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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Inconsistent Bottles
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Old 07-31-2008, 07:29 PM   #1
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Default Inconsistent Bottles

I've been brewing for about 6 months. The first several batches went without a hitch. The last batch has exhibited a strong whang which my LHBS stated was a wild yeast infection. Several weeks have gone by and I held off throwing out the brew. Tasted some the other day and it was excellent. No sign of anything unusual. Then I opened a second bottle, it was sort of like my first encounter a couple of weeks earlier. Then tried a third bottle, which was totally unacceptable... nasty stuff. Trying several more revealed favors all over the map, mostly unpleasant.

All of these beers looked great, had similar head, but tasted radically different. I'm assuming something went amiss during bottling which exposed individual bottles to something since there's such a variance between bottles? I'm a freak with sanitation but must admit I don't do a great deal with bottle cleaning. I aggressively shake and rinse 3-4 times each bottle immediately after pouring the brew. I place them on my bottle tree until I need to bottle a new batch.

When bottling, I've then been submerging each bottle for a minute or so in Iodophor (2 tbs/5 gal), draining, and placing on a sanitized bottle tree until filling and capping. Caps are soaked in the Iodophor 15-20 minutes prior to use. Handling discipline keeps fingers off of bottle tops and inside cap surfaces. The bottling wand is sanitized prior to use as is the bottling bucket and any associated equipment.

Any ideas how I'm getting this variability between the bottles? I'm at a loss as to how to proceed and prevent this in the future.

Thanks, Alan

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Old 07-31-2008, 08:34 PM   #2
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The only thing I can say is to inspect your bottles very closely BEFORE you open them and see if you can detect any pre-open floaties or anything. This is a stumper!

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Old 07-31-2008, 11:40 PM   #3
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I have no problems rinsing out bottles like you do when those bottles have had beer in them. However, I also brew hard cider for SWMBO. Those bottles require a good soaking in oxiclean, PBW, or bleach. They all seem to work equally well. If they don't get the extra cleaning, they have a deposit stuck in the bottom of the bottle which I'm sure could spoil future brews if it wasn't cleaned out.

-a.

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Old 08-01-2008, 03:36 AM   #4
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Visibly clean is not always clean, and that may be what you're experiencing. If there is a thin biofilm after rinsing, it will protect the bacteria under it from the sanitizer. You may want to do a bleach soak for the night before your next bottling session, just make sure you rinse like hell afterward, then do your iodophor soak before bottling.

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Old 08-01-2008, 05:10 AM   #5
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I have found that shaking and rinsing is ok for commercial beer, but my own brews have a layer of sediment in the bottom and sometimes even after shaking the hell out of them there is a thin ring of yeast sediment around the crease in the bottom. I keep a bottle brush under my sink and give em a quick brush to be sure.

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Old 08-09-2008, 06:41 AM   #6
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Found this out also on first few brews before changing to kegs. me and my brew partner think we figured this out. We used one of the stardard red plastic cappers found at all LHBS. We closely examined the bottles that tasted off and discoverd that they were 'overcapped'. if you squeeze all the way down with the red capper, it leaved an indention in the middle of the cap. we believe this pulled the outside sealing edges up, allowing for some co2 to escape under pressure, thus causing the off flavors.

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Old 08-09-2008, 10:05 AM   #7
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CO2 escaping won't cause off flavors, it will cause flat beer.

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Old 08-09-2008, 12:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beesy View Post
Found this out also on first few brews before changing to kegs. me and my brew partner think we figured this out. We used one of the stardard red plastic cappers found at all LHBS. We closely examined the bottles that tasted off and discoverd that they were 'overcapped'. if you squeeze all the way down with the red capper, it leaved an indention in the middle of the cap. we believe this pulled the outside sealing edges up, allowing for some co2 to escape under pressure, thus causing the off flavors.

I have used the wing capper for 15 years doing exactly that with my caps and never had issues with spoiling a brew. In fact, I have never heard of " overcapping a beer ". Like evil said, if the caps were lifted on the ends, you would end with flat beer.

Sudz
I suspect, along with the others, that your cleaning regime needs to improve. I wash the sediment from my bottles and then place every bottle in a bleach bath over night before rinsing with hot water and then sanitizing.

Basically you are trying to clean with sanitizer and for the most part sanitizer isn't up to scratch for the job.
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Old 08-11-2008, 02:17 PM   #9
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Thanks guys for the input. I think I'll focus on bottle cleaning for future endeavors just because I can't think of anything else which may cause my problem.

I've just finished my second batch after the mystery brew and both were okay. Lucky I guess...

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Old 08-11-2008, 04:02 PM   #10
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In the future, not sure if you do this now, but it helps greatly to thoroughly rinse your bottles within 24 hours of using them. Just tap water is fine, but make sure you get out all the sediment. Also carefully inspect them for sediment especially on the bottom and the neck, prior to sanitizing. And don't sanitize more than 12 hours in advance. Leaving bottles around with moisture is inviting stuff to find the bottle as a home.

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