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noodledancer77 01-26-2011 03:47 PM

Death by Cork
 
I brewed a robust porter the week before Thanksgiving. If i remember right, the initial gravity was around 1.070, a bit bigger than beers I have previously made. For giggles we decided to bottle a few of them in belgian bottles and 750's sealed with a wine cork and dipped in sealing wax. We bottled in mid-december about the week of the 13th. i have two observations.

1. this bigger beer took longer to bottle condition than i anticipated. my cousin thought it would be done in a week...my reading on this forum convinced me otherwise. We them after two weeks and a month and they were not done at either time.

2. i just noticed that the wax on top of one of the 750's had cracked two days ago, and today the cork has pushed out of the bottle about a quarter inch.

At this point, i'm treating this thing as a deadly weapon and it is under quarantine until i get around to drinking it on Friday. In the mean time, I'm gonna try making a makeshift cage out of bailing wire.

Just wanted to share my experiences with folks thinking of using wine corks in bottles for beer. In the future I'll invest in a floor corker and some belgian corks with cages. Bottoms up!

Golddiggie 01-26-2011 04:32 PM

I was planning on using cork cages in any bottles I put beer into (and cork)...

I'm planning on making a braggot starting in a few months. When that's ready, I plan on using some smaller champagne bottles, using cork cages (and real corks) in them. Basically, since this will be a 12-15% ABV brew, I think a 375ml bottle will be good for one person. I'll probably bottle up some in larger bottles too, for groups to enjoy (or for a few to enjoy with dinner)...

When my mead batches are set for bottling I might filter them, to ensure that no yeast remains in solution, to eliminate the risk of either bottle bombs, or for them to self-carbonate at some later time. From my understanding, since all the yeast will be filtered out, there won't be any need to use other stabilizers in the mead. Thus, keeping the ingredient list much shorter.

noodledancer77 01-26-2011 04:37 PM

Interesting...I'm thinking of starting a gallon batch of mead. I'd like to start small to make sure I'm happy with the outcome before moving to a 5 gallon batch. I've got a friend locally that keeps bees and I'm working on trading the end product with him for an advance on the honey. let me know how it turns out.

Golddiggie 01-26-2011 05:41 PM

Well, my blackberry melomel (3 gallon batch) won't be ready for another 6+ months (maybe longer)... I'm expecting the two traditional batches (3 and 5 gallon batches) to be ready after about 12-14 months (so sometime between November and January/February)... My one gallon mocha madness mead batch could be done about that same time, but more likely for summer 2012...

Ace_Club 01-26-2011 05:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Golddiggie (Post 2586126)
I was planning on using cork cages in any bottles I put beer into (and cork)...

+1, regular wine corks aren't meant to handle internal pressure. Nor, for that matter, are regular wine bottles. If you want to cork a carbonated beverage, use the thicker champagne or Belgian bottles and use champagne/Belgian corks with cages. Otherwise you are just asking for trouble.

Burgs 01-26-2011 07:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by noodledancer77 (Post 2585936)
If i remember right, the initial gravity was around 1.070, a bit bigger than beers I have previously made.

Quote:

Originally Posted by noodledancer77 (Post 2585936)
my cousin thought it would be done in a week...

lol @ your cousin

3 weeks @ 70 is the general rule of thumb that gets thrown around here a lot, but not for a beer as big as your porter.

BeerPressure 01-26-2011 07:01 PM

I recommend spending the extra and getting the belgian corks and cages. I have a friend that used champagne corks and we needed pliars or a wine cork remover to get the thing out.

Golddiggie 01-30-2011 02:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ace_Club (Post 2586451)
+1, regular wine corks aren't meant to handle internal pressure. Nor, for that matter, are regular wine bottles. If you want to cork a carbonated beverage, use the thicker champagne or Belgian bottles and use champagne/Belgian corks with cages. Otherwise you are just asking for trouble.

Any thoughts on where I could get 375ml sized bottles that can handle some carbonation and be corked? I have an English BarleyWine that is ready to be bottled (it started off life as a porter, but has evolved/mutated into a BW :D)...

I would like to get the bottles, corks and cages (will need a corker too) this week (ASAP) so that they have some time to carbonate (what little they will get). Looking at 1.3-1.5 CO2 volumes for the BarleyWine so I just need bottles that can handle that level safely.

I want the 375ml size more due to how bloody strong the BW is. I think that a 375ml bottle will be a good single serving size, with anything through 750ml being shared with 2-3 people. A 1L bottle would need to be shared with at least 4 people so that you don't get knocked horizontal too fast. Really good stuff, tastes really nice, but has the kick to make you respect it (or fear it)... Hope to have a name for it before I bottle, so that I can label them. :D

smokinghole 01-30-2011 02:38 PM

There are 375ml champagne bottles online at some wine vendors. There are also 187ml bottles available as well. I think they accept plain crown caps as well.

Also I suggest the belgian corks and not champagne corks even when bottling in champagne bottles. The belgian corks are slightly smaller and there for easier to remove. We have to remember that champagne is super carbonated compared to beers so the bottle pretty much pushes the cork out for you.

Golddiggie 01-30-2011 02:49 PM

Do you happen to know of which vendors/sites have the 375ml sized bottles in amber/brown or (even better) black?? I'm not about to use glass that has the chance to skunk the BarleyWine.

I don't have a capper and intend to never get one... I've been using Grolsch style bottles so far, and really like them. Pop one of those open and tell me that there's not a decent amount of pressure under there. You get it just a little bit released (the wire holding the top down) and the sucker shoots off pretty fast (luckily, it's attached to the bottle)... That's with carbonating in the lower 1/2 of the style's range too. You can here it pop, sounds almost like a cork coming out of a champagne bottle. :D


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