Author Topic: Any hope for remaining bottles if 2 already erupted?  (Read 889 times)

Offline tushfestival

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Any hope for remaining bottles if 2 already erupted?
« on: May 04, 2010, 07:44:27 AM »
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.  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!




Offline a10t2

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3207
  • Ask me why I don't like Chico!
    • View Profile
    • SeanTerrill.com
Re: Any hope for remaining bottles if 2 already erupted?
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2010, 08:07:30 AM »
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.
Beer is like porn. You can buy it, but it's more fun to make your own.
http://seanterrill.com/category/brewing/

Offline tygo

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2622
  • Sterling, VA
    • View Profile
Re: Any hope for remaining bottles if 2 already erupted?
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2010, 08:16:01 AM »
Seems like a lot of pressure built up for just one day in the bottle.  How much honey did you use to prime it?
Clint
Wort Hogs

Fermenting: Wit
On Tap: Lucifer's Hammer Golden Strong Ale, Dopplebock, Old Fuzzynut's Ale

Offline euge

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7396
  • Estilo Casero
    • View Profile
Re: Any hope for remaining bottles if 2 already erupted?
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2010, 08:27:39 AM »
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...
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline tushfestival

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Re: Any hope for remaining bottles if 2 already erupted?
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2010, 08:50:18 AM »
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.

Offline euge

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7396
  • Estilo Casero
    • View Profile
Re: Any hope for remaining bottles if 2 already erupted?
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2010, 09:26:00 AM »
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.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline tushfestival

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Re: Any hope for remaining bottles if 2 already erupted?
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2010, 10:08:56 AM »
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.

Offline euge

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7396
  • Estilo Casero
    • View Profile
Re: Any hope for remaining bottles if 2 already erupted?
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2010, 10:57:46 AM »
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...
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman