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Thread: No carbonation after cold crashing

  1. #1
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    No carbonation after cold crashing

    Hello all,

    I've been lurking on this forum for a while now but this is my first post, I'm going someone can help me.

    We have 2 x 1000L fermenters that can handle 3 bar of pressure.

    I usually ferment at about 1 bar with good results however after 4 batches I am not able to get any carbonation into the beer.

    I cold crash from fermentation temperature to 1C and even after 1 week the beer is still flat.

    I've tried everything and had discussions with others and it seems as though everything should be carbonated fine.

    I'm wondering if anyone else had a similar problem and how did they solve it?

    Thanks in advance.

    Mick

  2. #2
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    A couple questions...

    These four batches that didn't carb – are they the first four you've brewed with this equipment and process, or were there earlier batches with the same equipment and process that did carbonate?

    When you say you ferment at 1 bar, are you only using a spunding device to relieve pressure above 1 bar, or do you have an outside source of CO2 (gas cylinder, generator, whatever) supplying pressure? Does the pressure still read 1 bar after you crash the batch?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by feinbera View Post
    A couple questions...

    These four batches that didn't carb – are they the first four you've brewed with this equipment and process, or were there earlier batches with the same equipment and process that did carbonate?

    When you say you ferment at 1 bar, are you only using a spunding device to relieve pressure above 1 bar, or do you have an outside source of CO2 (gas cylinder, generator, whatever) supplying pressure? Does the pressure still read 1 bar after you crash the batch?
    Hey,

    Thanks for taking the time to reply. To answer your questions, these are the first four batches on new equipment so we've had for flat batches.

    We use a spunding device to release pressure over 1 bar. We do have a co 2 cylinder but don't use it for carbonation. The pressure drops about 0.2 bar after cold crashing

  4. #4
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    Buy a Zahm or Taprite

    First off, you need to know what you have. Buy a Zahm and Nagel or a Taprite so you can pull a sample and check the level you are getting.

    My guess is you are not conditioning the beer very long after crashing. If you are only seeing a 0.2 bar drop after crashing, most of that gas is not yet absorbed into the now colder liquid.

    You can add pressure to the tank by forced gas, but you will have to condition for many days to get the co2 to saturate the liquid (without a carb stone). Time depends on the size of tank, volume of liquid and temperature. There will be stratification of the carbonation as well, but on smaller tanks this is not really an issue.

    You will be fully carbed when your tank pressure is around 0.7 bar at 1*C, and stops dropping overnight. (if you don't opt for the measuring device)

    Very few are carbonating their beer ONLY by way of spunding, most add some top pressure at least.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnFermentable View Post
    First off, you need to know what you have. Buy a Zahm and Nagel or a Taprite so you can pull a sample and check the level you are getting.

    My guess is you are not conditioning the beer very long after crashing. If you are only seeing a 0.2 bar drop after crashing, most of that gas is not yet absorbed into the now colder liquid.

    You can add pressure to the tank by forced gas, but you will have to condition for many days to get the co2 to saturate the liquid (without a carb stone). Time depends on the size of tank, volume of liquid and temperature. There will be stratification of the carbonation as well, but on smaller tanks this is not really an issue.

    You will be fully carbed when your tank pressure is around 0.7 bar at 1*C, and stops dropping overnight. (if you don't opt for the measuring device)

    Very few are carbonating their beer ONLY by way of spunding, most add some top pressure at least.
    Thanks for the suggestions. What I'm doing in this fermenter is to seal off the spunding valve before fermentation is complete and then cold crashing. The first four batches were 500L batches in a 1000L fermenter, the fifth batch is currently in the fermenter but it's the first time we've put 1000L in there. I'm hoping that this was a contributory factor for the other batches being undercarbonated.

    The beer is being conditioned sufficiently. For example the third batch is still in the fermenter under pressure for the last 3.5 weeks (that's 3.5 weeks conditioning for a Pale Ale).

    I will see if I can get my hands on a Taprite and get some idea of what's going on in there.

    Thanks for the suggestion.

    Mick

  6. #6
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    If the pressure is only at .2 Bar after crashing, it is not going to go up. That will be your saturation point, the only way to get it to go higher than that would be to increase the spunding pressure towards the end to say 2 bar, the beer should be much more carbonated at that point, if you consult a carbonation chart and look for your fv temp, then set the spunding pressure to the correct value to reach whatever volumes you want. Then when you crash, the volumes in the beer shouldn't change as it gets cooled and when you hit your crash temps it will be at or near the target.
    But if you are expecting carbonation to go up after the beer is crashed, and without adding any co2 from an outside source, you're gonna be stuck with flat beer for a long time, unless you get the co2 into solution before you crash. 65F(18.3C) at 30 psi(~2 bar) is 2.58 vol of CO2.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mick02 View Post
    Thanks for the suggestions. What I'm doing in this fermenter is to seal off the spunding valve before fermentation is complete and then cold crashing. The first four batches were 500L batches in a 1000L fermenter, the fifth batch is currently in the fermenter but it's the first time we've put 1000L in there. I'm hoping that this was a contributory factor for the other batches being undercarbonated.

    The beer is being conditioned sufficiently. For example the third batch is still in the fermenter under pressure for the last 3.5 weeks (that's 3.5 weeks conditioning for a Pale Ale).

    I will see if I can get my hands on a Taprite and get some idea of what's going on in there.

    Thanks for the suggestion.

    Mick
    I believe the headspace may be a significant contributing factor as well. Fuller tanks have a tendency to take in co2 much more rapidly, as does colder beer.

    At 3.5 weeks cold, you should have enough time but remember that temp and pressure are directly related.

    1 bar at 20*C will be around 1.5 volumes or less. 1 bar at 4*C will get you where you want, 2.75 volumes (approximately). Again, you will be saturated when the pressure stops dropping (adsorbing) over a day or two.

    Try capping your tank earlier in the process. I usually cap about the time I am crashing which tends to be about 1*P from final gravity.

  8. #8
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    Thank you all for the suggestions. I've capped the tank at 2 bar and started to cold crash yesterday. I'll monitor the carbonation over the next few days.

    Again I appreciate the advice.

    Mick

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