no carbonation in IPA after five weeks

What went wrong? Was this supposed to happen? Should I throw it out? What do I do now?

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no carbonation in IPA after five weeks

Postby IPeamon » Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:55 pm

Has anyone experienced or know how to deel with a severley under carbonated beer. Its is very strong and bitter. I was going for a Bigfoot style clone - around 90IBU, 9.5% v/v. Final gravity got down to 1.012 so I was quite optimistic at bottling stage. Thats five weeks ago. Might the bitterness or strength have anything to do with the lack of carbonation (due to dead yeast). I was thinking rehydrating a pack of S-04, opening the bottles and using a dropper to add a few drops to each bottle. The original yeast was WLP001. Any help or input appreciated. First post on the forum too!
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Carbonation

Postby slothrob » Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:07 pm

Welcome on board!

Was the beer in the fermenter for a long time before bottling? Are you getting any signs of carbonation at all? A little fizz or a release of pressure when you pop the top? If so, that's a good sign that things are starting to happen.

It's possible that full carbonation can take even longer than this with such a high gravity beer. I've even occasionally had normal gravity beers that took a couple months to fully carbonate. Keeping the beer warm will help and even inverting the bottles occasionally might help. So, one option is to wait longer. The good thing being that Barleywines can improve with age and the bitterness will mellow.

However, it's also possible that the yeast you used will never be able to carbonate a 9.5% beer after struggling through the fermentation. A sturdy yeast might help. US-05 does pretty well with high gravity, but Champagne yeast is famous for overcoming this problem. Champagne yeast tends to ferment simple sugars well under high alcohol conditions.
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Postby IPeamon » Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:05 pm

Cheers, champagne yeast sounds very tempting. If my LHBS stocks it, then great, if not Im sure he has US-05. The ever so tiny tiny pressure release on opening the bottle is the same now as it was three weeks ago which was two weeks after bottling. Couldnt be arsed waiting any longer. Id let it mature for longer but only if I know its carbonating!! Is there a limit to the strength of beer you can make after which you should bottle condition with fresh yeast??
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fresh yeast

Postby slothrob » Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:20 pm

I don't know of any particular percent that is a cut-off. A lot of it probably has to do with what the yeast went through before bottling. If you pitched a large and healthy starter of yeast, controlled fermentation temperatures and didn't age the beer for very long after fermentation, you can probably succeed with carbonating a higher gravity beer.
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