Some help here?

This is one of the rare times I ask for some class participation.  My imperial stout seems to have stalled in the bottle, carbonating slightly but nowhere close to where it needs to be.  I’ve inverted the bottles on two separate occasions to stir the yeast up and get it going again, but it appears my attempts have failed.  Taste wise, the stout is excellent and I want to save this batch at all costs.  What’s funny is when I brewed this last year, it ended up overcarbonating.  Is this just a case of a fickle yeast?

This was my idea for saving it.  Get a sachet of US-05, rehydrate it in warm sterile water, uncap the bottles, and add about a mL or two of the yeast suspension to each bottle, recap and invert a couple of times.

So what say you?  Does this sound like a good idea?  Does anybody have any other advice to give…preferably based on your actual past experiences?  Thanks in advance.

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9 comments on “Some help here?

  1. Cheryl says:

    I would think adding sugar instead of yeast might be a better idea, but… carbonation is not something I’m that great at either. And I’ve never tried what you’re doing. You need yeast and sugar to get that final carbonation. If you do add more yeast, realize that a small ml of a packet and water will have LOTS of yeast in it.

    • Pride Craft says:

      I added sugar to the batch prior to bottling so I believe the sugar is still there waiting to be eaten. Plus when I tasted a bottle last week, it was on the sweet side, so that kind of confirms that. But that could be my next step if adding additional yeast does not do the trick.

  2. Have you tried boosting the temp to about 80 F? Yeast likes to be warm. Not sure what temp you are fermenting at.

  3. brewgrad says:

    I would raise the temp a few degrees first. While pitching the new yeast will carbonate it you run the risk of introducing oxygen and staling the beer

    • Pride Craft says:

      For an imperial stout OG of 1.105, I doubt that oxidation would be an issue by taking the caps off for like 20 seconds. I don’t have a fermentation chamber, so raising the temperature that the bottles are stored at is rather difficult. My thermostat is set to 75. Making the house any warmer than that becomes uncomfortable. Thanks for the advice.

  4. Not experienced in this situation, but I would think adding new yeast makes sense. You may want to test on a few bottles before uncapping all of them, but that would be a waste of a lot of yeast unless you are going to brew up another batch you can use it on. Good luck.

  5. Pride Craft says:

    Boosting the temp would be, in principle, a rather easy thing to try first. But in reality, I don’t have a way or a place in my house to store the batch at around 80. My house AC is set to 75, which all of my beers are bottle conditioned at. Not sure at this point 5 degrees would make a difference even if I could elevate the temp. I don’t want to just change our thermostat and subject my girl and children to an 80 degree house.

  6. mikey says:

    How did you go with this?
    I’ve had low carbonated bottled beer, but never done anything to fix them. Without knowing cause, I would try two variations. (1) More sugar. I know you say it’s already sweet and bulk priming was done. But is that sweetness fermentable sugars or complex sugars? You never know…
    (2) More yeast. A small addition of yeast. Will only work if all the yeast in there is dead. An alternative is to add a higher fermentation yeast if the alcohol is too high for US-05. I’ve thought of this before and seriously considering it for an oatmeal stout I have. But I’ve been warned (by more experienced brewers) that this would create conflicting flavours (even though they’ve never tried).
    (3) Yeast nutrient. If there’s already yeast, sugar and enough oxygen then a big of ‘yeast food’ would help.

    I wouldn’t bother with the temperature test. That is more applicable for controlling flavours produce from fermentation, rather than if fermentation happens or not.

    Regardless of option(s) I would do 2-4 bottles of each attempt. As mentioned above, opening and resealing has a high likelihood of oxygising the beer. You want to make sure you’re not destroying a tasty beer.

    • Pride Craft says:

      I haven’t done anything yet because I’m waiting for this weekend to make it back to the homebrew shop. Your mention of yeast nutrient is interesting. Thanks for the input.

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