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Old 08-19-2008, 03:41 PM   #1
Aug 2008
Posts: 7

Hello everyone. In case you wont figure it out, I am a very new home brewer. I bought a basic kit which has a glass carboy and a plastic bucket. All other accessories needed to brew.

I have brewed a couple of batches of the pre-measured kits and they turned out pretty good.

Recently I tried to branch off on my own with a buddy of mine who is in on all this with me. We wanted to try a chocolate brew, which I was turned on to by a doctor who I run into on occasion at work. Havnt seen him since I tried to brew this brew.

But I intended on making a nut brown ale with some chocolate flavor. I was told by this doctor to buy the ground baking cocoa and add it during the boil phase of the mash. The entire canister.

Well I went through and did that. I finished the fermentation, which didnt seem to ferment that much, but I did everything I normally would and primed it with 3/4 cup of priming sugar and bottled.

Well about a week after I bottled this brew. I came Home to find glass all over my basement and glass embedded into my ceiling....not exaggerating. So immediately I emptied all the bottled which were extremely pressurized.

I would like to try to make this brew again but without the worry of making homemade time bombs. So if anyone has any advice they could lend on where I went wrong I would deeply appreciate it. I think it has to do with the amount of priming sugar I used. But I cant find anywhere how much I should use, or how to avoid this problem from happening again. Thanks everyone.

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Old 08-19-2008, 03:45 PM   #2
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Yeah, buy a hydrometer and use it to gauge how far fermentation has progressed. Don't bottle until you get at least 75% attenuation and note no change over about a week. Leave your brews in primary for 10-14 days minimum before bottling, or preferably up to 4 weeks.
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Old 08-19-2008, 03:45 PM   #3
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Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
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Did you take a hydrometer reading before you went and bottled? Was the reading unchanged for 3 days?

Most likely you weren't finished fermenting all that sugar before you bottled, then adding priming sugar made for a bottle bomb situation..

Your hydrometer is how the beer talks to you...A lot of us leave the beer in primary for 3-4 weeks before bottling...this pretty much ensures fermentation is complete and allows the yeast to clean up for themselves...
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Old 08-19-2008, 03:46 PM   #4
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Oct 2007
Portland, OR
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I'm going to take a guess and say you bottled after 4 - 7 days. Is that right? If so you really should let the beer sit in primary for at least 14 days if not longer. But more importantly you should be taking hydrometer readings to see if the yeast are truly done doing their job and that it's ready for bottling.

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Old 08-19-2008, 03:52 PM   #5
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Oct 2007
Someplace, Nebraska
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It sounds to me like what is actually occuring during fermentation is still "a mystery to you". Understanding what changes are taking place can help you to interpret and address your beer's condition at any given time.

Above is good advice re: hydrometers and time in the primary. You should also read or re-read Palmer's How To Brew because it helps you to develop an understanding of the changes that are occurring - or in the case of your chocolate beer - not occurring.

My bet is you had a stuck ferment, that could've been solved by gently swirling the beer in the fermenter and leaving it for another 1-2 weeks.

Also, I'd recommend posting your thread in the correct forum next time - this one is for bugs related to the forum software. This thread is best located in the Beginners' Forum or in the General Techniques forum.

Cheers and thanks for sharing your story. Hope our advice helps a little. With some patience and studying, you'll be making non-explosive good beer in no time flat. Good luck mate!

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Old 08-19-2008, 04:03 PM   #6
Aug 2008
Posts: 7

Sorry for the wrong post! But I will make sure that I will get it in the right spot next time. But thank you all for the great responses and advice! I will give it a shot again and really pay attention to my tools! Thanks again all!

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