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Carbonation Problem

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DrewCarey82

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Hello.

Been brewing for about 3 months now only kits but am pretty handy at it.....

Half of my bottles carbonate great and maintain a decent head while others fizz for a second and die on their arse no bubbles or head.

Beers are of varying age in the bottles 2 weeks to 8 weeks generally.

I rack my beer.

And I carbonate with Carbonation drops and use PET plastic bottles(Am now using glass longnecks but they are still aging)

Please advise.
 

peas_and_corn

I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I cannot mash that
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First thing I will recommend is to get rid of the carbonation drops. They have only been troublke for most people I've run into.

What are you adding to the can? Is it sugar/dextrose, or is there malt there- if so, how much?
 

DrewCarey82

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Normally Booster packs....

IE - Light Malt 500g, Desxtrose 500g.
Or similar things from the HBS.

I now because of this problem will only use the Coopers Brew enhancer 2, as its 250g Maltodextrin, 250g Light Malt and 500g dextrose. That should give a really good body and head.

Also I was thinking of using Castor sugar as I've heard that this is very good for carbonation?
 

peas_and_corn

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Castor sugar... my knowledge about that is a little on the light side but it will be providing only fermentables ie only good for alcohol and nothing else, and will thin your beer out further.

The maltodextrin (or corn starch) is what is providing most of the thickening for the beer, but malt does this as well, as it too has non-fermentable compounds in it. I used to put dextrose into my kit beers, but when I decided to go all malt and have no dextrose, it became thicker, as dextrose, like other sugars, adds fermentables without adding any body to the beer.

Also, how much water are you adding? Sometimes adding up to 23L (which is what Coopers tells you to do) is a bit too much and thins it out a bit- however, this depends on the style of the beer you are making.

Hope this makes sense :)

EDIT- oh yeah, read your post again and realised you were asking about castor sugar for carbonation. Well, I use raw sugar, and haven't experimented with castor for that purpose. I'll leave that to other people to answer. :)
 

WillM

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I've found that when I rack beers and the clear really well, they take a bit long to carbonate up, compared with a cloudy beer that still has lots of yeast in it. (Same things applies to a highly floculant yeast.)

I've carbonated with sugar, dextrose and the carb. drops. All work fine. I'd recommend giving the bottles a good shake when you bottle, and then another shake in a couple of days. You should be able to see if the sugar (or whatever) has disolved and a layer of yeast has formed on the bottom of the bottle.

From what I read, it doesn't seem to matter much what you use to carbonate. Sugar and dextrose are nice and easy to measure, and the carb drops are even simpler. Some people use malt extract / honey etc, but most agree there is not much (if any) taste difference. My conclusion is to use what I find first.
 

DrewCarey82

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How does RAW sugar go?

Also using sugar such as that is cheaper rather then $2.5 per bag for the carbo drops which I find very rich.
 

WillM

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I think it's fine, but it doesn't to run as easily as white sugar (making it harder to measure) with a teaspoon.

Everyone has different ideas on this, try doing a brew and a few different methods and see what the difference is. As I said, I go for what's in the house, but the drops are the laziest option.
 

DrewCarey82

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Also Dextrose, I thought this was very good for your beer by the sounds of it, its as bad as sugar?

Correct me if I am wrong I am talking about just your booster not carbonation?

Also another question for my fermantors out of habbit, I am covering each with a jumper to prevent light strike is this necessary, all are thick white plastic - IE the coopers barrell, and are just kept in my spare room no sunlight directly hits them but is fairly bright in there during the day.

Cheers.
 

WillM

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Sorry, I thought you were meaning for carbonation.

In general, keep away from the sugars (sucrose) and dextrose in your beer unless you are after a special effect, and then keep them below 500g in a 22l batch. I'd stick below 250g personally, but we have learned to love that sour aussie taste of VB. Toohey new etc.

White sugar will give a sour taste.
Brown sugar gives a carmamel tastes that goes well with some British Ales.
Raw sugar is most likely somewhere in between.
Dextrose adds alcohol and doesn't give as bad a taste at sucrose.

All of the above will result in a thinner beer that doesn't hold it's head as well. It's a balancing act, sugar is cheap and adds alcohol, malt is expensive but tastes great and makes a thicker beer.

It's up to you to work out what you like the drink, experiment and find which works best for you.
 

Wortgames

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Drew, maybe you should consider 'bulk priming' instead.

You get a spare fermenter (or clean, sanitised bucket) and add the priming sugar for the whole batch, dissolved in some hot water. Rack your beer into it when you are ready for bottling and the whole lot mixes up, so you have a consistent product going into every bottle. Start with about 7g dextrose per litre and try to make sure the beer comes into it gently at the bottom (ie no splashing) and creates a gentle whirlpool to aid mixing. You can give it a gentle stir if you like.

I suspect your bottles. If they aren't spotlessly clean and sanitised you risk infections and/or residue from previous contents, which will kill a head quicksmart. Loose caps would be another cause.

Don't get confused between adjunct sugars and priming sugars. Real beer is brewed only from malt, but you can add different sugars if you want to create a specific flavour (eg brown or candi sugar in some English and Belgian ales), or if you want to create a stronger, thinner, drier product you might add rice or corn sugar (dextrose). Most supermarket kit beers are designed to help you brew a cheap beer, using sugar. If you get a decent kit it will usually suggest you add malt extract instead.

For priming most people prefer to use a pure, highly fermentable sugar like dextrose. You can use malt but it takes longer to carbonate and in my opinion you risk trapping more fermentation byproducts and sediment in the bottle.
 

DrewCarey82

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Is just normal household white sugar good for carbonating?
 

peas_and_corn

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I wouldn't use white sugar for carbonating, but it's mostly because I love my raw sugar for carbonation.

Essentially all you need for carbonation is something fermentable so it adds CO2. The rule of thumb for ingredients such as sugar/raw sugar etc is that once the ingredients go over 10% of the total, it starts to affect the taste of the beer. So, using 7 or so grams per litre (and you'll need to experiment a little with this; but you should definitely bulk prime if not to reduce work and to cut down the odds of making beer cordial- trust me, it's annoying to open one) will nt really affect the flavour that much. It's a matter of what you like using.

And for your booster, avoid dextrose and sugar for the reason I gave. Using malt will give the beer a fuller flavour and ultimately, breweries started using sugar/dextrose to cut down on costs at the expense of flavour. It's a balance you need to consider, but once you have tried all malt, I doubt you'll go back to using dextrose because of the flavour difference :)
 

DrewCarey82

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Thats interesting dude, my HBS actually has Dextrose in 90% of there ingredients for boosters.
 

peas_and_corn

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That store only sells the Coopers ones, does it?

The HBS I go to, the bloke makes his own and has (dextrose/malt)-

750/250
500/500
250/750

Then just a 1kg bag of malt (which I go for).
 

Wortgames

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Drew, if you're wanting to keep your brewing costs down, I have 2 tips:

1. White sugar is fine for carbonating
2. Leave this forum, run, and don't look back...

:ph34r:
 

peas_and_corn

I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I cannot mash that
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Wortgames said:
Drew, if you're wanting to keep your brewing costs down, I have 2 tips:

1. White sugar is fine for carbonating
2. Leave this forum, run, and don't look back...

:ph34r:
[post="87083"][/post]​
ha ha ha! so true... before coming here I was doing simple kit brews. After an AG day, I'm now doing partials, buying a fermentation and a keg fridge, already got a refractometer, buying some cubes soon, etc etc

My supervisor at work says that after the ag day I went crazy.
 

DrewCarey82

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I dont want to sacrafice quality at the same time I am generally using decent kits Brewcraft, Morgans, Beermakers ect.(Admittedly Coopers occassionally to keep my stokes up)

And whatever boosters my LHBS guy recommends, however for optimal results his recommending ones that for the most part contain Dextrose.

Its always a mixed pack containing so form of malt or maltodextrin.
 

Jye

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2. Leave this forum, run, and don't look back...
Wish someone had told me that... this is the best piece of advise anyone will give you :D
 

peas_and_corn

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Well, the best thing to do is to find advice from as amny different sources and make up your own mind- I'm not saying that the bloke at yoiur HBS is wrong, but that I prefer much different boosters than the ones he recommends for reasons I have already gone into.

Go to www.howtobrew.com and read the book that's there (I think there's about 1000 references to the book on this forum) because it contains info about brewing I cannot express properly right now, as I'm still learning myself. It's a great resource; one that answers many, many questions that I have had about brewing.

Of the list of kits you listed, my best beer has come from Morgans. Here's one that I made that is easy and came out great-

Morgan's pilsener can
750g light malt
250g dextrose
250g maltodextrose

use the yeast under the lid

Mix together like usual, make to 23L. I didn't rack this one (since I only had one fermenter at the time), and bottle conditioned for a month. Came out really nice.
 

Wortgames

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There's also the humble toucan brew, which most of us have done.

Basically you use 2 kits and don't add anything else.

You end up with a tasty fuller-bodied beer, no messing around.

I've always felt that 'brew boosters' are an unnecessary prepackaged solution, you can buy dry malt extract (DME) and dextrose etc separately and make your own 'booster' to your own spec.

If you want to make really good kit beers, buy a quality kit (look at the use by dates and get the freshest you can find) and add a kilo can of liquid malt extract (LME) - simple and no messing around with sticky powders, and you're almost making real beer.

:super:


Then you can start experimenting with different yeasts, finishing hops etc...


Run away, run away...
 

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