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Old 09-04-2012, 10:50 PM   #1
chaselun
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Default Consistant Over Carbonation. Please Help Troubleshoot Cause!

Hi Guys,

I need help troubleshooting heavy over carbonation of pretty much every batch of my beer (8 or 9 batches). This is driving me crazy!

Here are the details:

-I bottle

-Over carbonation not limited to my all-grain batches, it is in my extract batches as well.

-Fermentation is (seemingly) complete. The FG ranges are within yeast attenuation.

-I ferment 3 weeks in primary and 3 weeks in secondary. Then Cold Crash and bottle.

-Light carbonation in bottles around weeks 2-4, then it reaches a point to where it is so carbonated that it will overflow out the top. I have to open a beer and let it sit for a good 45 minutes to hit the right carbonation level.

-No off tastes to the beer, it tastes just fine.

-I sanitize with a fresh batch of star san every time, and clean my equipment pretty good. (However my fermenter is plastic, possible contamination that is stuck in there?)

-Prime with about 4 oz of priming sugar.

Today I tried opening all my beer to let it sit and recap later to salvage the batch, however I opened two and the foam sprayed me right in the face and got on the damn ceiling and walls!

Any ideas would be great guys. I just brewed up an extract batch of Surly Furious, so I'm desperate to get this carbonation down.

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Old 09-04-2012, 10:56 PM   #2
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4oz for a 5 gallon batch doesn't sound bad at all. I would try to do some more investigation toward your sanitizing practices. Maybe the fermenter would be a good place to start. Gushers shouldn't be the norm.

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Old 09-05-2012, 12:30 AM   #3
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That's what I'm kind of thinking. Maybe I'll pick up a glass carboy for my next batch of beer and see what happens.

The only thing that confuses me is that there are no off tastes that I can pick up. Would an infection or wild yeast be anything I could taste??

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Old 09-05-2012, 12:56 AM   #4
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4oz is about 1 cup if you are using corn sugar. You could try 3 or even 2 oz.

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Old 09-05-2012, 01:27 AM   #5
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"About four ounces "

How much is about? 3.5? 4.5? That's a huge difference between "about " 4 ounces, when you're talking priming sugar. I'd recommend a scale and the use of a priming calculator. I use the one at tastybrew.com. also, you should know your volume into the bottling bucket pretty close. Also make sure to use the maximum temperature your beer reached during active fermentation.

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Old 09-05-2012, 11:55 AM   #6
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It is almost exactly 4 oz of corn sugar. And I mix it with 4.75 gallons of beer. Maybe with this batch I will try priming with 2 oz and if it is over carbonated I'll then look into getting a new non plastic primary fermenter.

Can filling your bottles too much cause over carbonation? This batch I had about 1 and a half fingers of headspace in the bottles.

Thanks for all the replies!

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Old 09-05-2012, 11:58 AM   #7
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1. Are all bottles like that or are some flat and some gushers?

2.How well is the priming solution mixed in?

When I bottle, I first pour the priming solution into the bottling bucket.
Then I rack in the beer.
I mix it up with a spoon (no splashing).

Then I start bottling.
Halfway through I mix it again (no splashing).

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Old 09-05-2012, 12:08 PM   #8
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I'll second the question about consistency between bottles. Is it every bottle that's over carbed or just some? If some, then it's a matter of not mixing in your priming sugar well enough. If you're adding dry sugar right to the beer before bottling it's really hard to get evenly distributed. I suggest boiling the sugar in water for a few minutes to sterilize then adding it to the bottling bucket - then adding the beer on top of it. This will give you a good starting distribution then you can gently stir a few times to gaurantee that it's even.

If it's every bottle - then you might need to look at infection as the cause. You can try to clean everything again or if you have the resources you could replace the plastic portions of your brew equipment that are in contact with the beer after the boil. That's the surest way to see if it's an infection or not.

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Old 09-05-2012, 03:20 PM   #9
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All bottles are gushers. I pour my mixture of priming sugar and water into the bottling bucket then rack and stir lightly so it should be mixed well.

I may end up trying out a glass carboy for fermenting and seeing what happens.

I mean if it's happened with the last 9 batches it must be an infection right? There's no way it's not fermented all the way because it gets fermented down within the yeasts attenuation range.

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Old 09-05-2012, 04:14 PM   #10
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As long as you're letting it ferment, I really doubt that it would not be finished. Just the same, you should really check gravity 2 days apart to be sure it's perfectly steady. It's a good safety practice.

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