Bottle Bombs?

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JWWard03

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Hi all. Right now I am only using the Northern Brewer LME kits and am really liking them. I keep reading about bottle bombs and have been putting my bottles in a big Tupperware container for the first 2 weeks of bottle conditioning just in case. Has anyone experienced these bottle bombs with the Northern Brewer kits using the corn priming sugar? Or is this just primarily an issue with all-grain brewing? I am using recycled New Belgian and Sam Adams bottles with the Oxygen absorbing caps.
 

3 Dawg Night

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AG is no more likely to cause bottle bombs than extract. It's a product of your priming sugar and fermentation. If you ensure that your beer is completely done fermenting (i.e., 2+ stable gravity readings over a couple of days; don't go off of airlock activity) and use an appropriate amount of priming sugar (use an online calculator; Northern Brewer has a good one), you are unlikely to ever see a bottle bomb. Still, it's possible, so I condition all my bottles in lidded plastic containers. I haven't had a bottle bomb yet, but the boxes are cheap insurance. I condition in my walk-in closet, and if my beer ever spewed all over my wife's clothes, that would be the end of my brewing days.
 

Barbarossa

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I had bottle bombs doing AG. Fermentation got stuck and I pitched a second yeast pack. Then I've put a bit too much sugar when bottling. That was my second AG batch.

Had a bottle explode in the case. When I opened the others, half of them popped so hard that the caps went flying all over. I was ptsd for a few weeks after that when I opened a bottle. I was doing it at arms length and pulling my head back. I'm fine now.
 
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JWWard03

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Thanks. I won't be jumping into all-grain for quite a while. Right now I'm enjoying all the kits from Northern Brewer and small batches from Mr. Beer. So far I've done a Block Party and a Blue Loon from NB with really good results. I've got their Phat Tyre and Fresh Squish IPA ready to brew right now and am just trying to decide which one is first. I've also done a Golden Ale and Diablo IPA from Mr Beer and have really liked both. Sounds like I shouldn't be too worried about it with the kits since everything is pre-measured for me. I'll still condition for 1-2 weeks in a plastic tub before putting on a shelf just to make sure.
 

DBhomebrew

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Sounds like I shouldn't be too worried about it with the kits since everything is pre-measured for me.
As suggested by 3DN, it has nothing to do with AG vs. extract. It makes no difference where the sugars come from. And while everything is pre-measured, it is certainly not measured for you. Many kits will include 5oz whether it's a highly carbed Belgian or a moderately carbed ESB.

1) Before bottling, be sure fermentation is complete and stable.

2) Use a reputed calculator.

3) Figure priming sugar amount for the volume of beer in the bottling bucket to arrive at a CO2 level appropriate for the style. Temperature of the beer plays a role, too.

4) Before bottling, be sure fermentation is complete and stable.
 

ncbrewer

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I've also seen accounts of bottles exploding while being opened, even though they are cold and should have lower pressure than they had while carbing up. I guess the reason is the stress on the neck of the bottle when prying the cap off. So I always put a folded towel around the bottle and over the cap, and open away from me, when I open the first one of a batch - just in case.
 

Birrofilo

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A bottle bomb can happen also in case there is an infection in your beer. The infecting microorganism might continue eating the sugars and generating CO2. For that reason it is important that you check that the fermentation really came to an end. In order to do so, you should have the same final gravity for three days.
Lack of bubbles in the bubbler is not proof of the fermentation having ended because the fermenter might be not air-tight and an ongoing fermentation would not be shown by the bubbler.

Besides the advice that others have given you, I suggest some possible actions:

a) Fill your bottles higher than usual, let the beer arrive up to half a centimeter from the brim; That will create a less powerful explosion in case of problems;

b) Use an aphrometer on one bottle during the post-bottle conditioning. That will show you if an anomalous pressure is developing inside the bottle, and therefore inside all bottles.

c) After the post-bottle conditioning, age the bottles in an environment which is cooler than your conditioning room, cooler than the normal working temperature of the yeast you used. I brew ales, and I store them in a 14 °C environment. At that temperature, ale yeast is working super-slow.

d) When you bring back your bottles to your house, send them straight from your aging place to your fridge. Don't let them stay for days in a hot room.
 

AirLock Sniffer

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I definitely ran a bit on the high side of carbonation level on my first batch. It's kind of a close run thing. What kept me out of the red zone - "Measure - Don't Guess". I've seen this movie before

Use the priming calculators. Weigh the ingredients. Make sure the beer has reached final or terminal gravity.

"Gushers" can be caused by infections too. Since I was starting out with a beer that is historically around 3 to 4 volumes (probably not a great plan for a beginner) - I opted to be sure and remove at least one variable and sterilize the bottles, using a 400°F oven for an hour or so. This actually works pretty slick, clean, sterilized bottles can be stored indefinitely and ready to go ahead of time.
 

Dr_Jeff

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did you see this?


A nice drive from Huntsville for a super deal.
 

3 Dawg Night

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did you see this?


A nice drive from Huntsville for a super deal.
Whoa! I'm not even set up for kegging yet, but at that price, I may drive up and buy a bunch of them to have on hand when I decide to make the jump!
 

devilssoninlaw

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I've never had a "bottle bomb" but I had an Imperial Chocolate Stout that was a bit over carbonated and I had to open them in the sink to catch the overflow. While priming, I drape a towel over my bottles just in case they decide to explode. :oops:
 

Toxxyc

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Dry hopping late in the game can also increase your risk of bottle bombs and gushers, read up on "hop creep". Also, I've found older beers tend to gush more than fresh ones. I'm talking months old now. I made a really nice pils a while ago and saved a few bottles. The vast majority of them were perfect, with just a little "pssht" when I open them (I always carb on the low side as I like it that way), and then saved a crate of them for later (at room temp). The last few couldn't be enjoyed at all, they just gushed when opened, almost 9 months after brew day, so there's something there, although I'm not sure.
 

AirLock Sniffer

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If you go over 3 vol, you can use Belgian bottles, which are a little thicker to hold up to the pressure.
I did a real deep dive on this prior to bottling, getting as much information as I could. Let the other guy make mistakes, and learn from them! I'm confident in my techniques.

Basically I'm of the opinion IF someone is certain the beer is done fermenting, proper sanitation is adhered to, careful measurement of the correct amount of priming sugar ... regular brown bottles are fine for volumes approaching 3 or 4.

But I also found this is "too much" carbonation. Maybe not for commercial beers, but we can't filter our beers out like the big boys do. Lots of "nucleation sites" available.

On the other hand, the typical "3/4 cup" of priming sugar is maybe just a little bit light on the carbonation, depending on the style. With practice comes more confidence. I started out inspecting the bottles wearing safety goggles, heavy gloves, and a coat. :)

Better safe than sorry, I guess. I've found the "Goldilocks" amount of priming sugar for carbonation that I like, without undue stress. Reminded me of those old Western movies, when they were trying to move a wagonload of Nitro. Careful boys!!
 

firerat

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Not many things will test the strength of a marriage quite like an 18 bottle salute from the closet down that hall at 3ishAM. I was still finding pieces of glass in the carpet some 3 years after that.

Between that, the epic rhino farts of the 2013 Appfelwine extravaganza, and my epic eptying of 5 gallons of beer onto an upstairs carpet (and into the ceiling) by closing the door of a converted mini-fridge onto a picnic tap, (yep) it's amazing I'm even allowed to brew anymore.
 
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