Author Topic: Gushing bottles  (Read 1144 times)

Offline mrbounds

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Gushing bottles
« on: July 28, 2010, 09:26:37 AM »
Hi Everyone,

So I have had a problem on a couple of batches recently with gushing bottles and am looking for help in eliminating this problem go forward. The beer in both instances tastes good so I am unsure as to whether it is an infection or uneven carbonation (although all of the bottles have had the issue). My sanitation has not changed and I typically use bleach to sanitize my carbuoys,funnel, tubing etc and use Star San for the bottles, I also scrub everything super clean after use and before sanitizing.
 The thing that concerns me with my brewing is that I do not use a full boil (I still use the kitchen stove: :( ) and typically only boil 1.5 - 2 gallons and then add this to cold tap water to make up the volume. If this is an infection could it be coming form the tap water? If so will using bottled water help and again if so are there certain brands etc that are better for brewing than others?

Again this has only happened on a couple of batches and have not had an issue with the vast majority of my brews.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks!

Offline hamiltont

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Re: Gushing bottles
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2010, 09:31:41 AM »
Here are a few things to check.

- Bottling too soon. Make sure the beer is completely fermented. Same Hydro reading 3 consecutive days.
- Infection - Better cleaning & disinfecting procedures.
- Inconsistent mixing of priming sugar. Make sure it's mixed well. Some even stir gently from the bottom to the top to make sure is mixed evenly.
- Too much bottling sugar.
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Offline hokerer

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Re: Gushing bottles
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2010, 09:33:19 AM »
How are you carbonating your beer?  Could be something as simple as too much priming.  Or maybe incomplete fermentation.  Details of your priming methods would help in figuring out possible issues (fermentation methods too for that matter)
Joe

Offline mrbounds

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Re: Gushing bottles
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2010, 09:41:15 AM »
One of the beers in question started at 1.065 and ended and 1.022. Primary was 2 weeks (gravity reading was steady for 3 days and secondary was 5 weeks.  I then primed using 1 cup of muntons light DME. The fermentation was carried out in my basement which is around 64F. I have been using a carbuoy as a bottling bucket but have just ordered a bucket to make it easier to mix. I am also considering switching to corn sugar for the priming (maybe it will give more consistent results).
So it could still be an infection even though the beer still tastes good?

Offline euge

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Re: Gushing bottles
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2010, 10:05:53 AM »
Without tasting it hard to tell. You should weigh priming sugars not measure.

There's tricks to vent the bottles without opening them. Kinda a pain in the butt but it does work.
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Offline tubercle

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Re: Gushing bottles
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2010, 10:15:53 AM »
What Euge said about weighing.

I am also considering switching to corn sugar for the priming (maybe it will give more consistent results).

 Save your money and use cane sugar.
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Offline mrbounds

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Re: Gushing bottles
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2010, 10:23:00 AM »
So should I not be worried about the water and just focus on improving my sanitation (I am not sure how) and priming method?

Offline hokerer

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Re: Gushing bottles
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2010, 10:24:59 AM »
One of the beers in question started at 1.065 and ended and 1.022. Primary was 2 weeks (gravity reading was steady for 3 days and secondary was 5 weeks.

That looks like about 66% ADF which, while low, shouldn't be too much of a problem (especially as it sounds like you're probably brewing extract).  If you're using liquid yeast, definitely make a starter if you aren't already.

Quote
I then primed using 1 cup of muntons light DME.

This could definitely be the problem.  Like Euge said, WEIGH your sugar.  Measuring volumes is just way too inconsistent.

Quote
I am also considering switching to corn sugar for the priming (maybe it will give more consistent results).

And, like tubercle said, don't worry about corn sugar, just use the plain old supermarket el-cheapo cane sugar - but weigh it, don't measure it.
Joe

Offline hopaddicted

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Re: Gushing bottles
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2010, 12:59:22 PM »
So should I not be worried about the water and just focus on improving my sanitation (I am not sure how) and priming method?

Its generally not a good idea to use unboiled tap water after the boil. You could boil the late addition and then cool in a sanitized container or use bottled water (I use Poland Spring due to concerns about my water), but this is probably not your issue.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Gushing bottles
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2010, 02:43:17 PM »
I can absolutely guarantee three things that will fix your carbonation problems once and for all:

1) The extra time you allocate for secondary conditioning?  Yeah -- Just leave it in the primary the whole time instead.  My experience proves that you can leave a batch in primary for up to 3 months with no ill effects.  Ignore the rubbish about "yeast autolysis" -- it rarely if ever happens with homebrewing.  Leaving your beer in the primary gives the benefit of letting the yeast do what they want to do, rather than you swiping the carpet out from under them, so to speak.

2) Use regular table sugar for ALL carbonation purposes.  You need 2/3 cup for 5 gallons.  Don't worry about weighing the sugar -- I don't care how much it weighs -- if you use 2/3 cup table sugar for 5 gallons, carbonation will be perfect every time.  DME is far too unpredictable.  Same goes for honey, maple syrup, you name it.  And corn sugar is just a waste of money.  Table sugar will get the job done, cheap, easy, and reliable.

3) Don't rush it.  Give the yeast plenty of time to do their job.  Sometimes a batch will ferment entirely within 2 or 3 days.  Sometimes it takes 2 months.  Just leave them be until fermentation is obviously done.  Check gravity when you think it's finished, then wait 3 days or more, then check again, just to be certain.  If you bottle too early, it's gusher city.

I speak the truth.  I've been brewing for 11 years and had to learn all these things the hard way.  Take heed.
Dave

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Offline mrbounds

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Re: Gushing bottles
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2010, 09:56:34 AM »
Thanks for the advice everyone. Table sugar it is and primary only suits me nicely!

Thanks again!