This damn near broke my heart, and I have been so embarrassed about it that I was afraid to post. But for the sake of honesty and integrity, I have a confession.
My most recent beer didn’t carb.
I know. It’s a dumb mistake. I didn’t really know why it happened. The brew had gone crazy during fermentation, bubbling airlock and all. This airlock bubbled like a damn geyser basin without the damaging geothermal effects. First I wasn’t sure if the priming sugar had been properly distributed, but I had added it to the wort, not to each bottle. In that case, however, there should have been at least one bottle bomb in the five or so beers I opened (depression mounting with each lack of “pfft” upon cracking).
It was my husband’s opinion that, since I had used Trappist yeast during fermentation, which is a slow fermenting yeast, it might be a good idea to add ale yeast with the priming sugar during bottling to ensure that the beer carbed up in an expedient manner. The high alcohol content of the beer probably killed off the ale yeast before it ever got a chance to eat the carbing sugar and make CO2. Based on the fact that the yeast was pretty much the only thing that was majorly different than other partial-grain brews I had done, this seemed quite possible.
Above are the makings of an experiment to try to make some reparations. Rather than rebottling everything without knowing the potential outcome, I’m trying an experiment with just one bottle. Since I used cognac to soak the original vanilla beans that went into the wort, I used cognac as a quick-fix sterilizing agent. I felt like I was about to cut a boil out of some gold-miner 49’ers neck. I opened a sterilized pack of Champagne yeast with cognac-covered scissors, dipped a sharp, sterilized knife in to capture a couple of grains of yeast, and put them into a sadly-uncarbed bottle. Then I put a new bottle cap on.
So now it sits on my dining room table like the ark of the covenant, and I’m afraid upon opening I will be filled with the sting of failure. Anyway, we’ll see if this does any good in about a week. I figured the least I can do before just giving up and wasting a few gallons of potentially decent beer is to try this experiment.