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76shovel

flat beer

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I am maybe 6-7 batches into this hobby and something new has developed for me.  On my last 2 batches the bottles are firm going into the fridge but then many of them seem to have lost pressure while refrigerated. I found a very soft one last night in the fridge and it was miserably flat. I checked the rest of that batch and none are as firm as when they went in. I grabbed a firm one from the conditioning shelf and stuck it in the fridge last night, this morning it is slightly "squeezable".  I need to get on top of whatever is going on. Any thoughts?

 

 Mark

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You've posted before about lack of fizz, temperatures, and questions on conditioning time.  If you read through the forum, you will find that the only carb issues people mention seem to be with using Mr. Beer carbonation drops, never with sugar.  However, it's rare regardless.  

 

All bottles get softer in the frig as the temp drops and the gas moves less, creating less pressure.

 

Possible issues:

 

- Inadequate time in bottle: after bottling, store beer for 4 weeks.

- Temp too low: if it's not 70 or higher, it will take longer.  For example, if 65, then figure 6 weeks.

- Didn't put it in frig for 3 days: Make sure after the 4 weeks (or more), you put it in the frig for 3 days at least for the CO2 to be absorbed.

- Inadequate sugar: If using Mr. Beer carb drops, put in the suggested amount.  If using table sugar, put in anywhere from 75% - 100% of the Mr. Beer suggested amount.

- Old caps on PET bottles: caps are good for 5  - 7 or 8 uses, then you may get some flat bottles.

- Forgot to put sugar in: self-explanatory.

- Poorly tightened caps on PET bottles: tighten sanitized cap, then after bottling take a towel to dry each off and at the same time ensure it's tight.  Not crazy tight, just tight.

 

 

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Thanks Rick, 

Lids are tight, some may have 4 uses on them I should order all new.

3 days in the fridge has been the norm.

In the 750 ml bottles I am using (4) 1/2 tsp cubes instead of the carb drops. That is a recent change.

After the first low "fizz" batch I moved to 4 weeks minimum, I did not see a six week suggestion but I  probably just missed it.  I now find my basement is 65 where it was 70 during the winter. This morning I moved the 3 batches I had waiting to a 74-75 degree area. Too warm?

 

Should I move the refrigerated "soft" bottles to a warm area for a week?

 

 

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There is no way that all caps have gone bad.  I have one or two here and there over a year.

 

750ml bottle should be 2 tsp of sugar, which is what you say you are using.

 

If 65, go 6 weeks.  

 

75 is fine.

 

You can pull bottles out of the fridge and condition more any time.  I used to do that before I had a pipeline.  I would put in bottles at 4 weeks, then 2 weeks later pull what was left and put in other bottles, and note in on the label.  

 

Just for fun, put 2 tsp of table sugar in one of the bottles and mark it and see if you note any difference - you should not.

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If I had to guess I'd say you're not getting the caps tight enough. When I get done bottling into plastic, I tighten as much as I can by hand, then take one of those grippers like you open a pickle jar with and give each cap a little more.

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4 hours ago, gophers6 said:

If I had to guess I'd say you're not getting the caps tight enough. When I get done bottling into plastic, I tighten as much as I can by hand, then take one of those grippers like you open a pickle jar with and give each cap a little more.

 

+5 on that Gopher.  I've even given those caps a little extra tightening just before putting bottles in the fridge.  Whatever laws of physical science are in play related to lost carbonation, I will not lose a beer at this critical stage of the brewing process!

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Funny, the soft 750 ml bottle I took out of the fridge and added 1 tsp (two cubes) of sugar to then put in  75F room yesterday, is now firm.

Sooooo I did the other 9 bottles and will let them sit for two more weeks @ 75F then put a couple of them through the refrigeration cycle again.

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I've been brewing for two years now with the PET plastic bottles.  I think most of my caps at this point have been used 7-8 times and I've yet to experience a flat beer.  That said, will probably pick up some new ones this fall.

 

Kevin

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8 hours ago, Kevin Caffrey said:

I've been brewing for two years now with the PET plastic bottles.  I think most of my caps at this point have been used 7-8 times and I've yet to experience a flat beer.  That said, will probably pick up some new ones this fall.

 

Kevin

I've never replaced a cap, and some of them are 5 or 6 years old.

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ive started replacing them after about 3-5 yrs of service.  I had 1 blow out that occurred in the cap.  I usually tighten the hell out of them when I bottle so maybe that stresses the caps.  to date 2 bottom blow outs, 1 top.  I started carbing in a cooler with the lid down.  cleaning up after a stout bottle rocket is a pain.  this way I can still drink the beer... if I remember to sanitize the cooler inside first.

 

yes... I have a drinking problem. I refuse to waste good alcohol. I also refuse to waste bad alcohol or mediocre alcohol. 

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16 hours ago, gophers6 said:

I've never replaced a cap, and some of them are 5 or 6 years old.

 

That's good to hear.  I've read that before, but I would hate to brew a beer and find that random ones come out flat b/c of my old caps.  Tightening them never seems to be a problem.  I always give them about 2 or 3 tight twists before storing them away.

 

Kevin

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9 hours ago, zorak1066 said:

ive started replacing them after about 3-5 yrs of service.  I had 1 blow out that occurred in the cap.  I usually tighten the hell out of them when I bottle so maybe that stresses the caps.  to date 2 bottom blow outs, 1 top.  I started carbing in a cooler with the lid down.  cleaning up after a stout bottle rocket is a pain.  this way I can still drink the beer... if I remember to sanitize the cooler inside first.

 

yes... I have a drinking problem. I refuse to waste good alcohol. I also refuse to waste bad alcohol or mediocre alcohol. 

 

Are you talking about plastic caps?  An old one would cause a blow out?

 

Kevin

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old ? not necessarily.  old that has been repeatedly over-torqued? possibly.  the entire top of the cap blew half off from the screw bit and shot beer everywhere.

 

the other blow outs were stress fractures I guess where the bottom forms star shaped ridges .  I use carbonated water bottles for the beer so they are made to handle co2 pressure. perhaps I overcarbed.  when the bottom blew the bottles shot up into the air , spraying stout on ceiling...floor... walls... what a mess.

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Is it 100% true that sugar cubes are the same as using the carb drops? . My low pressure bottle issues seemed to start when I switched to the cubes but that also was the same time we switched on the air conditioning and the basement temps dropped 6-8 degrees.

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Sugar, is sugar, is sugar.  A carb drop is the same as table sugar, and a sugar cube is the same as table sugar.  First thing to check is that the sugar cubes are the volume of sugar you think they are, second thing to check is that you really put them in the bottle.  70 or higher allow 4 weeks.  65 allow 6 weeks.  60 - 65 allow 8 or more weeks.  

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18 minutes ago, RickBeer said:

Sugar, is sugar, is sugar.  A carb drop is the same as table sugar, and a sugar cube is the same as table sugar.  First thing to check is that the sugar cubes are the volume of sugar you think they are, second thing to check is that you really put them in the bottle.  70 or higher allow 4 weeks.  65 allow 6 weeks.  60 - 65 allow 8 or more weeks.  

 

 

Thanks, just making sure I've ruled out the possibilities, narrowing it down to one wrong turn instead of several.

 

edit: : So I just crushed up two cubes, collected every little bit and packed it into a dry measure teaspoon. Yep it's right on. ( Damned if that wasn't a suspicious looking activity...)

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