Author Topic: Gusher from the bottle. Why?  (Read 2755 times)

Offline steve olson

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Gusher from the bottle. Why?
« on: November 20, 2013, 01:10:14 PM »
I have been brewing for just 4 years. The last 3 have been all grain and I still bottle. I am very happy with the majority of the results.

I still do not understand, WHY that happens. I could understand it, if I had a some trub or fruit, instead of just yeast that moved forward to the finish in the final beer. Or maybe, if I added too much priming sugar at bottling. Or, if I did a lousy job of cleaning the bottles and equipment. I make a habit to clean, rinse and sanitize everything before I brew AND before things are put away.
 
I notice that some beers can be active early on, before allowing the beer to finish. But it normally settles out later in the fridge. Others can behave nicely in the beginning, but seem to come alive later.

Thank goodness, that the Gusher is the exception to the rule and only shows up once in a while, and not very many of them.
 
Thank you for any advice you can share.

Steve.

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Offline singletrack brewer

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Re: Gusher from the bottle. Why?
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2013, 01:19:18 PM »
Hey Steve, sometimes these little setbacks can be annoying but not to worry as we can assist in helping you overcome this.  Can you fill us in a little more as to the recipe info, what yeast you used, OG and FG of the beer prior to bottling and such.  The more we know the more we can assist you in solving the problem.
Chris
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Gusher from the bottle. Why?
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2013, 02:01:40 PM »
Hey Steve, sometimes these little setbacks can be annoying but not to worry as we can assist in helping you overcome this.  Can you fill us in a little more as to the recipe info, what yeast you used, OG and FG of the beer prior to bottling and such.  The more we know the more we can assist you in solving the problem.

The more detail the better.  There are the obvious issues but I'm sure you've thought of these.  Things like thoroughly mixing the priming sugar in the bucket to avoid uneven carbing.  You've mentioned cleaning and sanitation.  Serving temp and such.

The worst batches I had due to gushers were the ones I rushed.  Not quite done fermenting yet and too much priming sugar.  I made some real messes.

Paul
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Offline duboman

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Re: Gusher from the bottle. Why?
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2013, 02:46:47 PM »
Hey Steve,

Yup, details on process would help!

Since you mention the "occasional" gusher I will say it most likely comes from a poor mix of priming sugar into the wort. It could also be a possibility if you are not weighing out the priming sugar and measuring by volume which can be a little iffy.

Once you give us some details we can certainly help out!
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Offline kramerog

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Re: Gusher from the bottle. Why?
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2013, 02:59:38 PM »
Are you talking about one or two gushers within a batch or one or two batches of gushers.  What I have discovered is that occasionally a dirty bottle will slip through resulting in a gusher or off-flavors. 
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Gusher from the bottle. Why?
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2013, 08:28:35 PM »
Are you talking about one or two gushers within a batch or one or two batches of gushers.  What I have discovered is that occasionally a dirty bottle will slip through resulting in a gusher or off-flavors.

this is where I went first myself.

There are really only two things it could be:
1) too much sugar left upon bottling - either because the beer isn't done, or because you added too much priming sugar or because the priming sugar wasn't thoroughly mixed so some bottles got too much, some not enough.
2) something got in there that can metabolize sugars into co2 that your yeast could not.

If you are saying that one or two bottle out of a batch will be gushers but the rest of the batch is spot on then it's almost certainly dirty bottles.

if one or two batches in the last four years have been gushers consistently, every bottle gushing and no bottles undercarbed, it's probably too much priming sugar or, more likely, the beer wasn't finished when it was bottled. unless they also taste funky, then it might still be infection. Look for a ring around the neck of the gushers, this can be a sign of infection.

if 20-50% of the bottles from a batch are gushers and the 50-80% are slightly to severely under carbed it's poorly mixed priming sugar.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Gusher from the bottle. Why?
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2013, 06:08:36 AM »
This may or may not have anything to do with your problem but: I have had issues with US-05 continuing to ferment in the bottle. I am not bottle conditioning but packing carbonated beers for a small commercial brewery and the only beers we have had problems with gushing are beers brewed with US-05. I won't use that strain for my IPA anymore, which is a shame because it is so cheap and easy to use and any flaws are fairly well hidden behind a large dose of hops.
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Offline singletrack brewer

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Re: Gusher from the bottle. Why?
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2013, 06:54:39 AM »
We use S-05 in our 7 bbl system and haven't had any issues with the beers continuing to ferment after primary is complete. Once our gravity holds steady for three days we condition, crash and transfer.  I'm curious if the beers you are encountering problems with are cold crashed to prevent the gravity from dipping further in an attempt to retain some residual sweetness or body.  Then, over time the yeast that didn't floc out slowly munch away on the residual sugars causing the gushers.  Anyway, that's getting us away from what the OP is all about.
Chris
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Gusher from the bottle. Why?
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2013, 07:06:29 AM »
Steve, I feel your pain.  Seems like carbonation is an area where there are multiple variables at play and its tough to get things just right at least for me.  Its easy to wind up with overcarbonation.

Are you using a priming sugar calculator?  that does help, especially the part about the temperature and residual CO2 in the beer that needs to be accounted for.  In cool weather that is really significant.

I also think there can sometimes be a stalling out by the yeast that makes it look like the beer is finished when its really still working ever so slowly.  Consider that just a couple of points of gravity will make a whole lot of extra carbonation.

If its just the occasional bottle and not a whole batch kind of thing, then its most likely a sanitation issue with a single bottle.  You could always bake the bottles to ensure sterilization even if theres a little something left in a crevice, but thats a pain.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Gusher from the bottle. Why?
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2013, 07:22:47 AM »
We use S-05 in our 7 bbl system and haven't had any issues with the beers continuing to ferment after primary is complete. Once our gravity holds steady for three days we condition, crash and transfer.  I'm curious if the beers you are encountering problems with are cold crashed to prevent the gravity from dipping further in an attempt to retain some residual sweetness or body.  Then, over time the yeast that didn't floc out slowly munch away on the residual sugars causing the gushers.  Anyway, that's getting us away from what the OP is all about.

Are you bottling and are your bottles sitting out on store shelves warm? We never had problems with kegs kept cold (or bottles cold for that matter). All gushing has occurred after bottles sat warm out on store shelves. It's possible that it is coincidence and that the underlying issue is something else entirely, like a contamination. But weirdly enough beer tastes fine after gushing settles. And it doesn't happen on any other style and we have bottles something like 12 styles - nary a hitch. But it has been several batches of IPA all with this problem. But never a problem with other styles using liquid belgian strains.

No way I would ever cold crash to retain any residual sugars (unless I was planning on pitching brett or something later). Sweet beer is not my style. I ferment to completion, starting cool and warming to end then reach (what seems to be) terminal gravity on all my beers, then wait, take hydro reading, etc. What you are talking about sounds like a total n00b approach and I can't fathom why any brewer worth his calcium chloride would do such a thing.

I've mentioned this before on the forum here and have had people say they have not had problems but a few years back there was a "rumor" that went around my homebrew club that US-05 continued to work slowly after terminal was reached. I thought it was crazy at the time, never had an issue at the homebrew level. But now that I have shipped a few thousand bottles and have had a few issues I just have to wonder.

Anyway, OP may not even be using US-05 but if he is and if his bottles are left at room temp for a few weeks or months it may just be something to look int.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2013, 07:29:51 AM by majorvices »
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Offline singletrack brewer

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Re: Gusher from the bottle. Why?
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2013, 07:40:04 AM »
We never cold crash prior to terminal and agree that it's a noob approach but recently someone mentioned doing it and I cringed at the suggestion.  Hopefully I didn't ruffle feathers or anything and if I did, I didn't mean to. Currently we don't bottle but do firkins and kegs.  The kegs come off our brights that are also the serving tanks for the restaurant. So far I've only encountered one lost firkin due to the keystone ejecting. Anyway, sounds like you and I should talk more off line and compare notes.

« Last Edit: November 21, 2013, 07:44:09 AM by singletrack brewer »
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Gusher from the bottle. Why?
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2013, 08:32:31 AM »
I'd rather you hashed it out here, its interesting and theres not much going on in forums these days.

Does the liquid version of Chico behave the same way?  I know US05 ferments pretty dry to begin with, I wonder if theres some activity that lets it ferment out some larger sugars or something thats not accessible to normal yeast?  Sometimes I have noticed it takes a LONG time for US05 to drop out too.

And a related question.  How many extra gravity points would it take to make a gusher?  One extra unit?  Less?
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Re: Gusher from the bottle. Why?
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2013, 08:35:36 AM »
I read the OP as a problem with the periodic gusher in an otherwise normal batch. I would look at your cleaning/sanitation of bottles pre-packaging. A dirty bottle might be getting in the mix.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Gusher from the bottle. Why?
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2013, 08:42:18 AM »
We never cold crash prior to terminal and agree that it's a noob approach but recently someone mentioned doing it and I cringed at the suggestion.  Hopefully I didn't ruffle feathers or anything and if I did, I didn't mean to. Currently we don't bottle but do firkins and kegs.  The kegs come off our brights that are also the serving tanks for the restaurant. So far I've only encountered one lost firkin due to the keystone ejecting. Anyway, sounds like you and I should talk more off line and compare notes.

Heck no, man! No ruffled feathers. My apologies, I didn't mean to come off that way, just too much caffeine and late night and early start. I may be way off the mark here. But if anyone else has similar experiences with these issues I'd be really interested to know. As you are surely aware, the more you iron out issues the better the beer!
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Offline dsidab81

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Re: Gusher from the bottle. Why?
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2013, 08:44:19 AM »
It's mentioned here that 1.6 SG points is roughly 1 vol of CO2.  If you're already carbed to 2.0 vols....3 vols could definitely gush i'd say.
http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=2177.0