Plastic Water bottles...I bottled beer in some, now I have some questions...

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elpresidente

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Hello,

I have a summer festival that I am attending (All Good Festival in WV if anyone else is going!!) and they do not allow glass bottles.

I decided to bottle up one of my recent batches in plastic water bottles so that I can still have delicious homebrew for the festival.

My question is:

when I bottled them I made sure to give a decent amount of headspace in each bottle, about a inch +/- and when I screwed the cap back on I made sure to squeeze the bottles so that the level of beer was all the way at the top just under the cap before sealing them...is this the way I should have done it?

My main reason for this was to make sure I didn't get bottle bombs because I only bought the sams choice 20 oz bottled water from Wal-Mart and it seemed a little bit cheaper quality bottle than say Auqafina.
 

Mischief_Brewing

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Squeezing the bottle probably wasn't a good thing. Here's the reason: The yeast eat the priming sugar, farting CO2 and peeing alcohol. The CO2 bubbles up to the headspace. When the pressure builds up in the headspace, CO2 begins to dissolve in the liquid, equal to that of what's in the headspace. What you effectively did, was make it so that the bottle will expand with the yeast-created CO2, creating a headspace, but the yeast will consume most/all of the sugar before there is enough pressure to have it begin dissolving in the liquid.

The result, you'll likely have flat beer.

How much priming sugar did you use? What was the batch size?
 

broadbill

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The only thing I would worry about is if those bottles can handle pressure in the first place. Bottled water isn't under pressure, so I don't know if the bottles are made to handle it (as opposed to soda bottles). Maybe someone else can chime in on this...
 
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elpresidente

elpresidente

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What you effectively did, was make it so that the bottle will expand with the yeast-created CO2, creating a headspace, but the yeast will consume most/all of the sugar before there is enough pressure to have it begin dissolving in the liquid.

The result, you'll likely have flat beer.

How much priming sugar did you use? What was the batch size?
This is what I was worried about...I guess I can go back and unscrew the bottles to let in some more headspace. They were bottled less than a week ago. Should I do this?

I bottled a 5 gal batch with the normal measured amount of priming sugar I got pre-packaged at the LHBS in about 30 or so 20oz. water bottles...
 

Ichthy

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They might be carbed after a week in the bottles. I'd also be concerned about the bottles holding pressure. There is a reason coke doesn't make an eco bottle with 30% less plastic...
 

glenn514

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I've bottle-carbonated successfully in both apple juice/V8 bottles AND 2 liter plastic soda bottles. With the juice/V8 bottles, the "hand-hold" that is formed into the bottle popped out. No problem whatsoever with the soda bottles.

The ONLY concern I would have is with the relative thickness, or lack thereof, of the cheap Sam's water bottles. To be on the safe side, while they are bottle-carbing and the internal pressure is building, keep them inside another vessel to catch the beer if one or more explodes. I keep mine in a tough, large plastic storage tub with the locking lid.

glenn514:mug:
 

ksbrain

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I bottled a few off a keg into poland spring 16.9 oz. bottles. The bottles have held pressure for the few days I've had them in there, though I also doubt the long term stability or suitability of the poland spring bottles.

I'm not sure you should unscrew the caps to let in more head space after a week. Maybe try one and see if it's carbonated. You should actually be able to tell, the bottle should get firm.
 
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elpresidente

elpresidente

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I'm not sure you should unscrew the caps to let in more head space after a week. Maybe try one and see if it's carbonated. You should actually be able to tell, the bottle should get firm.
Well originally when I screwed the caps on, the beer was all the way to the top. Now there is already a little bit of headspace being created from the initial priming...I guess I should just leave them alone and find out for myself what happens.

If it ends up not carbing properly I will take it as a lesson learned.

After the discussion so far, I am thinking they will get carbonated, just not as much as it would normally being primed in a glass bottle, since I removed the initial headspace which would help force the co2 back into solution. We shall see, unless someone else has any words of wisdom from similar scenario.
 

ShortSnoutBrewing

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What's done is done, but my experience with festivals all over the country is they will say no bottles, but it's not something enforced. I even brought a corny or two to festivals that clearly state no kegs allowed (a little easier to get away with being smaller than a half barrel, but still).
 
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elpresidente

elpresidente

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What's done is done, but my experience with festivals all over the country is they will say no bottles, but it's not something enforced. I even brought a corny or two to festivals that clearly state no kegs allowed (a little easier to get away with being smaller than a half barrel, but still).
Yeah, I still might bring some other random glass bottles and just hide them somewhere in my car. I hope it works out though cuz its some AWESOME amber ale...its an extract kit from my LHBS that I brew a lot and love!
 

Beer_Guy

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To summarize what previous posters have said…

To carb a beer you do not need ANY Headspace. You just need Co2 pressure.

Now let’s break down what the OP did:
He filled the bottles to the NORMAL level leaving a NORMAL headspace.
He compressed the bottles before capping.
This switched the headspace to the outside of the bottle.
The Co2 pressure will begin to push on the inside of the bottle.
This will first expand the bottle back to normal shape before ANY carbing is done.
This process will continue until the bottle pops or the primer is used up.
Because he pushed all the headspace out, he may wind up with a very light carb or flat beer.

To save it you might reprime and put it in PET beer bottles or soda bottles. If you let it set long enough for the yeast to finish the current primer off, I would feel safe using glass bottles.
 
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