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Old 05-09-2011, 03:25 AM   #1
MileHighHops
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Default Just had my first bottle bomb!!!!!

My fiance and I were just getting ready to relax and enjoy our Sunday evening when we heard a loud explosion. My first reaction was, damn that cat..what did he knock over this time? We ran into the living area (we have a 1 bedroom condo...not much room) and immediately noticed the beer pouring out of our buffet/cabinet. It was a damn mess. There were 6 broken bottles inside the cabinet. I'm guessing 1 blew up and decapitated 5 others in the process. I had about 40 bottles conditioning in there and about 50 other empty bottles, not to mention all of our wine glasses on the shelf above. All were covered in beer and shards of glass.

I was so paranoid that another one was going to blow during the clean up process that I made my fiance wear her sunglasses just in case something shot at her eyes. We quickly washed off all of the remaining full bottles and wrapped in trash bags in sets of 4 bottles per bag, then covered all in another trash bag, then covered that with two cardboard boxes in preparation for another bomb.

So, here are the facts of the explosive beer:
-Brew date was 4/2/11, 5 gallon batch partial boil
-American Amber extract kit which was pieced together by LHBS
-6lbs of LME
-3/4 lb of Crystal 40 Malt
-1/8 lb of Victory Malt
-1 oz Falcon Flight HopPellets 10.5% at 60 min
-1/2 oz Centennial HopPellets 9.2% at 30 min
-1/2 oz Centennial HopPellets 9.2% at 10 min
-White Labs East Coast Ale Yeast
Dry Hopped with 1oz 5% Cascade HopPellets (I added this to recipe)
OG = 1.048
FG = 1.014
ABV = 4.54%
74 IBUs

-Pitched yeast at 69 degrees
-Fermented in primary for 13 days at 72-75 degrees
-Secondary for about 2 weeks with 1oz Cascade dry hop
-Used 5 ounces of priming sugar at bottling, boiled in water, poured into bottling bucket, then siphoned beer on top with the siphon at the bottom of the bucket. Should have been an even mix of sugar
-Bottled on 4/29, so bottles are at 9 days bottle conditioning
-They've been in a dark cabinet at about 75 degrees

I tried one at 7 days (1 day in fridge) and it was good but definitely not anywhere close to being fully carbed. It was pretty flat

So....what are some explanations for this? I just assumed this happened when there was too much C02 pressure in the bottle. But a buddy of mine told me he read somewhere this can happen from a contamination of some type in the bottle. I like to think I'm pretty thorough with my sanitation methods, but I do collect all my bottles used so maybe something slipped through. Also, I used a bottling wand for the first time with this batch. In the past I would always just use the spigot and fill to about an inch below the cap. Never had any problems but I was told it was better to use a wand to force the oxygen out of the bottle...so I made the switch. But, with the wand I can't fill as high due to the volume the wand takes up while in the bottle, so I'm left with less beer in each bottle. Could this extra head space have cause the problem? Any other thoughts?

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Old 05-09-2011, 03:30 AM   #2
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I'm gonna guess the priming solution wasn't evenly distributed throughout and some got more sugar than others. Seems like everything you did was correct, the only variable is the priming solution.

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Old 05-09-2011, 03:35 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by tmurph6 View Post
I'm gonna guess the priming solution wasn't evenly distributed throughout and some got more sugar than others. Seems like everything you did was correct, the only variable is the priming solution.
Is this just something that is inevitably going to happen at some point in our brewing lives? I boiled priming sugar in 2 cups of water, poured into bottling bucket, then siphoned beer from secondary on top of the priming sugar. Seems like it should have evenly distributed throughout, no?
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Old 05-09-2011, 03:40 AM   #4
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I've had 2 exploded bottles in 20 batches. I don't really know what caused either explosion.

I'm inclined to think that it's either one-off bottle infections, or that it's uneven priming distribution.

It's frustrating and scary to say the least, especially since it makes me less comfortable to give beer away, which is one of my favorite parts of the hobby.

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Old 05-09-2011, 03:45 AM   #5
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Kaboom!!!! Like a nonsilent warrior!!!!!!!

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Old 05-09-2011, 03:59 AM   #6
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Not to get too far off my original post, but does anyone have any horor stories of people getting injured from bottle bombs?

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Old 05-09-2011, 04:04 AM   #7
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One more question, just the chance of a bottle bomb decrease once they are in the fridge?

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Old 05-09-2011, 04:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MileHighHops View Post
One more question, just the chance of a bottle bomb decrease once they are in the fridge?
Yes, as the temp decreases so does the pressure.

You have to make sure that when you are measuring your priming sugar, you measure for the amount that is going into the bottling bucket. Dont assume that you have 5 gallons of beer that is being bottled if you brewed 5 gallons.
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Old 05-09-2011, 07:41 AM   #9
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Someone is always posting something about a bottle bomb. When are people going to learn to put the bottles in some kind of container to contain the blast once it happens?

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Old 05-09-2011, 01:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Someone is always posting something about a bottle bomb. When are people going to learn to put the bottles in some kind of container to contain the blast once it happens?
Yeah, well, I guess I learned the hard way. Luckily I only lost a six pack, and not an eye. I'll be working on making a box lined with some industrial strength bags to contain any future explosions.

Lesson learned
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