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trentbent

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I made a few mistakes brewing my first batch, and today I drank the first bottle. It's an IPA from the kit made by Brooklyn BrewShop. When I opened the bottle the foam just oozed out endlessly until I started pouring it into a glass to catch it. There is also too much stuff in the bottom. The latter problem I assume is from the trub I must have picked up, as bottling was kind of a mess for me. Do you think I added too much honey into the bottling bucket and that's why there's so much carbonation? One more note is that I didn't shake the fermenter after I pitched the yeast (I just forgot to do it). Thanks for any advice!
 

skuhn2004

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IMHO honey is not a great sugar for bottling. Corn sugar is much much cheaper nad its not going to alter the flavor of your beer. I weigh my corn sugar but for a long time I used 3/4 cup on a 5 gal batch. I boil it in about 1 1/2 cups of water, pour it into the bottling bucket and rack the beer on top to make sure it get's mixed in thoroughly. Honey is always going to be very hard to get mixed in properly and you will add oxygen to your beer doing it. Over carbonation can also come from not letting it completely ferment out. You are checking your gravity and waiting for it to stabilize right?

You will always have a little bit of sediment. You might be pulling some off the yeast cake but even if you do it perfectly you will get sediment from the yeast that are carbing your beer.

Forgetting to shake your fermentor isn't the end of the world. It can cause a longer lag time, but if it finishes fermenting all the sugars it will be ok.

Welcome to the obsession. It gets easier and things will slow down on brew day.
 

skw

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Did you measure how much honey you put in the bottling bucket and did you make sure that it was properly mixed in? There are plenty of things you can eyeball when brewing, but bottling sugar is the one thing you should be very precise with.

Before I forget: what did it taste like? :)
 

brewkinger

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In addition to the overcarbonation possibility, there are a couple of other possible things happening here.

1) infection - Any chance?

2) I have had the same gusher problem on occasion when the beer has not been refrigerated for long enough.


Sent from my iPhone using Home Brew
 

Trox

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How much honey did you use?

Was the beer at a stable FG prior to your bottling? You did take a FG reading wait a couple of days and then took another FG reading to make sure it was stable and fermentation was done?

How long did you let the beer sit in the fridge prior to opening?


Really need that information before we can takea guess at why the gushers.
 
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trentbent

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Okay. Thanks for all the replies. I used the exact amount of honey called for in the one gallon recipe and mixed it well and cooled it to 70 degrees F before using it. The recipe and the kit mentioned nothing about a hydrometer.
I started a five gallon saison while the one gallon IPA was fermenting and for that I went to the home-brew store where they were adamant about my getting a hydrometer and gave me the saison recipe, but for this IPA I didn't use one (shame). I let the IPA sit for longer than the suggested fermentation time before bottling and drank a bottle 2.5 weeks after bottling. It had been in the fridge only a few hours after I moved it from the dark closet I was keeping bottles to condition. Should I let it sit longer in the fridge after it has been bottled?
The taste seemed a little off, like it was too yeasty, I didn't taste any honey, there was some bitterness in the aftertaste but not much of the rich IPA pine during the sip.

On a side note, the FG of the saison is fine now but I haven't had time to bottle it (grad school and work). It's in a bucket with a spigot, but I think next time I'll get another bucket for the fermentation and then transfer that to the bucket with the spigot for easy bottling. I smelled some when I took the reading and I am thinking that since there's five gallons of it I'd like to try a little experimenting. How might I go about using chili pepper in 5-8 of the bottles-worth? Just add a little pepper to the bottles? Bottle most of it and then throw peppers in the fermenter for another week and bottle the rest? Should I sanitize the peppers (lol, I'm serious).

Thanks guys. I was worried you'd all be like n00b why don't you search for this question before making a new thread but it's very welcoming. You're right it's an obsession, but I need to figure out how to make time for starting new brews cuz I'm busy as **** and have to prioritize school ya'know? Cheers!
 

jmh286

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I'm willing to bet that you didn't mix your honey in as well as you thought. Honey usually completely ferments, so depending on how much yeast was still in suspension, you may have just created some really carbonated beer and some really flat beer all at once. CO2 also needs time to be absorbed into solution before the beer is properly carbonated. Two weeks is more of a guideline than a rule. You do need to be careful when you mix in your priming sugar (or honey, or DME, or whatever you use) because most bottles can't handle more than a few Volumes of pressure before they fail. You may end up with a closet painted with your latest creation along with some shrapnel. :drunk:
 

Trox

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You should also let your beer sit in the fridge a minimum of 3 days before drinking to make sure all the carnoation was able to get absorbed back into the beer.
 

teleplucker

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I'm a noob too, but I can share my BBS experience with the first batch that I did (Honey Grapefruit Pale). I left in primary for 3 weeks. I used the recommended amount of honey. I'm pretty sure I mixed it up with hot/warm water and then gently mixed the beer/honey mixture in the bottling bucket. I opened my first bottle 2 weeks after bottling - left it in the fridge for 48 hours prior to opening. I then opened a second bottle the next day after 24 hours in the fridge. In both cases I did not get any gushing. The beer was consistent in both bottles, a touch over carbonated and a bit too yeasty. I will only open one bottle a week until I'm through the batch to observe how the carbonation, yeast, and flavour changes each week.

While all of this is going on, I've been researching like crazy. There was a great YouTube video showing a brewer opening bottles at differing numbers of days after bottling. With the first few bottles, they were gushers, but they eventually settled down and were carbed well. One key factor that he illustrated in the video is to look at the beer to see if there were bubbles *IN* the beer. With the gushers, you could not see the carbonation *IN* the beer. So, if I was in your shoes, I would leave the beer in the bottles for a few more weeks and leave them in the fridge longer before opening.

But, I'm a noob, so take that with a grain of salt :).
 

masterfool101

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1) Treat honey like corn sugar when bottling. You wouldn't just throw the corn sugar in the bucket - you'd first dissolve it in water. Do the same for honey, but don't use boiling water, just really hot water (about 190F), and stir very well. This will help assure that your honey is well incorporated and you get even carbonation.

Honey IS harder to use for carbonation than corn sugar, but using it at this time is going to give more honey flavor.

2) In the future, if you want large honey flavor without messing with your bottling, consider substituting a portion of your extract for honey. Except don't use it in the boil. Add it after primary fermentation has subsided (also, if you're not using pasteurized honey, consider dissolving in hot water as above - honey is generally relatively free from most microorganisms due to the low water content - and the yeast will pretty much outcompete everything just at the end of primary, but if you don't trust your source, better to be sure).

3) Be sure to cold condition your beer for at least 24 hours prior to drinking. The above comment to refrigerate for 3 days is good . .. . though you can get away with 24 hours if you're impatient :)
 
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trentbent

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Thanks for the help! I never heard about cold-conditioning. I did a pretty thorough job of mixing the honey in warm but not boiling water but I can't recall now how well I mixed it into the bottling bucket after that, probably not too well. I'll be sure to wait a few days before opening another bottle, and I'll also look for bubble differences in the bottles, and make sure that the box with the bottles in my closet is covered. If anyone is interested, I'll try to report back with updates when I open other bottles.
Is there an equal likelihood that a bottle explodes in the fridge or does the temperature drop minimize the chances of exploding bottles?
 

Trox

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The chance of a bottle exploding in the fridge is less likely since the cold makes the yeast get sluggish and go dormant, but there is still a very slim chance of it happening.
 
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trentbent

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Ah, I see! So does that mean after refrigeration the yeast smell/flavor will die down a bit? Gosh this is fun. :cross:
 
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