Friday, June 6, 2008

Excessive Carbonation?

Bottle conditioning (natural carbonation) should be pretty straight forward, right? Add a certain amount of a simple carbohydrate (sucrose) to the tank of finished beer, mix it, bottle, and the yeast does it's job. I wish it were this simple!

We were going for a high level of carbonation in most of our beers, but not this high! Our super attenuative yeast (meaning it eats everything it possibly can) had produced the right amount of carbonation when we initially released the beers, and has since continued to add more carbonation than was intended in the first batch of several of our beers.
For the first batches (usually indicated by a gold crown cap and a slight overfill level), I recommend chilling the beer well before opening, and gently pour your beer right after popping the cap. Just like champagne, right?

Luckily, not very much of this beer went out as most of it went towards draft.  New batches (with lower carbonation) have been bottled and have been sent out to a few of our accounts already. We have two dozen cases of the first batch of Black Orchard in inventory, which we won't be releasing to accounts and instead drinking it ourselves (what a tough job!). You might have a tough time finding it until the release of the new batch, which will be on shelves in late June.

If you've popped open one of our bottles and lost beer due to overcarbonation, I sincerely apologize. We are refining our processes to insure the carbonation is appropriate. If you've had a problem with our beers because of this (or any reason, for that matter), please give me a call (714-996-6258) and we'll fix it. These are the first batches coming from our brewery, and while we set ourselves to the highest of standards, we didn't know what the standards were for the first batches!

Batch No. 1 - Levud's is now being released, and luckily is not overcarbonated!

Thanks for supporting us!


Loren said...

Shared a bottle of the Orchard White on Friday with Scott V. from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. Foamer on opening but not a gusher. Despite the visibly insane level of carbonation it wasn't explosive pop rocks and Pepsi when it hit the mouth. Great dryness and floral character with not much orange peel, sweet or bitter, to parade around but I cannot believe this isn't spiced with pepper. If that's from the yeast Impressive.

Thanks to good old IceAce from BeerAdvocate for sharing your bottles with us East Coasters!

Michael said...

I was wondering if you could/would write a post on how you figured out how to properly carbonate your bottled and kegged beers on a larger scale. I'm familiar and capable of bottling my home brew, but what additional things do you do or consider at your scale. What about kegs? Do you follow a similar method? I appreciate what you all do. Cheers!