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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > Too much head from bottled beer
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Old 06-26-2011, 04:15 AM   #1
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Default Too much head from bottled beer

I just sampled my first beer from the first batch I bottle conditioned with DME - typically I bottle a six pack with coopers drops and keg the rest, so I'm definitely in uncharted territory.

Anyway, gave the beer about 3.5 weeks in a 70F-ish closet, then placed it in the fridge before work Friday. This evening - probably 30 hours or so since the beer hit the fridge - I cracked it open and poured.

I poured into two small glasses so SWMBO and I could split the first sample, and both glasses wound up with about 1" worth of beer and the rest was all head.

Did I simply not give the beer long enough in the fridge for the CO2 to fully dissolve? That's the assumption I'm going on for now - what is a reasonable amount of time to expect to have the beer refrigerated for to make sure that it pours glasses that aren't 90% head?

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Old 07-01-2011, 04:53 PM   #2
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I would leave the beer in the fridge over night, but considering the beer was cold this sounds like something else. Maybe you bottled it before it was done fermenting. Or you might have a minor infection that hasn’t shown it’s sour face yet, but is over carbing your beer.

How does the beer in the keg taste compared to the over carbed beer?

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Old 07-01-2011, 05:03 PM   #3
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Thanks for the response - I had pretty much given up on this thread...

The low-down on your questions:

First off, to get it out of the way, this batch was entirely bottled - so no kegged sample to compare.

Secondly, it's slightly possible that I fermented early, but I hit the FG the kit specified and it was stable over three days prior to bottling, so I think that's doubtful. Possible sure, but doubtful.

Infection is certainly possible - I'm always cautious about sanitation, but I did have a bottling day mishap where the spigot on my bucket was overtightened and started leaking all over. My efforts to correct that sure could have provided an infection vector.

Lastly, and most alarming, a few days after I sampled that first apparently over-carbed bottle, I went to move all the bottles from the closet down to the basement, and found that 7 bottles had literally exploded. Placed as many as I could into the kegerator, and advised my buddy he should do the same with his half, though he seems to not be taking me so seriously (I feel I owe him one more good push, then it's on him if he refuses to listen).

Any suggestions for how best to handle these so I can still enjoy the beer? If I cracked the bottle open then gave it 5 or 10 minutes before I poured, would that give it a chance to off-gas some?

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Old 07-01-2011, 05:28 PM   #4
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Yep that sounds like you got some kind of bacteria munching out on the sugars your beer yeast was not able to eat. If you did in fact take a 3 day gravity reading and it didn’t change, then your beer was done, you can rule that out.

The bottles blowing up are an almost sure indication of infection in this case. I have not experience bottling with coopers drops? Are you sure you didn’t add too much of them? Please be careful when you move these beers I had one batch do the same and I had to put a towel over the box when I moved them to the shooting range! Be sure and advise your friend to put them in the fridge as soon as possible.

Cracking the beer open will help, but given enough time the beer will begin to gush when you open it, and just keep foaming for 10 minutes or so, you will end up losing half the beer in the bottle. How is the taste? If it is drinkable I would invite some friend’s open them up and put them in pitchers letting them degas a bit in there, before serving. If you are sure you did not over prime with sugar then it would have to be an infection, are they all consistently over carbed or just some?

Some people recommend you get all new plastic equipment, but really I would just soak everything overnight in PBW or Oxy, rinse then soak in a sanitizer you do not normally use. Try iodophor if you use star san, or bleach. Just make sure to rinse well with hot water if you used bleach. It is a good idea to switch up your sanitizer every once in a while, you never know these little bugs can evolve pretty fast and might get some immunity to your most popular sanitizer, keep them guessing!


edit: nevermined I just noticed you bottled with DME. Explain your process a little more please.

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Old 07-01-2011, 05:53 PM   #5
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How big was your batch at bottling time?

What was the highest temp the beer was at prior to bottling?

How much DME did you use?

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Old 07-15-2011, 12:41 PM   #6
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Thread resuscitation! And more updates as well...

My batch, at bottling time, was 5 gallons almost exactly. Unfortunately, due to an incident with an overtightened bottling bucket seal, we lost almost a quart before I could get the leak under control. Interestingly, since it was early in the transfer, I really expected to lose more of the DME solution in relation to the beer, which apparently didn't hurt things as I would have expected.

To be honest, and this is my major mistake with this batch, I have no idea how much DME was used. I was working from a kit where everything else was pre-measured, so I assumed the priming DME was pre-measured to the appropriate amount, and just went with it. This is not a mistake I'll repeat again.

It's also worth noting, during the last weekend the beers were in the closet chewing up the priming sugar - when I'm pretty sure the bombs blew - we had some pretty high temperatures. Probably mid 80's, and that particular room in my house usually takes the brunt of such temp jumps. Yes, I definitely need to find a different conditioning space for the summer months.

So, as for an update... I've had the beers in the fridge for about 2 weeks now, and I cracked one open the other night. Definitely over-carbed - had to pour some, wait a couple minutes for head to recede, pour a little more, wait a little more. Probably took 3 pour-and-waits to get the beer poured. But boy was it worth it - despite the over-carbonation problem, this beer right now is my best tasting to date! No off-flavors, just a nice hop presence with a good malt base - and the dry hopping definitely gave this beer a nice nose... I'll have to monitor it, but so far in the taste and appearance in the bottle, there's nothing to really suggest infection - I just think I put too much trust in my kit being right.

And, as luck would have it, SWMBO isn't into the style of it at all. So, a case sits in my just completed fermentation chamber (testing to see if I can hit lagering temps, so it should be plenty cold!) waiting for my buddy I brewed it with to pick it up, and the other 3 six-packs that survived are all mine!

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Old 07-15-2011, 12:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stratslinger View Post
I just sampled my first beer from the first batch I bottle conditioned with DME - typically I bottle a six pack with coopers drops and keg the rest, so I'm definitely in uncharted territory.

Anyway, gave the beer about 3.5 weeks in a 70F-ish closet, then placed it in the fridge before work Friday. This evening - probably 30 hours or so since the beer hit the fridge - I cracked it open and poured.

I poured into two small glasses so SWMBO and I could split the first sample, and both glasses wound up with about 1" worth of beer and the rest was all head.

Did I simply not give the beer long enough in the fridge for the CO2 to fully dissolve? That's the assumption I'm going on for now - what is a reasonable amount of time to expect to have the beer refrigerated for to make sure that it pours glasses that aren't 90% head?
No such thing as too much head man!
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Old 07-15-2011, 01:28 PM   #8
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Somehow I just knew that post was coming from _someone_ eventually...

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