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Old 11-27-2012, 11:36 PM   #1
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Default Exploding Bottle Conundrum

I am a new brewer and have a serious overcarbonation exploding bottle problem.

Here are the details.

I brewed an AHS Demeter's Brew (Fall amber with Sweet Gale). I fermented around 70-68F. I let it condition in the primary for 29 days. I tested with my hydrometer multiple times and had an FG of 1.014. I filled 48 Red stripe bottles and 3 12 oz bottles for a total of 4.5 gallons. I primed with 3.75 oz of corn sugar (high, but I don't think it should shatter bottles. I have had 3 bottle bombs. One completely brew apart, two others the bottle sheared off. All of the beers that I open even after being in the fridge for 5-6 days foam out of the bottle and produce a head of at least 3-4 inches. They are visibly carbonated.

It's been in the bottle for 24 days. It tastes like crap. Carbonic acid? It's metallic sort of, just awful, with little of the beer taste coming through...

I jet washed all the bottles and dunked them in starsan. Caps were sanitized with star san.

Can anyone provide me with a reasoning for what has/is happened/happening? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Help!

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Old 11-27-2012, 11:53 PM   #2
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Nope...no explanation from me, other than to say I've used 5oz per 5gal in my two kits and had no such events with eruptions, bottle bombs, or anything like that as I checked one a 1 week, at 2 weeks, and at 3 weeks, and now maybe 6 weeks later it's all still uneventful (and almost gone).

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Old 11-27-2012, 11:58 PM   #3
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That sounds like a fairly standard infection. If it is happening across the board, it is probably in your lines or bottling bucket somewhere rather than the bottles/caps themselves.

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Old 11-28-2012, 04:49 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by MalFet View Post
That sounds like a fairly standard infection. If it is happening across the board, it is probably in your lines or bottling bucket somewhere rather than the bottles/caps themselves.
Mal's right. There's only a limited amount of things that can cause an explosion. Bottling too soon, adding too much sugar (which it doesn't appear you did,) a weak bottle (which usually only explains one happening, unless you have a batch of bottles from the lhbs, then MAYBE some from the same lot could have flaws) OR an infection. Infections can be limited to one bottle if the bottle wasn't sanitized correctly, OR it could be in all the beer, from somewhere down the chain from brew day on....

Sorry. I really can't see any other options besides an infection from what you said.
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:04 PM   #5
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Noob here. Measured FG of bottled beer. FG is now lower than when I bottled. I bottled too soon... I thought 4 weeks in the carboy would have been enough. I was wrong. Next time I'll be sure to measure, measure, measure.

On that note. What is the best product/way to collect wort from a carboy for hydrometer testing?

Thanks for everyone's input here. With all your suggestions I was able to learn and eliminate possible scenarios.

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Old 11-28-2012, 07:08 PM   #6
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I've just recently started using a wine thief and I like it. If you are careful with sanitation of the thief and your hydrometer you can easily put the sample back. Of course I like to leave a little bit in the thief so that I can pour it into a glass and taste it. Other than that a good turkey baster will do the trick.

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Old 11-28-2012, 07:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian777 View Post
Noob here. Measured FG of bottled beer. FG is now lower than when I bottled. I bottled too soon... I thought 4 weeks in the carboy would have been enough. I was wrong. Next time I'll be sure to measure, measure, measure.

On that note. What is the best product/way to collect wort from a carboy for hydrometer testing?

Thanks for everyone's input here. With all your suggestions I was able to learn and eliminate possible scenarios.
Don't rule out the probability of infection. After 4 weeks in the carboy, chances are your beer was done. Overcarbonation may give it some bite and make it taste unpleasant, but it wouldn't make it taste like utter crap as you describe.
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:46 PM   #8
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I recapped/vented some of them, and put the others in a sealed vessel. I'll let time be the judge for this batch.

Crap might be too strong of a word from what I have read on the forums now. I'm not too clear what is going on. I know its green so I know the taste is going to be off as is, so if I can get them to stop exploding maybe something good will happen...

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Old 11-28-2012, 08:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTate37 View Post
I've just recently started using a wine thief and I like it. If you are careful with sanitation of the thief and your hydrometer you can easily put the sample back. Of course I like to leave a little bit in the thief so that I can pour it into a glass and taste it. Other than that a good turkey baster will do the trick.
Not really a good bit of advice here, to be honest. Sure, it's not a gigantic risk of infection. But it is a risk. It's also a good way to introduce at least a small amount of oxidation. And all to save what, 6-8 ounces of beer for a given sample? Not really worth it.

The OP didn't go too in-depth on his description of the awful taste, but what he did describe was a metallic taste, which is consistent with carbonic bite. The rest of his process description doesn't seem to add up to overcarbed bottles, but I'd be hesitant to jump to the conclusion of infection based on what little info we've got to go on. Sounds like he's on the right track, venting the bottles and letting them ride a little longer - worst that can happen is that he can find out that they are indeed infected and dump them in another week or three. Best case, he can recover from the overcarbonation and salvage the remainder of his batch...
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian777 View Post
Noob here. Measured FG of bottled beer. FG is now lower than when I bottled. I bottled too soon... I thought 4 weeks in the carboy would have been enough. I was wrong. Next time I'll be sure to measure, measure, measure.

On that note. What is the best product/way to collect wort from a carboy for hydrometer testing?

Thanks for everyone's input here. With all your suggestions I was able to learn and eliminate possible scenarios.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zachattack View Post
Don't rule out the probability of infection. After 4 weeks in the carboy, chances are your beer was done. Overcarbonation may give it some bite and make it taste unpleasant, but it wouldn't make it taste like utter crap as you describe.
Depends on the FG drop, sorta, doesn't it? If you add more sugar to ferment for the carbing, doesn't that also slightly increase the alcohol content, which would lower FG, at least slightly?
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