Author Topic: Bottle bombs  (Read 1457 times)

Offline BrewinSB

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Bottle bombs
« on: August 07, 2011, 09:37:54 PM »
I just bottled up my honey blonde about a week ago.  I used 4.75 oz turbinado sugar.  I took gravity readings one day and then two days later and they were the same.  The final gravity read 1.008 (three hash marks below 1.000, but adjusted for temp).  With these readings I thought it was done.  However, a couple days ago I had one of my bottles explode...  I am hoping it was a weak bottle or something.  Do I need to be concerned about the others exploding?  OG was 1.054 and it was in the fermentor for 4 weeks.

Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: Bottle bombs
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2011, 05:26:58 AM »
1.054 to 1.008 is 85% attenuation. Is that what you were expecting? Its pretty high, so I can't imagine that fermentation was not complete at that point. I'm just wondering if you have an infection that is eating those unfermentable sugars. Of course, adding honey will raise your attenuation, so maybe its nothing. Still, the yeast must be done at this point, so I'm concerned. You could open another bottle and see if it is over-carbonated.
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Offline tygo

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Re: Bottle bombs
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2011, 05:53:58 AM »
And if it's carbed up enough at this point get the bottles in the fridge to slow down any further yeast activity.  Maybe put them in a box in the fridge in case you have any more explosions.
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Offline hubie

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Re: Bottle bombs
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2011, 06:10:23 AM »
With your final gravity and the amount of sugar you used, my guess is that you had a bad bottle.  However, this is assuming you had 5 gallons in your bottling bucket.  Any chance you had much less beer than you thought?  How many bottles did you end up getting out of it?

Offline bonjour

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Re: Bottle bombs
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2011, 06:15:09 AM »
Another possibility is stratification of the bottling sugar resulting in over carb of some bottles and less than planned in others.
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Offline brewmonk

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Re: Bottle bombs
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2011, 06:50:42 AM »
Another possibility is stratification of the bottling sugar resulting in over carb of some bottles and less than planned in others.
Agreed.
Did you stir in your priming sugar well?
I learned that the hard way.  I had a batch that didn't mix well and had very inconsistent carbonation.  Now I always make sure I gently stir my beer to get my priming sugar evenly dispersed before I bottle.
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Offline newrocset

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Re: Bottle bombs
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2011, 07:03:51 AM »
I never heard of priming with turbinado sugar....maybe it's causing a little extra yeast activity?  Also, what temp are you conditioning your bottles at?  Anything over 80 will put you in the danger zone, and you gotta watch for that this summer.

I'm having the same problem with an imperial that I bottled over 10 months ago - but it's on account not attenuating fully - in your case, your beer fermented out just fine, and I'm suspecting it's a combination of the type of sugar you used with warmer than normal temps.  Get those bottles cooled down, maybe a fridge, or simply next to an A/C vent, and be really careful with them.....I've seen glass spread all over a room from exploding bottles, along with holes on the shelves they were sitting on, so proceed w/caution!  - in fact, I'm not going to touch my current batch of imperials until the temps start cooling.
Have a Kolsch and a smile!

Offline a10t2

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Re: Bottle bombs
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2011, 07:11:09 AM »
Also, what temp are you conditioning your bottles at?  Anything over 80 will put you in the danger zone, and you gotta watch for that this summer.

Why would that be? The difference between 60°F and 90°F at a typical carb level (2.4 vol) is only ~12 psi.

Or to put it another way, a domestic light lager (2.8 vol) at 60°F is at the same pressure as a typical homebrew (2.4 vol) at 90°F. And they do just fine in standard crown bottles.
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Offline newrocset

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Re: Bottle bombs
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2011, 01:28:35 PM »
Also, what temp are you conditioning your bottles at?  Anything over 80 will put you in the danger zone, and you gotta watch for that this summer.

Why would that be? The difference between 60°F and 90°F at a typical carb level (2.4 vol) is only ~12 psi.

Or to put it another way, a domestic light lager (2.8 vol) at 60°F is at the same pressure as a typical homebrew (2.4 vol) at 90°F. And they do just fine in standard crown bottles.
I would think high temps would increase the yeast activity and therefore yield more CO2 and more pressure.....and that's what appears to have happened to my batch - as soon the temperature went up, bottles started to explode....as long as the beer is in an active bottle conditioning process, I can see this as a possiblity given enough priming sugar and residual sugars....
Or maybe it just speeds the process up??? Anyway, I doubt that high temps are a necessarily good thing for conditioning.
Have a Kolsch and a smile!

Offline a10t2

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Re: Bottle bombs
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2011, 02:02:33 PM »
I would think high temps would increase the yeast activity and therefore yield more CO2 and more pressure

It'll increase the rate of fermentation, but the amount of CO2 produced is only dependent on the amount of fermentable sugar present. If that beer stalled out before reaching FG, then that's the culprit, not the temperature.

Some breweries that bottle condition will store the bottles at 80°F or so in order to decrease carbonation time and get them out the door more quickly.
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Offline BrewinSB

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Re: Bottle bombs
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2011, 06:45:06 PM »
I only had turbinado sugar available, didn't have time to run to the LHBS.  I put the priming mix in my bottling bucket and transferred onto that figuring that the circulation from the beer being transferred in would stir it up enough.  I probably had less than five gallons, but didn't do a secondary so I only transferred once to the bottling bucket.  I ended up getting 40 12oz bottles.  If I remember correctly the day it exploded was kind of a hot day so that may have been part of the issue. 

I threw a couple in the fridge last night and am enjoying one right now.  It is slightly carbonated, but not quite where I would want them.  Some more time should hopefully help them carb up more.

Offline hokerer

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Re: Bottle bombs
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2011, 07:00:18 PM »
I only had turbinado sugar available, didn't have time to run to the LHBS.  I put the priming mix in my bottling bucket and transferred onto that figuring that the circulation from the beer being transferred in would stir it up enough.  I probably had less than five gallons, but didn't do a secondary so I only transferred once to the bottling bucket.  I ended up getting 40 12oz bottles.  If I remember correctly the day it exploded was kind of a hot day so that may have been part of the issue. 

I threw a couple in the fridge last night and am enjoying one right now.  It is slightly carbonated, but not quite where I would want them.  Some more time should hopefully help them carb up more.

Five gallons is slightly over 53 bottles so 40 isn't really close.  I calculate that 40 is only 3.75 gallons.  Sounds like you got a good bit more priming sugar than you planned on.
Joe

Offline BrewinSB

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Re: Bottle bombs
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2011, 07:32:13 PM »
I only had turbinado sugar available, didn't have time to run to the LHBS.  I put the priming mix in my bottling bucket and transferred onto that figuring that the circulation from the beer being transferred in would stir it up enough.  I probably had less than five gallons, but didn't do a secondary so I only transferred once to the bottling bucket.  I ended up getting 40 12oz bottles.  If I remember correctly the day it exploded was kind of a hot day so that may have been part of the issue. 

I threw a couple in the fridge last night and am enjoying one right now.  It is slightly carbonated, but not quite where I would want them.  Some more time should hopefully help them carb up more.

Five gallons is slightly over 53 bottles so 40 isn't really close.  I calculate that 40 is only 3.75 gallons.  Sounds like you got a good bit more priming sugar than you planned on.

Wow, lesson learned, I didn't look and see how much I ended up with in the bottling  bucket.  I didn't think I would have that much loss, so I was guessing.  

Offline newrocset

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Re: Bottle bombs
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2011, 09:16:13 PM »
Whirlpooling is fine.
Your OG and FG is fine.
Your yield is fine (I've come up with 40-45 bottles plenty of times with no problems)
Your priming sugar amount is fine (I've always used 5 oz of priming on < 5 gallons of beer w/no problems)

- Maybe the turbinado sugar has an extra protien in it's chain for the yeast to munch on? - that would create more CO2 - I'd stick with corn sugar or DME for priming to be safe.
- I still think heat is a factor - although, as a10t2 pointed out, the yeast will not create more CO2 at higher temperatures, if it carbs faster with too much sugar in there, I suppose it could stress the bottle enough to lead to an explosion. - I'm guessing that If you conditioned it cool (say 65), you'd eventually get gushers.
Have a Kolsch and a smile!

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Bottle bombs
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2011, 10:17:35 PM »
- Maybe the turbinado sugar has an extra protien in it's chain for the yeast to munch on? - that would create more CO2
Protein catabolism is not likely to generate CO2.

It was just one bottle, I lean toward either a bad bottle or incomplete mixing, especially since the bottles that have been opened are under carbonated.
Tom Schmidlin