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Old 05-03-2007, 09:56 PM   #1
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Default Bottle Bomb

Hi all,

Just a quick question on bottle bombs. I have just brewed my first beer 5 days ago and the whole bottle bomb scenario kinda worries me. All of my bottles will be placed into a large plastic bin that holds 40 beers and has a snug cover, so there is little concern of injury or mess.

I have read 2 main reasons for bottle bombs. Adding to much priming sugar or having a Gravity reading at bottling time that is too high based on the desired results.

I currently have a batch of red ale that had a starting gravity of 1.041. This is within the described parameters for OG, those being 1.038-1.044. I pitched the yeast at around 85 degrees, which was way too high. I used a ice bath in my sink and I definitely underestimated the amount of ice necessary to cool the 2.5 gallon boil. I did have heavy fermentation for the first 36-48 hours. It is now slow to the point that I can't see any bubbles.

I checked the gravity today (5 days later) and it has gone down to 1.014. This is pretty good I think but it is still outside the parameters set for the recipe which were 1.006-1.010. I expect the gravity will reduce by a few more points by the time I bottle in 5 more days time, but am concerned if it just doesn't.

So here is my question. If that gravity does not go down, is a .004 difference enough to create potential bottle bombs? Is there a threshold for bottle bombs?

As a side question, I keep reading that people add spring water directly to their wort. They are doing this without first boiling the water, which seems risky for contamination. Anyone have any thoughts on that? Possibly any experiences to share?


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Old 05-03-2007, 10:04 PM   #2
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I am pretty sure you are not done fermenting.

You should leave the beer in the primary fermenter for a minimum of 7 days. If you are racking to a secondary, that can be done at day 7 if the hydrometer says fermentation is done. If you are going from primary to bottle you should leave it in the primary for around 10-15 days.

If you take a hydrometer reading on Saturday (2 days from first reading) and it is the same it may be advisable to give the beer a swirl to rouse the yeast.

I think most people will agree that bottle bombs are a rare occurrence and extremely rare if you follow the "rules."

Also, go a head and post you recipe for best advice.

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Old 05-03-2007, 10:07 PM   #3
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Im pretty sure thats low enough for not to worry about bombs, FG depends on a lot of things and wont always go all the way. I have bottled a couple @1.02 as long as its done fermenting your fine: a few gravity readings being the same over a few days. When i did partial boils i topped off with the water from the sink and no problems.
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Old 05-03-2007, 10:25 PM   #4
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I believe that storing at higher than normal temperatures can cause bottle bombs as well.

As a rule of thumb, the numbers after the decimal of OG (i.e. .041 in your case) need to be 1/4th to be completely fermented (i.e. @.010 in your case). As stated above, 7 days is standard for primary. You would be well to leave it a few more days, and then take another hydrometer reading. If you are racking to secondary for a week or more, it is likely you won't have bottle bombs. I'm not sure if what you have will cause excessive carbonation enough to explode the bottles or not. But, why risk it? Don't ever rush your brewing or you will pay for it.

I don't use spring water, but I do use filtered water filled from the Glacier (vending) machines, without boiling. I haven't had an issue with it, but then again, I have nothing to compare it with either.

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Old 05-03-2007, 10:34 PM   #5
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When I did extracts, I always used just plain unboiled tap water. If it's good enough for me to drink, I figured it was good enough for beer. I do have very good city water, though.

As far as bottle bombs- don't worry so much! We talk about it occasionally, but if you practice decent techniques, it won't happen to you! The key is to allow the beer to finish fermenting, no matter what the s.g. is. My last three beers finished super low (but that's another story for another post) at between 1.006 and 1.008. However, they were done fermenting. I suggest the 1-2-3 "rule"- one week in primary, 2 weeks in secondary, 3 in the bottle, then drink. But I usually leave in primary 10 days or so, and the secondary anywhere from one week to a month. Still, after three weeks or so, you'll be almost guarenteed that it's finished fermenting. The key is patience in this hobby.

If you think it's done fermenting, take an s.g. reading. If it's the same in two or three days, then it's done.

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