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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > Chronic over carbonation in bottles
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Old 09-28-2012, 03:37 AM   #1
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Default Chronic over carbonation in bottles

So.... I've made probably about 20 home brews so far, all LME or DME, most from austin homebrew (not that that matters). My problem is that probalby seven or eight of them have been SUPREMELY over carbonated... even though some of them spent a couple weeks in primary, and several weeks in secondary, with the standard amount of bottling sugar (the prescribed amount that AHS sells). The affected brews though, result in bottles of beer that are so overcarbonated that i can't pour them for friends, because just pouring 1/4 of the bottle is just an entire glass of foam. Any ideas of what I'm doing wrong? I had my first bottle bomb, which I discovered much later after the fact. I can post a pic later... but it was a growler, that had the bottom center blown out cleanly pretty neat actually. At least it wasn't a pricey growler.

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Old 09-28-2012, 12:53 PM   #2
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Growler's aren't meant for bottle conditioning, end of story. You're lucky you didn't get hurt! Save the growlers for sharing already carbonated beer, and use bottles that are designed to hold pressure for your bottle conditioning.

Most kits come with 5 ounces of corn sugar, and in most cases this is too much. But it's not so much that it should cause an entire glass of foam. So I'd recommend

a) use a priming sugar calculator (lots of them floating around online) and a cheap kitchen scale and add your priming sugar by weigth
b) make sure everything's mixed well in the bottling bucket (usually a gentle vortex as you rack into the bucket is enough)
c) make sure the bottles are in the fridge for a couple days before opening them. This is important to get the relatively high pressure CO2 in the headspace to fully dissolve into the liquid.

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Old 09-28-2012, 01:35 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by zachattack View Post
Growler's aren't meant for bottle conditioning, end of story. You're lucky you didn't get hurt! Save the growlers for sharing already carbonated beer, and use bottles that are designed to hold pressure for your bottle conditioning.

Most kits come with 5 ounces of corn sugar, and in most cases this is too much. But it's not so much that it should cause an entire glass of foam. So I'd recommend

a) use a priming sugar calculator (lots of them floating around online) and a cheap kitchen scale and add your priming sugar by weigth
b) make sure everything's mixed well in the bottling bucket (usually a gentle vortex as you rack into the bucket is enough)
c) make sure the bottles are in the fridge for a couple days before opening them. This is important to get the relatively high pressure CO2 in the headspace to fully dissolve into the liquid.

+1 to all of this!
While the general guideline is 1oz per gallon of finished beer and most kits come with 5oz of priming sugar IME the average kit brewer is not actually finishing with a full 5 gal. of beer so the priming amount needs to be adjusted.

You might want to try going to .75oz per gallon and verify your finished volume prior to mixing up your sugar or use an online calculator. Another factor involved is the temperature that your beer held during fermentation. There is a different existing volume of CO2 already in the finished beer dependent upon the temperature and calculators will take this into account

Fridge time is important as well so be sure you are giving them several days to chill.

Finally, gushers can be the result of infection as well so if you are careful with everything else mentioned you should also take your bottle cleaning/sanitizing into account as well if nothing above helps.
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Old 09-28-2012, 01:43 PM   #4
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3/4 cup of dextrose (by weight) to 1 cup of water usually does the trick for me. But I will agree that using a calculator will probably give you more accurate results. Make sure you keep those bottles in a cool and dark room. My only bomb came from storing my bottles in a closet that usually sat around 78-80. Give it 3 or 4 days in the fridge after at least 2 weeks in storage.

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Old 10-01-2012, 12:14 AM   #5
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all the knowledge here is refreshing! my next batches will A) not involve growlers (though, i have used smaller flip top bottles, i.e. grolsh without issue), and B) adjust sugar downward. also, i attached a pic.

imag0002.jpg  
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:17 AM   #6
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3/4 cup of dextrose (by weight) to 1 cup of water usually does the trick for me. But I will agree that using a calculator will probably give you more accurate results. Make sure you keep those bottles in a cool and dark room. My only bomb came from storing my bottles in a closet that usually sat around 78-80. Give it 3 or 4 days in the fridge after at least 2 weeks in storage.
yeah, that was another problem... i'm in a third story apartment in dallas that has my beer wardrobes/cellars that are in the dining room that has windows aplenty, facing west, so at about 3pm through 7pm in the summer, it's like 80 degrees in here even with the AC maxed
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:25 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by zachattack View Post
Growler's aren't meant for bottle conditioning, end of story. You're lucky you didn't get hurt! Save the growlers for sharing already carbonated beer, and use bottles that are designed to hold pressure for your bottle conditioning.

Most kits come with 5 ounces of corn sugar, and in most cases this is too much. But it's not so much that it should cause an entire glass of foam. So I'd recommend

a) use a priming sugar calculator (lots of them floating around online) and a cheap kitchen scale and add your priming sugar by weigth
b) make sure everything's mixed well in the bottling bucket (usually a gentle vortex as you rack into the bucket is enough)
c) make sure the bottles are in the fridge for a couple days before opening them. This is important to get the relatively high pressure CO2 in the headspace to fully dissolve into the liquid.

i will definitely incorporate all of these... i've always just opened the packet of sugar and dumed it in, really regardless of volume of actual beer i was bottling. in hindsight, i can't believe i did that! and for b) i have tried to stir as i bottled, but it can be tough when it's just me bottling... i always struggle with that bottling stick not overflowing the bottle if i leave it alone. and c) yes.... i have done that too many times, pull a beer out of the closet, stick it in the fridge, and just a few hours later see how it tastes..
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McKraut

yeah, that was another problem... i'm in a third story apartment in dallas that has my beer wardrobes/cellars that are in the dining room that has windows aplenty, facing west, so at about 3pm through 7pm in the summer, it's like 80 degrees in here even with the AC maxed
Ruh roh. I'd find another place for them if I were you. That's asking for beer missiles.
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:47 PM   #9
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all the knowledge here is refreshing! my next batches will A) not involve growlers (though, i have used smaller flip top bottles, i.e. grolsh without issue), and B) adjust sugar downward. also, i attached a pic.
When you said you were conditioning in a growler, I was picturing a standard thin-walled, screw top glass growler. The thicker swing-tops should be OK. Maybe just some bad luck there...
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Old 10-01-2012, 01:54 PM   #10
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If you still get gushers.after the sugar reduction you may have an infection somewhere. I just lost 2 batches to a bottling bucket monster.

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