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Old 08-02-2011, 12:38 PM   #1
merkinman
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Default Keg conditioned bottle bombs

I did not think this was possible until about 1:00 this morning. It was witbier force carbonated in a keg and then bottled for comps. I guess the suspended yeast remained active and then boom. Some of this very beer was judged at a comp last weekend, and now I am curious to see if that one gooshed all over some unsuspecting judge. That would be a shame since it really is some good beer (out of the keg).

I am surprised the yeast had anything to eat since this beer spent more than 20 days in the primary and the gravity did not move a point in the five days before I kegged it.

The bottles were in a closet at around 77-80 degrees. Warm, but not brutally hot. Head scratcher indeed.

I suppose another explanation could be an infection, but all the bottles and caps soaked I Star San for at least a few hours.

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Old 08-02-2011, 01:03 PM   #2
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If it were me, I'd be looking into infections... If the yeast were done before you kegged, then they were done. There had to be some other source of bacteria that has taken over.

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Old 08-02-2011, 04:54 PM   #3
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How many volumes did you carb it up to in the keg? Bottles only hold around 3 volumes safely. Was the beer cold in the keg then you warmed it up after in the bottles? This could have caused a bunch of CO2 to come out of solution.

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Old 08-03-2011, 01:01 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MachineShopBrewing
How many volumes did you carb it up to in the keg? Bottles only hold around 3 volumes safely. Was the beer cold in the keg then you warmed it up after in the bottles? This could have caused a bunch of CO2 to come out of solution.
I think we have our answer.
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Old 08-03-2011, 01:20 AM   #5
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How do breweries prevent this? I cant imagine all beer is shipped cold?

Sorry if this is a silly question, I don't know much about commercial systems.

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Old 08-03-2011, 04:24 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by TomOliver View Post
How do breweries prevent this? I cant imagine all beer is shipped cold?

Sorry if this is a silly question, I don't know much about commercial systems.
Most commercial beer is packaged cold, but obviously not kept cold. I don't think this is the problem causing bottle bombs.

While I'm not expert on CO2, I believe when a beer warms up, it will only release enough CO2 to fill the headspace in the bottle. It won't continue to release CO2 until the bottle blows. If the pressure builds enough, my guess is that it will force the carbonation back into the beer. It will also cause a lot of foam. As long as you chill the bottle before drinking it, you should be fine. I could be wrong though. I've bottled hundreds of kegged beers, some around 3.5 volumes, and I've never had one blow.
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Old 08-03-2011, 02:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Most commercial beer is packaged cold, but obviously not kept cold. I don't think this is the problem causing bottle bombs.

While I'm not expert on CO2, I believe when a beer warms up, it will only release enough CO2 to fill the headspace in the bottle. It won't continue to release CO2 until the bottle blows. If the pressure builds enough, my guess is that it will force the carbonation back into the beer. It will also cause a lot of foam. As long as you chill the bottle before drinking it, you should be fine. I could be wrong though. I've bottled hundreds of kegged beers, some around 3.5 volumes, and I've never had one blow.
Some of this is probably true, but we don't know how many volumes the op bottled it with.

While it may be true that the pressure inside the bottle is going to settle at an equilibrium, that number may be higher than what the bottle can handle. If you carbed up to 4 volumes in solution and warmed it up, some of that would come out of solution. How much stays in solution would then be dependent on the equilibrium of pressure, which may or may not be enough to burst the bottle. In other words, the bottle may be able to hold a beer with 4 volumes in solution if it is kept cold and the CO2 stays in solution, but when warmed up it could burst.
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Old 08-03-2011, 02:43 PM   #8
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I would say the carbonation was somewhere between 3.5 and 4, being a Belgian style, I cranked it up pretty well.

I drank one of the other bottles last night, and it did not taste of any infection, but the head was MASSIVE.

Like I said earlier, I think the carbon dioxide coming out of solution due to the increase in temperature caused the bottle to burst. The flavor of the bottled beer (normal) and the amount of foam (much more than the kegged example) attest to this.

As to the question of commercial brewers, wouldn't they package their beer warm to prevent this problem. I think if advertising is to be believed, Coors would be the exception, but their beer is not carbed up enough for this to be a concern for them.

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Old 08-03-2011, 02:57 PM   #9
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You'll notice most belgian beers come in a thicker glass bottle. Most commercial breweries that bottle just bottle their beers with less carbonation.

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Old 08-03-2011, 04:17 PM   #10
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You'll notice most belgian beers come in a thicker glass bottle. Most commercial breweries that bottle just bottle their beers with less carbonation.
Most Belgian beers are also bottle conditioned. I previously thought that may be the only need for the heavy bottle -- hence my dismay at having a bottle bomb that was keg carbed.

I wonder if there is an example of a force carbonated beer from Belgium that is sold in a heavy bottle. None come to mind, but I imagine it is a possibility -- if not for aesthetics alone.
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