Newbie questions I haven't seen answered yet

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Zombie13

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...although I haven't looked overly hard.... :D

So, I started brewing about 3 months ago and I LOVE it!!!! I have 2 batches under my belt, as well as some Lemonade and some Mead. Some questions that I've yet to get answered clearly are:

1) My first batch, a Brewer's best Smoked Porter, turned out really well, but now the bottles are INCREDIBLY foamy. I pop one open and if I don't drink or pour it immediately, I have a geyser. So I pour it, and pretty much immediately get a glass full of foam, with the bottle still overflowing with foam. Eventually it subsides and tastes fine, but it is fairly annoying. Is there anything I can do about this? The beer is already pretty chilled when I open it so.... Should I be concerned about it?

2) I made a batch of hard lemonade what was delicious, but it was still. I want to make another batch sparkling, but I am concerned about making bottle bombs. The recipe I *loosely* followed (I believe it was YooperBrews) listed OG and said what FG he liked it at, but no mention of bottling or stopping fermentation that I could find. I know I can back-sweeten it once fermentation is complete with a non-fermentable, but what about bottling and carbing?

Sorry if these have already been answered, and thanks for the help.

Z.
 

OHIOSTEVE

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Yoop is a her.......... If your beer tastes fine I am thinking maybe over carbed and I'd be concerned with bottle bombs.
As for the lemonade, I would ferment it out dry, then add a non fermentable sweetener ( splenda) to taste then prime and bottle with corn sugar.
I am a rookie so take this advice with that in mind.
 

joey11bball

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It may have been over carbed because fermentation was not complete before you bottled it. I think the biggest mistake beginners make is using a time line for your brewing. Instead of fermenting for a certain amount of time, take hydrometer readings, and when you see that the hydrometer reading is the same over a few days its done fermenting and time to bottle or rack to secondary.

As far as I know there is nothing you can do to reduce carbonation once it has already happened. But as OHIOSTEVE said be careful for bottle bombs.
 

wyzazz

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Put them all in the fridge, that'll stop the yeast and you won't have bombs. ;)
 

pkeeler

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When you use a lot of foam positive ingredients, you get a large head. Have you seen a Guinness poured? ;) My first brown beer was like that, tasted good though. I'd suggest getting a couple of 23 oz pilsner glasses.
 

slowbie

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When you say your bottles are "pretty chilled" before you open them, what does that mean? If you're not already, refrigerating them overnight or longer may help. Otherwise, I think the Brewer's best kits give you 5 oz. of priming sugar, which in some cases can be too much, but in my experience has not caused problems as severe as yours.
 
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Zombie13

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When you say your bottles are "pretty chilled" before you open them, what does that mean?
Several hours to several days in the fridge. Sometimes in a freezer-chilled glass, more often in a 16oz 'Coca-Cola' glass.

Z.
 

rocketman768

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When you say your bottles are "pretty chilled" before you open them, what does that mean? If you're not already, refrigerating them overnight or longer may help. Otherwise, I think the Brewer's best kits give you 5 oz. of priming sugar, which in some cases can be too much, but in my experience has not caused problems as severe as yours.
+1

If you're not putting them in the fridge for at least 2 days before drinking, you're not allowing the CO2 in the headspace to dissolve in the beer. The result of incomplete CO2 diffusion is a beer geyser.
 

Cape Brewing

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I could be wrong but I only know of three ways a bottle can be a gusher

1) it is infected. An infection will cause a "gusher" because the bacteria that typically causes infections in beer (mostly Brettanomyces) is able to 'eat' sugars that aren't eaten by your intended yeasties. If a regular yeast stops at something like 1.015, given enough time, Brett will drop it much further. As sugar contents drops, more alchohol and more carbonation. Open the bottle after that and you've got a gusher.

2) you shook the hell out of the bottle. This is pretty self explanitory. Get a can of Coke, shake the hell out of it and then open. You'll get the point.

3) You had too much sugar when you bottled. That can come from either bottling without fermentation being done or adding too much priming sugar. As someone posted above, don't go by time. Go by your hydrometer reading. You'll know you're done fermenting when your hydrometer tells you so. You should either hit the FG that the recipe states or be stalled out for several days somewhere relatively close to that FG. Once one of those two things happen, you can be reasonably sure that you're done. Once done, simply make sure you are adding about an Oz of priming sugar per gallon and you should be fine. You might be slightly under or over carbed depending on style by using an oz per gallon but you shouldn't get gushers.


My guess is with this particular batch, you weren't done fermenting. If it was an infection, you would certainly taste it and something like Brett would typically take a little longer than what you're talking about to produce gushers.

I've never heard of the idea of refridgeration helping obsorb the CO2 in the headspace and I'm not sure about that. I have barleywines and braggots that I have never refridgerated and they've never been gushers. I've also popped warm beers to test them, drank a bottle warm and then tossed them in the fridge once I knew they were ok and I haven't notices any difference at all in carbonation levels.



NOTE: I shoudl have mentioned that checking your FG reading on a hydrometer isn't just good for making good beer... it's good for keeping things safe. If you have gushers on your hands now and don't know what your FG was when you bottled, you run the very real risk of having bottle bombs on your hands. As those bottles continue to sit and age, the sugar left in them will continue to get eaten by whatever yeast is in those bottles. The more they eat the more carbonation until such time that the bottle can longer hold the pressure... and boom... you've got airborn shards of glass.

If you have these bottles sitting out at room temperature I would suggest either putting them all in the fridge to slow down any yeast activity or cover them with something, or better yet, put them in a big storage bin so if any of them do explode, the damage will just be in the bin.
 

Cape Brewing

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youtube's blocked at work. what does it say?

If it simply says that colder temps help CO2 absorbtion... yes, that's true. But that doesn't do anything about gushers. If a bottle is pressurized to 25PSI or something crazy, I don't see how that CO2 being absorbed into the beer is going to lessen the PSI. It's way over-carbed whether the gas is in the beer or in the half inch of air space in the bottle. As soon as you open it, the CO2 is going to come out of solution and give you a gusher.
 

rocketman768

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I'll check out the video tonight because I don't see anywhere in Revvy's write up that says chilling a bottle will fix a gusher.
He doesn't say that, and I didn't say that chilling fixes all gushers. However, it's just basic physics that gas solubility goes up with decreasing temperature. This is why those of us with kegs calculate our pressure settings based on temperature, and why when you bottle prime, you have to take into account the amount of residual CO2 left in your beer from fermentation, which depends on the temperature of the beer.

http://www.ebrew.com/primarynews/ct_carbonation_chart.htm
Notice that as the temperature drops, the carbonation volumes increase, meaning there is more CO2 in solution.
http://byo.com/resources/carbonation
Look at section B. The lower the temperature, the greater the amount of CO2 in solution.

Chilling your bottles for a couple of days increases the solubility of the beer to CO2, allowing CO2 to diffuse from the head space into the beer, and causing less foaming. Whenever I "crash cool" a beer in the freezer for 30 minutes before opening, the head is always much larger than when I leave it to chill in the fridge for a couple of days.
 

Cape Brewing

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... and I agreed a couple of times that chilling will help CO2 disolve into the beer. I just don't understand what that has to do with trying to avoid gushers... which is what this thread is about. Just because the CO2 disolves into the beer that doesn't mean it magically disappears. The PSI in the bottle (what is causing the gushing) isn't going to go down simply because the beer absorbed the CO2.

Your quote was: "The result of incomplete CO2 diffusion is a beer geyser."

I'm not being all pissy about it... all I'm saying is that I don't think that's a correct statement.

Like I was saying before, an over-carbed bottle is over-carbed whether the CO2 is in the headspace or in the beer itself. If a bottle is going to gush because it is overcarbed (either by infection or too much residual sugars at bottling time) simply letting the CO2 dissolve faster into the beer isn't going to fix the problem... at any temperature.
 
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