Is my keg gonna explode!!!

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Ramsbottom_Brewer

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My brew has been secondary fermenting in the keg now for a week and the pressure is such that it won't stand up straight. The bottom has blown out a bit.

Should I stay stead fast and rely on my pressurised keg holding or is the thing gonna explode?

I put enough priming sugar in for 40 pints (as per the instructions) but the keg is not full so I may have put too much in.

I know the general advice is normally to relax and see what happens but beer all over my spare room may cause the wife to... well, you get my drift.

I was gonna release a couple of pints tonight. It may be green but it would release the pressure a little. Thoughts?

Mark
 

brown_dog_us

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I've never had a keg bulge out. I'd release the pressure. IMHO there is either something wrong with the keg or the pressure is way too high.

Are you sure fermentation was done when you kegged?

Have you used this keg before?
 
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Ramsbottom_Brewer

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Gravity readings were constant so I assumed fermentation had ended. I've never used the keg before. I'll contact the vendor and see what they suggest.

How should I release the pressure? Release some of the ale or open to top? The latter worries me.

Mark.
 

flyangler18

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What kind of keg are we speaking about here? A Cornelius keg? If it's a Cornelius, pull the relief valve attached to the lid to vent off the excess gas.
 
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Ramsbottom_Brewer

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Basic bog standard beginners keg with no release valve. It seems very strong and unlikely to explode but I've never done this before. Its only the bottom that has bulged out as there's a bit of a recess to keep it upright.
 
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Ramsbottom_Brewer

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Update - I was too worried to leave it any longer. Tried to open the bottom value and pull off a couple of pints but was just faced with a torrent of liquid that produced a pint of head (that would not settle).

I assume that this meant there was far too much CO2 above the brew pushing it down. Am I right here?

So I did the unthinkable and slowly unscrewed the lid. I think all the CO2 escaped so there'll be a fair bit of oxygen in there now. Oh well...

The bulge did not go down.

I may try and leave it now for a couple of weeks and see what happens.

Thanks for the help.

Is this what being a beginner is all about... learning from my mistakes...

Mark
 

JesseRC

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Ok, we need a picture. This isnt a corny keg. I dont have a bottom valve on my corny keg, and I dont have a lid that unscrews. We can help get you going, but we need to know what kind of keg is it. Is it plastic, stainless? Corny kegs hold like 120psi (or so). You said 40 pints, so I guess we're not talking about 5L kegs. Sorry but I am confused, and interested in what type of keg this is. We'd like to figure this out, to help you and others who find themselves in the same situation.
 

ajf

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Are you talking about a plastic Keg? and are you British?
My guess is yes to both questions.
The Plastic kegs are suitable for very low levels of carbonation like you get with a draught ale in the pub. If you're British, you should know what I'm talking about, and appreciate the correct spelling.
If the pressure is building up. you need to release some pressure. (I see you have found that out).
You should also not use anything like as much priming sugar for the next batch. Draught Ale needs very little compared to bottled. For your next batch, I'd cut the priming sugar by at least 50%, and possibly more.

-a.
 
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Ramsbottom_Brewer

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I am in the UK and was brewing the following:

Woodfordes Wherry Bitter

To see my keg in its current state click here

And to see the screw top click here

Sorry I could not paste the shots on the thread - not sure why.

The instructions said to put half a teaspoon of sugar in per pint. I may have put a little too much in. Would that have caused the bulge though?

Now I've let out a load of the CO2, I'm gonna let it condition for another 2 weeks (as per the instructions) and see what it tastes like. I don't know what green beer tastes like yet but what I drank today I am going to assume is green beer.

During the two weeks I may release a little gas here and there.

I'm sure it will all come good in the end.

Any other advice or guidance with my issue will be appreciated.

Thanks,

Mark
 

giligson

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If you want to release pressure. Open the screw top a touch don't pull beer out the bottom. Even a little overcarbonated and it will foam when you pour it.
 

Gluten

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If you used 1/2 a teaspoon per pint you should not have a major excess of pressure.

A couple of things could have happened.

1.) You measured 1 teaspoon per pint by accident.
2.) Your beer wasn't finished fermenting and when your yeast woke they found a whole bunch of sugar.
3.) It's a crappy/defective keg.

On your end try to remember what you measured out your priming sugar with and let us know how you determined your fermentation was complete.

If you're convinced the problem was not on your end I'd get a refund and find another solution to store your beer in.

Gravity readings were constant
What were they constantly at?

Sometimes yeast can go dormant before they're done doing their thing. The agitation of transferring plus the addition of easy to eat sugar can kick start them back into action.

Oh and one last thing, thanks for the pic for a while their everyone was assuming the keg that was bulging was made of metal. That would be some crazy excessive pressure followed quickly by a hospital trip.
 

ajf

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1/2 teaspoon per pint doesn't sound too bad, but perhaps you racked to the keg before it had finished fermenting. That would explain the excess pressure.
As you have a lot of CO2 dissolved in the beer, I'd burp the key a couple of times a day to rel;ease the excess CO2. It should be much better in 2 - 3 weeks time.
Hope your keg isn't permanently damaged.

-a.

<Edit>
Missed the Gravity readings were constant. What were they constant at is a good question.
</Edit>
 

homebrewjapan

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Cool! A fellow Brit, a fellow youngsubrew user (different kit though), and with a very similar "is it going to explode" problem:

Something wrong? « Homebrew Japan

As someone else pointed out, simply venting would let gas escape but isn't going to replace it with oxygen.

>> Gravity readings were constant
> What were they constantly at?

I think this is a very good point. I just returned to find my latest doesn't appear to be active anymore, but it's at 18 degrees so it could just be "slow". Perhaps you were not down at the 1006 / 1012 level (depending on whether you added sugar or not).

I've still to use a secondary so I'm not particularly a fountain of knowledge on this. However, I thought that priming sugar was added immediately before bottling. Ie, you don't leave the beer in the keg after adding priming sugar. Maybe you're doing something I've not read up on yet, like trying to carbonate the beer inside the secondary - I would expect that to cause a bulge.

Edit: Ok, I think I understand this now. You're using the keg instead of bottling. Just showing my beginner lack of knowledge :)
 

EoinMag

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The Wherry is a good beer, I've just had a few pints while bottling it and it's already pretty tasty, it'll rock when it's finished. How long did you leave the beer in primary, my suspicion is that it wasn't long enough.
On the advice of a few people here I've started leaving my beers in primary a calendar month, that way you're pretty sure that it's finished and once your process is sterile you're good too go. The instructions that go with those kits are trying to get beginners pissed quick, not necessarily the best beer however. Try going with a month primary next time no matter what the hydrometer says.
 
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Ramsbottom_Brewer

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What were they constantly at?
Primary fermentation took 8 days. My readings were...

OG = 1.038
FG = 1.012

I know you are all gonna shout at me but I used the tube the hydrometer came in to take the readings. I know... I know, I should have spend a few pounds on a plastic one with a bit of girth.

I had a temp strip on the bucket so am happy it did not get to cold for the yeast. (Or too hot for that matter.) There was a decent sized yeast cake at the bottom of the bucket.

I am slowly concluding that A) Primary fermentation may not have been over (it would not have hurt to have given it another week and B) I added too much sugar, should be more careful next time. Maybe there's a C) the keg should have stood this pressure (I will contact the vendor).

Am I the only one though that has had a bulging bucket? I can't have been the only one to make the above mistakes.

Is it worth having some sort of pressure reading device and knowing the maximum pressure the keg can take. This would let me know when to leak off some CO2 should I need to.

Mark.
 

Gluten

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1.012 should mean it was finished fermenting (double check your kit to see that it matches what they expect). But even if it wasn't completely done I can't imagine a keg would have problems with that low of a gravity even if you did over-prime it.

You can vent the keg every now and then to prevent this from happening but doing that lowers the level of carbonation you're trying to achieve and you shouldn't have to put up with having to work around it's problems.
 

giligson

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Its kind of odd that this plastic keg (and I have no familiarity with this product) doesn't have some simple safety pressure release valve (it would be fairly cheap for the manufacturer to include one)
 

pen25

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unscrew the top to release pressure. id throw it in the fridge to chill it first though. get a good chill then release some pressure as the co2 will absorb into the beer some.
 

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I had the exact same thing with the same kit. The bottom of my barrel bulged too so I released some pressure periodically with a brief twist of the lid. The beer came out perfect in the end.

There is loads CO2 and it is heavier than air so some should always sit on top of your brew and be a barrier to any oxygen anyway.

My weak point was the barrel tap which leaked. Not around the seal but the pressure actually pushed the beer through the closed tap.
 

onelegout

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Good to see another british homebrewer on here! My girlfriend's brother used a woodfords wherry kit and used a 'king keg' very similar to yours instead of bottling. He added priming sugar to the kit's specifications and the pressure was ridiculous - you couldn't pour a decent pint at all!
 

EoinMag

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I have a woodfordes kit conditioning in my king keg at the moment. The pressure is pretty high, but what I do is take a test glass off it every few days to see how conditioning is going, it's high pressure and a lot of gas, so you need to let it settle and the head set for a while but it's all good. I'm not so sure about that keg bulging, it wouldn't exactly inspire confidence in the keg material.
 
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Ramsbottom_Brewer

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Thanks all for the help and comments. I decided to contact the manufacturer prior to dealing with the vendor. This is what they said...

Mark,
No it is not normal for the keg to bulge.
It is very difficult to explain why it has happen by just looking at a photo. Once internal pressure reaches a certain level any excess should be released via the pressure release valve on the cap. It looks like this is not working efficiently.

If you look at the centre of the cap you will see a white rubber. If you put a pencil between this and the vent which sticks up and then work the pencil round you will locate a hole which should release the pressure. If this is clogged or not been drilled out properly ,then you need to release the cap. Take care, cover it with a cloth. There is risk that it could shoot off.

Return the barrel to where it was purchased from so that they can sort out the problem

John Smith
It looks like the valve gadget that should let off excess gas is not working all that well. Will try and deal with the vendor now. I do want to finish this brew off though as I still have faith that, in the end, I'll have a nice pint.

Will update when I hear from the vendor.

Should I have opted for a decent keg?

Mark
 
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Ramsbottom_Brewer

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Bit of an update...

Have visited by local HBS as the beer was as flat as a pancake. It was recommended that I re prime the beer and put the top back on. I got a new top that should release any excess pressure. Its been re primed and away I go. My next brew (got myself a nice stout) will be bottled!!
 
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Ramsbottom_Brewer

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Bit of an update (again)...

A couple of days after the re priming (and the new top) I had a taste. I think its still a touch green but it has body, is carbonated, and the pressure seems to be about right (as in I don't get a pint of head). I'm gonna give it another day then put it in a cooler place in the house for another week or so.

Brewing beer is a real coaster ride.
 
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