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Old 10-12-2012, 02:17 AM   #1
EuDvine
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Default Something doesn't make sense...

Okay let me just get straight to my recipe and my technique:
August 22 1 gallon of raw cider straight from the press O.G 1.046
Nottingham ale yeast
1 tsp nutrient
1/2 tsp energizer
cinnamon stick
.20 oz oak chips
1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
Fermentation at 76 degrees F (a little high for my liking)

August 26 S.G reading is 1.012 and still fermenting violently so I put the whole carboy into the fridge and let the yeast go to sleep and drop out.

August 31 I bring the carboy out of the fridge, it's nice and quiet now after being cold for a couple days. S.G is still around 1.012 so I rack to the bottling bucket, bottle and cap. Now here's where a bizarre thing happens...I let the capped bottles sit in the kitchen for 3 hours to carbonate (last year I had a bottle gusher shoot across the kitchen after sitting for 43 hours like this) and I open one just to check the carbonation...well it bubbles over the top and makes a mess, so I degas them carefully and then cap them again and let them sit for one hour this time. After one hour, I figure they have enough carb, so I stove top pasteurize http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/easy...g-pics-193295/ and as I'm taking one out of the pot after ten minutes of sitting in 180-190 degree water A BOTTLE EXPLODES IN MY HAND AND SENDS SHARDS OF GLASS 15 FEET IN EVERY DIRECTION! Surprisingly unharmed, I finish up pasteurizing with a paintball mask on and I clean up the kitchen for the the next three hours.
Okay, so obviously my bottles are over carbonated because I almost died from a bottle bomb...well apparently not because I just opened a bottle of it the other day after them being in my basement clearing for almost 2 months AND THERE'S NO CARBONATION! WTF!!!!! Am I missing something? I know fermentation produces alcohol and CO2, and when CO2 is trapped in a bottle, it dissolves in the liquid an produces that lovely fizzy-ness we call carbonation when you open it...isn't that right? So if there's enough CO2 dissolved in some cider, that is capped in some beer bottles, and one of them explodes, why don't the others have even a hint of carbonation when I open them? Here's a quote from the stove top pasteurizing thread:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pappers_ View Post
When fermentation slows down, I start taking gravity readings and tastings. When its at the right level of sweetness/dryness (for me, that's about 1.010- 1.014), rack to bottling bucket with priming solution and bottle. Let the bottles carbonate and condition until the carbonation level is right - for me, that is usually about 1 week but for others it could be sooner. Start opening a bottle every two days or so, until you find that carbonation is at the right level. Warning - if the carbonation level is too high, if you have gushing bottles for example, do not pasteurize, the pressure will be too much for your bottles.
So why do my bottles only take one hour to become highly pressurized, and then be completely flat when it's time to drink them, when other people can leave their bottles sitting for a week before they're ready to pasteurize and then enjoy with nice carbonation?
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Old 10-12-2012, 05:09 AM   #2
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Just a thought...

I have noticed that there is a difference in carbonation between my bottles and I think it might be due to trying to get the last little bit of liquid out of the carboy and sucking up a little bit of the yeast cake on the bottom. Do you think its possible that the exploded bottle was the last one you siphoned out and you got a lot more of the sediment in it?

I should probably start labeling what bottles are filled when getting close to the bottom (or better yet intentionally siphon some of the sediment into the bottle) but I haven't set up that as an experiment.

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Old 10-12-2012, 01:58 PM   #3
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Try bottling and conditioning at a lower temp. If its warm when you start chilling the bottle might undue some of the pressure.

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Old 10-12-2012, 02:20 PM   #4
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I wonder if some/all of the bottles weren't capped tightly enough? I find that when I pasteurize cider I have to REALLY clamp the caps down--otherwise, I can see CO2 leaking from around the caps, as the heat increases the pressure inside of the bottles. In fact, I've had a couple of bottles of sweet cider end up flat when I KNEW that they were originally carbonated, since the rest of the batch was, if anything, over-carbed. My thought is that the CO2 bled off a little at a time when the pressure inside the bottle was so high (while the bottle was hot), so that when the bottles returned to a normal temp the residual pressure was pretty low. Look carefully at your caps next time when the bottles are sitting in the bath, and see if you have any bubbling around the seal.

Also, you might want to do your immersion bath at between 150-160F instead of 180-190F. 150F is plenty hot to kill the yeast off, and the higher your temp goes the more pressure your bottles are under. Hate to have something awful happen due to a bottle explosion. Cheers.

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Old 10-12-2012, 06:06 PM   #5
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Agree with jerrodm, a closed container of an alcohol-water solution at 180-190 is a bomb. You're near the boiling point of water, and well over the boiling point of alcohol.

Pasteurizing from 140-150 is much safer, it will just take a little longer.

You said you let out the carbonation, then waited an hour before pasteurizing. There was probably not much carbonation built up in just an hour, so that's why they're flat. The reason that one exploded isn't because it was over carbonated, it was just way over heated. I think that stove top pasteurizing thread has a fundamental flaw in it's instructions.

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Old 10-12-2012, 08:49 PM   #6
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I thought the theory was to heat the water to 180-190 so that when you add the bottles and remove the heat the bottle temp will rise to 140-150 as the water temp drops.

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Old 10-12-2012, 09:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkKF View Post
I thought the theory was to heat the water to 180-190 so that when you add the bottles and remove the heat the bottle temp will rise to 140-150 as the water temp drops.
The OP said "...as I'm taking one out of the pot after ten minutes of sitting in 180-190 degree water..."

I take that to mean that the bottles were in 180-190 degree water for 10 minutes.

The stove top bottling thread says to heat water to 190, then put bottles in, and the water will fall to 140, then leave them for some amount of time. I personally don't understand this.

1. Putting a room temp bottle in very hot water is a lot of thermal shock to pressurized glass.

2. Without knowing the temps and volumes of everything, there's no way of knowing that the water will cool down to 140

3. Why would you heat up water past the point where you want it, just to have it cooled down when you put bottles in? In the end, you're trying to heat the bottles, just put them in water, and start heating the water until it's where you want it.
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Old 10-12-2012, 11:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerrodm View Post
I wonder if some/all of the bottles weren't capped tightly enough? I find that when I pasteurize cider I have to REALLY clamp the caps down--otherwise, I can see CO2 leaking from around the caps, as the heat increases the pressure inside of the bottles. In fact, I've had a couple of bottles of sweet cider end up flat when I KNEW that they were originally carbonated, since the rest of the batch was, if anything, over-carbed. My thought is that the CO2 bled off a little at a time when the pressure inside the bottle was so high (while the bottle was hot), so that when the bottles returned to a normal temp the residual pressure was pretty low. Look carefully at your caps next time when the bottles are sitting in the bath, and see if you have any bubbling around the seal.

Also, you might want to do your immersion bath at between 150-160F instead of 180-190F. 150F is plenty hot to kill the yeast off, and the higher your temp goes the more pressure your bottles are under. Hate to have something awful happen due to a bottle explosion. Cheers.
I think that is good information as to why everything happened the way it happened. I was using Heineken bottles which were first off a real pain to de-label, and then the bottle capper didn't fit over them very well and didn't feel right capping them. That probably explains why they're flat. But yes I'll definitely do a lower temperature for bottle carbing, and a lower temperature for pasteurising (I did have some bottles come back alive early this year when I did a lower pasteurizing temperature, so I'll keep the bottles in the water of longer this time).
Thanks guys!
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Old 10-14-2012, 04:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m_stodd

The OP said "...as I'm taking one out of the pot after ten minutes of sitting in 180-190 degree water..."

3. Why would you heat up water past the point where you want it, just to have it cooled down when you put bottles in? In the end, you're trying to heat the bottles, just put them in water, and start heating the water until it's where you want it.
True that Is what he said. After doing this myself several times I can say its very hard to keep water a constant temp on the stove top. Much easier to heat it up then let it cool down.
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Old 10-14-2012, 04:24 AM   #10
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Reading this thread scares me. No bottle bombs for me, thanks!

Why doesn't anybody sell brown pyrex (borosilicate glass) bottles for homebrew? That'd seem to be the ultimate solution. And if you made a "pressure cap" that indicated negative pressure for non-carbonated beverages like the canning jars do, it could catch on for a variety of liquids for the home-canning types.

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