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Jsmall41

Carbonation question

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I recently brewed the Aztec Cerveza. I fermented for 3 weeks and bottle conditioned for 3. My house stays around 70 to 72 at this time of year. I used the plastic bottles that came with my kit. I used Mr Beer carbonation drops, 2 per bottle according to instructions. All this to say that I don't have a lot of carbonation in the beer. What can I do to boost carbonation?

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You mean you carbonated for 3 weeks? Bottle-conditioning, in our use of the term, means "aging" and is separate from carbonating.

 

How old was your refill? If it's old, the yeast may simply be too tired, or there are too few viable yeast cells to carbonate the beer. If this is the case, you can usually add a pinch of fresh yeast to each bottle to kick start the carbonation. But if your house dipped below 70 at any point, then you may simply need to give the beer more time to carbonate. The cooler it is, the slower it carbonates. Try an extra week. If still not carbonated, add a pinch of yeast to each bottle and let them sit an extra week or 2.

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^^^+1

 

Be sure to properly refrigerate your beer for at least 3 days. When the beer is cold, the Co2 turns from a gas to a liquid. If you open the beer too soon, the Co2 will not have had the chance to dissolve into solution as a liquid and will still be in gas form. This gas will begin to escape as soon as the bottle is opened and the beer will go flat fairly fast, especially when poured into a glass.

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1 hour ago, Jsmall41 said:

I only left it in for 2 days. I've put the rest of the bottles in the refrigerator at the same time as the others. I'll sample the bottles this weekend. I think maybe I just became impatient.

 

Also - just to be sure - what do you mean when you say you don't have a lot of carbonation? You are using the plastic bottles? Were they rock hard when put them in the fridge? 

 

At first I thought I didn't have carbonation in my beers, because I was confusing carbonation with the foamy head at the top. You can have a beer that has carbonation, but not a lot of foam.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Jsmall41 said:

I only left it in for 2 days. I've put the rest of the bottles in the refrigerator at the same time as the others. I'll sample the bottles this weekend. I think maybe I just became impatient.

 

Put only as much as you plan to drink in the refrigerator leaving the rest at room temperature (>70F) to continue to condition. 

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14 minutes ago, Jsmall41 said:

Yes I'm using the plastic bottles. The bottles felt firm when I put them in the refrigerator. There was not much foam at all. It just seemed flat after the little foam I did have was gone.

 

If they are firm, you have carbonation.

 

Don't look for foam. See if you can see bubbles. If you have bubbles, you have carbonation.

 

The answer here seems to be to leave the ones you want to drink in the fridge a little longer.

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Josh - just a small correction in chemistry. Carbon dioxide, at the temperatures and pressures of cold, bottled beer is always a gas. The gas is soluble in liquids, but does not become a liquid itself. As the temperature of the solvent (water in the beer) decreases, the solubility of the gas increases. CO2 in water will form some carbonic acid, thus the acidity of carbonated beverages, and the "bite" on the tongue from the gas bubbles. 

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3 hours ago, Jsmall41 said:

I only left it in for 2 days. I've put the rest of the bottles in the refrigerator at the same time as the others. I'll sample the bottles this weekend. I think maybe I just became impatient.

I put a  weeks queue of drinking in the fridge and it works out pretty well.

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