1 Posted: Thursday, December 28, 2017 11:18 PM

I’ve made 5 brews now (6 counting a non alcoholic ginger beer) and none of them except the ginger beer would you describe as fizzy.

I get it that ‘real beer’ may not be as fizzy as commercial’beer’. However once poured any head quickly dissipates and I’m left more like a cold beer wine.

In most cases the taste is OK but it doesn’t have the crispness that a big of effervescence seems to provide in other beers even the ginger beer.

Worst of all was the Bewitched amber Ale that came with my craft brewing kit.

Except for the first brew with the craft brew tin provided with the kit I’ve used a full sized can with around 500g of malt/brew enhancer in 11 litres. Consequently I would think that the yeast supplied with the can would be more than enough to brew the wort and there to be sufficient let to support carbonation. Particularly since I rehydrated the yeast before pitching.

If anything the beer tastes sweeter after carbonation if that might be a clue.

I thought it might be the glasses they have not been washed in the dishwasher for about 15 Times and have been scrubbed in only hot water and maybe a bit of carb soda.

I’ve also been very careful with washing everything in perc and sanitizing.

Any ideas?

2 Posted: Friday, December 29, 2017 6:25 AM

Hi DonPolo,
How are you priming your bottles and at what rate? After bottling, where are you storing your beer and for how long? Head retention and carbonation are seperate issues, the reason your brew with the full sized kit and 500g malt kept a head is likely due to amount of malt in that beer. Dry malt extract is better than the enhancers and dextrose for head retention.

3 Posted: Friday, December 29, 2017 8:12 AM

Rowbrew:

Hi DonPolo,
How are you priming your bottles and at what rate? After bottling, where are you storing your beer and for how long? Head retention and carbonation are seperate issues, the reason your brew with the full sized kit and 500g malt kept a head is likely due to amount of malt in that beer. Dry malt extract is better than the enhancers and dextrose for head retention.


I used to carbonation drops for each 740 mil screwtop bottle. I then store them in the laundry with a water heater at about 22° for two weeks minimum.



4 Posted: Friday, December 29, 2017 8:35 AM

Hey DonPolo

Are you using PET bottles? Your priming rate is OK, your storage temperature is good and two weeks should be enough. I'm taking it that they're still flat after 4 - 8 weeks?

What is the age of the oldest brew you have in the bottle and what is the age of the oldest brew you've poured from the bottle?

I doubt it has anything to do with the yeast, I have had bottles carbonate after lagering at 1 degrees Celsius for 2 months. It could be, if your using PET bottes that the seals on all the bottle tops, sounds like a long shot, are faulty.

Are you using the bottle wand, touching the bottom of the bottle and removing and capping when the bottle is full. This gives the optimum head space.

Cheers & Beers
Scottie
Valley Brew

5 Posted: Friday, December 29, 2017 8:56 AM

Thanks Scottie,

I’m using PET bottles and I guess the oldest brew is about three months old. That is the original Bewitched Amber Ale supplied with the kit. Just add The can and fill up with water then pitch the yeast.

I did use the wand so I have maybe two centimetres head space.

I’ve now used three different batches of bottles so I don’t think the seals are the problem.

When I open them there is a slight hiss but never more than that.

To be honest they taste a bit ‘homebrewy’ which I had been lead to believe had been less the case these days.

Look they taste OK especially the last two where I have added extra hops. And the whole can in 11litres provides a nice bitterness which I like.

It is just that they are not as fizzy as even the craft beers from the tap like Bentspoke or Capital Brewing.

6 Posted: Friday, December 29, 2017 9:06 AM

Hey DonPolo

The PET bottles should feel harder when they are carbonated, how hard is that 3 month old bewitched when compared to a fresh one. To have a consistent problem like this tends to point to one significant cause but I can't pinpoint it, sorry.

What temperature is your FV at during fermentation?

Cheers & Beers
Scottie
Valley Brew

7 Posted: Friday, December 29, 2017 11:39 AM

Scottie:

Hey DonPolo

The PET bottles should feel harder when they are carbonated, how hard is that 3 month old bewitched when compared to a fresh one. To have a consistent problem like this tends to point to one significant cause but I can't pinpoint it, sorry.

What temperature is your FV at during fermentation?

Cheers & Beers
Scottie
Valley Brew


Thanks Scottie,

Most of the carbonated bottles are pretty much rock hard so everything seems to be in order. I say most because I just checked and a couple of the first two brews were soft. I reckon that is probably because I forgot to put the carbonation drop in. I noticed that once I get on a roll when bottling, I could tend to forget. So now I fill them all up and then put the drop in.

However, the ones that I am talking about have all been rock hard before I opened them.

For the ales the temperature in the FV has been around 22 degrees. The lager I did, I had the FV surrounded by water with ice in for the fermentation period so it was around 16-18 degrees. It isn't that bad. And like the recent real ale with extra hops, tastes pretty good.

Perhaps another clue is that the beer tastes a bit sweeter than I would have thought. This could mean that not all the sugar in the carbonation drops is fermenting. If this is the case, I don't know why.

8 Posted: Friday, December 29, 2017 2:39 PM

Another question for the experienced forum members - I have a kit lager brew that was paired with a 544 yeast by my HBS and 250g corn and 500g dextrose. Fermented for 14 days@18 degrees and its been in the bottles 3 weeks. Flat as a tack, slight cider after taste and not much else. Ditch it, or put away in a dark cool box for a very long time and hope?

9 Posted: Friday, December 29, 2017 4:38 PM

BrettJ:

……….and 250g corn and 500g dextrose……….. slight cider after taste and not much else. Ditch it, or put away in a dark cool box for a very long time and hope?


Hey Brett
Unfortunately that taste is due to the 750g of simple sugars you have added to your brew. I had one that tasted the same, the good news is that time is your friend. Put it away in a dark place and sample another in three months time.

For you next brew use the Brew Enhancer 3 and you will notice a huge improvement. After that try and get some Light Dry Malt (LDM), Coopers sell it in 1/2 kilo boxes. If your LHBS bloke is any good he should also stock LDM.

Never heard of that yeast, stick with the kit yeast or get some US05.

Cheers & Beers
Scottie
Valley Brew

10 Posted: Friday, December 29, 2017 7:13 PM

Scottie:

BrettJ:

……….and 250g corn and 500g dextrose……….. slight cider after taste and not much else. Ditch it, or put away in a dark cool box for a very long time and hope?


Hey Brett
Unfortunately that taste is due to the 750g of simple sugars you have added to your brew. I had one that tasted the same, the good news is that time is your friend. Put it away in a dark place and sample another in three months time.

For you next brew use the Brew Enhancer 3 and you will notice a huge improvement. After that try and get some Light Dry Malt (LDM), Coopers sell it in 1/2 kilo boxes. If your LHBS bloke is any good he should also stock LDM.

Never heard of that yeast, stick with the kit yeast or get some US05.

Cheers & Beers
Scottie
Valley Brew


Cheers Scottie

Sorry typo .. it was a 514 and was super active … blew the hell out of the blowoff tube even - it came under the lid of the tin.

This was the only time I have strayed from LDM or BE2 and US05 and only because I was after a “cleaner” style flavour for the Wife and the brew shop suggested it.

That said it’s the only time they’ve dudded me.

I’m back to basics for a while now :)

11 Posted: Saturday, December 30, 2017 1:40 PM

BrettJ:

Sorry typo .. it was a 514 and was super active … blew the hell out of the blowoff tube even - it came under the lid of the tin.

It sounds like the Maurivin 514 Ale strain that accompanies many of the Country Brewer kits.

It's quite aggressive & a fast fermenter.

Cheers & good brewing,

Lusty.

12 Posted: Sunday, December 31, 2017 11:01 AM

Could be because you're effectively brewing toucans. Your beers are probably somewhere around 6.5-7% ABV. 1 full 1.7kg kit plus 500g malt in 11 litres is more than 2 kits plus 1kg in 23 litres. You're likely ending up with higher FGs; a combination of a higher FG and higher ABV content makes it more difficult for the CO2 to absorb into the beer. The higher alcohol content may stress the yeast out a bit which might make it give up early although this is unlikely.

Try brewing a more standard strength beer and see what happens. A clue could be in the fact that the ginger beer was the only one with any real fizz.

13 Posted: Sunday, December 31, 2017 12:34 PM

DonPolo:

If anything the beer tastes sweeter after carbonation if that might be a clue.

DonPolo:

Perhaps another clue is that the beer tastes a bit sweeter than I would have thought. This could mean that not all the sugar in the carbonation drops is fermenting. If this is the case, I don't know why.


I had exactly the same result in a batch when my Safale S04 yeast stalled at FG 1013 rather than the expected 1008. The beer, bottled with 2 carbonation drops per Pet, was ‘just’ slightly carbonated and sweet to taste. In my case I believe the primary fermentation did not complete and with subsequent Cold Crash, no residual yeast in the bottle to help during carbonation.

Maybe your situation is the same for differing reasons, along the lines of Otto's idea.

14 Posted: Sunday, December 31, 2017 4:43 PM

Worthog:

DonPolo:

If anything the beer tastes sweeter after carbonation if that might be a clue.

DonPolo:

Perhaps another clue is that the beer tastes a bit sweeter than I would have thought. This could mean that not all the sugar in the carbonation drops is fermenting. If this is the case, I don't know why.


I had exactly the same result in a batch when my Safale S04 yeast stalled at FG 1013 rather than the expected 1008. The beer, bottled with 2 carbonation drops per Pet, was ‘just’ slightly carbonated and sweet to taste. In my case I believe the primary fermentation did not complete and with subsequent Cold Crash, no residual yeast in the bottle to help during carbonation.

Maybe your situation is the same for differing reasons, along the lines of Otto's idea.


So it might be too alcoholic and that is effecting the yeast. The last brew did have a FG of around 1015 so is the alcohol a reason for stalling? What other reasons to brew's stall?

So what do you think I should do? Cut down on the amount of LDM next time to bring the alcohol content down?

I think we might be getting somewhere!

15 Posted: Monday, January 01, 2018 10:46 AM

DonPolo:

Worthog:

DonPolo:

If anything the beer tastes sweeter after carbonation if that might be a clue.

DonPolo:

Perhaps another clue is that the beer tastes a bit sweeter than I would have thought. This could mean that not all the sugar in the carbonation drops is fermenting. If this is the case, I don't know why.


I had exactly the same result in a batch when my Safale S04 yeast stalled at FG 1013 rather than the expected 1008. The beer, bottled with 2 carbonation drops per Pet, was ‘just’ slightly carbonated and sweet to taste. In my case I believe the primary fermentation did not complete and with subsequent Cold Crash, no residual yeast in the bottle to help during carbonation.

Maybe your situation is the same for differing reasons, along the lines of Otto's idea.


So it might be too alcoholic and that is effecting the yeast. The last brew did have a FG of around 1015 so is the alcohol a reason for stalling? What other reasons to brew's stall?

So what do you think I should do? Cut down on the amount of LDM next time to bring the alcohol content down?

I think we might be getting somewhere!


I think that if your pet bottles are clean and sanitised properly, 2 carb drops added, the lids are tight, and the bottles are being conditioned at 18-24c, then your problem is not in the bottle.

Your problem is in the primary fermentation. Sounds to me like incomplete. This could be for many reasons, but if you are confident of your cleanliness, sanitation and fermentation temperature, then the primary fermentation process has not completed for some of many reasons;
- Yeast health
- Rehydration temperature and pitch temperature of wort
- Pitch rate (enough yeast?) for your fermentables/non fermentables
- OG to FG readings. What should they be? FG must be constant over 3 day spread prior to Cold Crash.

In my humble and non qualified opinion, I would pitch more yeast, or reduce the fermentable to
water ratio a bit (reduction of ABV), until you find your problem.

By the way, after 34 batches I am still unhappy with my head retention and I have tried a number of fermentable changes for my 4-4.9 ABV beers. My beer pours great but head disappears too quick. My carbonation, I rate 7 out of 10 though which I'm happy with. If I'm particularly upset with head retention, I reach for my old pewter mug which fixes the problem. Good Luck and hope you find your answer.

16 Posted: Monday, January 01, 2018 2:51 PM

Hi Worthog.

Worthog:

…By the way, after 34 batches I am still unhappy with my head retention and I have tried a number of fermentable changes for my 4-4.9 ABV beers. My beer pours great but head disappears too quick.

A number of elements affect head retention. The two most prominent I would focus on would be the remaining body in the beer (affected by your FG), & how you are hopping the beer.

If you look at most of the megaswill lagers out there, most pour well, are carbonated well, but have a head that doesn't last very long. It's because they have little body in the beer. The bubbles formed through carbonation require a more viscous consistency if you wish to hold them in stasis for longer. IMHO beers with FG's below 1.010 start to struggle to do that. As a general rule beers with FG's above 1.010 display better head retention properties.

Aspects of hopping the beer can also help with head retention. I admit I don't fully understand the science, but I believe it too works off a principle of hop oils creating polyphenols that I'm lead to believe also affect viscosity & create nucleation points, that can in turn create better head retention as a result.

What were the last couple of brews you did, & what were their final gravity(s)?

Cheers,

Lusty.

17 Posted: Monday, January 01, 2018 4:30 PM

Beerlust:

Hi Worthog.

Worthog:

…By the way, after 34 batches I am still unhappy with my head retention and I have tried a number of fermentable changes for my 4-4.9 ABV beers. My beer pours great but head disappears too quick.

A number of elements affect head retention. The two most prominent I would focus on would be the remaining body in the beer (affected by your FG), & how you are hopping the beer.

If you look at most of the megaswill lagers out there, most pour well, are carbonated well, but have a head that doesn't last very long. It's because they have little body in the beer. The bubbles formed through carbonation require a more viscous consistency if you wish to hold them in stasis for longer. IMHO beers with FG's below 1.010 start to struggle to do that. As a general rule beers with FG's above 1.010 display better head retention properties.

Aspects of hopping the beer can also help with head retention. I admit I don't fully understand the science, but I believe it too works off a principle of hop oils creating polyphenols that I'm lead to believe also affect viscosity & create nucleation points, that can in turn create better head retention as a result.

What were the last couple of brews you did, & what were their final gravity(s)?

Cheers,

Lusty.


Hi Lusty,

The last couple of examples were based on Coopers OS Draught, with;

1) 750gms LLME, 250gms dextrose, 20gms SAAZ pallets 20 min boil, Kit Yeast, FG 1008 for ABV 4.2%

2) 750gms LLME, 350gms Cara steeped 30mins at 65c, 20gms SAAZ pallets 5 min boil, Kit Yeast, FG 1008 for ABV 3.9%

In other recent batches I have also used 1.5kgs LLME plus SAAZ 20 min boil. Most of these beers retain a little white patchy covering over the beer, rather than appear flat. Carbonation is still ok though. All my beers are bottled 4 weeks before drinking.

Cheers, Warthog

18 Posted: Monday, January 01, 2018 5:24 PM

Worthog:

Beerlust:

A number of elements affect head retention. The two most prominent I would focus on would be the remaining body in the beer (affected by your FG), & how you are hopping the beer

The last couple of examples were based on Coopers OS Draught, with;

1) 750gms LLME, 250gms dextrose, 20gms SAAZ pallets 20 min boil, Kit Yeast, FG 1008 for ABV 4.2%

2) 750gms LLME, 350gms Cara steeped 30mins at 65c, 20gms SAAZ pallets 5 min boil, Kit Yeast, FG 1008 for ABV 3.9%

And there we have it mate. FG of 1.008 on each brew.

You're fighting a couple of battles here Warthog. The kit you are using is designed to produce a beer in the likeness of the megaswill beers I mentioned in my previous post. No offence meant to Coopers on this one, as it is what it is meant to be.

As a kits'n'bits brewer, for a simple comparison, re-brew brew no.1 but add 200-250gms of maltodextrin to that recipe. Expect a noticeable improvement in your mouthfeel & head retention on that brew.

Brew no.2 is interesting to me on a couple of levels. Theoretically it should not have finished as low as the other brew @ 1.008. I would need to know more about your processes for producing this grain steeped based wort before I could comment any further.

Both individual recipes aside, you need to look into increasing you final gravity above that 1.010 mark I mentioned if you wish to enjoy beer with better head retention.

I (& others on the forum) can certainly help you further to construct recipes that will deliver this if you wish.

Cheers,

Lusty.

19 Posted: Monday, January 01, 2018 9:05 PM

So I think sanitisation etc is fine.

The high alcohol could be an issue as pointed out by Otto.

Just out of interest, Champagne undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle and its alcohol content is WAY higher. I guess it must be the type of yeast I'm guessing?

Also as far as the yeast is concerned I would have thought there was plenty of yeast from the kit. It is meant to be fermenting a whole can plus another 1kg of fermentables. I'm only using 500g. Dropping the fermentables to 250g will drop the alcohol content.

BTW I tried half a bottle of the lager I produced and it is really quite a nice drop - bitter and some good galaxy hops in. Not sure what the ABV is but it must be pretty high. After about half an hour I tested my blood alcohol level with a home breathalizer and it was just over .05 on about 300ml!

Any idea what the expected ABV would have been with one can of European Lager plus 500g Brigalow Extra Malt made to 11 litres?

20 Posted: Monday, January 01, 2018 10:31 PM

G'day Don

First up, I'm no expert. Done a few posts here, but that doesn't prove anything.

I think you need to get hold of some brewing software like Beersmith. Then you can imput what you think you would like to brew and it will tell you such things as ABV, bitterness, and etc. It is a very good tool to use.

The other thing I have learned is, if your OR is 1050 or more, you will need to use more yeast. At 1050 I would use a minimum of 2 pkts of dry yeast. Others on the forum will explain that you can make up a liquid yeast base that will give you the required amount of little munchies required. The more fermentables you have, the more yeast you will need to process them.

If you have an OG of, say, 1060, one pkt of yeast will give up before the job is done. Just my thoughts Don, but get hold of Beersmith or similar so at least you have a better idea what your recipe might produce.