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Old 09-24-2013, 02:23 PM   #1
ramgeva
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Default Bottle Bombs My Bigest Nightmear, Some Suggestions before first batch

Hi All
before my first batch I would like to get all information I can to avoid this (It is hunting me at night ).
I have a few question but any other suggestion will be great.
1. I read that making sure that fermentation ended is very important, the question is how do I know it is ended? if I wait the fermentation time according to the recipe and check the FG, if it is as expected should I wait one or two days more and check FG again to make sure it doesn't change?
2. Doe's using Grolsch bottles will reduce the chance of Bottle bombs? (i understand they are stronger).
3. If I'm using Grolsch bottles can I open them every couple of days just to make sure there is no over-carbonation? Or will it ruin my beer?
4. I'm using beersmith, doe's the amount of sugar I need to add to each bottle or to the entire batch?
Thanks and any other suggestion will be great.



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Old 09-24-2013, 02:41 PM   #2
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The amount of priming sugar given in any priming software is for the actual,total amount of beer you have to prime for a given highest temp the beer fermented at & for the style being primed.
Do not keep opening bottles to check them. you'll loose carbonation & possibly expose them to nasties.
The number 1 thing to do is ALWAYS take FG readings a couple days apart. If the number stays the SAME,then it's afe to bottle. I prefer to give it another 3-7 days to clean up by products of fermentation & settle out clear or slightly misty before priming & bottling.



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Old 09-24-2013, 02:45 PM   #3
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1, yes, makes sure it is done. In generally you are pretty safe just letting it ferment for a week unless it is a very high gravity beer. Pay attention to the airlock. Once you are getting less than 1 bubble per minute, fermentation is pretty much done. On the whole I'd suggest letting it ferment for 2 weeks on the low end. Longer time sitting in the fermenter often leads to a better beer in the end, and you can be almost absolutely sure fermentation finished days ago. You always want to take an original gravity measurement and a final gravity measurement. If you are using a kit or recipe, it should be very close to what the range for OG and FG is. If it is way off, either something went badly wrong, or else fermentation stuck, in which case you should consider warming the beer some and re-pitching yeast. This doesn't happen often.

2) I've never heard that Grolsch bottles are stronger, but could be true.

3) You'll ruin the beer doing this. Increases odds of contaminating the bottles, you'll likely lose too much CO2 leading to a flat beer and odds are excellent that 90% of the fermentation is going to be done in the first 18-48 hours in the bottle, so you aren't gong to reduce the risk of a bottle bomb unless you are opening it very early (say after 12 hours or something). After most of the fermentation is done it takes the beer a day or several to absorb as much CO2 as it will. In general every 10F warmer or colder will double or halve fermentation rate (so if you bottle at 70F and then cool the bottles to 60F, it will take roughly twice as long for it to ferment and then carbonate, if you warmed from 70 to 80, it'll ferment roughly twice as fast).

4) It is the amount of sugar added to the entire batch.

In general you want to use between .75-1 ounce of sugar per gallon boiled in a small volume of water (and then cooled) and added to your bottling bucket. This will give you roughly 2-3 volumes of CO2 per bottle which is generally in the range of CO2 you want per bottle depending on the style of beer. Some styles call for a little less, like 1.5 volumes, some call for a little more (like 3-4 volumes for some wheats and fruit lambics). Most are in the 2-3 range.

Generally you are going to have problems once you start getting above 4 volumes of CO2. I personally wouldn't be comfortable carbing above about 3 volumes of CO2.

I wouldn't worry about it. The only time I have been seriously concerned about bottle bombs is my third batch, a caramel oak porter. I hadn't learned the trick to boil the sugar in water first before adding it to the bucket, I just poured the pack of sugar in and stirred. Well I didn't stir it in very well on my third batch so on the last 5-6 bottles I noticed some sugar slurry at the bottome. I stirred it in, but the last 5-6 bottles probably got twice the sugar of the rest. So instead of around 2.2-2.5 volumes of CO2 in the end that the rest of the batch ended up, these bottles probably got closer to 5 volumes. None have broken and I bottled 2 1/2 weeks ago. I did however place that six pack in to a cooler and closed the lid for the first two weeks.

Just to be sure.

I have had one bottle break on me, but it was a simple breakage, not a bottle bomb. Bottle feel out/broke out about a day or so after bottling. Likely a flaw in the bottle or a slight crack I hadn't noticed. An occasional, but rare, issue with using used bottles.

If you are that worried, place the bottles in coolers after bottling for a week or two. Alternately you can store them in a cooler place (the cooler the place, the more CO2 will be absorbed in to beer itself, reducing bottle pressure). I don't think you are going to want to store below around 55-60F for an ale, otherwise it might have issues fermenting and carbing. At least not until it has bottle conditioned for a week or two first to ferment and carb up.

Also you can place the bottles in to boxes to at least reduce the devastation a little if any of them do blow...not that I am making you feel better I am sure.

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Old 09-24-2013, 02:49 PM   #4
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Here are my suggestions based on my experience:

1. Yes, making sure fermentation is complete is VERY important, not only to prevent bottle bombs, but to also give the yeast time to clean up. I wait at least 7-10 days after fermentation has started to do a gravity reading. The best way to tell when it's complete is to take a reading every day for 2-3 days, making sure the gravity hasn't dropped any further.

2. Although I am unaware of the strength of Grolsch bottles, I can tell you that even if they are stronger, using the proper amount of priming sugar is the key to avoiding bottle bombs.

3. No matter what type of bottles you are using, it would be in your best interest to not open any bottles unless you plan on drinking them. I wait a minimum of 3 weeks after bottling before i opening any bottles. Opening bottles every couple of days is risking infection and flat beer, both of which can be a let down after all that hard work.

4. I use Beersmith as well, and the amount of sugar is for the entire batch. I find it best to put the priming sugar in the bottling bucket instead of trying to measure out little bits of sugar for each bottle. I also use this http://hbd.org/cgi-bin/recipator/recipator/carbonation.html to measure my priming sugar amounts.

Those are my suggestions. If you have any other questions, I or the other million people on this forum would love to help!

-D

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Old 09-24-2013, 02:56 PM   #5
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It doesn't need to be a very high gravity beer to take more than 1 week to ferment ime. 2 weeks is about the fastest I've had one finish. Usually 3 weeks to finish & settle out clear or slightly misty. That's the average timer for most "average gravity" ales.
And I add the weighed amount of priming sugar (usually dextrose) to 2C of water that I've boiled for a few minutes. Cover & cool a bit down to warm before racking the beer to the bottling bucket by a few inches worth before pouring the priming solution slowly in to the rising,swirling surface of the beer.
And to save beer,just take a test sample,wait till the third day past that,& take another. If the number is the same,it's done & you've used the minimum amount of beer for testing purposes. More going into the bottles this way.

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Old 09-24-2013, 02:57 PM   #6
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1. The ONLY way to know if fermentation is complete is to take gravity readings over a several day span. Everything else is just a guess.

2. Reduce - sure. They still explode though.

3. No, you can't open the bottles. They need to be pressurized to carbonate. That is the whole point.

4. Sugar is for the whole batch.

As for avoiding bombs, the best thing to do is to use the right amount of sugar.

The next best practice is to make sure that sugar is equally distributed. To do that, boil the sugar in a cup of water. Let it cool and toss it into your bottling bucket. Rack the beer on top of that sugar mixture. Give it a gentle stir to make sure it is combined well.

If this is keeping you up at night, you could always use carbonation drops instead. They are premeasured and you just drop them in the bottle. Most people don't use them because they cost way more than a couple oz of sugar, but they are idiot proof

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Old 09-24-2013, 04:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azazel1024 View Post
1, yes, makes sure it is done. In generally you are pretty safe just letting it ferment for a week unless it is a very high gravity beer. Pay attention to the airlock. Once you are getting less than 1 bubble per minute, fermentation is pretty much done.
Airlocks *can* be a good positive indicator of fermentation (if it's bubbling it's probably fermenting) BUT they can lie to you. If you don't have a great seal somewhere on your bucket you can have pressure escape not from the airlock and thus not have activity while still having fermentation.

I would also let most beers sit in primary for 2-3 weeks (I don't do a secondary though).
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Old 09-24-2013, 06:28 PM   #8
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Wow!!!! This forum is amazing!!!! Cheers All
I got a lot of information and great Ideas, Hope not to open another thread in a few months "My First Bottle Bomb"
Thanks Again

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Old 09-24-2013, 07:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jro238 View Post
Airlocks *can* be a good positive indicator of fermentation (if it's bubbling it's probably fermenting) BUT they can lie to you. If you don't have a great seal somewhere on your bucket you can have pressure escape not from the airlock and thus not have activity while still having fermentation.

I would also let most beers sit in primary for 2-3 weeks (I don't do a secondary though).
To add onto that, once fermentation is done I stop bothering to keep temps in check, and my beer usually starts to bubble again (slowly, but it still bubbles), as the temp rises to room temperature (from 66-68 to 74-75) since more of the C02 is coming out of the beer with the higher temps.

Airlocks can give you an idea of whats going on in there (and if it's bubbling several times a minute, you can be pretty sure something is going on in there). But a lack of activity doesn't mean anything, as has been pointed out... and some occasional bubbling doesn't really mean very much either.
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Old 09-24-2013, 07:14 PM   #10
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Just use a priming calculator and a scale and you will be just fine.



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