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Old 03-29-2009, 02:27 PM   #1
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Default Preventing Bottle Bombs

Let's say, theoretically, someone bottled without paying close attention to their priming rate. Purely for the purpose of discussion we'll assume this brewer primed with enough sugar to push his beer into the range of 4 volumes. What are his options?

Ok yeah it was me.

Could bottle bombs be avoided by removing the caps to release pressure and then immediately recapping? Has anyone had experience with that technique before? I doubt that I will be able to entirely prevent all bottle bombs, but I'd like to reduce the number lost.

Another technique I was thinking about was to refrigerate them when they seemed to reach the desired / non-explosive carbonation level and keep them refrigerated. Would that be effective enough in stopping the process to prevent bombs?

The recapping method seems the most promising to me because it will allow the yeast to keep working until they're done (instead of putting them to sleep too early and stunting the conditioning process), but there's no way to guarantee that there will be any consistency from bottle to bottle, and I may end up with plenty of bombs and a few undercarbed bottles.

Thanks for any input.

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Old 03-29-2009, 02:43 PM   #2
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The recapping method seems the most promising to me because it will allow the yeast to keep working until they're done (instead of putting them to sleep too early and stunting the conditioning process), but there's no way to guarantee that there will be any consistency from bottle to bottle, and I may end up with plenty of bombs and a few undercarbed bottles.
I tried this once. It never worked for me. I kept on doing over and over and it was a phenomenal waste of time. I still had gushers. But they were slow. If I poured immediately into a glass it was OK.
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Old 03-29-2009, 03:01 PM   #3
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I tried this once. It never worked for me. I kept on doing over and over and it was a phenomenal waste of time. I still had gushers. But they were slow. If I poured immediately into a glass it was OK.
At this point gushers would be fine with me. I just want to limit the number of exploding bottles and lost beer.
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Old 03-29-2009, 03:14 PM   #4
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I guess what I meant to say is that it did not diminish the problem. If you keep them open longer at room temp it might work. It has to be done before they are gushers. I my case not much co2 will came out of them without some type of degassing actvity.

I'm thinking a drill type stirrer might be necessary.

Opening them will relieve pressure I'd guess you have to do it several times.

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Old 03-29-2009, 06:30 PM   #5
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I'm dealing with the same thing right now. A lot of adrenaline was flowing as I defused the waiting bombs, as I had heard two loud pops in the night, only to smell beer seeping out of my coat closet... Luckily I had covered the batch with a trash bag, though even the trash bag was shredded in places with glass shrapnel.

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Old 03-29-2009, 07:18 PM   #6
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With this batch I'm willing to invest in a phenomenal waste of time as long as it means I end up with some good bottles that won't blow my hand off if they hit room temperature at some point. This batch was supposed to be my opus!

Here's what I'm probably going to do: open one bottle every 4 days to gauge carbonation/bottle pressure. Once the test bottle for a given day appears to have carbonated to about 1/2 the level I'm hoping for (or I find the corpse of a detonated bottle, whichever comes first) I will uncap the batch, and recap immediately. This should not oxidize the bottles, and will equalize the pressure. Hopefully a single round of remove and recap will release enough pressure to prevent too many exploders. Somebody please correct my line of thinking here if you disagree...

Also: how violent is a bottle bomb? I'm willing to waste a lot of time, but I think I want to keep my hands, eyeballs, and internal organs...Can I even touch them once they're about to pop?

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Old 03-29-2009, 07:18 PM   #7
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I'm dealing with the same thing right now. A lot of adrenaline was flowing as I defused the waiting bombs, as I had heard two loud pops in the night, only to smell beer seeping out of my coat closet... Luckily I had covered the batch with a trash bag, though even the trash bag was shredded in places with glass shrapnel.
So did you end up saving any? or was the batch a goner?

EDIT: by the way, I used about 7/8 cup of corn sugar in 3.8 gallons of beer. The beer had held the same gravity for two weeks, so it was done fermenting. I calc'd the 7/8 to give me about 4 volumes when added to 3.8 gal.
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Old 03-29-2009, 07:44 PM   #8
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"Also: how violent is a bottle bomb? I'm willing to waste a lot of time, but I think I want to keep my hands, eyeballs, and internal organs...Can I even touch them once they're about to pop?"

pretty fricking dangerous. heres a link to my little experience http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/holy...-batman-76241/

I kept them in a cooler for a long time as they would pop in waves (especially when the weather warmed up, or when a storm/low pressure system rolled through).
I tried popping a couple open, the pressure shot the cap 20+ ft and pushed my hand/bottle opener. So I ended up tossing a couple big rocks in the cooler and shacking it to get the last couple bottles to break. It was pretty scarry but I was able to talk SWMBO into letting me get a kegged system.//

Be safe. eye protection, gloves, if you have a heavy leather or carhartt jacket I would suggest using that too.
Good luck.

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Old 03-29-2009, 08:15 PM   #9
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Be safe. eye protection, gloves, if you have a heavy leather or carhartt jacket I would suggest using that too.
Good luck.
Definitely, use gloves & eye protection, open them ice cold, set the cap back on top and let them warm up and recap them. Its a royal PIA, but I hope it works for you.

Your idea of waiting every few days is good, once you get bottle bomb be REALLY careful.

Its too bad you cant rig a gauge to one of these.

Here's and idea! - You might try opening one now. Put this beer in a soda bottle, then recap it, and do a squeeze to check for hardness every few days. If they get to an explosive state, you can loosen the soda cap to check for gushers. That will happen first before the bombs. You can also see the bottom or neck of the bottle deform as it expands.

This might be a good barometer to check for carbonation
.
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Old 03-29-2009, 08:25 PM   #10
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It was pretty scarry but I was able to talk SWMBO into letting me get a kegged system.
Brilliant!

So I bottle my beer tonight and add a couple big spoonfulls of sugar to one bottle. Place that bottle somewhere I know it won't be disturbed but won't hurt anyone. Then when I blows I say "Holy smokes, honey! That could've killed someone! Maybe, just in the interest of keeping my family safe, we should invest in a keezer with three dual-faucet towers and an optional nitro system."

IT... COULD... WORK!!!!
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