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Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2014
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So I bottled my Apfelwein last night using a mix of standard 12 oz bottles. It was about 3 gallons (a little less) at 65 deg. F. Excited to use my new bench capper, I neglected to change the bottled volume in my calculator from 5 to 3 gallons. So I used 5.6 oz table sugar in a 2.8 gallon-ish batch at 65, equating to about 4.7 volumes CO2. What should I do here? I don't want 30 bombs in my closet!

This is my first bottling mistake. We all learn from them, but dang is it annoying and potentially detrimental to my bottle collection.
I would, but I fear for bottle bombs from the capped bottles which are already quite thin to begin with. I was thinking of removing all caps and replacing them with aluminum foil, letting it carb out until flat, then repriming with a boiled sugar solution using a syringe. Or alternatively, check one in a few days then "burp" them and swirl them without caps, recapping once they've flattened.

edit: I suppose I could remove the caps then pasteurize; I have a false bottom and kettle I use to pasteurize rice wine.
I'm pretty sure 4.7 volumes won't blow the bottle. Most of the soda makers here carb like that and they use the same bottles and caps. It will be more bubbly than other ciders, but I'd say don't mess with it, just ride it out and enjoy the fizz.
If these were new or slightly new bottles I'd risk it. However, these have been used for about six batches of beer prior to the cider so I doubt they have the structural integrity they once did. I usually don't chance anything over 3 volumes, and 4 is where most 12 oz beer bottles are rated before they turn into grenades.

*EDIT: Well, it turns out they're already grenades. I grabbed one to test its carbonation before pasteurizing, and it seemed to be right around 3, 3.5 volumes. So I figured it wasn't too much to pasteurize. As I type this, the fourth bottle has exploded in the kettle that's cooling on the floor in the kitchen. The temp of the water was 175 and the bottles were gradually brought to temp slowly on a false bottom, so this was not expected. I'm just glad everybody's A-OK and that the chaos is fairly contained. Lesson learned.