Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: tushfestival on May 04, 2010, 02:44:27 PM

Title: Any hope for remaining bottles if 2 already erupted?
Post by: tushfestival on May 04, 2010, 02:44:27 PM
I bottled my very first batch of beer two days ago, brewed using a 1-gallon kit and following the instructions from the vendor before I started reading more about homebrewing, so I'm sure there are a ton of things that could have gone wrong!  When I started I didn't think I would buy a capper right away, and thought instead I would gather some swing-top bottles, plus I bought a few airtight rubber stoppers kind of like this one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000V4NW96 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000V4NW96).  Then I ended up buying a capper anyway, and when I bottled, I used two 750 ml bottles with the rubber stoppers and put the rest in five 12-oz bottles with regular caps.

The next day I found one of the large bottles was only half full, without a stopper, and surrounded by a pool of beer.  On the other large bottle the stopper had moved up about a centimeter.  I cleaned up the mess and was debating whether I should leave the second large bottle alone or readjust the stopper.  I decided to readjust.  Mistake! I got to see a recreation of what happened to the other bottle in the middle of the night.  Beer foam erupted everywhere till the bottle was a little less than half full.  This was after only one night of being bottled.  So I'm wondering...is there any hope for the remaining 12-oz bottles, which so far have not exploded?  I will know soon enough, and I'm not getting my hopes up.  I plan on opening them in a couple weeks, over a sink with my head turned away, hoping not to shoot anyone's eyes out with a flying bottle cap.  :'(

My other question is, of course, how do I avoid this in my next batch??  Here are a few things I think might have gone wrong:
- It got pretty hot in my apartment the day I bottled.
- Maybe too much yeast from the beginning?
- I used honey for priming and maybe didn't stir it in enough...the big bottles were the first two I filled, so they may have gotten too much sugar from the bottom of the pot.  I also did not heat the honey at all first; the directions didn't say to, but now I'm wondering if it could have contaminated the beer.
- It took me several, several frustrating tries to get a good siphon going.  I kept having to refill the tube with water to restart the flow of beer.  I was very careful about sanitizing all the equipment, but if anything became unsanitary, it might have happened at that point.
- Is there any reason not to use large bottles?  Either way I'm not planning on using them again, but just wondering if that could have been a problem.

Any of your expert insight would be much appreciated!  Thanks!



Title: Re: Any hope for remaining bottles if 2 already erupted?
Post by: a10t2 on May 04, 2010, 03:07:30 PM
I don't really think those stoppers can hold much pressure. Aren't they designed for wine?

That might be the only problem. Be very careful though; if the capped bottles fail it won't be the caps, it will be exploding glass.
Title: Re: Any hope for remaining bottles if 2 already erupted?
Post by: tygo on May 04, 2010, 03:16:01 PM
Seems like a lot of pressure built up for just one day in the bottle.  How much honey did you use to prime it?
Title: Re: Any hope for remaining bottles if 2 already erupted?
Post by: euge on May 04, 2010, 03:27:39 PM
I'm wondering if the brew was actually ready to bottle. Sounds like it needed a few more days to settle down.

Tush- could you give us a more detailed time-line of your process? Often "instructions" from the vendor are loose guidelines...
Title: Re: Any hope for remaining bottles if 2 already erupted?
Post by: tushfestival on May 04, 2010, 03:50:18 PM
Here's my timeline:
First let the gallon jug sit with blow-off tube for two days.  Replaced blow-off tube with airlock and let sit for another two weeks.  So the total time was a little over two weeks.  It didn't look like much was going on when I bottled it.

I used 3 tablespoons of honey to prime, which is what the recipe called for, but it's definitely possible I didn't mix it evenly.

It's true the stoppers were probably not a good idea, but they seemed to me like they would be just as sturdy as a swing-top would be.  I don't think there should have been enough pressure to pop them off.
Title: Re: Any hope for remaining bottles if 2 already erupted?
Post by: euge on May 04, 2010, 04:26:00 PM
Well two weeks should be enough primary for most beers. It very well could be that most of that honey made it's way into the flip-tops, though it must have kicked off pretty good to pop those tops... :D

I just calculated what it would take to prime 1 gallon to 2.45 vol co2 @ 75F. Only 0.9 oz of sugar. Three Tbs of honey contains about 1.7 oz of sugar. It may be it has been over-primed.
Title: Re: Any hope for remaining bottles if 2 already erupted?
Post by: tushfestival on May 04, 2010, 05:08:56 PM
Thanks for the help!  I searched for more info online about priming with honey, and it seems like the popular opinion is that it's unpredictable and not worth using.  I will just hope it is more diluted in the remaining bottles and try a different sugar next batch.
Title: Re: Any hope for remaining bottles if 2 already erupted?
Post by: euge on May 04, 2010, 05:57:46 PM
You're welcome!

With your other bottles make sure they get real good and cold before you open them. Wrap a towel around the bottle and pry up one "prong" of the cap slightly and carefully. If beer sprays instead of getting a slight hiss you probably have gushers.

I've saved gushers by prying up one prong on the caps until I get a good hiss and then letting them sit in the fridge for "hours" until I can safely open a bottle. Then the caps get re-tightened.

Be careful since an over-primed bottle is quite dangerous. Wear sunglasses or something like that...