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.