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Old 01-13-2012, 01:28 AM   #1
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Default Over carbonated cider

I'm new to home brewing and I've been experimenting with cider in one gallon batches. My first five batches I let ferment down dry and then backsweetened, and they're in the long process of carbonating and then I will pasteurize them on the stove top. Letting them go down dry took out a lot of the apple flavor so I started three more gallons on Jan. 6 and planned to bottle them around 1.010. I took and s.g reading after four days and they were already down to around 1.000! So I bumped the s.g up to 1.010 with some cane sugar and bottled. Well it's only 43 hours later when I check the carb levels and they're gushing! I have them cold crashed in the garage and now I'm wondering what to do with all this over carbonated cider? Can they be salvaged? Any tips or constructive judgments about my techniques are helpful. I'm using Nottingham and Safale S-04.

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Old 01-13-2012, 01:41 AM   #2
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bring them back up to room temp, open them slowly to release the pressure, then recap them and pasteurize immediately. If their gushing there should be plenty of CO2 dissolved in the liquid so you should be fine.

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Old 01-13-2012, 07:14 AM   #3
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agreed that opening is probably your best bet, but the one that gushed, was it in the fridge for a full 48 hrs? in my experience they need at least a day to equilibrate in the fridge, sometimes they gush when not fridged enough but are ok later. it's possible but not necessarily likely.
pedantic note: you have them cold, not cold crashed; that's sticking the carboy in the fridge to drop the yeast out.
if they are really gushing and you are losing a lot of cider you can do my patented "idiot's release" where you pry/bend up the edge of the cap, just a tiny bit with a church key opener, just enough to let gas out until foam just starts to come out, let go (it will re-seal if you were gentle) until it settles, repeat until you are bored out of your mind, and then you can open/recap/pasteurize. but i would do any releasing or opening when they are cold and less likely to gush
good luck!

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Old 01-13-2012, 02:48 PM   #4
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but i would do any releasing or opening when they are cold and less likely to gush
good luck!
couple of problems with that. First of all by dealing with it cold you will be adding extra pressure to the inside of the bottle. Not just extra co2 but also the act of capping it cold and letting it warm up will significantly increase the pressure inside which will increase his risk of bottles blowing up when pasteurizing. Second his yeast is obviously quite aggressive and the couple of hours needed to bring the bottles up to room temp before pasteurizing will give them a chance to add even more co2 which will also add to the risk of bottle bombs.

By doing it warm, he can still open them slowly and save most of his cider, then pasteurize immediately. by doing so when he pasteurizes there will be less pressure in the bottles and less chance of something blowing up.
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Old 01-13-2012, 07:17 PM   #5
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So what I need to do is the "idiot's release" while they are still cold, and then bring them up to room temperature, recap, and pasteurize?

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agreed that opening is probably your best bet, but the one that gushed, was it in the fridge for a full 48 hrs? in my experience they need at least a day to equilibrate in the fridge, sometimes they gush when not fridged enough but are ok later. it's possible but not necessarily likely.
I did not refrigerate them at all. If you refrigerate them while they are trying to carbonate, wouldn't that stop further fermentation/carbonation completely once it reaches 50 F degrees or below to make the yeast go dormant? Once temperature increases, wouldn't the pressure inside the bottle increase back to where it was when it started?
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Old 01-13-2012, 07:56 PM   #6
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I did not refrigerate them at all. If you refrigerate them while they are trying to carbonate, wouldn't that stop further fermentation/carbonation completely once it reaches 50 F degrees or below to make the yeast go dormant? Once temperature increases, wouldn't the pressure inside the bottle increase back to where it was when it started?
getting them cold will not always stop fermentation, some times it just slows it way down. If you let the gas out cold, as they warm up not only will the pressure increase but the yeast will get active again adding more CO2. This is why I am saying do it warm. bring the bottles up to room temp, THEN release the extra pressure, recap and pasturize.
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Old 01-13-2012, 09:28 PM   #7
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Okay thanks!

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Old 01-14-2012, 09:38 AM   #8
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you are much more likely to get gushers if you open over-carbonated bottles warm than if you open them cold, when gas pressure is lower (remember PV=nRT!) and the capacity of the liquid to hold dissolved gas is highest. this is tried and tested.
once you have let out the pressure in the air space i severely doubt it is going to build dangerously high immediately after recapping, but you can test this empirically (wear safety glasses?). the few times i have had to do this, simply releasing the 'extra' gas from cold bottles resulted in the end in perfectly carbed cider.

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Old 01-14-2012, 03:50 PM   #9
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yes you are more likely to get gushers, but you are also less likely to get bombs. It is not just the co2. If you bottle a still cider ice cold and then bring it up to room temp there will be a fair amount of pressure in the bottle just from the expansion of the liquid as it warms, then add max co2 to that mix and the pressure is high. pasteurizing is a risky process if there is any chance of to much pressure, so why would you increase your risk by releasing the pressure and recapping when cold?? doing it warm will still provide tons on co2 but will reduce the chance of bottle bombs.

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Old 01-14-2012, 04:45 PM   #10
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Okay what I did was I released the pressure from them while they were cold (which worked very well), and then I left the caps off and brought them inside to room temperature. I let them sit overnight with their caps off to come to room temperature. They were still giving off a few bubbles this morning, so I went ahead and capped them again, and now I'm in the middle of pasteurizing them and I haven't had any explode. They may not be carbonated enough now though since I let them degas for so long, but at least I won't get blinded by boiling hot shards of glass.

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