Quantcast

Why do I keep making bottle bombs?

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

wondercow

Active Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2008
Messages
25
Reaction score
1
Location
Atlanta, GA
Out of the 5 batches of extract beer I have made, 2 have resulted in bottle bombs and a third seems way overcarbonated and is starting to worry me. Obviously, I need to make a change, and I'm looking for ideas. This is a big safety concern to me--I'm scared to give away my beer now! My first thought is that I'm using too much priming sugar, but maybe you have other ideas. Here's my story:

My first bottle bomb was a Midwest Homebrew Supply Simcoe Select IPA kit. It started with great body and carbonation but started having overcarbonation problems after about 2 months post-bottling (even gentle pours would result in 100% head). I gave a few to a friend, who walked into his kitchen one day to watch one bottle take off like a spaceship and its neighbor to explode like a hand grenade. I chalked this up to bad luck.

Then, both homebrews I have on hand right now (variation on Brewer's Best American Micro Style Pale Ale kit and Midwest Homebrew Supply Maple Syrup Ale) started having weird overcarbonation problems at the same time. They had been fine, but one day both batches started fizzing over as soon as I opened the bottle. Today, I opened my beer closet to the smell of day-after-a-party stale beer and glass shards everywhere. A maple syrup ale had exploded, and now I'm scared about the pale ale following in its footsteps.

The pale ale has been in bottles for 3 months, and the maple syrup for 2 months.

In all 3 cases, I used the 5 oz. pack of priming sugar that came with the kit for my 5 gallon batch. Is it possible that this was too much? I have never bothered with gravity measurements both for fear of contaminating my beer and out of laziness, but I really doubt that the problem is bottling unfermented wort. The Simcoe IPA was in the primary fermenter for 2 weeks and the secondary for 3 weeks. The pale ale got 2 weeks in the primary and 2 weeks in the secondary, and the maple syrup ale got 2 weeks in the primary and 5 weeks in the secondary. If this isn't enough time for the yeast to do the trick sufficiently, then maybe I'm not patient enough for homebrewing. I also doubt that the problem is unclean bottles--none of my beers have ever tasted swampy, just overly fizzy. I have always used Brewer's Best caps. Do I need to buy the "oxygen" caps?

What am I doing wrong? I'm terrified to even pick up my bottles now!
 

JuanKenobi

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2009
Messages
384
Reaction score
5
Location
Martha's Vineyard
What is your priming method? Have you come across any under-carbonated bottles? Maybe the priming sugar didn't mix well and some bottles got too much. This is a problem that I had in the early days that lead to my first bottle bomb.
 

rootbeerjohn

Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2008
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Location
Winnipeg a.k.a Winterpeg, Mosquito Capital, Murder
I always prime bottles (regular size beer bottles) individually using a level teaspoon of corn sugar and have done so up to 1 liter bottles with a hipping teaspoonful of sugar and never had a bottle explode on me.

How about the temperature you are fermenting at, for example, if its a constant temperature (with minor fluctuations of 2 to 3 degree) then your fermentation will be done after lets say....3 weeks. But what if your fermentation temperature drops more than 6 degrees at night or occasionally drops during the day (due to AC, drafty doorway.....). Then your fermentation could take longer. Beer ferments slower in the cold.
 

llazy_llama

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2009
Messages
2,832
Reaction score
92
Location
Rapid City, South Dakota
The most likely culprit is that your beer hasn't finished fermenting before you bottle it. I'm curious to know how long your beer was in primary/secondary before it was bottled.

5oz of priming sugar in a 5 gallon batch isn't going to cause bottle bombs. O2 absorbing caps aren't going to prevent them. I'm 90% sure your beer just hasn't finished fermenting by the time you bottle it. How do you judge when it's time to bottle?
 

Blender

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2006
Messages
3,106
Reaction score
8
Location
Santa Cruz, CA.
The most likely culprit is that your beer hasn't finished fermenting before you bottle it. I'm curious to know how long your beer was in primary/secondary before it was bottled.

5oz of priming sugar in a 5 gallon batch isn't going to cause bottle bombs. O2 absorbing caps aren't going to prevent them. I'm 90% sure your beer just hasn't finished fermenting by the time you bottle it. How do you judge when it's time to bottle?
Thats my guess as well. Just because it is in the fementor for 2 weeks does not neccesarily mean it finished properly.
 

Arneba28

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2008
Messages
2,197
Reaction score
18
Location
Amherst
But the kit instructions said I could bottle after 7 days... ;)
Famous first words for people with multiple symptoms (my beer tastes bad, the bottle exploded, there no carbonation)

Stop listening to directs from a kit and start reading. My beers got much better when I stopped using kits and there instructions.
 

DrinksWellWithOthers

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 29, 2008
Messages
1,051
Reaction score
30
Location
MA
The most likely culprit is that your beer hasn't finished fermenting before you bottle it. I'm curious to know how long your beer was in primary/secondary before it was bottled.

5oz of priming sugar in a 5 gallon batch isn't going to cause bottle bombs. O2 absorbing caps aren't going to prevent them. I'm 90% sure your beer just hasn't finished fermenting by the time you bottle it. How do you judge when it's time to bottle?
I thought he could have been bottling too soon as well but he states he's kept the beers in primary/secondary for 4-7 weeks. Even without a hydrometer, I'd be willing to bet the beers were fermented out. Though using a hydrometer would be best so you can be positive.

If you're starting to get "weird carbonation problems" after a couple of months in the bottle then maybe you're getting an infection. What do you use to sanitize your equipment and bottles?
 

llazy_llama

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2009
Messages
2,832
Reaction score
92
Location
Rapid City, South Dakota
Wow, I missed that part of his post totally. Serves me right for not reading the whole thing.

If not infection, maybe it's in the bottles themselves. What kind of bottles are you using, how old are they, how do you cap them, and how do you clean/sanitize them?
 

Yooper

Ale's What Cures You!
Staff member
Admin
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
74,314
Reaction score
11,931
Location
UP/Snowbird in Florida
I have never bothered with gravity measurements both for fear of contaminating my beer and out of laziness, but I really doubt that the problem is bottling unfermented wort.
In my opinion, it's easier to take SG readings that keep cleaning up explosions, so I don't think not taking them is doing you much good. The beer probably is finished after that much time in the primary and in the clearing tank, but there's no way to know for sure without a hydrometer reading. I've made over 250 batches, about 150 of them bottled, and never once had a bottle bomb. I would suggest a good place to start is to use your hydrometer.

The second thought is that you may have some lacto infection going on. Once you get a foamer, what does it taste like?
 

Homercidal

Licensed Sensual Massage Therapist.
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 10, 2008
Messages
33,324
Reaction score
5,803
Location
Reed City, MI
I recommend priming with this method:

Place priming sugar in a smallish pan. Add some water and mix well. Heat to boiling. Allow to boil for a few minutes. Place sugar watering bottling bucket. Siphon beer into bucket gently (not splashing) and create a "swirling" flow to mix the beer and sugar water very well. After beer is transferred, stir gently to make sure it's mixed well.

Proceed to bottle with your favorite method.

Remember that ANYTHING that touches your beer MUST be sanitized, or you could get infections that could cause gushers or bottle bombs. Store bottles at 70F for three weeks before drinking.

Also, if your beer is an Ale, then you should ferment at 60-70 degrees (depending on the yeast strain, check the instructions) for 2 weeks or so prior to bottling. If the fermentation temps are too low, the beer will not be completely fermented which means that there are too many sugars in the beer at the time of bottling.

Use a hydrometer to check the gravity (sugar level) before bottling to make sure it's done.
 

Roo_Dr

Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2009
Messages
21
Reaction score
0
Tried my hand at bulk priming for the first time today - Traditional British Bitter - having used coopers carb drops before. Beer was in primary for 10 days, secondary for 14. Sequential gravity were stable at 1012 throughout the secondary.

Temp at bottling was 24oC (room temp, it's early autumn here), volume 21 L. Added 120g of cane sugar according to the calculators aiming for end carbonation of 2.2.

It is also my first time using glass bottles / caps, used the plastic option for my first 5 brews (newby here!).

Having read this thread I'm beginning to worry that first time bulk priming, first time glass, might have been a dangerous combination...

What does a bottle bomb look like when it goes off?
 

Bob

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2007
Messages
3,928
Reaction score
164
Location
Christiansted, St Croix, USVI
Homercidal, I think you're on to something.

Lots of folks worried about whether or not the ferment was complete before packaging. Then, when the length of time in the fermenter was noted, everyone relaxed.

This is an error.

If the ferment temperature is too low, the beer can stay in the fermenter for 6-7 years and not fully attenuate. I say 'fully attenuate' because some fermentation may occur, but not enough to fully attenuate that wort by that strain of yeast. Then, upon packaging, the yeast are roused from dormancy and not only metabolize the priming sugar but also that last 0.005 points of gravity left. Result? BOOM.

Get a hydrometer, laddie, and learn how to use it.

You needn't worry about Original Gravity (OG), because you're brewing from extract. Those numbers are pretty much constant, and any brewing software or online recipe calculator can tell you what OG you're going to have. The hydrometer is for the end of the ferment, after the krausen foam has fallen. If you take a reading and it's close to the percentage of attenuation listed for your yeast, your ferment is probably finished. If it's not, you've got a problem.

For example, Wyeast 1056 (and by extension White Labs WLP001 and Fermentis S-05) attenuates 73-77%.

If your wort goes into the fermenter at OG 1.050, full attenuation should be between 1.011 and 1.014 on your hydrometer. Yes, that's a range, but if you take three like readings three days in a row, the ferment is finished.

Cheers,

Bob
 

EvilTOJ

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2005
Messages
6,395
Reaction score
64
Location
Portland, OR
The most likely culprit is that your beer hasn't finished fermenting before you bottle it.
time to start taking gravity readings :p
In my opinion, it's easier to take SG readings that keep cleaning up explosions, so I don't think not taking them is doing you much good.
Use a hydrometer to check the gravity (sugar level) before bottling to make sure it's done.
You need to start taking hydrometer readings.
You need to start taking hydrometer readings.
You need to start taking hydrometer readings.

I'd also look at your temperature control where your fermenters are, because as rootbeerjohn said, if you get too much temp fluctuation, it can cause the yeast to just give up and stall fermentation, no matter the time frame involved.

The amount of time you're waiting for the beer to be done sounds good, and you're using premeasured corn sugar, so I don't think that's it either.
 
OP
W

wondercow

Active Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2008
Messages
25
Reaction score
1
Location
Atlanta, GA
OP here. Wow, thanks for all the responses so far! I really, really wish I had taken gravity readings. Here are a few followups:

What is your priming method? Have you come across any under-carbonated bottles? Maybe the priming sugar didn't mix well and some bottles got too much. This is a problem that I had in the early days that lead to my first bottle bomb.
I dissolve the 5 oz packet of sugar in 2 cups of water, then boil it on the stove with the lid on for 10 minutes of rolling boil. I then let it cool to room temperature with the lid on while I get the rest of my equipment sanitized and ready. I pour the priming sugar-water into the bottom of my bottling bucket (cleaned with Star-San) and then siphon from the secondary onto the mixture, trying to agitate it as little as possible.

I used to assume that just siphoning alone would mix it properly, but my first batch of bottle bombs had some undercarbonated bottles and some bombs, so I agree with you that this batch may have been poorly mixed. From that point onward, I stirred the entire mixture with a sanitized spoon before bottling to mix it. The current batch of bottle bombs and the suspected bombs-to-be both both got stirred like this, and they both seem to only be overcarbonated.

How about the temperature you are fermenting at,
I leave my primary in a box insulated with 2 inches of foam insulation. It is usually around 70-75 degrees during primary fermentation. My secondary lives in the back of a closet at around 65-70 degrees. Both fermenters have those sticky fishtank thermometers on them, so I know they aren't getting below 65 degrees or above 80. Bottles are stored in my closet next to the secondary.

If not infection, maybe it's in the bottles themselves. What kind of bottles are you using, how old are they, how do you cap them, and how do you clean/sanitize them?
I reuse brown long-neck bottles from various commercial brands. I always rinse them twice as soon as I pour them out, but I don't scrub with a brush. If I see any debris inside the bottle, I just throw it out. Most are on their first homebrew, but some might be on their second re-use.

Here is my bottling method: I soak my bottles in a wallpaper tray full of Star-San. One bottle is soaking while a second other is being poured out (slowly so the Star-San doesn't make suds) to be filled with beer. Caps are also soaking in the tray of Star-San. I fill the bottles with my bottling wand, then pull out a cap and set it on top of the bottle. I fill all my bottles first, then cap the entire batch with one of those red crimping tools that requires two arms.

The second thought is that you may have some lacto infection going on. Once you get a foamer, what does it taste like?
It usually tastes just like the original beer, but maybe a bit more yeast-y. Kind of like the beer mated with a white ale... Neither the smell nor the flavor seem unpleasant at all. I sort of expect a contaminated batch to remind me of sewage. Is this correct to assume?

What does a bottle bomb look like when it goes off?
Sticky shards of glass all over your closet and stale beer smell everywhere. I wish I had a movie of the one bottle taking off like a spaceship!

You need to start taking hydrometer readings.
You need to start taking hydrometer readings.
You need to start taking hydrometer readings.
Point taken.
 

JuanKenobi

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2009
Messages
384
Reaction score
5
Location
Martha's Vineyard
Wow. I am amazed that you're having this problem with those fermentation temps and lengths. When I first started I never took hydrometer readings, or had the patience to wait that long, and I only made a few bottle bombs. Although one blew out the bottom of a bottle and left a perfect glass ring behind as it launched straight up through the bottom of the crisper drawer in my friend's fridge. Good times.
 
OP
W

wondercow

Active Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2008
Messages
25
Reaction score
1
Location
Atlanta, GA
That's what I thought! Obviously as a new homebrewer, I have lots to learn, but my rationale behind not using the hydrometer was that after at least 4-5 weeks at around 70 degrees, these beers ought to be plenty done...

None of my batches have been problematic until at least 2 months post-bottling. So, I guess an alternate solution to the bottle bomb problem would be to drink my beer faster.
 

McKBrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,190
Reaction score
39
Location
Hayden
No issues until 2 months post bottling.

I'm betting on some sort of infection. Look at replacing your tubing for starters.
 

Revvy

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Dec 11, 2007
Messages
41,307
Reaction score
3,656
Location
"Detroitish" Michigan
It doesn't really appear to be something with your length of time or temp...plus you note that at least one of them that;

but started having overcarbonation problems after about 2 months post-bottling
This speaks to me of an infection issue more than anything else....I had the same thing happen to me once...they were fine for a couple months then "bam" gusher infections..(and it was a contest entry and my bottles at home gushed for the first time the same weekend of the contests...and the entries gushed too...)

What's your bottling sanitization procedure? Break down your entire bottling process for me step by step from the minute you move your primary or secondary into position to rack all the way through to what you do with the bottles after capping...The more detailed you are, the more likely we will be able to see where you are falling short in sanitization....
 

de_ronde

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2009
Messages
73
Reaction score
0
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
That's what I thought! Obviously as a new homebrewer, I have lots to learn, but my rationale behind not using the hydrometer was that after at least 4-5 weeks at around 70 degrees, these beers ought to be plenty done...

None of my batches have been problematic until at least 2 months post-bottling. So, I guess an alternate solution to the bottle bomb problem would be to drink my beer faster.
The only thing that seems suspect is your bottle cleaning.

I scrub my bottles inside and out with a bottle brush in hot
water with OneStep cleanser.

I also use a vinator bottle sanitizer to coat the inside with sanitizer
before drying.

Why don't you scrub your bottles with a brush? A brush costs around 2 Dollars and it takes no time at all.
 

llazy_llama

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2009
Messages
2,832
Reaction score
92
Location
Rapid City, South Dakota
The only thing that seems suspect is your bottle cleaning.

I scrub my bottles inside and out with a bottle brush in hot
water with OneStep cleanser.

I also use a vinator bottle sanitizer to coat the inside with sanitizer
before drying.

Why don't you scrub your bottles with a brush? A brush costs around 2 Dollars and it takes no time at all.
If there's an infection present in any of his plastic equipment, it'll be very difficult if not impossible to fully clean it out. We're talking about some nasty little guerilla-warfare beer haters that just love to dig in to plastic gear.

I hope it's not an infection, but that seems fairly likely. Either for some strange reason the fermentation isn't finished or he's inf**kted.
 

aubrey

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2008
Messages
242
Reaction score
2
Location
Acworth, Ga
I would guess that its because you're only rinsing the bottles, not cleaning them. Starsan is a surface sanitizer, so any dirt or grime in the bottle from not cleaning will harbor bacteria that the starsan can't do anything about. Moving liquid in the bottle washes away the dirt after time, and the basteria gets exposed to the sugar and goes to town. When you rinse them, at least give them a quick shot with a bottle brush - which will cost you about $3. You can also run them through your dishwasher with no detergent, and no rinsing additive.

Also, sanitizing the bottles in a wallpaper tray could be the problem, depending on how you're doing it. If you're not swirling the starsan around so it can coat for at least 30 seconds on all surfaces, then having a bottle laying on its side in the tray will cause an airbubble and thus no sanitizer in some places. I mix up a batch of starsan in my bottling bucket and 'sink' the bottles in it so they are completely full and submerged for about a minute.
 

woollybugger2

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2009
Messages
534
Reaction score
3
this thread make me nervous...

i'm going to have check one of my Belgian Trippels to see how the are coming along.....

;)
 

david_42

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2005
Messages
25,584
Reaction score
179
Location
Oak Grove
but started having overcarbonation problems after about 2 months post-bottling
Certainly sounds like an infection to me. Some infections will result in a sour taste, some just kill the body. I haven't heard of one causing a sewage smell. That comes from the dreaded (and rarely seen) autolyse.
 

Weezknight

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2009
Messages
333
Reaction score
2
this thread make me nervous...

i'm going to have check one of my Belgian Trippels to see how the are coming along.....

;)
Funny how that works. There are thousands of threads here where people have not had any bottle-bomb problems. One pops up and all of the sudden we all get the heebie-jeebies.
 

Revvy

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Dec 11, 2007
Messages
41,307
Reaction score
3,656
Location
"Detroitish" Michigan
Funny how that works. There are thousands of threads here where people have not had any bottle-bomb problems. One pops up and all of the sudden we all get the heebie-jeebies.
Then don't read these...:D

Seriously, infections are Rare!!!!!

Just because this guy might have one doesn't mean that other's will....

Read these threads instead...

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/wh...where-your-beer-still-turned-out-great-96780/

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/has-anyone-ever-messed-up-batch-96644/

Let us non-chikens*@ts handle it. :D
 

conpewter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2007
Messages
5,087
Reaction score
57
Location
East Dundee, Illinois
I had an infection issue and ended up replacing everything plastic that touched the beer (autosiphon, some tubing) and I sterilized my silicone tubing in the oven. That cleared my infection. I think it was the autosiphon, even though I use star-san on it all the time it must have picked something up. I ferment in glass so I sanitized the fermenters with star-san as usual.
 

Chris_B

Active Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2006
Messages
34
Reaction score
0
Location
San Marcos, TX
Somewhere in your bottling equipment, the nasties have a little clubhouse. And I bet it will be one of those 'obvious' places that you will kick yourself when you realize you have been overlooking it.

Are you disassembling ALL of you bottling equipment when sanitizing?

- Auto-siphon. Remove the tip and pull the plunger from the top. Clean all parts and soak in sanitizer before putting it back together.

- Bottling-bucket spigot. Mine is a plastic, threaded affair that you push through the hole in the bucket and tighten with plastic nut and rubber washers. Remove from bucket, take completely apart, clean and soak all pieces. Open and close the spigot several times in the solution to make sure all surfaces are exposed. Remember to check that it is in the closed position before mounting it back on the bucket - helps to reduce sticky floor syndrome!

- Pump sanitizer solution through your tubing to ensure the entire inside is sanitized. I use the auto-siphon to move several pumps of sanitizer through the tubing. If you just try to soak it in the sink, you will have air space trapped in the loops of the tubing.

- Bottling wand. Be sure you get sanitizer on the inside. Get some in the tube, then hold it up an operate the valve so solution flows through the valve. Work the valve several times under the solution.

- Remove any tubing attached to your siphon or bottling wand to clean where they a put together.

- Don't forget any miscellaneous equipment. Stirring spoon, the measuring cup you use to collect hydro samples, etc.

You might want to use PBW or other cleaner to soak your bucket for a day so just like you do a fermenter. Fermenters will build up a film that will be difficult to see and clean, so I clean mine every three or four brews. Bottling buckets shouldn't get that problem, but at this point, it can't hurt.

I know it sounds basic. But I bet is something that you just have gotten used to and need to look at again to 'see' it.

Good Luck!
 

jjmeldrum

Active Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
33
Reaction score
0
Location
Michigan
Lol half way through this post I ran downstairs and checked to see if my bottles exploded. I almost started to re-wash my equipment. I started to inspect everything to see if I missed some spots cleaning....Thats funny, this post makes me second guess everything. LUCKY NO BOMBS HERE!!!
 

rootbeerjohn

Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2008
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Location
Winnipeg a.k.a Winterpeg, Mosquito Capital, Murder
Its either your fermentation time, infection, over priming ......OR we can face the truth and say that you have a haunted house. Poltergeist!

Or someone who doesn't want you drinking is sabotaging your operation. My wife did that to me she made my brew go bad (twice!).....she also always broke my hydrometers "while cleaning them for me". Now she isn't allowed to go in my brew room.
 

fratermus

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2008
Messages
1,188
Reaction score
3
Location
75081
In all 3 cases, I used the 5 oz. pack of priming sugar that came with the kit for my 5 gallon batch. Is it possible that this was too much?
Side note: 5oz is almost never the correct amount of sugar for carbonating a batch. The supply people package it that way because it is easier than giving you the amount that would likely get you correct-for-style (allowing for temp).

I would encourage all new brewers to look up:

* the CO2 volumes appropriate for the style
* the amount of priming sugar needed for that volume at a given temp

and then measure that amount out by weight.


The cause of the overcarb appears to be getting lots of good opinions, so I will stay out of that one.
 
OP
W

wondercow

Active Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2008
Messages
25
Reaction score
1
Location
Atlanta, GA
OP here. Wow, this thread has gotten really interesting (much more than I expected). I'm definitely starting to believe all this infection talk. The irony of my situation is that I work in a biology research lab where everyone does cell culture except for me, which has probably led me to be more casual about sanitation than I should be. All those jokes about sneezing on my coworkers' cells seem to be coming full circle...

Why don't you scrub your bottles with a brush? A brush costs around 2 Dollars and it takes no time at all.
It never occurred to me until now that rinsing, inspecting for visible debris, and Star-San might not be entirely sufficient. This step does seem pretty cheap and easy, and I'm a little embarrassed that it isn't already part of my bottling protocol.

Also, sanitizing the bottles in a wallpaper tray could be the problem, depending on how you're doing it. If you're not swirling the starsan around so it can coat for at least 30 seconds on all surfaces, then having a bottle laying on its side in the tray will cause an airbubble and thus no sanitizer in some places. I mix up a batch of starsan in my bottling bucket and 'sink' the bottles in it so they are completely full and submerged for about a minute.
I lay them on their side and fill them to the best of my ability, but there is always a tiny bubble left. I try to let it sit for about 30 seconds on one side and then rotate it 180 degrees so that everything touches Star-San, but it is entirely possible that I haven't been very thorough and missed some spots.

Some infections will result in a sour taste, some just kill the body.
A lot of the batch-mates of my bottle bombs would gush like crazy as soon as I opened them, then have almost no body/carbonation in the remaining beer that didn't go on the sink/counter/pants.

Somewhere in your bottling equipment, the nasties have a little clubhouse. And I bet it will be one of those 'obvious' places that you will kick yourself when you realize you have been overlooking it.

Are you disassembling ALL of you bottling equipment when sanitizing?
...
You might want to use PBW or other cleaner to soak your bucket for a day so just like you do a fermenter. Fermenters will build up a film that will be difficult to see and clean, so I clean mine every three or four brews. Bottling buckets shouldn't get that problem, but at this point, it can't hurt.
Since I had basically the same problem in 2, going on 3 beers, all bottled in a row, I think you are probably right that something is living in my equipment. I have always considered myself to be thorough about Star-San-ing everything and then rinsing after use, but obviously I need to really break it down and rethink things. The wallpaper tray works for much of my equipment, but the autosiphon is a couple inches too long even when unassembled, so I usually sanitize one end, then flip it to do the other end. It's possible that I'm missing part. I always submerge tubing in Star-San slowly so that it fills the hose and doesn't get bubbles in it, but I don't usually make the Star-San flow through it. It's just static in the hose.

Is there any advantage to using PBW over Star-San? I always assumed the no-rinse cleaners were superior due to their convenience, but do other cleaners do a better job of actually killing baddies?
 

Zenman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2008
Messages
116
Reaction score
0
Location
Phoenix, AZ
I have never bothered with gravity measurements
really need to start doing that, to completely eliminate the possibility that is is all the problem is.

As for the infection angle, you can just get a big plastic bin of some sort (I have a plain plastic file box) that you put 48 bottles or so in, fill with water & oxy clean, remove them 48 hours later and they will be cleaned. Still have to sanitize, but this will remove interior gunk with out the messy pain in the a** that a bottle brush is. I also do this to clean the auto siphon and other tubing, as well as sanitizer. Sanitizing doesn't equal clean, and clean doesn't equal sanitized. Need to do both phases to be sure :)
 

aubrey

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2008
Messages
242
Reaction score
2
Location
Acworth, Ga
Is there any advantage to using PBW over Star-San? I always assumed the no-rinse cleaners were superior due to their convenience, but do other cleaners do a better job of actually killing baddies?
Starsan is a sanitizer, it doesn't clean. PBW is a cleaner, it doesn't sanitize. The idea is clean first with PBW, and then sanitize in Starsan.
 

tmoney1224

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2007
Messages
246
Reaction score
1
Location
Wichita, KS
A lot of the batch-mates of my bottle bombs would gush like crazy as soon as I opened them, then have almost no body/carbonation in the remaining beer that didn't go on the sink/counter/pants.
I think this probably shows that it is an infection. As others have said I would either replace all the bottling equipment or try cleaning and bleach bombing everything. Could be your bottling bucket too, is it old and scratched up at all?

An oxyclean soak for all your bottles is definitely a good idea as well.
 
Top