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Old 10-03-2012, 07:36 PM   #1
jshell55
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Default Gusher Experience

I'm experiencing a lot of problems with gushering. I've checked through the threads and still have a couple of questions on this important topic:

The problem showed up at some level on everything I've brewed since August, which is about 6 batches. Typically, these batches taste fine and are okay for about the first week or two after bottling. They do better while chilled.

The most recent was a batch of stout that I bottled 2 days ago and is already gushering.


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the batch on the right was bottled about 2 weeks ago, and has a thick yellow layer in the bottom. The other ones are older, and are looking pretty good. No gushering from those guys.

I run 5 gallons of starsan solution through my siphoning equipment before and after every usage. I run a similar amount through my counterflow wort chiller.

All of these batches go through a counterflow chiller. The batches are siphoned directly from the brew pot at knockoff, and this thing is efficient enough to cool it to sub-ambient by the time it gets to the carboy.

It has been awhile since I've replaced the tubing, which is on my to-do list.

Bottles:

I soak my bottles for at least 24 hours in bleach, then re-dip in bleach and star-san before putting them in the diswasher on "heated dry" to try to kill off any bottle-related infections.

I do mix up my star-san directly in my bottling bucket, brush the inside with a scrub brush before and after every usage. I transfer the star san to another bucket before using.

Yeast: I've been recovering my yeast. My main yeast is an IPA yeast, that is about 5 months old, I guess... I brewed some Weissbier a couple of weeks ago with a different yeast, and in that stuff, the problem is less severe but still there.

Brew Cycle: I do a 7-day primary and a 7 day or longer secondary, depending on the batch. I use a blowoff tube into sanitizer for the primary, and a regular airlock on the secondary. All carboys, which I clean thoroughly, add bleach, and allow to sit upside down in a bucket of bleach between cycles. I have 4 carboys that I rotate out.

Priming: 4 oz by weight brown sugar per 5 gallons (a little less for porter or stout), dissolved in water. I do bring the sugar water to a full boil before adding the sugar, allow it to cool before addition to the batch.

Fermenting: Constant at about 76F year-round

So the questions are:
1. is it bacteria or wild yeast?
2. How to put a stop to it?
3. What's the likelihood that it affected the nice batch of Pinot Noir that I have fermenting in the same room, which I put in there with the same bottling bucket and siphon tube?

So far my action plan is to take everything out of my brewery, let it sit in the sun for a few days, spray everything including the walls down with bleach, immerse every bottle I have in boiling water, and then pack the whole thing up and try it all again.

Oh, and replace the tubes, run boiling water through my bottling bucket, and boil the stopcock.

Hydrochloric acid is at my disposal if I decide to go that far.

So, Forum dwellers, I will await your opinions.

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Old 10-03-2012, 07:41 PM   #2
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I'm confused here. Are you saying that the beers longer than 2 weeks aren't gushing? Or are beers that start out carbed fine for a few weeks then begin gushing down the road?

Those are two different issues.

If you are opening bottles UNDER THREE WEEKS, the they are more than likely gushing because you're opening them too soon. And the co2 hasn't fully gone into solution.

If you watch Poindexter's video on time lapsed carbonation, you will see that in many instances, before a beer is carbed it my gush, that's not from infection, or mixing of sugars, and it's not really carbed yer, but because the co2 hasn't evened out- it hasn't been pulled fully into the beer. Think of it as there's a lot of co2 being generated and most of it is in the headspace, not in the beer, so there's still "over pressure" in the bottle, so it gushes when it is opened.

But when the beer is truly carbed it all evens out, across the bottles.


What you consider over carbed is more than likely actually NOT really carbed yet.

On the other hand. If you've waited at least 3 weeks, and all the beer were fully carbed and conditioned for awhile, THEN they started gushing, you more than likely have a late onset infection. Either your batch is infected, or you have some issues with bottle sanitization or your bottling process, and you need to deal with the infection. Check your spigot and bottling setup for issues. Or in your fermentation process.
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Old 10-03-2012, 08:49 PM   #3
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Thanks for posting that.

Actually in my limited experience, about 3 years of brewing, I've never seen that and so I will keep a few of these bottles around for a few more days to check up on them.

I have several "lots" of beer:

I bottled a couple of batches yesterday: a stout that I'd allowed to sit for a month in the carboy before bottling, and an IPA. The stout gushed this morning, and had the yellow slime, and so I am willing to say that you may be right on that one, it's actually undercarbed. I have not checked the IPA yet, it is still around.

I have a hybrid and an Irish Red that were both bottled on 9-15. The hybrid looked fine and tasted fine on the 21st when I tested them. The Red was a little flat, I thought. Not so last night, though. They both gushed.

I have an Oktoberfest and a porter that were both bottled on 8-31. The Oktoberfest is actually not looking too bad, I tested it on September 12 and it was pretty good, drank better a couple of days later. The porter is not too bad either. The porter is developing that yellow layer, but is drinkable, and no beer-splosion.

I had a batch of IPA that was bottled on 8-15 or so. That thing was what tipped me off: It drank fine and was not too fizzy on about 8-30 when I tried it, but since then got progressively fizzier and more astringent to the point where it was marginally drinkable.

I have a couple of bottles of IPA around that were bottled in mid-July. No yellow layer, no problem with fizzing.

So, that's the whole story. I was thinking the problem was actually an infection in that IPA yeast, which I had used in the rest of the batches, but the fact that the Weissbier has it a little bit and the Oktoberfest is still good makes that one less likely.

I suppose what all of this really tells me is that it is too hot to bottle beer in Atlanta in July and August, and there is some wisdom in the monks who figured out that it was not good to brew in the summer....I had a problem with acetobacter a year ago, and it went away when I switched to Carboys and also when the weather cooled off.

I wish I had a microscope. I might learn something.

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Old 10-03-2012, 09:02 PM   #4
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I'm kinda lost, too...you're saying you opened a bottle of the stout just 1 day after bottling? I'm not even sure why you'd do that...but if that is what you're calling a gusher, it's just not carbed and needs to be left alone for 2-3 weeks, then 48+hours in the fridge.

If you're getting bottle bombs or more carbonation than you want AFTER these time-frames...you probably have infection. It sounds like you're letting the beer fully ferment prior to bottling, so I don't think there are fermentables left in the beer causing this.

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Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:30 PM   #5
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i didnt see anything about taking gravity readings. Just that you schedule for every brew is 1 week primary and 1 week secondary then you bottle...If you have residual suagrs these are fermenting in bottle in excess the 4oz corn sugar your using causing your gushers

I suggest taking gravity readings to make sure youve hit your FG before bottling

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Old 10-04-2012, 01:42 AM   #6
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I made a vanilla oatmeal stout a while back and from 1 week they were superb, but as time went on they became volcanoes, and they were only good for staining the ceiling, even after being chilled for days, or for cooking salmon. My final gravity was where the kit said it was done so I bottled. But I think mine, despite the numbers weren't done fermenting.

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Old 10-04-2012, 04:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahaley View Post
I made a vanilla oatmeal stout a while back and from 1 week they were superb, but as time went on they became volcanoes, and they were only good for staining the ceiling, even after being chilled for days, or for cooking salmon. My final gravity was where the kit said it was done so I bottled. But I think mine, despite the numbers weren't done fermenting.
Never, ever use a pre-determined number to decide if your beer is done fermenting. Always take gravity over consecutive days (3 days apart is best) and check for stability.
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Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 10-04-2012, 04:35 PM   #8
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the consistency of your gushering has me thinking that you have a bacterial or wild yeast infection in your equipment. the only certain way of correcting this is to replace all your plastic parts: tubing, buckets, autosiphon, thief, etc. if the infection has set up shop in the cracks and nooks of your equipment, chances are good that even bleach won't get to it.

have you taken apart the spigot of your bottling bucket? plenty of spaces in there for gunk, and associated infection, to hide. you could try cleaning that if it's obviously dirty... but the only way to find out for sure would be to brew another batch and risk losing all the beer. in the end we must realize that plastics are meant to be replaced, they aren't permanent equipment. between replacing the plastics now or wasting another batch of beer on gushers, you're better off with new equipment now.

also, you mentioned that you "brush the inside (of your bottling bucket) with a scrub brush" - how hard is the brush? any chance that it's scratching the plastic? if so, bugs will hide in there and sanitizers might not get them.

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Old 10-04-2012, 04:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tre9er

Never, ever use a pre-determined number to decide if your beer is done fermenting. Always take gravity over consecutive days (3 days apart is best) and check for stability.
I checked gravity over 2 days and that was my 2nd brew kit so I was following the directions to the T.
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:53 PM   #10
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I think you also mentioned you fill buckets with StarSan THEN brush them? You want to clean them FIRST, then empty, rinse, THEN fill with SS. You can't sanitize dirt/gunk.

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