I brewed this Ale Oktoberfest beer and I thought everything went perfectly, but the bottles are flat (have tried 4 of them)
- 2 weeks in the primary
- 1 week in secondary (5 gal carboy)
- FG of 1.012
- Priming solution: boiled & cooled solution of 5 oz. table sugar, mixed well into bottling bucket.
The bottles have sat for 3 weeks. They started out at over 70 but lately it has been cooler and they have been around 65 degrees.
I asked my homebrew shop and they said the problem is likely that I used table sugar instead of corn sugar. They said that disaccharides are harder to break down than straight glucose and maybe the yeast just couldn't do it.
However, looking online it seems lots of people use table sugar. This is my second batch, for my first batch I also used table sugar and it had perfect carbonation.
Here are all the possible problems that I can imagine:
- Too much yeast dropped out after secondary fermentation, so not enough was left in suspension to carbonate? (counterpoint: 3 weeks is not very long, if anything it's on the shorter side)
- Maybe they indeed had trouble with the disaccharide sugar (or maybe combination of 1 and 2)
- During my first batch I used vegan sugar from Whole Foods, my second batch I used Domino sugar
- I pitched the yeast a little warm (80-85 degrees). But the bottles have mostly been conditioning around 65. Maybe fermentation encouraged the growth of more yeast that preferred the warmer temp, and they don't like the cooler bottling temp.
- Bring bottles up to 70 degrees, wait longer
- Pour everything into bottling bucket, add CBC yeast and 5 oz. corn sugar solution, rebottle. (Problem with this: if the initial priming sugar was never fermented, would this create bottle bombs once healthy yeast is re-introduced? Would the priming sugar cause a measurable change in gravity, so that I could measure whether it fermented?)
Any other advice or thoughts?
I have a few more data points:
- I tried more bottles: some have a tiny amount of fizz, others practically flat.
- Immediately after bottling, 4 bottles went down to Virginia. When they were opened, they were all carbonated, with a head even.
I performed the following experiment:
- I opened two 22 oz. bottles and added 1/4 tsp CBC yeast rehydrated in 1 1/2 tsp water
- To one of these bottles I also added a solution of 3/4 tsp corn sugar
One week later, both were carbonated. The one with sugar more than the other, and maybe a tad overcarbonated but not by much.
I plan to add the same amount of yeast and 1/2 tsp corn sugar to the remaining bottles.
Thank you everyone for your help and suggestions. I'm not sure if there is one answer I can accept but I will read through them again and see.
Here I was ready to add a yeast / sugar solution to each bottle. It has now been 7 weeks in the bottle and I last tried one maybe 2 weeks ago and was still pretty much flat.
I opened 7 bottles to re-yeast, all of them were carbonated. SMH.