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hayfields 10-21-2012 02:35 PM

Carbonation question
 
I am getting concerned about the pressure build up in my bottles. I started my first batch on 8/19 using champagne yeast. I racked 3 weeks later and added honey and then racked another time about 10 days later. I then added 1/2 of a carbonation tablet to each 16oz grolsch type bottle. I tasted the first bottle about a week later and it had just a bit of pop when opening the bottle. It tasted good but a bit too sweet. Open 2nd bottle yesterday (3 weeks since bottling) and it had a big pop with lots of suds coming out. It was delicious though! Question: will the pressure continue to build as it ages and is there a way to lessen the spewing suds when opening. This is my first batch of hard cider.

GinKings 10-21-2012 03:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hayfields (Post 4518468)
I tasted the first bottle about a week later and it had just a bit of pop when opening the bottle. It tasted good but a bit too sweet. Open 2nd bottle yesterday (3 weeks since bottling) and it had a big pop with lots of suds coming out.

Yes, the pressure will continue to build. The bottles can shatter from the pressure.

Yeast eat sugar. It's what they do. They don't stop eating when your cider is carbed. If you characterized your cider AFTER bottling as being "too sweet", I'm going to guess that you have more than enough sugar to create bottle bombs. With Grolsch type bottles, you can release pressure and then reseal them, but you really need to halt fermentation. Constant refrigeration or pasteurization are two methods that come to mind. Refrigeration will cause the yeast to become dormant, but you have to keep them in the fridge. Let them warm up again and the yeast will start eating again. Pasteurization will kill the yeast. I'm not a big fan of pasteurization for new cidermakers, but it might be your best option. Read the pasteurization sticky at the top of the cider forum. Be careful!!! The heat from pasteurization increases pressure in the bottles. They can shatter, so I'd burp the Grolsch bottles first to lessen the pressure.

hayfields 10-21-2012 03:40 PM

And then will I need to burp the bottles again in a few weeks?

crabbyapple 10-21-2012 03:40 PM

I'd be a little nervous heat pasteurizing if you've got gushers and would probably cold crash if it were my batch. As pointed out, the yeast will wake up again if the bottles get warm, so that's a limitation to storage and gifting. If you do decide to try and pasteurize, you might want to use a lower temperature than the 190 suggested in the sticky. You need the liquid in the bottles to reach 140 and stay there for 5 or 6 minutes. That being the case, I've gotten away with heating the water to 150 and wrapping each batch of bottles in a heavy towel after removing them from the water bath. Be careful, when these things blow, they can *really* blow.

hayfields 10-21-2012 03:42 PM

I all of my message didn't get sent. I asked if I should refrigerate the bottles for a few days before burping. I lost a lot of head space when I opened a bottle yesterday. Is burping something that I will need to repeat every few weeks?

GinKings 10-21-2012 04:03 PM

If you continue to make cider, I would strongly recommend spending $10 on a hydrometer. Without it, we are only guessing at how much sugar is in your cider.

I've never done it, but refrigerating the bottles prior to burping makes sense if you think the cider will overflow when you open the bottles.

Pasteurization and constant refrigeration should halt fermentation, so pressure should not continue to increase. Without pasteurization or constant refrigeration, fermentation will continue until all the sugar is gone, which will increase pressure and change flavor as the cider dries out.

Apple_Jacker 10-21-2012 07:20 PM

A friend of mine happened to still have a bottle of the first hard cider I made 2 years ago back in her fridge. At the time I consumed all of them (with help of course) they were undercarbed. When I started to open this 2 year old bottle, that was refrigerated the entire time, it began to foam up and out almost immediately. Luckily, I barely broke the seal so I was able to slowly release the excess CO2 until it was safe to open fully. Point of the story is keeping it in the fridge does NOT stop fermentation, but it definitely slows it way down.

And buy a hydrometer. There is a lot less guessing when you have actual numbers to work with.

hayfields 10-23-2012 01:12 AM

Follow-up: my husband and I successfully off-gassed all of the bottles. We took them straight from the fridge and he slowly let some of the gas escape. I am glad I used the grolsch type bottles! They are back in the fridge and we will open another this weekend and take a reading. I do have a hydrometer but since this is our very first batch, I didn't understand exactly how to use it. Oh the learning curve......thank you for your help.


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