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Potential Bottle Bombs (The Sequel)

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Boyogold

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Here's the deal:

I brewed a semi experimental brown ale with some brown sugar and an OG of 1.078. It sat in the primary for a week at around 66 degrees. At that time, the airlock had slowed to about one bubble per minute. I transferred to secondary and the gravity was 1.020. To the secondary I added two hungarian oak cubes that had been soaked in capt morgan for the week. They weren't dripping wet with capt when I dropped them in, but they weren't completely dry either. For the next 5 days, there wasn't a single bit of movement in the airlock. When I took my reading on the 6th day, my gravity was still 1.020.

I went on a little trip and fully expected (planned) a bottling day of 4 days after this second reading. I had people over, food ordered and took my (what I thought was a formality) reading. The gravity was now 1.018! After much painstaking debate and agonizing discussions (and a coin flip), I decided to bottle it anyway. Since by style, this type of ale calls for slightly less carbo, I pulled back my priming addition and it's in a fully self-contained and temperature controlled container, so there's no mess if it does blow. We just decided to see what would happen.

My question for you experts/scarred veterens who still have glass shrapnel embedded in your bodies...if there's a ticking clock in these bottles, when does it go off? What kinds of reasons are there for the readings that I got? I kind of have a feeling that maybe the residual rum in the cubes arrested fermentation and then when I had a bit of a warmer day here in the NE it kicked it back into gear.

If you think I'm fine...by all means, ease my mind! :(
 

Yooper

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Well, the beer has over 75% attenuation, so you're probably fine! What kind of yeast did you use?

And what was the recipe? That will really help to know for sure.
 

zoebisch01

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Hey welcome to the forums!

I have never had bottle bombs (thankfully!) and I have only bottled to this point. However, your results will be a function of temperature, among other things. We'll need to know the yeast strain you used, and how it was prepared (i.e. did you make a starter?, was it a dry yeast? etc). 1.018 is not terrifically low, but it can happen depending on the strain. You are hitting about 76% attenuation there.

In the meantime, you can test the carbonation of one at the end of a week and see how it is doing. If you open it and it is foaming out of the top, you will need to intervene. If, however, it just does a 'psst' and pours a small head then I'd wager that you may be in the clear.
 
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Boyogold

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Thanks for the quick replies and thanks zoe for the welcome...good to be here.

Recipe is as follows:

.5 lbs. Chocolate Rye Malt
3 lbs. Dry Extra Light Extract
3 lbs. Dry Amber Extract
1 lbs. Dark Brown Sugar
1 oz. Cascade (Whole, 5.50 %AA) boiled 60 min.
.5 oz. Cascade (Whole, 5.50 %AA) boiled 15 min.
.5 oz. Cascade (Whole, 5.50 %AA) boiled 5 min.

I call it semi-experimental because I was basically using leftover ingredients. I guess the yeast strain would be important, huh...I used a packet of dry yeast that I had around. The packet had a date on it that put it smack dab in the middle of its primetime. For what it's worth, I put it in some warm water with a bit of sugar right before I started the boil as this was the first time I used dry yeast and wasn't 100% about it.
 

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Well, yes, the yeast is pretty important in figuring attenuation. For example, I've heard that Muntons Gold (?) (I've never used it, so I can't quite remember) does not attenuate very well, so the beer would finish at a higher sg than expected. Still, you got 76% or so, so I'm guessing you must have used Nottingham or something like that. I think that 1.018 is fine for that recipe.

How much priming sugar did you use, and how did you add it? Also, what temperature is the beer at now?

I agree with Zoebisch, if it's been a week or so, go ahead and chill one down and try it! If it's way overcarbed, then chill them all right away. If it's undercarbed, then keep them at 70 degrees and try one in another week. If it's perfectly carbed, well, then you know what to do!!!!!!
 

ohiobrewtus

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I've only ever had 3 bottles explode on me, but it sounds like you will not have to worry about this at all.

While it is a bit odd that the gravity of this brew stayed at 1.020 for a while then dropped 2 points right before you bottled it, it certainly sounds like it dropped to a point at which bottle bombs should not be an issue at all.
 
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Boyogold

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It was a Munton's dry ale yeast that I used.

The beers are at about 67-68 right now. I thought that that would kind of retard the process because I'll also be going away for this weekend (1 week after bottling) and I didn't want anything to go down while I'm away...but surely this is just delaying the inevitable (if there is in fact an inevitable).

I used the nomograph in Palmer's 'How to Brew' to figure the sugar addition. I dissolved 8 tablespoons (.5 cups) into two cups of boiling water and then added it to the bottling bucket prior to racking the beer down.
 

DuPuma

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Potential hydrometer misreading? If it was very cold in your house when you took your readings, they might have been off.

But I wouldn't worry about it too much. As others have said test them in week intervals. You're probably fine.
 
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Boyogold

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DuPuma said:
Potential hydrometer misreading? If it was very cold in your house when you took your readings, they might have been off.
I certainly won't discount the fact that this could have happened. I did a double-take on it and the rest was just discussion. I was in a wine thief, so it wasn't the easiest thing to do to give it another spin, but I was pretty sure. It was actually a little warmer than usual in my house when I did it.

I 'preciate the help from everybody. I will most certainly be checking these bottles in increments. I'll have a riot gear party at my place or something if necessary...:rockin:
 
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Boyogold

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Just to update this dealie...I cracked one open a week after bottling and had no problem. A buddy of mine actually did a very similar brown and bottled it at exactly the same time with no overcarb worries and his had more carbonation than mine did. I definitely had some and it's working up, but thanks to you guys (and seeing it first hand) I'm feeling comfortable now.

I also wanted to bump this because I noticed Palmetto is having a similar freakout session and thought that maybe he could find some solace in my story.

Also, on a semi-related note...the beer smelled like bubble gum! Brown sugar/rum getting together? It doesn't taste like it, but it's got it strong in the nose...
 

zoebisch01

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Boyogold said:
Also, on a semi-related note...the beer smelled like bubble gum! Brown sugar/rum getting together? It doesn't taste like it, but it's got it strong in the nose...
Hmm interesting. Normally you get that from yeast strain. Although Windsor is pretty fruity if you let it ride up in temp. I am not sure in that case, but this could very easily (and probably will) change in the next few weeks.
 
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