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Old 02-27-2010, 08:56 PM   #1
mrjeffrey
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Default gushing bottles--why?

I know this has been addressed several times, but I was looking for possible reasons why this has happened. This was a wit beer made last summer. All of the bottles recently have just gushed completely out on opening. I opened the last few today and noticed some rather large nasty particles floating up from the bottom as the foam churned out. In the past, I sort of waited out the foam and drank it (didn't notice those particles), and the beer was fine. Even today the little bit I tried was good. So what is causing the foaming? And what are those particles on the bottom?

My notes tell me I bottled the beer only after three weeks in primary--no secondary. Too much yeast still in suspension? Infection? This has never happened before or since (overcarbonation--usually the opposite). I'm fairly sure I didn't use too much priming sugar. Any ideas? (chemistry, technical info welcome).

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Old 02-27-2010, 09:02 PM   #2
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Sounds like an infection. Especially considering how long it took to gush.

FWIW, you should drink a Wit young and while it's fresh, they age terribly.



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Old 02-27-2010, 09:04 PM   #3
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+1 on the infection. It also may not have been fully fermented, but I doubt it. Did you do FG readings?

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Old 02-27-2010, 09:13 PM   #4
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Yeah, it started 1.046 and finished 1.011. The funny thing is this was a second run (with extract added). The first was 1.040 to 1.009 with about an extra week of secondary with watermelon. I'm actually drinking the last of that today and it's fine. These had separate yeast, etc., of course. (Mash efficiency and temp control on that brew day is another issue...)

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Old 02-27-2010, 09:17 PM   #5
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A couple of things could cause this, but since you say it's all bottles of a particular batch it's probably safe to say that it came down to sanitation of the bottles, caps, or your bottling bucket during the bottling process. When you have a gusher that just seems to appear randomly in a batch it's most likely due to just some gunk stuck in the bottom of a bottle or a glitch in sanitation.

If you use a bottling bucket, now would be a good time to take apart the spigot and make sure it's cleaned very well. This is a perfect hiding spot for microscopic nasties. This goes for your bottling wand, siphon, and anything else you use on bottling day. Then, double check your bottle/cap sanitation procedure and make sure that's all kosher.

It sucks, but I had a batch like this not long ago. It made me especially mad because it was a winter warmer and I had the patience to let it sit a month in primary, another two months in secondary, and another month in bottles before even tasting one. They were actually pretty good young and didn't have a gushing problem, but with more time in the bottles it turned out they were all gushers with a rancid vegetable type smell and flavor (although a friend of mine drank one and then asked for another ). After going over every piece of my bottling operation with some extensive cleaning the next batch I bottled came out 100% perfect.

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Old 02-27-2010, 09:27 PM   #6
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Sanitation = sanity.

Seriously.

Think about your process each step of the way and try to remember if you may have missed anything. Even if you didn't have an infection, it's a great exercise and one that all brewers of all levels ought to do from time to time. Thing is, folks just getting started ought to think about it even more until they become so inured with cleanliness habits that they become second nature. That doesn't mean get overly anal-retentive, just use your good sense and make sure everything is spic and span before you take the next step with your brews.

When I bottle, I always take a good 5-15 seconds to inspect each bottle and make sure it's really clean - bare glass top to bottom - before I put in my final sanitizer. Personally, I use Star-San as a final rinse and use a bottle rack to let them air dry. Works great. I also keep my caps in a solution of Star-San until they are crimped atop the bottle. I've not had an infected bottle for literally 30 years now. (No, Star-San hasn't been around that long, and I used other sanitizers back in the day.)

Bummer that you lost some brew, but as it is with all things, take it as a learning experience and use the knowledge you gain as a stepping stone to better things.

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Old 02-27-2010, 09:27 PM   #7
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Definitely a wild yeast (or gusher bug) infection.
If you want us to help you, you'll have to describe your sanitation process.

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Old 02-27-2010, 09:31 PM   #8
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Thanks. I'm actually pretty fastidious about cleaning, including taking the spigot and rubber bits apart every time--usually even after each bottling session and before the next. Which doesn't mean an infection didn't happen in this case. I had the same experience as you. I didn't notice a gusher until we were celebrating my daughter's birth in early October, but every bottle since then was like that. Before that, they were OK. I hadn't noticed the nasty particles, though. One I opened today clearly had yeast sediment on the bottom and that basically exploded in the kitchen when I opened it (had been in basement, ~60 degrees--was thinking it might gush less when warm--wrong), but the others didn't have much on the bottom. Is there a specific name for this gushing bug? Or could it be any of many different microorganisms?

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Old 02-27-2010, 09:33 PM   #9
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Cleaning is not sanitizing, and sanitizing is not cleaning. It took me a few batches to figure that out. You need to do both.

What products are you using, and how are you using them?

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Old 02-27-2010, 09:35 PM   #10
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To last poster-- I wash the bucket before and after as I said (with regular dishwashing soap usually--straight A from time to time). I use star san before bottling. The bottles usually soak in it, and the bucket, wand, caps, etc. get a healthy dose. Like I said, I've never had this problem before or since. I can accept there was a misstep in this case. Good lesson in being careful at all times. Weird that I wouldn't have noticed it if I had drunk the beer a lot faster.



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