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My Cup Runneth Over

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5247337

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Quick question. I have a great Porter that we are drinking right now. Really happy with the flavor etc. but every time I open a bottle it fizzes out all over the place to the detriment of the floor and counter top. It settles in a minute but I am wasting hard won beer! What did i do wrong? Could bottling at 7500' have anything to do with it? Too much sugar at bottling? (1/3 cup)? Whaddaya think?
 

IXVolt

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I don't think Bottling at 7500 feet would have an affect... If you bottled in death valley and then opened them at 7500 feet that might be a little different. The atmospheric pressure lessons as you go up.

Probably has more to do with length in fridge, how much carbonation does the beer have and how gentile you are when opening them..??
 

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1/3 cup of priming sugar isn't a very precise measurement. You might consider investing in a small scale to weigh the sugar. My dad is battling an over carb problem. Here are the possible causes we came up with:

-Less than 5 gallons of beer at bottling. If you have less than 5 gallons, but use enough priming sugar for 5 gallons, you'll be overcarb'd.
-Bottling before fermentation is complete.
-Bottling beer without accounting for the CO2 already in solution (colder beer will have more CO2 still in solution).
-Not properly mixing the priming sugar and beer (this should result in some over carb'd and some under carb'd bottles).
-Not properly measuring the priming sugar.
 

Homercidal

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Could be a "gusher" infection. It's a bit of work, but consider soaking your bottles in Oxiclean (unscented, or "Free" edition), and then rinsing well. This will clean the inside and allow the saitizer to do it's job. If you don't completely clean the inside, the dirt (or worse) will keep the bacteria from contacting the sanitizer.

I've had a single bottle in a whole batch have a gusher. The beer tasted fine, but it just about jumped out of the bottle when I opened it.

Also, it could be too much priming sugar. The standard is 3/4 cup per 5 gallons.

*Be sure to make a sugar water solution and place in a bottling bucket. Then siphon the beer gently on top to thoroughly mix, without agitating the beer too much.

if you add the sugar to each bottle, or don't mix the sugar water well, you could have uneven priming, which will lead to some bottles being flat, and some being over-carbed. Make sure you boil the sugar water a few minutes before using, to kill any germs.

Also, if you take a bottle out of the closet and put it in the fridge for an hour to chill, then open, you aren't going to get the same beer as if you kept it tin the fridge for a couple of days. Maybe try chilling a couple of days.
 

Homercidal

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Oh, and i forgot the one last thing...

You didn't get a complete fermentation. You might have had some residual fermentable sugar in the beer, and when you bottled it you re-awakened the yeast and added some more food. This might have cause an overcarb condition, since there was actually more sugar in the beer than you thought.

The ideal way to know that fermentation is complete is with a hydrometer. Even leaving in the fermenter for a lot longer than the instructions call for doesn't mean it will completely ferment. With the hydrometer you can tell if it's reached it's targeted final gravity (FG).

I typed to slowly. Coaster beat me!
 
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5247337

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Interesting suggestions and I few I had not thought of.
I was in Primary for 7 days and secondary for another 5 and bottled at that point. As you say though I may still have had some fermentable sugar left. I had reached my FG.
I agree with the scale, especially now that I am starting all grain.
We have tried all sorts of temperature variations. My beer is stored in the root cellar that sits at about 50 degrees all year. I prefer the porter straight out of their and it fizzes even with a very gentle opening. We have tried a day in the 'fridge and an hour in the fridge. We have let it get cold in the fridge for a day and then let it warm up a bit before decanting. The colder the beer the less fizz but it still will run over.

If I had an infection would it be in all the bottles?

I prime by boiling water adding sugar and letting it cool a bit before I put it in the bottom of the bottling bucket, beer goes on top through a narrow hose out of the fermenter.

It is not the biggest deal as the beer is great. I would like it to not happen in the future though.
 
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5247337

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So I think I have this figured out and thought I would share my findings. My addled brain couldn't figure out what had changed but my wife (aren't they great) reminded me that I had lowered my fermentation temps. I recently built a "hillbilly cooler" with an old bathtub and R-56 in plastic bags. Keeps a block of ice for two weeks in 85+ heat. I used to let fermentation happen at any temp but had been told that slow= tasty. Long story sorta short is I have been bottling before fermentation was done due to the colder temp and what normally comes out the top of the carboy, is trapped inside the bottles causing the spew.

The beer is otherwise great and I think the slower fermentation is overall better. I will have to just be more patient and ignore the directions when it comes to bottling.

Thanks everyone for helping narrow my focus and figure it out.

Greg
 

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It is generally a good idea to ignore any instructions that tell you to bottle at a week or two. As you found out, yeast doesn't go by a calendar. ;)

If you let the yeast finish its work and keep the beer in the primary for at least 3 - 4 weeks (make sure to check gravity) before bottling, your beer will be better and your gusher problem most likely gone.
 
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5247337

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It is generally a good idea to ignore any instructions that tell you to bottle at a week or two. As you found out, yeast doesn't go by a calendar. ;)

If you let the yeast finish its work and keep the beer in the primary for at least 3 - 4 weeks (make sure to check gravity) before bottling, your beer will be better and your gusher problem most likely gone.

Does the yeast sitting in there for that long cause trouble? Better to put it into a secondary fermenter?
 

Reno_eNVy

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Does the yeast sitting in there for that long cause trouble? Better to put it into a secondary fermenter?
There are conflicting views but I think most people on here would say it's just fine to leave them in there for 3-4 weeks. Every beer I've made since coming to this site has stayed in primary for at least 3 weeks and they always turn out great
 

Nurmey

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No, you should have a problem leaving beer in primary for months on end unless you have severe temperature problems. I've gone up to 3 months but we've had guys go a year with no issues.

Yeast does more than just ferment. If you let it ferment out (eat all the sugars), it will then eat its waste and clean up your beer. By eating its by products it improves the flavor of your beer. If left a little longer, your beers will be crystal clear.

Secondary works too but I think the beer tastes better if left on the yeast cake until the above mentioned work is finished.
 
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5247337

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Wow, this thing has gotten explosive! This morning I went out back to grab a sixer to throw in the 'fridge. Bottles have started to explode. Violently. I was in the root cellar with the flashlight and noticed that four or five bottles had gone off and decided to back away...quickly. Back in the hill billy cooler they go to try to save them.

Me thinks I will invite a few more people over tonight and finish off that batch. Anyone thirsty?
 
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