I made a coopers english bitter kit but let it ferment for 3 weeks in the FV and then bottled it. Its been in the bottle 2 weeks at 20 degrees C yet still feels flat. When I poured it there were a lot of bubbles on the side of the glass, but I couldn't get a head on the beer.

What should I do? As I have another 45 bottles 😞

I am using a new type of bottle but ensured I had done them correctly as in my last batch I had a couple of flat ones due to the lids not being done up tight enough. The last batch was ready within 4 weeks, although only spent 1 week in the FV.

Coopers Bitter

4 Answers 4


Give it some time. I had a stout take about a month before there was a decent head.

  • The co2 in the beer has slowly been getting better.
    – Dean
    Jun 6, 2015 at 8:56

Are we talking about lack of carbonation or a missing head here? You say it's flat which would mean there is no CO2 but it seems like there is. A beer doesn't taste flat without a head if it has CO2 in it. If your beer doesn't carbonate there is either not enough yeast and/or not enough sugar. What you ca do:

  • turn the bottles up-side-down, maybe your yeast dropped out and re-suspension could help
  • just give it time, if there is even the smallest amount of viable yeast and some residual sugars your beer will carbonate but may take a long time to do so

If you're just missing the head there isn't much you can do to correct it for that batch and it could have been cause by many different things, as jsolarski mentioned.

  • Insufficient cleaning (oils left over)
  • left over soap (including starsan) in the fermentor
  • not enough proteins (not very likely)
  • fusel alcohols (oils) in your fermentation
  • stressed yeast that produce too much protease (no yeast starter, pH out of range, etc.)

Head retention has many factors. was your glass clean or had some residue on it? was there left over soap or oil in the fermenters? (didnt rinse well enough) protein content hops, and recipe play a big part too....

but the real question is how does it taste? if it tastes fine then i wouldnt worry about the head. On my irish red ale, it did not have any head retention at all but tasted fine.

  • It tastes fine so its not infected its just flat making it hard to drink.
    – Dean
    May 21, 2015 at 8:20

It's English beer, which is meant to be flat no?! haha ;) Just pour it with a bit more gusto!

Also, if you are getting a good psssssst when opening, you could try storing it cold in a fridge for a week or so to aid the absorption of any CO2 from the head-space of the bottle into your beer :)


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