It is the reassuring sound you hear when you pry off the cap to a perfectly chilled beer…. pssssss. Ah the sign of carbonated golden goodness. You pour your beer into a pint glass and watch the head of the beer form, pouring to perfection. You take a sip of the frothy beverage and let it wash over your palate giving you the delightful satisfaction of consuming your home-brewed beer. Your labor of love that rewards you in many ways, but most of all, it was crafted for you by you.
So what happens when you pry off the cap and you hear no pssss. Well that is what happened to me after my Irish Red had been patiently waiting two weeks for consumption (more like I was patiently waiting).
I pried the cap off and heard the deafening sound of nothing. I poured the beer into a pint glass and watched with sadness as the glass filled with flat beer. My heart sunk and I began to run through all the possibilities my novice brewing mind could come up with.
My mind began to race… I had remembered to put the sugar in, right? Was it too hot for the yeast? Did I not sanitize enough? Were the caps not put on properly?
I pried open another bottle in haste to see if this flatness would continue. Much to my dismay I now had two bottles open and both were flatter than the mid-west landscape.
Image Credit: USDA.Gov
I searched the internet for help. This had to be fixable. I could not have 50… well now 48 bottles of flat beer. I had found a potential solution. Could my brewing storage room (aka the coat closet) be too cold? It could have been a possibility. I lugged the cases of beer out of the closet and into the brewing room (aka the 2nd bathroom). Perhaps this location would be warm enough and get the carbonation going. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.
The next day I emailed my friend and fellow home-brewer, Jen as we were on the verge of setting up a brew tasting day with my two beers, the Black Dog Ale, the Irish Red and her home-brew. I mentioned we may have to put off the tasting as I was suffering from a lack of bubbles. Ironically she also had the same issue with her beer and would not be ready as well.
She mentioned that she had read in one of her brewing books that you could add a sprinkling of yeast to the un-carbonated beer and it would kick-start the carbonation process. She offered her services to help me with my adding the yeast to my beer in exchange for my left over yeast. No reason to waste all that yeast if we could split the yeast between our two beers.
After work the next day Jen came over and she and I painstakingly pried off all 48 bottle caps, sprinkling in a few yeasts into each bottle and recapped the bottles. I placed the bottles back in the storage boxes and moved them in the brewing room. I crossed my fingers for a little luck that the combination of the yeast and the warmer temperature of the room would create the result I was looking for.
My plan was to try the beer in about a week. Hopefully this little hiccup would work it’s way out and I will have a new batch of home-brew to enjoy. After all it was getting on to summer and that is porch-time season (that is what Jen and I call us sitting on the porch drinking beer in the sunshine).