Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

Priming Problem

Thankfully, I don’t think I have a priming problem although I was pretty sure that I was going to open up a bottle of flat beer tonight. 

My California Common has been sitting in the front closet of my house for nearly a month now.  After two weeks, it had carbed up a little bit but not enough to share with anyone else. 

So I gave one bottle a few swirls to rouse the yeast in the hopes that my intervention would get some carbonation going.

I opened the same bottle tonight and was greet with a nice Pffft!   I poured the beer into my glass and saw it form a mighty head.

I am not sure if I needed to swirl all the bottles.  This weekend when I crack open more, I’ll know for sure. 

But I was thinking about some tips to solve a priming problem:

  • Move your bottles to a warm room.  It should be close to 70°F and consistently close to that temperature throughout the day as possible.
  • Let ’em be.  If the beer hasn’t carbonated fully after two weeks, let them sit for a month.  I think I have learned that lagers need to sit for a month, even if the yeast strain does its thing at higher than normal lager temps.
  • Give them a swirl.  Rouse the yeast – get them back in suspension so they can do what you need them to do one last time.

Now if following those three tips don’t work, what’s next?  Do you somehow introduce a little bit of yeast to each bottle if you feel you have enough priming sugar to do the job?  If you feel like you didn’t provide enough priming sugar, can you add a little bit to each bottle?

Or is it best just to dump it down the drain?

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9 Comments

  1. Sean G

    If I can’t get my beer to carb up enough, I’ll just mix with some ultra light “beer” when I drink it. Finally gives me a use for that stuff people keep leaving at my house.

  2. ed

    If you’ve got kegging abilities, I don’t see why you couldn’t pour it all into a sanitized keg (preferably purged of O2) and force carbonate it. Although it would be a pain to open up all those bottles.

  3. Geep

    Ha ha on the light beer thing.

  4. Bill Hughes

    Time- 2 week old beer is green. Open your bottle at 5 weeks minimum,

  5. Mike Czuchta

    Hahahaha, on the light beer

  6. “Move your bottles to a warm room.” ?

    C02 is absorbed better at cooler temperatures. Check out John Palmer’s nomograph:
    http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter11-4.html

    I find that 2 week in a my 60 degree basement works every time – even on batches that have been cold conditioned for several weeks (and no bottle bombs).

  7. Once you have bottled up your beer, you should move it to a warm environment, meaning room temperature. This nomograph is to be used when you are trying to calculate how much priming sugar you will need at the time of bottling, not when the yeast is fermenting the priming sugar after bottling.

    My comment was a tip for post bottling. Here’s what Palmer writes about lagers after they have been bottled:

    http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter11-7.html

  8. John,
    Interesting… I guess that I have been reading it wrong the whole time – my assumption was that post warmer temps would cause less co2 absorption. Creating more pressure, stressing out the yeast and causing possible bottle bombs.

    Though, no harm done. Both pre and post bottle storage is done in my 60 degree basement. All the ales have carbonated perfectly.

  9. Paul

    I always bulked primed the entire batch . Add enough dextrose or corn sugar to match the beer type. Disolve the sugar into a couple of cups of beer then stir into the fermenter. You get uniform carbination and less work.

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