Bottling without priming

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MTW
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Bottling without priming

Post by MTW » Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:55 pm

I'm just curious, how many people bottle naturally carbonated bottles without adding priming sugar? I don't mean when someone may have left a point or two to go above the expected FG, but when it is fully fermented out.

I've just bottled with 12g of sugar only, into 20L of English ale. I wanted a fairly minimal level of carbonation for the style, so around 1.5 to 1.6 vols CO2, as per the Brewer's Friend calculator. Seeing that I was bottling at 4C, it would call for just 1g (in 20L) for 1.5 vols, and if I'd been bottling any colder still, none at all, ie it estimated there were 1.48 vols residing in the beer already.

If you're bottling at room temperature, it's unlikely you'd go without any priming at all. But bottling cold, I can imagine leaving it out altogether at some point, in those styles it would suit.
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Matt in Birdham
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Re: Bottling without priming

Post by Matt in Birdham » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:09 pm

I've always been a bit dubious about the "residual CO2" volumes that some of the calculators quote (BeerSmith does it, too). I think the idea is that you enter the maximum temperature at which the beer has been held during fermentation, which for most would be 20C or so. Once the CO2 has escaped at those temps, it is not going to be replaced as the beer is chilled unless there is still some active fermentation going on. I have always entered this higher figure and added sugar to suit - usually to about 2.2 vols - and always seem to get results in the right ballpark.
Having said all that, I would be interested to hear how you go.

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Re: Bottling without priming

Post by MTW » Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:19 pm

Matt in Birdham wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:09 pm
I've always been a bit dubious about the "residual CO2" volumes that some of the calculators quote (BeerSmith does it, too). I think the idea is that you enter the maximum temperature at which the beer has been held during fermentation, which for most would be 20C or so. Once the CO2 has escaped at those temps, it is not going to be replaced as the beer is chilled unless there is still some active fermentation going on. I have always entered this higher figure and added sugar to suit - usually to about 2.2 vols - and always seem to get results in the right ballpark.
Having said all that, I would be interested to hear how you go.
Until recently, my thoughts were exactly the same as yours. I even wondered whether to make allowances for the number of transfers, especially when made at a warm temperature. However, my experiences seem to be suggesting that the disruption to the beer at bottling outweighs CO2 loss earlier in the process, so maybe there is a good reason why these calcs only ask for bottling temperature. I only put 30g in my last batch bottled at 4C, and that proved to be marginally too much.

I wonder about these mobile canning lorries that some micro brewers use now. Do they take a dissolved CO2 measurement before canning the client's beer, or do they just control their own pressure and temperature? One for pdtnc or any other pros around...
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Re: Bottling without priming

Post by Matt in Birdham » Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:57 pm

MTW wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:19 pm
Until recently, my thoughts were exactly the same as yours. I even wondered whether to make allowances for the number of transfers, especially when made at a warm temperature. However, my experiences seem to be suggesting that the disruption to the beer at bottling outweighs CO2 loss earlier in the process, so maybe there is a good reason why these calcs only ask for bottling temperature. I only put 30g in my last batch bottled at 4C, and that proved to be marginally too much.

I wonder about these mobile canning lorries that some micro brewers use now. Do they take a dissolved CO2 measurement before canning the client's beer, or do they just control their own pressure and temperature? One for pdtnc or any other pros around...
I think the physics of it are that beer at 20 or so degrees can hold about 0.8 volumes of CO2 - the rest simply must come out of solution. When you chill prior to bottling, it is not impossible that some CO2 will dissolve back in, especially if your head-space is rich in CO2. That might get you to a volume or so, which perhaps isn't too far off what you are looking for. From memory (bottling days - I keg now), the temperature field in BS was widely debated on various forums and the conclusion was that this referred to the highest post-fermentation temperature that the beer was held at (timing is also relevant here, as off-gassing isn't instantaneous).
I guess the really simple test in your case would be to pour yourself a beer straight from the fermentor at bottling temp and judge whether or not you think it is sufficiently carbonated, since it won't be getting any more carbonated than that without adding priming sugar (assuming primary fermentation was complete).
As for canning, this will be done with beer fully carbonated - it is not done in the can, or at least I haven't yet come across a can-conditioned beer.

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Re: Bottling without priming

Post by MTW » Thu Dec 21, 2017 9:52 pm

Matt in Birdham wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:57 pm
MTW wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:19 pm
Until recently, my thoughts were exactly the same as yours. I even wondered whether to make allowances for the number of transfers, especially when made at a warm temperature. However, my experiences seem to be suggesting that the disruption to the beer at bottling outweighs CO2 loss earlier in the process, so maybe there is a good reason why these calcs only ask for bottling temperature. I only put 30g in my last batch bottled at 4C, and that proved to be marginally too much.

I wonder about these mobile canning lorries that some micro brewers use now. Do they take a dissolved CO2 measurement before canning the client's beer, or do they just control their own pressure and temperature? One for pdtnc or any other pros around...
I think the physics of it are that beer at 20 or so degrees can hold about 0.8 volumes of CO2 - the rest simply must come out of solution. When you chill prior to bottling, it is not impossible that some CO2 will dissolve back in, especially if your head-space is rich in CO2. That might get you to a volume or so, which perhaps isn't too far off what you are looking for. From memory (bottling days - I keg now), the temperature field in BS was widely debated on various forums and the conclusion was that this referred to the highest post-fermentation temperature that the beer was held at (timing is also relevant here, as off-gassing isn't instantaneous).
I guess the really simple test in your case would be to pour yourself a beer straight from the fermentor at bottling temp and judge whether or not you think it is sufficiently carbonated, since it won't be getting any more carbonated than that without adding priming sugar (assuming primary fermentation was complete).
As for canning, this will be done with beer fully carbonated - it is not done in the can, or at least I haven't yet come across a can-conditioned beer.
Interesting. As for the last point, I was making a (probably ignorant) assumption that some canners may be involved in a forced carbonation on the day; I didn't mean in the can.

Having had cornies and worked with pressure vs temperature, I do get that there will be a limit to what the beer hangs on to at atmospheric pressure for a given temperature. As you say, it won't balance immediately, and various factors will affect that. Whatever the absolute figure may be, I'm still going with the idea that the agitation caused through each single 500ml filling down my bottling wand, into the bottles, has the potential to knock so much CO2 out of solution that the temperature at that point may be the best figure to work with - at least for consistency - in the absence of a more sophisticated method. But I'm not sure...
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jaroporter
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Re: Bottling without priming

Post by jaroporter » Thu Dec 21, 2017 10:09 pm

I'm just curious, how many people bottle naturally carbonated bottles without adding priming sugar? I don't mean when someone may have left a point or two to go above the expected FG, but when it is fully fermented out.
well the quick answer is the obvious one. ferment beer out. bottle. don't prime.

really is that simple. to bottle condition beer you're relying on naturally generated co2 - whether from priming sugar or the fermenting wort itself. so if you're not priming the bottles that leaves only the other option.

you could bottle a couple of points above FG if you want a level of carbonation like commercial bottles.

you could bottle after a few weeks in secondary if you want flatter beer. the thing here is that if the beer is fully fermented out then as Matt says it'll have the same condition coming out as going in.

most reference to no prime bottling i've seen - and how i used to do it when i bottled - is to confirm you've hit FG (steady hydro reading 3 days, like) and bottle then. the yeast isn't actually completely done at this point despite the hydro readings, you're just relying on the last knockings before it goes to bed to generate just enough co2 for a cask sparkle.

i think the residual co2 calculators are a bit of a false lead for this method, like with most things homebrew related the only real way to work this is to trial a consistent method each time. helps to know your yeast for sure, but it doesn't take long to get a feel for it. if you want more than a cask sparkle though you either got to prime or bottle earlier than FG.
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FermentedCulture

Re: Bottling without priming

Post by FermentedCulture » Thu Dec 21, 2017 10:12 pm

The best way to do this would be to do a forced ferment test / limit attenuation test.

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php/Fast_Ferment_Test

RobP

Re: Bottling without priming

Post by RobP » Thu Dec 21, 2017 10:49 pm

There are other sources of secondary fermentation. Dry hopping can add enzymes that might help break down some dextrins into simple sugars that the yeast can work on.
https://www.google.co.uk/search?dcr=0&s ... O3D9ssBq8M

Also, there will always be a few sugars left in the beer that the yeast can work on slowly.

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Re: Bottling without priming

Post by MTW » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:07 am

Matt in Birdham wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:09 pm
I've always been a bit dubious about the "residual CO2" volumes that some of the calculators quote (BeerSmith does it, too). I think the idea is that you enter the maximum temperature at which the beer has been held during fermentation, which for most would be 20C or so. Once the CO2 has escaped at those temps, it is not going to be replaced as the beer is chilled unless there is still some active fermentation going on. I have always entered this higher figure and added sugar to suit - usually to about 2.2 vols - and always seem to get results in the right ballpark.
Having said all that, I would be interested to hear how you go.
Thinking more about this, I guess that for your dubiousness (and mine) to be well-founded, the Brewersfriend/Beersmith calculators have to be (at best) very unclear in asking for 'bottling' temperature. If what you say is correct [that post-fermentation CO2 in the beer promptly adjusts to the amount the atmospheric pressure and temperature allow, with very little being reabsorbed from the headspace if chilled] then they must be assuming that we will bottle at whatever temperature the beer finished at. It would seem odd for them to make that assumption. They must know that the type of folk to bother with their software, and make such calculations, will also be 'advanced' enough in their processes to be chilling beer at the end of fermentation.

So maybe they know something different, perhaps that the beer does not lose its residual CO2 particularly quickly. I remember over-carbing a keg once, and it took some considerable effort to get the excess gas out of it simply by venting the headspace for a few days (at room temperature). In the end, the only thing that worked (within a reasonable time) was sending a few shots of gas down the beer-out dip tube to create some nucleation. In that case, the bottling temperature may yet be important, unless it has stood for an extended period.

As ever, there's no substitution for trial and error, and having a repeatable process. A dissolved CO2 test kit would be an interesting thing to have though!
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Re: Bottling without priming

Post by Matt in Birdham » Sun Jan 07, 2018 6:43 pm

Agreed, it is a tricky one. I used to always use fermentation temp when calculating my priming sugar, and results seemed fine to me (certainly not the 3 vols+ that I should have got if bottling temp residuals were to be believed).

Off-gassing certainly takes time, otherwise there'd be no point in carbing our beers in the first place. However, beer/soft drinks do go flat relatively quickly in a glass. I too have had had to reduce carbonation in a keg and it takes much more time, but I would suggest that this is a little different as there is limited head space with probably quickly reaches equilibrium. I'd guess that kegs reduce in carbonation much more quickly with the lid off, but I'm sure it would still take a while. The issue with tools like BS just asking for a temperature is that off-gassing is obviously a function of both temperature and time, and that is not accounted for in any way.

But back to your original question, and I guess the simple test still remains: try bottling a beer, chilling it and drinking it (in quick succession) and see if it has the carbonation levels you are looking for.

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Re: Bottling without priming

Post by PhilB » Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:27 pm

Hi MTW

Ermmm ...
MTW wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:07 am
... the Brewersfriend/Beersmith calculators have to be (at best) very unclear in asking for 'bottling' temperature ...
... but they don't :? ... at least not on the priming calculator I use on the Brewer's Friend websit, that one there (link), is that the one you're talking about?

They clearly mark the "Temperature of Beer" field with a "(see below *)" note ... and when you scroll down the page to find the asterisked note it says ...
Brewer's Friend Priming Calculator wrote:* Temperature of Beer used for computing dissolved CO2:
The beer you are about to package already contains some CO2 since it is a naturally occurring byproduct of fermentation. The amount is temperature dependent. The temperature to enter is usually the fermentation temperature of the beer, but might also be the current temperature of the beer.
... they then go on to explain what temperatures are probably best to use in what circumstances, explain the calculations used and add "caveats" around the calculations for whenever temperatures have been varied ... many of the points made in the discussion above :? ... fair enough, if we want to open up the debate here then finding other people's experiences might prove really useful, but they've made all of their "buyer beware"-type assumptions quite clear :?

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Re: Bottling without priming

Post by MTW » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:08 pm

PhilB wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:27 pm
Hi MTW

Ermmm ...
MTW wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:07 am
... the Brewersfriend/Beersmith calculators have to be (at best) very unclear in asking for 'bottling' temperature ...
... but they don't :? ... at least not on the priming calculator I use on the Brewer's Friend websit, that one there (link), is that the one you're talking about?

They clearly mark the "Temperature of Beer" field with a "(see below *)" note ... and when you scroll down the page to find the asterisked note it says ...
Brewer's Friend Priming Calculator wrote:* Temperature of Beer used for computing dissolved CO2:
The beer you are about to package already contains some CO2 since it is a naturally occurring byproduct of fermentation. The amount is temperature dependent. The temperature to enter is usually the fermentation temperature of the beer, but might also be the current temperature of the beer.
... they then go on to explain what temperatures are probably best to use in what circumstances, explain the calculations used and add "caveats" around the calculations for whenever temperatures have been varied ... many of the points made in the discussion above :? ... fair enough, if we want to open up the debate here then finding other people's experiences might prove really useful, but they've made all of their "buyer beware"-type assumptions quite clear :?

Cheers, PhilB
You're right to highlight that! I think it must be a relatively recent, and welcome update to their site, which obviously acknowledges this sort of discussion.
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Re: Bottling without priming

Post by PhilB » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:00 pm

Hi MTW
MTW wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:08 pm
You're right to highlight that! I think it must be a relatively recent, and welcome update to their site ...
... well, jaroporter was quoting that text on here nearly two years ago (link), so I don't think it's that new :? ... but hey, who's got time to "read the manual" when there's beer to be brewed :wink:

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Re: Bottling without priming

Post by jaroporter » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:23 pm

:lol: Phil i was just thinking i was sure it wasn't that recent an update but my memory isn't always great! seems like i was giving the same advice back then as now too!

forums do tend to have more than a hint of deja vu to them but hey it's good to chat and sometimes new things come to light :beer:
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Re: Bottling without priming

Post by MTW » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:53 pm

PhilB wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:00 pm
Hi MTW
MTW wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:08 pm
You're right to highlight that! I think it must be a relatively recent, and welcome update to their site ...
... well, jaroporter was quoting that text on here nearly two years ago (link), so I don't think it's that new :? ... but hey, who's got time to "read the manual" when there's beer to be brewed :wink:

Cheers, PhilB
My bad, although their app on my phone still asks explicitly for 'Temperature at Bottling' (see below). I'm pretty sure the online one matched the term on the app originally, though admittedly further back than i would have guessed. In my (continued) defence there are other pages/apps that still refer only to 'present' temperature or just 'beer temperature' (such as Northern Brewer and Brewzor) without expanding , as far as I can see. I don't have Beersmith and may have mistaken Matt's comments in regard to exactly what that asks for; I don't know. Looking further around, it certainly seems like there's been enough discussion for others to have joined BF in giving a more sophisticated explanation.

Now has anyone got a spare dissolved CO2 meter or test kit? :D

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