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Does anyone have an idea if larger bottles (half liter) are harder to carbonate than smaller ones (1/3 liter)?

I think the problem is that I had a Belgian ale (6.5%) is a secondary and when bottling, I couldn't get much carbonation. I read somewhere that introducing new yeast is a good idea - especially champagne yeast.

However, with time smaller bottles now have decent carbonation, but larger bottles still taste flat. Any reason? The headspace in the bottles is pretty much identical regardless of volume, since I fill them up to the rim and then remove the bottling wand, leaving the headspace.

Thoughts? Josh

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    Bottle size should not matter. Did you fill the larger ones before/after the smaller ones (eg, all at once)? If so, did you ensure the priming sugar was mixed thoroughly? – kellanstec Nov 22 '14 at 21:52
  • I put the sugar in the bottom of a bucket, fit it up from the primary fermentor by siphoning, let it sit for about ten minutes and then fill the bottles. I don't mix the bucket manually, so as not to introduce oxygen at that stage, but the liquid does swirl a bit during the filling. I fill all the bottles and I count them beforehand so I don't sanitize too many unnecessarily, so I only have a couple of bottles at the end. Towards the end, I try to fill the smaller bottles, because that is the favorite size, but It's not like all the small ones get filled first or anything. – Josh Golbert Nov 23 '14 at 19:36
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    I would stir it gently next time (don't introduce any oxygen). One time i had half my batch overcarbed and half undercarbed because the sugar wasn't mixed. I bet the larger bottles happened to be the undercarbed half in your batch. – kellanstec Nov 23 '14 at 19:39
  • Interesting. I'll look out for that next time. Thanks. – Josh Golbert Nov 23 '14 at 19:41
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    I honestly can't believe racking onto the sugar and doing nothing else can work so consistently for some people. It only took me 5 batches to figure out that is not the ideal method (a realization that came with a bottle bomb). Now i stir every time. – kellanstec Nov 23 '14 at 20:23
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If you didn't stir your priming sugar very well, it's reasonable to assume that it didn't mix into the beer completely. In your case, the larger bottles didn't get the level of sugar that you intended.

You have to take the oxygenation risk if you're manually adding priming sugar. If you don't want to do that, then I suggest using carbonation drops.

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As mentioned in the comments under your question, this is probably due to the fact that the sugar did not evenly mix with the beer.

If you want to avoid oxidation (always a good idea, indeed), you might want to prepare a sugary solution beforehand. The day before bottling, boil some water (not much, to not screw your final density) and dissolve the sugar in it. Let it cool down in some properly sanitized container, then use it in the bucket on bottling day. That way, instead of having to mix multiple times during bottling (to avoid having the not-quite-dissolved sugar settle down at the bottom), you can just give it a quick swirl when beginning, and you're ready to fill the bottles.

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