when bottling I'll do half PET and half glass bottles to see if that makes a difference.

Any hint? Should I:
- just open the bottles, add some sugar and close them again to force carbonation? With plastic bottles I don't really fear explosions :)
- throw everything out, it's a lost cause?
- wait a few more weeks?

edit: does the amount of air left in the bottle play a role, ie should I leave little space between beer and cap, or about 2.5 cms as they recommend in the coopers guide (which is the case in my bottles)?
 

barls

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prime with dextrose rather than the carbonation drops i found that they do add carbon but no head where as dextrose does so ive been told
 

barfridge

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I use wheat malt to prime. I find it gives a tighter, longer lasting head compared to dextrose.
 

PostModern

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The downside of DME or wheat extract for priming is the extra yeast and trub in the bottles. Not a problem if you let the bottles mature for a good few months. Worth it, tho.
 

kitkat

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Thanks for the quick replies, I'll try Dextrose next time - but how about this one? :)
 

PostModern

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What I would do would depend on my confidence that I'd primed well enough. If I was sure that I had primed enough (7g/l of white sugar, 9g/l of dextrose or 11g/l litre of DME), I'd leave them another week somewhere slightly warm and see if the carbonation improves.

If not, leave them a month or longer and hope for some improvement. If after a couple months carbonation was still bad, I'd add a bit more priming sugar to each bottle. Should be easy enough with PET bottles. Just be careful with sanitation.
 

Plastic Man

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I could almost feel Kit Kats pain down the broadband connection after he read Post Moderns tip.

A couple of months wait to sample the labours of his first brew. I'm not sure its humanly possible.

Good luck Kit Kat !!!
 

PostModern

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Well he could get a carbonation cap and force carb them :)
First brew, hey? Get yourself to a Chemist and grab a 10ml syringe. When you pour your beer (cold cold) take up some of the beer in the syringe and pump it forcefully back into the beer. Do this a few times quickly then enjoy instant bubbles courtesy of your PBE (Pocket Beer Engine).

EDIT: Do this whenever you must have one and keep the rest for a couple of months ;)
 

Plastic Man

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Could be a great excuse to switch to Kegs.

Poor each PET bottle carefully in.... :p

Or try the old Soda Stream set up - though I'd check a particular thread on Grumpys before trying this. Sounds dangerous. ;)
 

dickTed

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My first five or six brews were like that. You could pour a good head, but it would completely disappear in a minute.

Now I use liquid malt extract instead of sugar or dextrose - costs $5.95/kg at hbs

And I use one teaspoon of Brewcraft "Big Head". Three days before bottling, I put it in a jar with water, shake vigourously. Sit in fridge overnight. Then 2 days before bottling add some beer from fermenter(take the airlock out first), shake, open fermenter and pour it in. Nice head.

When I start adding grains, I'll probably use corn sugar(maltodextrin) or wheat malt instead, but it'll do me for now.
 

fergi

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kit kat i had that problem with one of my brews very slow to take up gas so i turned each bottle upside down twice and then put back at room temp.maybe lager yeast had set at the bottom of the bottle and is not suspended enough to work so this just loosens it into your mix and then can work a bit more to give you gas,give it another 2 weeks and you will have gas ok,keep us posted
cheers
fergi
 

kitkat

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thanks fergi, hadn't thought about that (though I did turn the bottles upside down when I put the beer in originally), I just put them all upside down for today, I'll put them back to normal tonight, and we'll see what happens.

Hard wait, good thing the brewing and the looking for new recipes is fun ... :)
 

Backlane Brewery

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This may be stating the bleeding obvious, KK, but are you sure they were properly capped/sealed?
 

kitkat

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the fact that I hear a "hiss" when I open them would indicate to me that they were properly capped (and with PET bottles it would be hard to not close them properly - screw as tight as you can - were brand new caps, too) - if I didn't hear anything I wouldn't have asked here, just banged my head against the wall in shame :)

They've been upside down an hour, and I haven't seen any beer leakage yet, so I assume they're sealed.
 

Trent

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Kitkat
I had the same problem with a brew last year, dead flat even after a month, so I turfed out 20 longnecks to make room for a new brew. I will never know why it was flat, I was sure I primed properly, but flat they were. 6 months later I found the remaining longnecks, opened the first one to pour it down the sink, and it was perfectly carbonated. Go figure. Time will probably fix it, but it just depends on how long ya wanna wait. Maybe just put em aside, and forget about em, and start making some more beers, they'll come good.
Trent
 

Dunkel_Boy

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The drops can be inconsistent, as easy as they seem they leave dodgy chunks, they are different sizes, I don't really like them.
The carbonation issue, I'd say temp has a bit to do with it... tip them up a few times too, to make sure all the yeasties are nicely distributed. You don't want to leave PET bottles with beer in them for very long, the plastic is permeable, so it lets O2 in and CO2 out, but that wouldn't be an issue after just two weeks... more like 6 months.
If you add sugar to them when they are already in the bottle, be prepared for a big foam-up... especially using dextrose.
I'd say your beer is fine, those drops seem to carb between 1 and 4 weeks, even if temperature is fairly constant... go figure. Whack the bottles somewhere warm, turn them up and down a few times, and wait another week. Batch priming is the only consistent approach for the future. Best of luck.

Oh by the way, corn sugar = dextrose, corn syrup = maltodextrin. You could prime with maltodextrin, but you'd just be inreasing your body as it's not fermentable. I thought it was, but it seems we have some labelling issues here, selling dextrose and maltodextrin etc., like wrapping up Pride of Ringwood and calling it 10 different names. Ah well.
 

kitkat

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at this stage I'm resigned to wait, just opening one a week and turning them upside down once in a while. I already have another one on the go, and looking at my first extract recipe for after that one :)
 

Bricey

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Kitkat,

I had something like what you are discribing happen to me for the first time on my latest batch. I am just wondering where you are storing them after bottling?

Is there a chance that the bottles are heating up during the day and cooling down again at night? It is possible that excesive heat is effecting the Co2 and causing the bottles to be flat.

Might need to store them inside for the first few weeks before sending them out to the shed for aging.
 

kitkat

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they are stored inside my office (no shed and no room in the kitchen), and these days in Melbourne it's all 18-25 degrees, so it should be relatively stable.
 

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