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Inconsistent bulk priming

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philmud

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A saison I brewed recently has fairly inconsistent carbonation between bottles (they are all a bit under carbed for the style, which I'm blaming on my priming calculator). I wanted to check my method to if its a pretty obvious problem as its one I'm very keen not to repeat.
To prime, I dissolved about 60g of dextrose and 120g of table sugar (I had run out of dex) in about 250 ml of boiling water and poured this into the bottom of a spare fermenter. Then, I gravity fed (through food-grade tube) my beer into the spare fermenter. I did this very gently so as to avoid oxidization, but I believed that the turbulence of the beer would pretty evenly mix the sugar in.
Once I bottled, the beer was in my garage for a few days & was probably a bit cold. I moved it upstairs and fave each bottle a little shake - its now been in the bottle for 4 weeks.

It fermented out to 1.001 with Wyeast 3711and while it doesn't taste nearly that dry, I'd be surprised if its not done.

Any ideas? Should I have stirred? If it was just uneven carving wouldn't some bottles be over-carbed? Am I just high?
 

Adr_0

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Your batch priming is exactly what I do, just stir in through with a few strokes.

What sort of pressure did you have in your airlock? I wouldn't be surprised if the priming calculator assumes some residual CO2, when it is possible that you are on the lower limit of this if you have had a strong fermentation and have settled at FG quickly.

Is it low carbonation or low head?
 

mwd

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I give my secondary a gentle stir also to make sure the sugar solution is evenly mixed. If 23L then 180g of sugar should give a high carbonation level.
 

philmud

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Adr_0 said:
What sort of pressure did you have in your airlock? I wouldn't be surprised if the priming calculator assumes some residual CO2, when it is possible that you are on the lower limit of this if you have had a strong fermentation and have settled at FG quickly.

Is it low carbonation or low head?
Low carb (great head) but slightly higher in some bottles. I use a cooper's fermenter, so no airlock. The priming calculator allowed me to indicate the highest fermentation temp which I believe determines the residual C02. I'm dirty on the calc because the same input into several others results in recommendations for substantially more sugar. The beer is drinkable, but I was aiming for great!!
 

jaypes

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Which calc did you eventually go with?

I use the same process as Adr_0 - but i wait for at least 30 mins after racking to ensure the dex is well mixed
 

Fat Bastard

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180g sounds like a fair whack for a 23 l batch. Did you pour it into the bucket hot? When I was bottling I'd arrange the hose so it'd create a whirlpool type current, dump the boiling priming syrup in and immediately start racking onto it, slowly at first, opening the tap to full bore once the end was submerged. This would create plenty of mixing action. Left it for 10 minutes or so, and never stirred before bottling. Maybe your priming syrup cooled too much and didn't mix properly? I'd be inclined to wait a few more weeks and see how it is before drawing any conclusions though.
 

mwd

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I don't bother with all these priming calculations it does your head in. I just use between 150g and 160g for 23L no problems. I don't do lagers though too warm here all year round. I can buy much better lager than I could make. Just nip into Liqourland and buy 24 Henningers for $38.00
 

MaltyHops

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Phil Mud said:
Any ideas? Should I have stirred? If it was just uneven carving wouldn't some bottles be over-carbed? Am I just high?
THIS post describes how I stir ... also the last few bulk prime/bottling sessions I've had, I figure out rougly how many bottles I'll end up with and fill each bottle roughly half-full before filling them up all the way, starting from the first bottle. Nup, not paranoid at all :D
 

Greg.L

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I always bulk prime, but I once found that the sugar syrup hadn't mixed properly and was mostly sitting at the bottom. Now I always give it a stir just to be sure the sugar has mixed through.
 

Screwtop

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Greg.L said:
I always bulk prime, but I once found that the sugar syrup hadn't mixed properly and was mostly sitting at the bottom. Now I always give it a stir just to be sure the sugar has mixed through.
Yep .........................Stir well. Don't beat/whisk/aerate.................... just gently stir.

Screwy
 

Adr_0

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Screwtop said:
Yep .........................Stir well. Don't beat/whisk/aerate.................... just gently stir.

Screwy
Yeah, exactly.

Hopefully you are sorted for next time. :)
 

pk.sax

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Not to contradict the above, complementing it, but I never needed stir. Juts added a little extra (5%?) sugar when bulk priming and had the hose arranged to whish it around. Then leave secondary on the bench, covered for an hour or two, fuond that yeast take up the sugar/wake up and the priming solution is well mixed and the ferment is active at the time of bottling.
 

beachy

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After bulk priming and bottling approx 80 batches without any issues it amazes me how some people try to complicate the process.
The simple technique that works for me and probably most others too is.

1. boil kettle and dissolve required dex quantity calculated by BP calculator in approx 300ml boiling water
2. rack from primary fermenter to bottling bucket
3. approx half way through racking gently pour hot (why cool 300ml going into 20L) dex solution down side of bucket so no splashing occurs
4. when fully transfered stir beer gently no splashing for approx 10 secs
5. bottle straight away to avoid unessesary oxygen contact.

This has worked well for me for a long time so I can not see why the process needs to be complicated by cooling dex solution or waiting before bottling.
 

pcmfisher

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If the ones you have tried are under carbed, given 180g in 23 litres I reckon there will be some pretty bubbly ones too, unless you somehow left all the sugar in the bottom of the bottling bucket.
 

MaltyHops

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beachy said:
After bulk priming and bottling approx 80 batches without any issues it amazes me how some people try to complicate the process.
The simple technique that works for me and probably most others too is.

1. boil kettle and dissolve required dex quantity calculated by BP calculator in approx 300ml boiling water
2. rack from primary fermenter to bottling bucket
3. approx half way through racking gently pour hot (why cool 300ml going into 20L) dex solution down side of bucket so no splashing occurs
4. when fully transfered stir beer gently no splashing for approx 10 secs
5. bottle straight away to avoid unessesary oxygen contact.

This has worked well for me for a long time so I can not see why the process needs to be complicated by cooling dex solution or waiting before bottling.
In my case, I cannot accurately see how much beer I have in my fermenter (opaque) and I like to know how much beer I have to prime to then calculate how much sugar to use, hence I am forced to rack beer into the priming bucket before adding the sugar solution (and subsequent measures to try and ensure good mixing).

I guess I could make do with a rough estimate of how much beer there is to prime and thus use your method but it's not that complicated.
 

citizensnips

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The calculator works perfectly for me every time Just boil up some water, throw the sugar in the bottom of the bulk priming vessel and rack on top. The difference with mine is I use a little auto syphon I got from gryphon brewing connected to some pretty thick tubing which allows for a really vigorous whirlpool which mixes it up really well. It literally takes a minute or 2 to empty 26L from one to the next, if anyone is having trouble syphoning or trying to get their wort out from one bucket to the next I reccomend one of these bad boys.

And by the way Phil Mud, 2.2 volumes seems pretty low for a saison in the first place, I always thought they were 2.6ish if not higher. I must admit I wouldn't carb below 2.4 unless really necessary for the style, its just too little bubbles.
 

pk.sax

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Hey Beachy, it was an observation I made. Discovered it making cider, added some dex and got pulled away so had to bung the airlock on for another hour or so, just added a little more to compensate since it'd come alive when I came back.

Nothing complicated, just lets me be lazy about not doing anything special, seemed like the yeast ensured mixing all on their own and as a bonus you know that they are active before you bottle :)
 

philmud

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Thanks for the replies gents - I may have been wrong re: the volume, I aimed for - the actual volume of beer I bottled was 22L and I defo used 180g of sugar/dex, so perhaps it was 3.2 - does that sound more accurate? I also can't seem to find the calculator I used, I just googled one - if anyone has one they swear by, I'd love a link.

I arranged the hose in the bottling fermenter similarly to Fat Bastard and the beer swirled around a lot as it was filling, hence I was confident it had mixed properly. I have also tried bottles from the start, middle and end of the bottling process and they were all a bit under which makes me think I won't encounter a highly carbed bottle, which in turn raises the possibility that not all of the priming sugar has fermented - as I mentioned the beer isn't nearly as dry as my last saison

Is it worth throwing them under an electric blanket after a gentle shake up, or is that likely to do more harm than good?
 

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