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Old 12-08-2012, 06:34 AM   #1
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Default Pasteurization to stop bottle carbonation?

Hey, all:

One thing I've always been worried about when bottling is the fear that I'm setting myself up with bottle bombs. Not sure why I'm worried - my beer tends to end up really lightly carbed. BUT! I'm looking to improve on that, and that means adding more priming sugar in the next batch, a Boddington's clone.

My plan is to fill my bottles as regular, and also fill a 12-oz plastic bottle with the beer. Test one bottle each week, and when they hit the right level of carbonation, pasteurize all the bottles by soaking them in a 150° bath for fifteen minutes. Theoretically this should kill the yeast, making it perfectly safe to store them at room temperature indefinitely, right? But will it also create off-flavors?

These are questions I have...

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Old 12-08-2012, 06:41 AM   #2
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I've never pasteurized beer before but I have done it with cider. Typically beer won't explode if your using the proper amount of priming sugar. There's a great sticky thread on pasteurization in the cider thread that explains it very well. It's kind of a long process. Before you try that you should check out an online priming sugar calculator. That way you'll be sure you're not over priming and have zero concern of bottle bombs. It's way easier than arbitrarily adding priming sugar and pasteurizing an entire batch. Just my two cents.

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Old 12-08-2012, 04:22 PM   #3
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I think just all the talk about bottle bombs has me worried that I will accidentally use too much priming sugar, and not realize it until it's too late. This leaves me overly cautious at bottling time, which I think is part of why my bottles are usually under-carbed.

I get that properly measuring the priming sugar is the easier way to go, but it appears that a lot of people HAVE done that and still ended up with bombs, and I didn't want to be another of those casualties. I was hoping that a well-timed pasteurization would give me more peace of mind if I find that I accidentally over-sugared.

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Old 12-08-2012, 04:30 PM   #4
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Part of the problem may be people bottling before the beer is ready to be bottled. If the beer is still fermenting and you add sugar and bottle it, you're probably going to get bottle bombs. If the beer is done and you add the correct amount of priming sugar, and mix it thoroughly, you should be fine.

You could also try using priming tabs. You add them to each bottle. You'll be sure of the exact amount of priming sugar you're putting into each bottle of beer.

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Old 12-08-2012, 04:44 PM   #5
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Why don't you just 1)Wait til fermentation is complete AND you've let you beer condition sufficiently long enough before bottling.
2) Make sure your bottles are thoroughly clean and sanitized, and 3) Use the CORRECT AMOUNT OF SUGAR to bottle with?

Millions of folks bottle beer every year doing those three things, And we don't have bottle bombs......

What are we doing right, that you're afraid of doing wrong? Unless you're infected, over primed, or bottled early, there's no reason to expect or feel the need to guard against bottle bombs. An industry standard Beer bottle is meant to contain MORE than the 2-2.5 volumes of co2 that we tend to normally bottle at.

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Old 12-08-2012, 05:01 PM   #6
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If you're super worried about bombs (and as Revvy says: you shouldn't be) store your bottles in lidded rubbermaid tubs.

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Old 12-19-2012, 11:42 PM   #7
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Two of my recent batches were fermented for over four weeks, the specific gravity was stable, although high, for at least one week. The fermentation appeared done. I then bottled these batches. After two to three weeks conditioning the beer was perfectly carbonated. Two months later they were overcarbonated. Now, after three months, they are gushers. The fermentation process seems to have started again. Pasteurization seems a plausible solution........

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Old 12-20-2012, 12:32 AM   #8
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Rather than looking into pasteurization NorthRiver, I would look to see why you have late onset gusher infections, and deal with your infection issues.

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Old 12-20-2012, 12:47 AM   #9
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Revvy,

I'm not sure where to start. The beer tastes great it's just overcarbed. So I'm not convinced there is an "infection problem". Seems like the yeast takes a siesta before it should, then wakes back up during bottle conditioning and then ferments the conditioning sugar + the food it didn't ferment in the beginning of the process. Not sure how I can control that.

NRS

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Old 12-20-2012, 12:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthRiverS View Post
Revvy,

I'm not sure where to start. The beer tastes great it's just overcarbed. So I'm not convinced there is an "infection problem". Seems like the yeast takes a siesta before it should, then wakes back up during bottle conditioning and then ferments the conditioning sugar + the food it didn't ferment in the beginning of the process. Not sure how I can control that.

NRS
Did you take hydro readings during the month your beer sat? It was more than likely finished fermenting after being there for a month. If your beer carbed and was fine for a few weeks, THEN started gushing, the ONLY reason it could happen at that point IS AN INFECTION.

Its highly doubtful (though you would have to have confirmed it with hydrometer readings at yeast pitch and at bottling) that you had a beer that was stuck for a month. Stuck fermentations really aren't all that common.

That means the ONLY fermentable sugar left at bottling time WAS THE PRIMING SUGAR. That would have been exhausted at about 3 weeks (when you said your beer was carbed fine.) if it was stable for a few weeks, then the ONLY thing that can break down non fermentable sugars in a bottling is AN INFECTION.....there really isn't anything else.....there really is only a limited amount of reasons beers gush in the bottle.
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