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Old 08-27-2012, 02:06 AM   #1
DialMBrewing
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Aug 2012
Casa Grande, AZ
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Hi, everyone. I started brewing beer back in March, and my first four batches turned out pretty good. The first two were extract; the third and fourth were all-grain. My last two batches have been . . . strange.

My fifth batch was supposed to be the Jaggery Pale Ale in "Radical Brewing". First of all, I didn't like the fenugreek seed taste (and I like Indian food!). That's a different issue, though. All of the bottles have tended to gush when I open them. I checked the OG and FG, so it was definitely done fermenting (it's really hot here and fermentation has been going pretty fast). I used maple syrup to prime, but I looked up the amount, carefully weighed it, and boiled it with water so it would mix in more uniformly. I don't think there was too much sugar. I refrigerated all of the bottles, so I don't think there is any immediate danger, but it was a lot of work for beer that I'm not crazy about!

My sixth batch was a black-pepper/vanilla bean porter. I thought all was well. OG and FG were within range; I think I used the right amount of sugar (cane sugar this time). I was more careful about washing the bottles this time, because I had a feeling that might have had something to do with the problems in my earlier batch. I chilled some bottles and they tasted pretty good, though just about every bottle would gush. This time, I did NOT chill all of the bottles. I had one this afternoon and then went to the closet to get a few more to chill for later. Unfortunately, I could see a dark stain on the bottom of one of the boxes that I was storing them in. I knew at least one had exploded (and it ended up being only one).

My husband and I carefully took the boxes outside and opened all of them. They all gushed. Everywhere. It didn't really seem saveable, which was a shame, because it tasted pretty good. My main concern was just releasing the pressure so we didn't have any more explosions.

So, what next? 4 good batches, 2 bad ones. I'm bummed. I want to try again, but I want to make sure that this doesn't happen.

My plan is to thoroughly clean everything before my next batch - tubing, mash tun, plastic fermenting buckets, bottling spigot, etc. I have been using Iodophor for sanitizing.

I'm also going to change the way that I clean the bottles. I have been brushing them out and then running them through the dishwasher on the sanitize cycle with a capful of bleach, but I haven't had much luck with these last two batches. Any other thoughts? Does sanitizing in the oven work better?

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading. I'm just bummed. I really like making beer so far and maybe I got a bit cocky about it when the first few batches turned out good.

 
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:35 AM   #2
DrJerryrigger
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Oct 2010
mass
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I can't say for sure what your problem was as I'm no there. But it could be an infection or over priming/bottling too soon. If it is an infection, and it's every bottle; then it's not the bottle cleaning that's the problem, you'd get a few bad and a few good if that was the case. So something before that.... or over priming.... or it wasn't done.
When I started out I over primed once. If you open them all and recap it can help, not an exact science, but worked for me that time.

 
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:44 AM   #3
pabloj13
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Dec 2011
Durham, NC
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Infection in your bottling bucket spigot, racking cane, and/or bottling wand?
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Simple and easy wort aeration - Harvest yeast from your blowoff - Homebrew Spicy Mustard

 
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:48 AM   #4
amandabab
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Mar 2012
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take the dishwasher out of the loop. Never trust a home dishwasher to sanitize.

clean with a bottle brush, sanitize at bottling time with a wet contact sanitizer (iodophor or starsan)

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Old 08-27-2012, 03:56 AM   #5
DialMBrewing
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Aug 2012
Casa Grande, AZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amandabab View Post
take the dishwasher out of the loop. Never trust a home dishwasher to sanitize.

clean with a bottle brush, sanitize at bottling time with a wet contact sanitizer (iodophor or starsan)
Thanks - that's a good idea. Maybe I'll just soak them all in an extra bucket (after cleaning really well). If you do that, is it OK if you bottle while they are still wet?

 
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Old 08-27-2012, 03:58 AM   #6
DialMBrewing
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Aug 2012
Casa Grande, AZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pabloj13 View Post
Infection in your bottling bucket spigot, racking cane, and/or bottling wand?
That's what I think, since it happened to 2 batches. I'm going to take everything apart and take some extra time cleaning and sanitizing next time.

 
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:05 AM   #7
DialMBrewing
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Aug 2012
Casa Grande, AZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJerryrigger View Post
I can't say for sure what your problem was as I'm no there. But it could be an infection or over priming/bottling too soon. If it is an infection, and it's every bottle; then it's not the bottle cleaning that's the problem, you'd get a few bad and a few good if that was the case. So something before that.... or over priming.... or it wasn't done.
When I started out I over primed once. If you open them all and recap it can help, not an exact science, but worked for me that time.
Thanks! I'm thinking it's an infection, as I am pretty sure that I used the right amount of sugar and the OG and FG in each case led me to believe the beer was done. I'll keep the recapping idea in mind for the future, though. It seems like these were pretty far gone, but if I had caught it sooner, maybe that would have saved some!

 
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:17 AM   #8
bleme
 
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Jan 2012
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Did you know the end of your bottling wand comes off? I always get crud in there....

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Old 08-27-2012, 04:28 AM   #9
DialMBrewing
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Aug 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bleme View Post
Did you know the end of your bottling wand comes off? I always get crud in there....
I'll check that - thanks for the tip!

 
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:42 AM   #10
Crito
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Dec 2011
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I love Starsan. It really works well.

 
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