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Old 12-07-2012, 02:52 AM   #1
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Default The reality of the bottle bomb.

I've heard of bottle bombs, never had one. I've seen pictures, but never any real evidence of a "bottle bomb". Over pressurized bottle that crack and drain, yes, but not anything with power. Until now. I was asleep, getting ready to go in for a shift when I heard a loud noise in the living room. I jumped up, grabbed my handgun (I'm here alone) and went to check it out. One of my 22oz bottles had blown. They were a little overcarbed, but not undrinkable, or anything that I would consider dangerous at all. It blew off and up, with the neck of the bottle popping open the tab of the case and projecting up until it hit the ceiling, 11' above the box.



image-1877773796.jpg


I aged this barleywine for 3 months after fermentation before bottling. I was afraid the alcohol content would be too high for the strain (11.7%) so I pitched the correct amount of priming sugar and a half packet of Montrachet 3 days before bottling day. They've been bottled for 2 months. I've opened 5 of the 22oz bottles and 11 of the 12oz and have had a bit of overcarbing, but not a ton. Perhaps the bottle had a fault, or I knocked it while labeling them (the reason the case was in the living room), either way, I'm thankful my kids weren't home. Getting all of the rest of the bottles in the fridge an not giving anymore away.

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Old 12-07-2012, 03:22 AM   #2
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Wow. That sucks.
And barley wine at that!

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Old 12-07-2012, 03:28 AM   #3
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That Montrachet yeast might be causing some over attenuation in the bottles. I'd keep an eye on all of them, and I'd keep them in a safe place.

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Old 12-07-2012, 03:47 AM   #4
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I've got them in my beer fridge in the back yard. I thought I accounted for all of the sugar in my calculations, especially with the 3 day rest between pitching the Montrachet and the sugar. Even though I was erring on the low side of carbonation.
This barleywine was dang expensive to brew too. Live and learn.

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Old 12-07-2012, 04:02 AM   #5
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Bummer. Sorry for your loss.

I had a 22 oz. blow. I was picking little glass fragments out of the drywall and carpet for months. No bare feet for a while, right?

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Old 12-07-2012, 04:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonM
Bummer. Sorry for your loss.

I had a 22 oz. blow. I was picking little glass fragments out of the drywall and carpet for months. No bare feet for a while, right?
That's the weird thing. It broke into three whole pieces. I had the flaps of the case (wine case) closed, but not interlocked. It blew the flap open, but this was the only piece outside of the box. No beer even until it soaked through the box.

I must have been a sight, nude as a jay bird, handgun drawn tactically entering the room. (Yes, I am trained)
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Old 12-07-2012, 04:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snaps10 View Post
That's the weird thing. It broke into three whole pieces. I had the flaps of the case (wine case) closed, but not interlocked. It blew the flap open, but this was the only piece outside of the box. No beer even until it soaked through the box.

I must have been a sight, nude as a jay bird, handgun drawn tactically entering the room. (Yes, I am trained)
Now that just makes a very funny and very disturbing image!
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:54 AM   #8
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That Montrachet yeast might be causing some over attenuation in the bottles. ...
So would a good option be to add the Montrachet at fermentation end and wait a few weeks to see how much lower the Montrachet will take it before priming/bottling?
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:11 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by MaltyHops

So would a good option be to add the Montrachet at fermentation end and wait a few weeks to see how much lower the Montrachet will take it before priming/bottling?
In retrospect yes. I should have waited longer than the three days. I use Montrachet often and am comfortable with its attenuation. I hadn't used it in a beer like this and should have finished with Montrachet then added sugar, or not added the dextrose at all and allowed the Montrachet to use the existing sugars to carbonate. Next batch will tell further.

It was a little hard to calculate because of the nature of the barleywine. I added a pound of spiced pumpkin pie filling for every gallon of wort in the boil. I got three different OG readings and averaged them. The filling was quite thick and didn't mix well into the wort.
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:43 AM   #10
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Fro. The way you describe the bottle breaking it sounds like the bottle might have had some structural issues, too. Maybe a chip or a manufacturing defect. Combine that with over carbonation and problems crop up. I've only had one bottle bomb ever, and I suspect it was caused by a bottle defect rather than a failure to completely ferment since none of the other bottles in the batch blew up (and I've had them around for 4 years now).

Wild yeast could be a culprit, too. If that one bottle was contaminated it *could* be a solitary event. Still, as everyone pointed out... store them safely!

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