Author Topic: Bottle Bombs, ...oh my.  (Read 3544 times)

Offline jchaynes

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Bottle Bombs, ...oh my.
« on: July 01, 2013, 06:28:25 PM »
So it has been a while since I have brewed any beer, but I now have a batch ready to bottle.  After reading through some of the postings, my biggest concern obviously is with bottle bombs.  I have followed a very strict regiment of cleanliness and intend to use the recommended amount of priming suger.  One of my store reps just gave me a pre packaged amount for my kit, so I will assume that I can just use this in a cup of water boiled for the right amount. 

Now my concern is with the subject of bottle bombs...  Will this phenomena occur at any time after the bottling process? Up until it is all consumed? Or can I safely assume that after a week if it has not happened, then I should be OK.  I have never had an issue in the past in the batches I have brewed, but I am curious.

Thanks

Offline duboman

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Bottle Bombs, ...oh my.
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2013, 06:34:05 PM »
Just because it is a pre packaged amount of priming sugar do not assume it is the correct amount for your beer.

The amount of sugar used needs to based on the finished volume of beer, not the batch size.

Use a priming calculator, IME a typical 5 gal batch of normal gravity beer does not need a full 5 oz of sugar and it is always best to weigh it out to the gram.

If the bottles are going to explode its usually after the 2 week mark as the beer becomes carbonated.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2013, 06:37:52 PM by duboman »
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Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: Bottle Bombs, ...oh my.
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2013, 06:40:02 PM »
There really are only three causes of exploding bottles.
1- The beer was not finished fermenting, so there is excess sugar to be turned into CO2. Just make sure the gravity is stable and near the expected FG and you shouldn't have to worry about this at all.
2- The beer is infected with a wild yeast or bacteria. If you're sanitation is good, you shouldn't worry much about this either.
3- The bottle was physically damaged. You'll probably never see a microfracture that could cause the glass to break. So just use decent bottles and handle them gently. If one gets dinged, don't try to fill it.  Honestly, this is rare.

There really is no safe point with any of the above since pressure can build up slowly over months with the first two causes. But if your brewing practices are good, you shouldn't worry too much.
5oz of priming sugar is a standard amount sold by shops for 5 gallons of beer. Some people like to fine tune the carbonation with more or less, but you won't go wrong with it. It certainly won't cause exploding bottles.
Boiled in a cup of water is right. Make sure to stir it into your beer gently, but thoroughly. Poorly mixed sugar will give you a mix of undercarbonated and overcarbonated bottles.
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Offline jchaynes

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Re: Bottle Bombs, ...oh my.
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2013, 10:49:20 PM »
Thanks for the help folks, I greatly appreciate it!  I found a priming sugar calculator on Northern Brewers and if it was accurate, and I will assume that it was, it called for 5.25 oz. for that mix.  Since what I was sold was right at 5 oz, I am under carbonated I guess.  Will this .25 make that much of a difference? 

Also, when I took the final gravity it was 1.020 and was supposed to be 1.012, should I worry about that little of a difference?  After being in the primary for 2.5 weeks, I transferred to the secondary for another 2 weeks.  So I feel that it should have been done with the fermentation process. 

Finally, and this is something that I did not take into consideration any, is that I am at 7200 ft.  Can this altitude have an effect on brewing like it does with baking and cooking?

I greatly appreciate the advice that I have received.  Thanks!

Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: Bottle Bombs, ...oh my.
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2013, 05:36:52 AM »
Thanks for the help folks, I greatly appreciate it!  I found a priming sugar calculator on Northern Brewers and if it was accurate, and I will assume that it was, it called for 5.25 oz. for that mix.  Since what I was sold was right at 5 oz, I am under carbonated I guess.  Will this .25 make that much of a difference? 

Also, when I took the final gravity it was 1.020 and was supposed to be 1.012, should I worry about that little of a difference?  After being in the primary for 2.5 weeks, I transferred to the secondary for another 2 weeks.  So I feel that it should have been done with the fermentation process. 

Finally, and this is something that I did not take into consideration any, is that I am at 7200 ft.  Can this altitude have an effect on brewing like it does with baking and cooking?
I wouldn't be worrying about .25oz very much.  A 0.008 difference might be a problem depending on what the OG was... so what was it?  High altitude - I'm not sure. I don't think it makes a huge difference.
Jimmy K

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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Bottle Bombs, ...oh my.
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2013, 07:12:35 AM »
Alt only changes boil temp. About 198 at 7000' vs 212 at sea level IIRC

Offline bboy9000

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Re: Bottle Bombs, ...oh my.
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2013, 09:45:40 PM »

Finally, and this is something that I did not take into consideration any, is that I am at 7200 ft.  Can this altitude have an effect on brewing like it does with baking and cooking?


The altitude issue was raised on an episode of the Sunday Session on the BN about a month ago and nobody knew the answer to it, but it seems unlikely to affect the gravity by 1.008 but I don't actually know.  Another variable to consider is the temperature for the sach rest.  What was the temperature suppose to be? If it was too hight the wort may not have been as fermentable. 

Also consider your yeast pitching.  Did you need to make a starter? How old was the yeast?  What was the fermentation temperature?  What strain if yeast did you use.

Like mtnrockhopper mentioned, what was the OG.  An FG of 1.020 would likely be fine in a high gravity wort.  There are many variables to consider and taking good notes will help in determining the cause.
Brian
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Re: Bottle Bombs, ...oh my.
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2013, 06:17:21 AM »
If you bottle at 7200' and drink it at 7200' I would guess you'd be fine(with a fully attenuated beer). If you open the beer at a much lower altitude, it will likely be undercarbonated. Take it to a much higher altitude and it will gush.
I once had Anchor porter (sea level) at an 8000' ski resort and it shot out of that bottle like Old Faithful.

Offline gmwren

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Re: Bottle Bombs, ...oh my.
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2013, 06:22:57 AM »
I brewed for awhile at 7200' as well and yes, the boil temp is reduced. In discussions with the former brewer at Dillon Dam Brewery (~9300') he increased his boil time for better hop utilization. That will have an effect on final volume, but that's an easy problem to fix. Otherwise there should not be an issue with altitude.

Offline gmwren

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Re: Bottle Bombs, ...oh my.
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2013, 06:29:53 AM »
If you bottle at 7200' and drink it at 7200' I would guess you'd be fine(with a fully attenuated beer). If you open the beer at a much lower altitude, it will likely be undercarbonated. Take it to a much higher altitude and it will gush.
I once had Anchor porter (sea level) at an 8000' ski resort and it shot out of that bottle like Old Faithful.
I suspect your porter was infected. I've opened many a sea level brewed beer well above 12,000 feet with no "Old Faithfuls."

cornershot

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Re: Bottle Bombs, ...oh my.
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2013, 04:01:43 AM »
If you bottle at 7200' and drink it at 7200' I would guess you'd be fine(with a fully attenuated beer). If you open the beer at a much lower altitude, it will likely be undercarbonated. Take it to a much higher altitude and it will gush.
I once had Anchor porter (sea level) at an 8000' ski resort and it shot out of that bottle like Old Faithful.
I suspect your porter was infected. I've opened many a sea level brewed beer well above 12,000 feet with no "Old Faithfuls."

Hmmm. Some friends I was visiting who lived there said it was typical for bottled beer to gush at that altitude. Guess I'll have to unlearn that?

Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: Bottle Bombs, ...oh my.
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2013, 07:00:33 AM »
Ambient air pressure at sea level is 14.7 psi. Ambient at 7000 feet is 11.3 psi. If the pressure in a bottle with 3.0 volumes CO2 is 44.1 psi. Then a beer with 3.0 volumes CO2 at sea level would be at 3.9 volumes at 7000 feet. That's overcarbonated, but probably not enough to be a gusher.
 
By the same math, a 2.0 vol beer would be 2.6 at 7000 feet.
 
A 2.5 vol beer would be 3.25 at 7000 feet.
 
 
Disclaimer: This math is the product of my own logic.
 
 
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Offline brewmonk

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Re: Bottle Bombs, ...oh my.
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2013, 12:35:48 PM »
You need to be aware of:
1) your finishing gravity, was it correct?  This is the biggest factor. 1 Plato can add about 5 grams/Liter of CO2.  If your beer finished out as it should, this is not a problem, and need not be accounted for.

2) temperature. There is a residual amount of CO2 in the beer due to the temperature.  The colder the beer, the more residual CO2 there is.  You can find charts online to tell you the amount of CO2 in the beer (John Palmer's "How to Brew" site has a good chart. Also Braukaiser.com.

3) Amount of bottling sugar, based on the above info, you need to fill in the rest of your CO2 need with sugar or fermentables.
Braukaiser is good for that also.
Br. Francis
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