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Zoot Horn Rollo

It's not my imagination; Mr. Beer PET bottles are losing carbonation when refrigerated

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     In addition to all my other brewing issues, there's this....I put a rock hard PET bottle of conditioned beer in the fridge and within 12 hours there is a noticeable softness to the bottle when squeezed. Of course, by the second day, it pours out flat with no head. Due to the summer heat, I'm storing my beer in my spare bathroom shower as it has the most stable temp in the house. It's about 80 degrees. And I have been conditioning my latest batches for about seven weeks. What gives here?

 

Best, Zoot

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The bottles do seem to soften slightly in the fridge when the co2 gets reabsorbed. Check your caps. They should be VERY tight! Not to the point where you start breaking things but good and tight!

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+1 to that answer. Plus, gas slows in cold and bottle is a tad softer as a result. If you're losing carb, then you either have loose or bad caps - or you didn't put enough sugar in to begin with.

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I use flip-top caps, and even had issues with them, my remedy, is the new seals that come with them I toss instantly, and replace with true rubber seals. the original seals are coated and  probably cud be synthetic rubber, heck I dunno. at least those issues are over. so what are we talking about here?

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It's simple physics.  When liquids are heated they expand.  When they are cooled they contract.  Put a half drank bottle of water at room temp. into the fridge and see what happens.

 

You're not losing carbonation.  The beer inside the bottle is contracting as it cools.

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I have noted in other posts that re tighten the caps through the conditioning time and double check before refrigerating helps. (older caps)

 

If the bottles were firm before chilling then the caps are sealed. Perhaps the temperature diference caused the phenomena.

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      Caps were new and twisted down very tight (wife can't open them by herself). Bottles and caps cleaned and sanitized. Correct sugar added to bottle (2 carbo drops per 740 ml bottle) and gently upended a couple of times before storage. Conditioned in a dark space with minimal disturbance going on eight weeks at an average of 80 degrees. Doesn't matter, bottles go into fridge rock hard and within half a day I can squeeze up to half an inch into bottles. By the time I'm ready to pour....48 to 72 hours(per forum advice) the stuff is flat. This has happened to all six of the batches that I've brewed.

 

Best, Zoot

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If it has no head, that is normal. If it is flat, that is not.

If no head, steep, 4 oz of carapils. If flat, try using table sugar in some bottles and compare. I have seen people complain about carb issues with carb drops, but never with table sugar.

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I wonder if the temperature of the fridge makes the plastic bottle contract at a different rate from the plastic of the cap and so what was before a good seal between cap and bottle is now less so... are you using bottles recommended or sold by Mr Beer?

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I had carbonation issues with every batch that I made using the PET bottles that came with my initial kit.  Bought a capper and switched to glass bottles a couple of years ago and the improvement has been incredible.  Of course, it helped that I already had four cases of 22-oz glass bottles on hand from using my local brew-on-premises shop for years ...

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I put them in the freezer sometimes for a quick brew, the carbon still streams from the bottom of the glass.

 

Hmmm! How much space is left during bottling? Do you use the wand?

 

I was not sure how much space on the first bach so I measured the volume and marked each bottle, still had head and carbon streams.

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ive only had a couple cap issues. one due to overcarbing and the top of the cap blew off. the other was a bad seal that was probably due to the threads being worn. added another cube of sugar, put a sanitized cap on ... no problem.

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I personally hate over-cabination, although it did lead to sleeping with a beautiful young girl one weekend on a camping trip when I was a kid.

 

  :D

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If it has no head, that is normal. If it is flat, that is not.

If no head, steep, 4 oz of carapils. If flat, try using table sugar in some bottles and compare. I have seen people complain about carb issues with carb drops, but never with table sugar.

 

My first batch was with carbo drops and I definitely had nearly a complete lack of carb.  Although the last couple bottles that had conditioned longer were a bit better.  I tried a sample bottle of batch 2 last week (which I used table sugar for), and it was perfectly carbed.  Course I won't be having any more of that for a few months, its the belgian spice and I am giving that till Christmas time before I do another bottle...or maybe I will do like 1 a month because I can't wait :(.  At least batch 3 will be ready in a couple weeks (howling red) and a friend of mine brought me a whole case of Weihenstephaner Oktoberfest to keep me company.  I think I will keep him around as a friend just a bit longer, he was on his way out till he did that  ;)

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Zoot, what does your sanitation regiment look like when sanitizing your bottles? How concentrated are you using the No-Rinse when sanitizing? And what type of soap/detergent/cleaner are you using to clean your equipment?

 

In some cases, strong concentrations of the No-Rinse cleanser can leave a residue that can prevent proper carbonation or head. Half a pack in 1 gallon of water is sufficient for sanitation, but a whole pack in a gallon of water is better for cleaning and not sanitizing because you have to rinse the excess residue. Also, some soaps and detergents can leave residue that may prevent carbonation or head retention. After cleaning, be sure to RINSE, RINSE, RINSE, then sanitize. 

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Zoot, what does your sanitation regiment look like when sanitizing your bottles?

 

I use an unscented hand soap dilution with a bottle brush. The soap is from Whole Foods. I then rinse several times with warm water. After cleaning, I dissolve 1/2 packet of no rinse sanitizing cleaner into 1 gal of warm water. Per instructions. All bottles and caps are the 740 ml ones that come from the Mr. Beer kits.

 

Best, Zoot

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Well, the only thing I can tell you is that it must be sorcery.

 

I've been brewing Mr. Beer products using our instructions for a long time now and have never had under-carbonation or lack of carbonation. Not even once. So either it's witchcraft or you're doing something wrong.

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When sanitizing prior to bottling, dip your clean hands into the sanitizer, make sure to hold the bottle upside down after it has been emptied of sanitizer, dip the threads one more time into the sanitizer, and then give the bottle an upside down flick to shake out excess sanitizer. Then insert your carb drops or empty your sugar measure into the bottle, bring the bottle up onto the bottling wand, let it fill to about an inch from the top, withdraw from the bottling wand, retrieve a cap from the sanitizer and shake off the excess from inside the cap, then cap the bottle tightly. Upend once or twice.

If the bottles are firm at room temperature, they are probably not leaking carbonation. The only remaining problems are not enough yeast or sugar, too much headspace, or some sort of chemical contamination, sanitizer, soap, etc, or your fridge may be too cold?

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    In an effort to get to the bottom of this mystery, I looked closely at my last six bottles of homebrew. I think that I may have found the answer. Andre seems to have hit the nail on the headspace. Most of the bottles look to have about an inch and a half up to two inches of headspace. Damn, I've looked at some pictures on the web of homebrew but, most show beer in glass bottles which will not contract during chilling. It's all that I've got folks; no doubt, the Pet bottles contract in the refrigerator. I'll bottle my next batch with the wand and fill to the top before removing. Maybe that will help.

 

Best, Zoot

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Not sure why your bottles are not carbing properly.   But a few suggestions for better results;

  • Make sure bottles are CLEAN and free from solvents, (with the exception of a one step cleanser).
  • Make sure bottles are dry.  If you have the money buy a bottle tree, or make one from untreated lumber and doweling. 
  • Batch prime, google priming calculator.  I've never had a bad result in PET or glass.
    • Pay close attention to volume, style, and temperature.  Cooler temperatures require less priming sugar, as does some styles of beer.

The main reason that I do not use carbonation drops is due to the fact that it is an all purpose primer that does not take temp, style into consideration.  It's not a bad product and does what its intended to do.  But with minimal effort you can get better results. 

 

Another suggestion to improve your beer and experience!  Buy a small digital thermometer and scale.  A decent cheap one would cost you $30.  Well worth the money IMO. Also pick up another LBK this will keep you pipe line flowing and while not in action works as the best bottling bucket.

 

Hope you resolve your issues.

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