1 Posted: Monday, February 05, 2018 8:19 AM

Good day and happy Monday everyone.

I have a few questions about carbonation and the carbonarion drops.

I had my lager (that we talked about here un previous threads) in a bottle for about a month now. It is in the Coopers PET longnecks and i used 2 carbonation drops per bottle as suggested. However the beer doesnt seem to be carbonated enough. It has few “bubbles” going on as you pour but they diminish quickly. Also you hace that nice pop and “smoke” coming out of the bottle when you pop one. However the beer still tastes a little bit flat.

Is there anything that i missed in the process? I filled the bottles and dropped the carb drops in, sealed the bottle and shoock it until the drops dissolved ( i saw this in one youtube videos). And than i stored the bottles in a box out of sunlight in the coolest area of my appartment. Should i not shake the bottle and just pop em in?

For the next brew i will be usin some swing top glass bottles as well. Some are 330ml, so i will be ysing 1 drop per each bottle, however i have few rhat are 500mls. Should i use 1 or 2 carb drops for those ?

Looking forward to hear your suggestions

Tommy

2 Posted: Monday, February 05, 2018 8:29 AM

No need to shake the bottles. You can if you want but it will still carbonate if you don't. The yeast gets to all the sugar.

What temp do you store the bottles at (in the coolest area of your apartment)?

3 Posted: Monday, February 05, 2018 9:54 AM

I'm actually thinking I might be filling the bottles too high. At moment I leave the wand in until the bottle is almost full and then withdraw the wand leaving about 2.5cm gap from the screw-top.

However, I've noticed that a. a couple of other bottles where there is slightly more gap seem to carbonate better and b. When I open a bottle and reseal after pouring the first glass, the second glass seems to pour better and there is a definite pop when opening again.

I was thinking that the increased pressure may have something to do with this phenomenon. On the other hand I'm am guessing. What should be happening I guess is that the increased pressure with less air at the top should just keep the C02 more in solution and the CO2 should be liberated when the pressure is released.

Very glad to be better informed by others who know their stuff!

4 Posted: Monday, February 05, 2018 10:18 AM

Hi Tommy,

I've had the same problem with undercarbed beers - a lot of it comes back to personal taste I guess, but for me lagers and wheat beers and so on need to be nice and fizzy.

Anyhow I've started using 3 carb drops per longneck for those styles and have been very impressed with the results. If you try that you'd need to use the plastic bottles though because I'm guessing with glass/swingtops you'd get some explosions. Some of the PET bottles had to go in the bin after my last batch because the increased pressure expanded the bottom - almost so much they wouldn't stand up!

I'd probably try 2 drops with those swing top bottles, it'll definitely be undercarbed for a lager if you don't.

5 Posted: Monday, February 05, 2018 11:16 AM

Beervis:

Hi Tommy,

I've had the same problem with undercarbed beers - a lot of it comes back to personal taste I guess, but for me lagers and wheat beers and so on need to be nice and fizzy.

Anyhow I've started using 3 carb drops per longneck for those styles and have been very impressed with the results. If you try that you'd need to use the plastic bottles though because I'm guessing with glass/swingtops you'd get some explosions. Some of the PET bottles had to go in the bin after my last batch because the increased pressure expanded the bottom - almost so much they wouldn't stand up!

I'd probably try 2 drops with those swing top bottles, it'll definitely be undercarbed for a lager if you don't.


I've had one PET bottle that seemed to be a rounded on the bottom and yet didn't seem to pour that well! Yes do have non-dishwasher/detergent cleaned glasses (have used sodium percarbonate and hot water). Sometimes these beers are an enigma.

6 Posted: Monday, February 05, 2018 12:24 PM

The amount of headspace won't make any difference to the carbonation level. I've done bottles only half full before and they ended up with exactly the same carbonation as full bottles.

7 Posted: Monday, February 05, 2018 12:32 PM

Thanks for the advice. How many drpos should i put into 500mls swing top glass bottle. I was thinking 2 but dont wanna blow em up

8 Posted: Monday, February 05, 2018 1:07 PM

I've found that my lagers sometimes take a couple of months to properly carb. No idea why but I just try one every so often until they're ready. They definitely benefit from at least a few days in the fridge before opening though for better head retention. I've also noticed that my lagers don't retain as good a head as my ales anyway.
I use a mix of 375ml stubbies and 480ml swingtops. I only ever use one carb drop in both and don't really notice any difference in carb level.

9 Posted: Monday, February 05, 2018 1:31 PM

Tommy I'd go 2 drops for those swingtops, in terms of a nice level of carbonation, however I've not used them myself so not sure whether you'd get explosions or not, someone else might know about this?

10 Posted: Monday, February 05, 2018 4:03 PM

Will see how ill go i still have about a week or so until bottle time so will definitely do my best. I will be bottling my Pilsner and i definitely love my Pilsner nicely carbonated.

I guess ill go with 3 drops per 750ml longneck, 2 per 500ml swing top and for sure 1 per 330 mls swingtop and will see how the result is.

11 Posted: Monday, February 05, 2018 11:51 PM

I take it that three or four days in the fridge is better for carbonation. Does anyone know why that is so i.e the mechanism?

12 Posted: Tuesday, February 06, 2018 6:31 AM

Takes time for the gas to absorb into the beer, it's about that simple.

13 Posted: Tuesday, February 06, 2018 8:02 AM

Otto Von Blotto:

Takes time for the gas to absorb into the beer, it's about that simple.


Thanks Kelsey,

I get that about time for absorption but what is it about being in the fridge that helps the process? They are normally conditioning for some time at above 18 degrees.

It might be just the statement that being at a lower temperature helps the gas absorb into the beer and that's that.

So I guess the time (usually at least two weeks) allows the yeast to do its work in producing the gas and then when you put them in the fridge, the cold continues the absorption. And four days seems to be the period that works best.

14 Posted: Tuesday, February 06, 2018 11:23 AM

Gas is more soluble in liquid at lower temperatures, and also comes out of solution a lot more slowly. That's why if you open a warm bottle of beer and a cold bottle of beer, the warm one foams up out of the bottle everywhere and the cold one doesn't.

There will be some CO2 already absorbed into the beer before it goes into the fridge. It originates in the beer so naturally some will remain in it. Also being a sealed container, the gas has nowhere to go but into the beer so when the pressure builds to a certain point, the gas will start absorbing into the beer. Then when you put it in the fridge, more of it will absorb as the beer cools down.

15 Posted: Tuesday, February 06, 2018 11:47 AM

Otto Von Blotto:

Gas is more soluble in liquid at lower temperatures, and also comes out of solution a lot more slowly. That's why if you open a warm bottle of beer and a cold bottle of beer, the warm one foams up out of the bottle everywhere and the cold one doesn't.

There will be some CO2 already absorbed into the beer before it goes into the fridge. It originates in the beer so naturally some will remain in it. Also being a sealed container, the gas has nowhere to go but into the beer so when the pressure builds to a certain point, the gas will start absorbing into the beer. Then when you put it in the fridge, more of it will absorb as the beer cools down.


Brilliant! Ta. So four days optimal? More/less?

16 Posted: Tuesday, February 06, 2018 1:33 PM

In terms of CO2 absorption and carbonation levelling out they're probably fine after two days in the fridge, but it certainly won't hurt them to sit in there for any length of time after that.

In a perfect world we'd all have the necessary fridge space to store all our beer in the fridge once the carbonation process and perhaps some further conditioning had been finished. The lower the temp, the slower it takes to go stale so from that perspective the fridge is better. It also compacts the sediment more so it's harder to disturb it when pouring a glass, and easier to leave it behind in the bottle where IMO it belongs.

That said, it's not gonna go stale in a few months sitting at 20-25C either so there's no need to stress about it. Most batches will have been consumed long before that anyway.

17 Posted: Tuesday, February 06, 2018 2:37 PM

Otto Von Blotto:

Most batches will have been consumed long before that anyway.


Agreed, especially in my case with a 15L craft fermenter in the apartment! My fridge is also not that big either.

I just need to be better planned. Don't need too much beer in the fridge but it is often a case of “whoops, forgot”. Then faced with having to put my homemade beer in for just a few hours (not optimal) or whacking some commercial equivalent into the freezer for an hour.

I suppose in a pinch, we don't need to be too precious but it is good to have the best product available. So, good advice ta.

18 Posted: Tuesday, February 06, 2018 9:51 PM

Hey Tommy, just thought I'd mention on the subject of carbonation I found switching from carb drops to dextrose gave me alot more even carbonation and more consistency from bottle to bottle. Also gives you more control for your personal taste and is far cheaper too, I wondered why I didn't switch sooner to be honest, cheers mate

19 Posted: Wednesday, February 07, 2018 8:11 AM

Sweet. I might try it for my smaller batch in the craft FV to experimebt with it

20 Posted: Wednesday, February 07, 2018 8:49 AM

Tommy:

Will see how ill go i still have about a week or so until bottle time so will definitely do my best. I will be bottling my Pilsner and i definitely love my Pilsner nicely carbonated.

I guess ill go with 3 drops per 750ml longneck, 2 per 500ml swing top and for sure 1 per 330 mls swingtop and will see how the result is.


Sounds good. Are you using glass longnecks? I'm not sure, but I think for 3 drops I'd probably stick to the Coopers style PET bottles. Or at least keep them somewhere contained and out of the way incase you get a couple exploding.

Wouldn't it be awesome to have a lagering fridge… I don't think I'd be popular having that, a brew fridge, and half the storage space in the kitchen filled with bottles… But so many times I've been bunging a tallie in the freezer for half an hour before beer o'clock and it's just so not ideal!