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#1Hazelnut

Carbonation inconsistancy

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Just wanted to share with my fellow brewers something that I have discovered.  I have noticed on a few of my batches the bottles range in carbonation levels and I was puzzled.  I think I have the answer.  When I am bottle priming, I use a plastic funnel to get the sugar into my glass bottles.  I use 1/2 tsp of sugar then move it to the next bottle.  On my last batch I realized that some of the bottles looked like they had more and some had less sugar than others.  The sugar had stuck to the inside of the narrowest part of the funnel. Now, when I put the sugar into the funnel, before I move it to the next bottle, I tap the funnel a couple of times to empty all of the sugar before moving to the next bottle.  Simple solution and I hope this helps someone else too!  Cheers!   

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Depending on the size of the bottles (12 oz -vs- PET) and the amount of sugar I'm not sure you should see that type of inconsistency. How are you bottling? Are you using a wand or the spigot? Either way, if you are enjoying your creation it's all good!

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bottle priming - there will be varying amounts of yeast cells in each bottle. some bottles will firm up super quick , some slower. yeast will work as fast as they feel like working. as long as you let the bottles carb in room temps of at least 70f, they will all get there.. be patient. the little bit of sugar not making it into the bottle would not have that radical of a difference.

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Yes, it will also vary by the extent the wort is fermented out. I use the sugar dots (cubes 198 to the lb. There are bigger cubes also don't get those.) That way they are easy to measure and handle. No funnels, nothing stuck anywhere, drop right in and also cheap. One cube = 0.5g so easy to compute what you need. I used 0.5 cube for 12 oz bottles and it worked fine.

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Good point about the temp.  I live in West Michigan and we have had snow and cold temps since the first week in November.  I have my beer bottle conditioning in the dining room and it is probably a little cool in there.  We heat with wood and in our living room it runs 68 to 70 on cold days and 72 on milder days.  I think I will move my two cases I have conditioning into the warmer room.  I have tried the sugar cubes when I used plastic bottles, but I switched to glass a year or two ago and really like that.  The sugar cubes are slightly too big to fit into the mouth of the glass bottles I am now using.  As far as the fermentation, I always stick to the 3 week rule and it seems to work for me.  I use the LBK spigot to fill my bottles and that seems OK, I have seen the bottling wand and just wasn't sure if it would work with my LBK.  Any one use the wand?  Thanks so much for the input, you guys are great.  I love having this forum to chat with fellow brewers.  There is nothing like the voice of experience when you are home brewing!  Cheers!

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I have used the bottling wand with the LBK and it works fine as long as you get a longer piece of tubing. When I used the short piece that came with it, it fell off the spigot a couple times. A longer piece allowsyou to move to the bottle, instead of moving each bottle to the wand. You willfind it muce easier..

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I've been using the MB sugar scoop. One side measures 3/4 tsp and the other 1 1/4. Very easy to pour into the mouth of the bottle

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I always use the MB sugar measurer and have had no problems with glass bottles as well as plastic.

I have bottled using the spigot on the LBK also without any problems.

 However as far as the bottling wand goes :

1)It works well but the tip will jam up from time to time so pay attention

2)Completely disassemble wash and sanitize every time before you use it

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I didn't know MB had a sugar measurer.  I ordered the wand last night along with the Rockets Red Glare recipe.  I am pretty thorough with my sanitization whenever I brew and bottle.  Lately I have had an issue with the spigot when I am filling my bottles.  When I open it carefully and a little slow it tends to spray the beer and sometimes will form an air bubble at the mouth of the bottle.  Then I have beer all over.  I have discovered that I have to open the spigot quickly and fully to prevent that.  I hope getting the wand will solve that problem.  Thanks for all of the tips!

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The wand will prevent that as you open the spigot fully and the wand controls whether the beer goes into the bottle or not.  Push up on it and it fills, let off the pressure and it stops.  Keep a rag/container under it to catch drips as you switch bottles.

 

While you already ordered, if you want the sugar measurer contact Customer Service on Monday morning (Arizona time), they don't work weekends so your order likely hasn't been processed and they could add it.

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--> Hazelnut. If you are getting pressure when filling bottles from LBK< Maybe the top is on too tight and you have gas pressure. Did you try loosening the top first? The gas should seep out during fermentation but maybe ....

With LBK, I find that my sink depth in the kitchen is just the right height when LBK is on the counter for me to get the bottle under it slanted and use the LBK spigot to control the beer flow. So I have not tried any wand with LBK.

I did try the wand with 8LX. I found it was tough to get in/out of the spigot and also dripped continuously when not in the bottle that is why I found it better turning spigot off between bottles in spite of the valve at the wand tip. I also found it was tougher to control the level at the last bit of fill and not spill over, as you are supposed to fill the bottle right up and let the wand removal create the right amount of headspace. I did have a large drip pan under it so no big mess. Next time I will try I the sink again and try the plain 8LX spigot (although not sure that will fit well into bottle opening) or get a real short bit of tube for it.

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Thanks for the advice.  I will give customer service a call tomorrow and try to add the sugar measurer.  I have last years Belgian Spiced Winter Ale in my LBK right now and hope to have the wand so I can bottle with it.  When I ordered the Belgian Spiced I didn't realize that it was 2013's HME.  I am surprised they still had it for sale.  I hope it is O.K. 

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I use the wand that MB sells and it saves lots of time and reduces mess. Has worked great. You will be happy with it.

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You may also notice that you have better beer with the wand, as it minimizes oxidizing when filling the bottles.  The wand I got from MrB has a spring in it so I do not have problems with more than a drip or two here and there.  Most of the "dripping" is from the beer on the outside of the wand when moving from bottle to bottle.  I do have a couple of wands from the LHBS but never use them as they are gravity (no spring) so do get drips from them.  I still usually bottle prime a MrB batch and have also learned about sugar sticking in my funnel, so give it a good whack when moving from bottle to bottle.  Solved that problem!

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Ah - the 8LX wand was gravity not spring. WHen filling I usually manage to run the beer against the inside of the bottle (slanted), so not lots of aeration.

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With the bottling wand...be sure to disassemble and clean the seperate parts (plunger, spring, o-ring) after bottling so that it doesn't gunk up. This will help to relieve the dripping.

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Thanks for the advice.  I will give customer service a call tomorrow and try to add the sugar measurer.  I have last years Belgian Spiced Winter Ale in my LBK right now and hope to have the wand so I can bottle with it.  When I ordered the Belgian Spiced I didn't realize that it was 2013's HME.  I am surprised they still had it for sale.  I hope it is O.K. 

 

older cans of HME are fine IF:  they are not bulging, cracked or opened in any way.  we routinely read of ppl buying a mr beer kit from 2 years ago at a garage sale and using the malt. note that as long as the can is intact you will likely be fine but age changes the hop profile. it will be slightly muted. the malt might look a little darker. this is caused by the malt sugars reacting (maillard reaction I think its called).   2013 is not really that old.  if you used the yeast from under the lid it might have lost a lot of cell viability.  if you see foam and settling trub though youre golden.

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With the bottling wand...be sure to disassemble and clean the seperate parts (plunger, spring, o-ring) after bottling so that it doesn't gunk up. This will help to relieve the dripping.

 

a word of advice... when dismantling the wand watch out! the spring likes to try to get lost... and the little plastic bit can easily fall down a drain when rinsing it.

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Ah - the 8LX wand was gravity not spring. WHen filling I usually manage to run the beer against the inside of the bottle (slanted), so not lots of aeration.

I wonder when they switched?  That is my favourite wand and was thinking of getting another one or three for that eventual day when the spring gets lost down the sink....

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