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Old 12-04-2007, 01:17 AM   #1
ozborn
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Default What a mess...

Hello fellow home brewers. (Feels good to consider myself a member)
I think I am a member. I just finished brewing my third batch and I see no end of home brewing in sight. I even experimented with my third batch (I put 3lbs of honey instead of 2 to the boil).... I figured it would taste more like honey but after making the batch that is sitting under my pool table fermenting away I did some research and discovered that in reality I most likely only raised the alcohol content because of the additional sugar... I can live with that


Anyway, the reason for my post:

I discovered a home brew kit at the local goodwill that was still in the box, you could even see where it had Christmas wrapping paper stuck to some tape. So I inspected the package and bought it for the price of $15.00. I followed the directions and made the brew and 3 weeks later a devoted home brewer was born. It was hands down the best beer I had ever tasted.

So moving on I made my second batch and could not wait to try it. This time it was a Honey Wheat kit from a supplier in Cincinnati. So I made the batch and bottled it. I have been using the larger bottle that have the metal hinge deal with a ceramic/rubber stopper. All was well but one thing I noticed with this batch is that sometime the beer would foam in the bottle. A Very gradual foam that would slowly come out of the mouth of the bottle. Nothing dramatic, just strange.

Of so that is the first question:

Why do my beers sometime foam very very slowly after opening, foaming out of the bottle?


The second question is what prompted me to seek help here:

Tonight I popped open one of my brews and the freaking thing erupted like a volcano. You see the videos where they mix mentos with pop? That is what this thing did. I figured like a pop it would eventually stop, however this thing just kept rolling discharging probably half of its contents onto the floor. I am sure that it had not been shaken prior to opening.

So #2 is:

Why did my beer erupt like Mt. St. Helens?


Thanks for any insight into my dilemma,

James

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Old 12-04-2007, 01:29 AM   #2
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Your beer is foaming in the bottle because it's getting overcarbonated. It's possible to have this happen due to adding too much priming sugar, but since that is easy to control, it's most often due to bottling it too soon, before it has finished fermenting. An infection can also cause this, but that would also tend to make itself obvious in other ways.

How long have you been leaving your beers in the fermenter, and more importantly, do you have a hydrometer and are you using it to monitor fermentation?

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Old 12-04-2007, 03:29 AM   #3
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ok, let me reach for the newb reply...

no

The first kit I purchased was very simple and did not go into great detail and why you do such and such or 'troubleshooting' so....

I let it sit for a week, if I dont see any bubbles then I bottle it.

The whole gravity thing, I might need to focus on this a bit.

For example the batch fermenting at the moment had a starting gravity of 1.05

I know I should check the gravity before I bottle but I thought it was only to determine the ABV so I did not really care much, does it tell me other things?

Thanks for the info, the first batch was great.

Second batch had a couple that would foam while in the bottle and I had the one that freaking erupted.

Have great hope for the third batch.

Thanks again for your time,

James


Also for what it is worth.. I have a very basic kit, white food grade buckets.
I have noticed that a lot of poeple use glass containers to ferment in, I plan to upgrade to these so I can see what is going on in the container while it ferments.

As for checking the gravity of the brew while fermenting, I have been scared to mess with it because of what I have read about airborn stuff getting into the bucket. So once I put the lid on I avoid even looking at it for a week.

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Old 12-04-2007, 03:47 AM   #4
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I suggest you read How to Brew section on Extract brewing (what you are doing now): http://howtobrew.com/section1/index.html

I get the feeling that, although you know what to do, you don't really know why you're doing it.

If you want to learn what the hydrometer is used for: http://howtobrew.com/appendices/appendixA.html

Although reading up on it can seem like a lot of spent time and energy, you will know how beer fermentation works in detail. It's sort of like the difference between assembling IKEA furniture (what you're doing now) and making your own furniture (read beer), customized to your needs (which can easily be done using extract and steeping grains, or you can go the next step to partial mash or even all grain).

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Old 12-04-2007, 12:20 PM   #5
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And nice equipment is, well, nice, but I still start all of my fermentations in the big white plastic ale pail. It's sturdy, easy to clean and works fine!

Good sanitation is key- but you can open your fermenter and take a sg reading when you need to. You won't harm it if you following good sanitation. ( I use a sanitized turkey baster to remove the sample, and then seal the fermenter back up). As the others said, it tells you when your beer is done, and when it's safe to bottle. Right now you have gushers, but you could have had bottle bombs if you bottle too early.

I always wait at least three weeks before bottling. Occasionally, I do it in the primary fermenter, but usually I do the 1-2-3 method- 1 week (or more) in the primary fermenter, 2 weeks (or more) in the clearing tank, 3 weeks in the bottles. Then drink! It's a nice way to time your batches, even though it is still just a rough guideline. It depends on the beer- each batch might behave a bit different. Some clear faster, some ferment slower, etc. But using this technique has given me very good and clear beer.

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Old 12-04-2007, 12:43 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the replies.

First thing I will do is read the guide located on this site for people just starting out and I will also take a little more time with my batches and get the gravity readings to make sure it is ready to bottle.

Thanks again,

James

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Last edited by ozborn; 12-04-2007 at 02:42 PM.
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