Author Topic: Bottling and over-carbonation over time, using calculator for style  (Read 1179 times)

Offline Uvolnit

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I bottled a Winter Warmer using the correct amount of priming sugar.  After 2 weeks of conditioning at around 70°F the beer was pretty much not carbonated at all.  I posted in another post about this with the ABV of around 8% and figured the yeast could not handle the ABV so it couldn't carbonate any further.  So, now over 3 weeks in I opened a few bottles after refrigerating for a few days and some of them are over carbonated.  From research the correct amount of priming sugar should end up carbonating the beer perfectly no matter now long it has been conditioning but I am still getting foamers.  Due to this I just put as many of these bottles as I can fit in my fridge in attempt to crash them and stop the carbonation action.  I put the rest of the beers in my basement which is near 60° in the hopes that they will slow the chemistry and slow the carbonation until I have room to put the rest in the fridge.
Is there any way to correct this?  I'm disappointed because I keep have this happening to my beers, no matter the style and yeast strain and it sucks when pouring because of the over-carbonation.  I've brewed 14 batches of beer and keep trying to perfect the carbonation based on my previous brews and priming amounts but it seems to keep getting worse over time no matter what I do and I keep reducing the amount of priming sugar, even after calculating it to the beer style.  I also keep my beers in primary for about 2 weeks and secondary for at least a week (at the correct temperatures), depending on style, so the fermentation is definitely finished before bottling. 
« Last Edit: February 19, 2018, 06:10:40 AM by Uvolnit »

Online dmtaylor

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Re: Bottling and over-carbonation over time, using calculator for style
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2018, 12:18:36 PM »
Must be from too much carryover of solids in the bottoms of the bottles. The solids create nucleation sites for the CO2, so that when carbonation does finally happen, the bottles suddenly become gushers.  You may find it beneficial to incorporate a brief secondary prior to bottling.  I was not a proponent of secondary in the past, but am returning to it now as it does improve clarity and carbonation FOR BOTTLERS.  Keggers need not reply.
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Offline flars

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Re: Bottling and over-carbonation over time, using calculator for style
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2018, 01:05:50 PM »
You have your beers in the primary for two weeks.  You don't mention specific gravity of the beers before racking to a secondary vessel.  Have you confirmed the fermentation is finished with specific gravity readings before transferring to the secondary vessel?

It is possible the beer has not finished in the primary.  The fermentation may be finishing in the bottles causing the over carbonation.

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Re: Bottling and over-carbonation over time, using calculator for style
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2018, 01:13:22 PM »
But if it was still fermenting and then priming sugar was added, I would expect (based on experience!) that the bottles would be well carbonated in just 2-4 days.  The OP's bottles were not carbonated after 2 weeks, but then suddenly at 3 weeks they turned to gushers.  This seems odd but makes a bit more sense if the bottles are full of trub.
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Offline joelv

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Re: Bottling and over-carbonation over time, using calculator for style
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2018, 02:01:21 PM »
I bottled a Winter Warmer using the correct amount of priming sugar.  After 2 weeks of conditioning at around 70°F the beer was pretty much not carbonated at all.  I posted in another post about this with the ABV of around 8% and figured the yeast could not handle the ABV so it couldn't carbonate any further.  So, now over 3 weeks in I opened a few bottles after refrigerating for a few days and some of them are over carbonated.  From research the correct amount of priming sugar should end up carbonating the beer perfectly no matter now long it has been conditioning but I am still getting foamers.  Due to this I just put as many of these bottles as I can fit in my fridge in attempt to crash them and stop the carbonation action.  I put the rest of the beers in my basement which is near 60° in the hopes that they will slow the chemistry and slow the carbonation until I have room to put the rest in the fridge.
Is there any way to correct this?  I'm disappointed because I keep have this happening to my beers, no matter the style and yeast strain and it sucks when pouring because of the over-carbonation.  I've brewed 14 batches of beer and keep trying to perfect the carbonation based on my previous brews and priming amounts but it seems to keep getting worse over time no matter what I do and I keep reducing the amount of priming sugar, even after calculating it to the beer style.  I also keep my beers in primary for about 2 weeks and secondary for at least a week (at the correct temperatures), depending on style, so the fermentation is definitely finished before bottling.
Is there any chance that the volume of finished beer is smaller than what you are calculating your priming sugar for? I used to use the standard amount from recipes, but didn’t think about the fact that I may have only had 4.5 gallons of finished beer.




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Offline rburrelli

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Re: Bottling and over-carbonation over time, using calculator for style
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2018, 05:52:09 PM »
I might suggest that since you are having this happen on all brews no matter the grist or yeast used, that there may be some sort of infection/bug that is within your equipment and continually showing up in your finished product.
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Re: Bottling and over-carbonation over time, using calculator for style
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2018, 07:41:41 PM »
I might suggest that since you are having this happen on all brews no matter the grist or yeast used, that there may be some sort of infection/bug that is within your equipment and continually showing up in your finished product.

That could also be a possibility, unfortunately.
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Offline Uvolnit

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Re: Bottling and over-carbonation over time, using calculator for style
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2018, 11:50:38 PM »
Must be from too much carryover of solids in the bottoms of the bottles. The solids create nucleation sites for the CO2, so that when carbonation does finally happen, the bottles suddenly become gushers.  You may find it beneficial to incorporate a brief secondary prior to bottling.  I was not a proponent of secondary in the past, but am returning to it now as it does improve clarity and carbonation FOR BOTTLERS.  Keggers need not reply.

This seems like the most likely answer.  I want to say that it happens most when making IPAs which also have the most solids in the bottom of the bottles, assuming this happens more with IPAs due to the large amount of hops I use. 
It does not happen to all of my beers as I sort of mentioned in the original post.  It for sure did not happen when I made a mock-toberfest, which I let condition in secondary for 6 weeks, and turned out very clear and little to no sediment in the bottle.  I still have 1 or 2 so will try one of those soon and see if they are over carbonated after sitting for probably another 6-10 months since I bottled them.
Another note is that none of my brews were truly cold crashed and most do have a lot of sediment in the bottom of the bottles.  Since it's cold enough in my Colorado garage right now I plan on truly cold crashing them for a few days at near freezing temps and also using gelatin.  I'm assuming this will help out this issue immensely but I will follow up with the results once I have them bottled and conditioned long enough.
I've done a secondary fermentation step on all of my beers.

Offline Uvolnit

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Re: Bottling and over-carbonation over time, using calculator for style
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2018, 11:52:09 PM »
You have your beers in the primary for two weeks.  You don't mention specific gravity of the beers before racking to a secondary vessel.  Have you confirmed the fermentation is finished with specific gravity readings before transferring to the secondary vessel?

It is possible the beer has not finished in the primary.  The fermentation may be finishing in the bottles causing the over carbonation.

Yes, I check the gravity at about 10 days in then at the near 2 week mark to make sure the fermentation is done before racking to secondary.  I did not do so in my first few brews when I was not as familiar or serious about brewing.

Offline Uvolnit

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Re: Bottling and over-carbonation over time, using calculator for style
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2018, 12:04:28 AM »
I bottled a Winter Warmer using the correct amount of priming sugar.  After 2 weeks of conditioning at around 70°F the beer was pretty much not carbonated at all.  I posted in another post about this with the ABV of around 8% and figured the yeast could not handle the ABV so it couldn't carbonate any further.  So, now over 3 weeks in I opened a few bottles after refrigerating for a few days and some of them are over carbonated.  From research the correct amount of priming sugar should end up carbonating the beer perfectly no matter now long it has been conditioning but I am still getting foamers.  Due to this I just put as many of these bottles as I can fit in my fridge in attempt to crash them and stop the carbonation action.  I put the rest of the beers in my basement which is near 60° in the hopes that they will slow the chemistry and slow the carbonation until I have room to put the rest in the fridge.
Is there any way to correct this?  I'm disappointed because I keep have this happening to my beers, no matter the style and yeast strain and it sucks when pouring because of the over-carbonation.  I've brewed 14 batches of beer and keep trying to perfect the carbonation based on my previous brews and priming amounts but it seems to keep getting worse over time no matter what I do and I keep reducing the amount of priming sugar, even after calculating it to the beer style.  I also keep my beers in primary for about 2 weeks and secondary for at least a week (at the correct temperatures), depending on style, so the fermentation is definitely finished before bottling.
Is there any chance that the volume of finished beer is smaller than what you are calculating your priming sugar for? I used to use the standard amount from recipes, but didn’t think about the fact that I may have only had 4.5 gallons of finished beer.

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Yes, that's possible but not to the extent of the gushers I can get.  I have my carboys marked at .5G marks up to 6G, so have to guess how much trub is left to subtract.  This Winter Warmer beer I'm posting about was at about 5.5G (subtracting the trub) and I used 3.9oz dextrose.  Based on the calculator for the style, at 2.2 volume of CO2 and the conditioning temp it called for the 3.9oz.

Offline Uvolnit

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Re: Bottling and over-carbonation over time, using calculator for style
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2018, 12:08:32 AM »
I might suggest that since you are having this happen on all brews no matter the grist or yeast used, that there may be some sort of infection/bug that is within your equipment and continually showing up in your finished product.

That could also be a possibility, unfortunately.

I suppose, yes.  But with your previous post about having trub in the bottom of the bottles makes the most sense to me.  Along with the Oktoberfest I made, other non-hoppy beers were not over-carbonated like some of the really hoppy ones which also had more trub in the bottles.  I'm going to continue what I'm doing along with the cold crashing and gelatin fining and see after that how the carbonation goes.  If it's still happening then I'll check into potential infection.

Offline trubgerg

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Re: Bottling and over-carbonation over time, using calculator for style
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2018, 02:06:21 AM »
I've had a few batches over the years that have acted like this... no carbonation (or even normal carbonation) after a week or two, and then all bottles were gushers later.  A few months ago I was woken up in the middle of the night by a bottle bomb and the next day noticed the caps on the remaining bottles of a stout (after about a month in bottles) were bowed up.

My assumption has always been that there must be an infection in that situation.  I've had beers with excess trub in the bottom of the bottles with no carbonation issues, and conversely I have had gushers that had no more than a dusting of trub. 
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Offline Uvolnit

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Re: Bottling and over-carbonation over time, using calculator for style
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2018, 02:43:22 AM »
I've had a few batches over the years that have acted like this... no carbonation (or even normal carbonation) after a week or two, and then all bottles were gushers later.  A few months ago I was woken up in the middle of the night by a bottle bomb and the next day noticed the caps on the remaining bottles of a stout (after about a month in bottles) were bowed up.

My assumption has always been that there must be an infection in that situation.  I've had beers with excess trub in the bottom of the bottles with no carbonation issues, and conversely I have had gushers that had no more than a dusting of trub.

Good to know.  And, I doubt there's any way to know if and why an infection occurred which makes it all a guessing game unless you know for sure something could have infected it.
At about what temp were you storing the bottles you mentioned were bottle bombing and with bowed caps?


Offline Uvolnit

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Re: Bottling and over-carbonation over time, using calculator for style
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2018, 06:32:44 AM »
As an example of a previous brew that is over-carbonated, here is a photo below that I just took after pouring an IPA that I brewed on 10/17/17 and bottled on 10/29/17.  I drank most of those within the month after bottling and kept this last one in the basement which is right now at around 64°.  This bottle has been in the fridge for a few days.  Also, the hop bill is quite insane (8oz pellets and 6oz whole fresh hops in the boil + 4 oz dry hopped) as I added way more than necessary which did not help the flavor and I learned from there.  So, there will likely be much more hop residue than a "normally hopped" IPA.
I tried taking a pic as best I could with the decent level of trub at the bottom of the bottle.  After I popped the cap and poured a bit into the glass I could see streams of bubbles rising from different parts of the trub, the same that happens from other beers that I have the over-carbonation issue with.  In the photo of the beer in the glass I poured carefully and slowly and still ended up with that massive amount of foamy and almost yeasty head.
This is another example that leads me to believe the excessive amount of trub in the bottles causes the over-carbonation and that cold crashing will help this issue.




« Last Edit: February 20, 2018, 06:36:41 AM by Uvolnit »

Offline flars

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Re: Bottling and over-carbonation over time, using calculator for style
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2018, 06:41:28 AM »
Check the specific gravity of one of the over carbonated beers.  Compare it to the SG when it was bottled.