Ultra Low Alcohol Beer - No Carbonation

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Luxo_Aussie

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G'day All,

I made an attempt on a very low alcohol beer (for those still keen to drive) but it's now been bottled for 8 weeks and still no carbonation has developed in the bottles. My logic in this was to use largely speciality malts & flakes to give it more body/mouthfeel that it would suggest, mash high & also use a poorly attenuating yeast to (hopefully) leave something there, here's the overview & recipe:

Designated Driver
Batch Size: 25.00 L
Boil Time: 30 min
Final Bottling Vol: 24.00 L
Original Gravity: 1.014 SG
Final Gravity: 1.009 SG
Bitterness: 9.4 IBUs
Est Color: 17.0 EBC

0.150 kg Rice Hulls (Brewferm)
0.550 kg Munich Malt (Weyermann)
0.300 kg Rye Malt (Crisp)
0.175 kg Wheat, Flaked (Brewferm)
0.125 kg Barley, Flaked (Brewferm)
0.125 kg Cara-120 (Brewferm)
0.125 kg Cara-Pils/Dextrine (Weyermann)
0.100 kg CaraBohemian (Weyermann)
0.030 kg Chocolate Malt (Brewferm)
5.00 g Amarillo [9.20 %] - Boil 15.0 min
5.00 g Amarillo [9.20 %] - Boil 10.0 min
7.50 g Amarillo [9.20 %] - Boil 5.0 min
17.50 g Amarillo [9.20 %] - Steep/Whirlpool 5.0 min
1.0 pkg Octoberfest/Marzen Lager (White Labs #WLP820)
28.00 g Amarillo [9.20 %] - Dry Hop 8.0 Days
15.00 g Amarillo [9.20 %] - Dry Hop 3.0 Days

Mash was [email protected], [email protected] & [email protected] & bulk primed with LDME at 7.4g/l. Came out to 0.9%. This turned out tasting quite well albeit the dry hopping was a bit excessive leaving some overly harsh grassy overtones - luckily it's getting better with time. None of 7 or so bottles I've opened so far haven't had any carbonation so I'm guessing either something was wrong with my bulk priming or there wasn't enough yeast left over in the fermentation to create an effective in bottle carbonation.

I could toss most of it & try again, but if a lack of yeast is the issue would there be any benefit in emptying all bottles into a fermenter with some fresh yeast & re-bottling? This is assuming that the LDME from my first bulk prime is still there un-fermented of course. Any thoughts?

Cheers & Thanks!
 

MHB

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You could just make hydrate some dry yeast in a couple of hundred mL of sterile water, leave it for up to 1/2 an hour (longer can damage the yeast).
Open the bottles, add a couple of mL to each bottle with a syringe or an eye dropper, re-cap and wait some more.
Mark
 

Luxo_Aussie

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You could just make hydrate some dry yeast in a couple of hundred mL of sterile water, leave it for up to 1/2 an hour (longer can damage the yeast).
Open the bottles, add a couple of mL to each bottle with a syringe or an eye dropper, re-cap and wait some more.
Mark
Success! Test bottle was carbonated after a week, will add some more yeast to the remaining ones later today.
Only remaining issue with this is the remaining soapy/grassy flavors - I think are due to exceptional dry hopping for batch SG, using more american-style hops and also letting it sit a bit too long before bottling (fermentation finished in about 24h, didn't bottle for nearly 4 weeks).
Hopefully it'll come good with time.
 

fdsaasdf

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Success! Test bottle was carbonated after a week, will add some more yeast to the remaining ones later today.
Only remaining issue with this is the remaining soapy/grassy flavors - I think are due to exceptional dry hopping for batch SG, using more american-style hops and also letting it sit a bit too long before bottling (fermentation finished in about 24h, didn't bottle for nearly 4 weeks).
Hopefully it'll come good with time.
Glad you resolved the carbonation issue.

How long did you leave the hops in contact with the wort for - was this in accordance with your recipe, or left for the 4 weeks? Over-extraction of dry hops can certainly give grassy/vegetal flavours, and it wouldn't surprise me if the soapiness is due to the oils released as the hops continued to break down.
 

MHB

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Just ran a search through my favourite guide to beer faults for "Soapy"
Apart from soap as is contamination from not rinsing off detergent cleaners well enough which can give a soapy flavour (surprise surprise).
Alkalinity too high, either from high carbonate in the water or from contamination.
Use of old hops, low grade hops and herbs or spice, especially Coriander get a mention
But nearly all the listings are for products created by mismanaged yeast and or yeast autolysis, typically, Caprylic acid, Ethyl Caprylate, Ethyl Dodeconoate.
Frankly all the sort of things you would expect if you leave beer sitting on the yeast cake for four weeks!
You should never leave a beer sitting on yeast for more than 14 days or better within seven days of hitting FG, any longer and you are doing measurable harm to the beer.
Mark
 

Luxo_Aussie

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How long did you leave the hops in contact with the wort for - was this in accordance with your recipe, or left for the 4 weeks?
It was left for 12 days in primary (dry hopped between day 3-11) and racked and put for two weeks in secondary.
Just ran a search through my favorite guide to beer faults for "Soapy"
Apart from soap as is contamination from not rinsing off detergent cleaners well enough which can give a soapy flavour (surprise surprise).
Same cleaning regime for the past 35 batches, this would be unlikely as none of the others have had this issue.
Alkalinity too high, either from high carbonate in the water or from contamination.
Water tested, low levels of carbonates and other minerals.
Use of old hops, low grade hops and herbs or spice, especially Coriander get a mention
Hops were freshly opened for this batch, weren't due to expire until next year. Smelt them today & even opened months ago still fresh.
But nearly all the listings are for products created by mismanaged yeast and or yeast autolysis, typically, Caprylic acid, Ethyl Caprylate, Ethyl Dodeconoate.
Frankly all the sort of things you would expect if you leave beer sitting on the yeast cake for four weeks!
Whilst it was only on the primary cake for 12 days, the fermentation was done very quickly judging on airlock activity (was just before I got a Tilt so can't be 100% sure) so I'd wager this is more than likely the cause. I'm also of the opinion that 2g/l of dry hopping with an american variety here was a bit overkill - the lower SG hasn't been enough to balance it out. It's getting more drinkable with time, perfect breakfast beer!
Thanks for the feedback.
 

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