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Old 05-18-2014, 03:39 AM   #1
stretcheagle
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Default A whole batch of gushers

Help me figure out what went wrong here... I'm a new brewer and this is only my second batch. My bottles had only been carbing for 7 days but when I cracked them open, they all gushed. A lot. Some had spouts 6 inches high or more. For most of them, I had less than 1/3 of the beer left in the bottle by the time the gushing stopped. But when I drank what was left, it tasted really good. If they were infected, wouldn't it taste bad? What's going on? I know I used too much priming sugar. I put in enough for 5 gallons but when I was done bottling I only had about 4.3 gal. But that couldn't account for this, could it?


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Old 05-18-2014, 03:59 AM   #2
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Oh and another relevant thing, maybe. Fermentation seemed normal for the first 2 weeks. Vigorous for the first 2 days, then died down. Gravity at 1 week was the same as gravity at 2 weeks. So I dry hopped at 2 weeks. Then when I measured the final gravity before bottling at 3 weeks, it had dropped an additional 5 points. Was I still in active fermentation?


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Old 05-18-2014, 04:11 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by stretcheagle View Post
Was I still in active fermentation?


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It would seem so. If gravity moved from the last time you took it you should have waited several days and checked it again before you bottled. If then the gravity hadn't moved it should have been safe to bottle.
What was the OG of the beer?
What was the FG of the beer?
What was ferment temp?
What was the temp you kept it at during bottle conditioning?
How long did you keep them in the fridge before you opened the beers?
How much and what kind of bottling sugar?
ACTUAL batch size going into the bottle?

Just a few questions I would ask a new brewer in my store if they had a bunch of gushers..

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Old 05-18-2014, 04:20 AM   #4
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I got a gusher infection after a few batches as well. Soaking bottles in a tub of oxyclean helped a lot!!!

Sanitation is key. If my bottled are even slightly dirty, into the tub they go.

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Old 05-18-2014, 04:36 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stretcheagle View Post
If they were infected, wouldn't it taste bad?
Not necessarily. There are contaminants that will produce sour or funky flavors (which are intentional for some beer styles), but generally you would just expect the beer to be thinned out while massive amounts of gas are produced. In which case you want to chill them down asap and see if they're still drinkable.

In this case it sounds like fermentation was still active. I'm curious if anyone replying here has any ideas how the SG would have stabilized for a week and then drop 5 more ponits? Did you transfer to a secondary fermenter or raise the temperature at week 2 by any chance?
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Old 05-18-2014, 05:14 AM   #6
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Ok here are my gravity readings:

OG: 1.062
G @ 2d: 1.023
G @ 8d: 1.021
G @ 14d: 1.021
Dry hopped @ 14d
FG @ 21d: 1.016

Fermented between 70-72 degrees the whole time. No major fluctuations outside of that. Same for bottle conditioning.

I used 2/3 cup table sugar for priming. Actual batch size in the bottle was 4.3 gallons.

I didn't use a secondary.


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Old 05-18-2014, 07:50 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stretcheagle View Post
Ok here are my gravity readings:

OG: 1.062
G @ 2d: 1.023
G @ 8d: 1.021
G @ 14d: 1.021
Dry hopped @ 14d
FG @ 21d: 1.016

Fermented between 70-72 degrees the whole time. No major fluctuations outside of that. Same for bottle conditioning.

I used 2/3 cup table sugar for priming. Actual batch size in the bottle was 4.3 gallons.

I didn't use a secondary.


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From the looks at it you were not done fermenting. If you never actually saw fermentation finish I would bet that you still had a fair amount of fermentables left for the yeast to consume and then you added a bunch more on top of what was still there.

Just my guess.
I would make sure you actually see terminal gravity. That means getting the same reading after several days.

Cheers
Jay
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Old 05-18-2014, 08:46 AM   #8
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Alright, lesson learned!

Do folks normally stir up the fermenter or swirl it to make sure the yeast is fully done?


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Old 05-18-2014, 10:59 AM   #9
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Stirring after fermentation has started is not a good idea as it introduces oxygen.

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Old 05-18-2014, 11:29 AM   #10
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stetcheagle, I had a batch ferment "normally" to me for a week, I left it another because I can wait, took SG 3 days apart and thought I was ready but it was not recipe-suggested FG, it was 10 points high so I gently swirled and 3 days later SG was the same. Still not happy I racked to secondary (wanted to use bucket on another brew) and a week later it dropped 11 points. In my case, I had moved it on day 4 from upstairs 66 to downstairs, 60, so I figure the yeast just lagged off. I'm not recommending secondary, around here it's not considered the norm unless you're adding something or long term aging.

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