Author Topic: Bottle Bomb Advice  (Read 11766 times)

Offline scottiebrown

  • BeerSmith Apprentice Brewer
  • **
  • Posts: 5
  • BeerSmith 2 Rocks!
Bottle Bomb Advice
« on: April 01, 2012, 02:12:10 PM »
Right, so I made a 5g batch of Honey Wheat Ale and I (unwittingly) decided to add 2lbs of honey instead of 1lb to the wort. I am still a fairly new brewer so I didn't think about the implications of that decision until now. It has bottle conditioned now for 2 weeks and still needs one more before it is supposed to be ready. However, due to the increase in fermentable sugar, I now realize that I should have allowed the wort to ferment for at least another week before transferring it to the secondary fermenter. It was still fermenting quite a lot at that point, but when I checked the gravity it was right where it should have been for only having 1lb of honey. In my ignorance I moved it to the secondary and it almost halted fermentation. A week later, I checked the FG and it was on target for bottling (per 1lb of honey) so I bottled it. I opened a bottle yesterday to see if I thought it would be ready in a week or whether I thought it needed 2-3 more for conditioning. I noticed that it was well over carbonated and it nearly overflowed when I opened it. It also seemed like it was still fermenting in the glass by the amount of carbonation being created.

Fast forward to this afternoon:
I heard a pop in the closet where I am keeping the bottled batches and when I ran back there I noticed one had exploded. So, I have taken the others and am slightly opening them to release the excess CO2. I realise now that it is still fermenting in the bottles and that I had miscalculated the fermentation/bottling time.

My question is this: what should I do now? Should I let some of the CO2 out every few days and hope for the best or should I just do it once and leave it? Any help or thoughts on the matter are greatly appreciated.

Cheers,
Scottie

Offline scottiebrown

  • BeerSmith Apprentice Brewer
  • **
  • Posts: 5
  • BeerSmith 2 Rocks!
Re: Bottle Bomb Advice
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2012, 02:16:03 PM »
Update:

OG=1.049

Beersmith is saying that my FG should have been 1.003 and the reading I took when I bottled it was 1.010. I bottled it because that was what it should have been with only 1lb - serious blunder lol.

Offline durrettd

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 392
Re: Bottle Bomb Advice
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2012, 03:00:34 PM »
I brewed my first batch of beer about 1987. I let it ferment for about triple the period specified, then added the priming sugar (and some fresh yeast, per the shop owner's suggestion). The kit was ancient and had been sitting on a shelf in the sun for an unknown period. The original yeast was dead. But, once I added fresh yeast the beer started fermenting. Bottles started blowing up a week later.

I know about Boyles' Law, so I put the bottles in the kitchen sink and dumped ice on them. The thermal stress apparently weakened the bottles before the liquid could cool and lower the pressure. One blew up and apparently triggered others. When I got back from the ER (two sutures to close the cut in my arm) I dropped a double layer of towels over the surviving bottles in the sink, carefully popped the caps - working through the double layer of towels- and poured the beer back into the fermenter. A week later I re-primed and re-bottled the beer. Amazingly, the beer was good enough to keep me brewing.

Lesson learned: If bottles start to blow, cover them with enough armor to protect yourself and throw them out.

Another lesson learned: selling homebrew kits does not make a person a homebrew expert.

Dan

Offline scottiebrown

  • BeerSmith Apprentice Brewer
  • **
  • Posts: 5
  • BeerSmith 2 Rocks!
Re: Bottle Bomb Advice
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2012, 03:08:29 PM »
Cheers Dan. Appreciate the advice mate. I made sure that I was well protected while I bled the bottles of CO2 and had no problems with further explosions. Some of the bottles were highly carbonated while others were not.

The thought of putting it back in the fermenter had crossed my mind but I would like to forego that if at all possible.

Does the thought of cool storing it sound like a good idea to anyone?

Offline PetenNewburg

  • “In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is laughter, and in water there is bacteria” Benjamin Franklin
  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 148
Re: Bottle Bomb Advice
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2012, 03:23:05 PM »
  I would try the cool storage AND get busy emptying those bottles the old fashioned way ;D
Several meads ageing.
IPA kegged, 2/9/14
R. Porter in Secondary, 2/9/14
Next up, Vienna Lager, Pale Ale

Offline scottiebrown

  • BeerSmith Apprentice Brewer
  • **
  • Posts: 5
  • BeerSmith 2 Rocks!
Re: Bottle Bomb Advice
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2012, 04:25:18 PM »
Haha good advice mate, cheers.

Offline Beer_Tigger

  • Global Moderator
  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 501
  • Grrrrrrrrrrrrr baby! Very Grrrrr!!!
Re: Bottle Bomb Advice
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2012, 08:56:21 AM »
  I would try the cool storage AND get busy emptying those bottles the old fashioned way ;D
I totally agree.  I've had "bottle bombs" from a Russian Imperial Stout.  I would open them over a big bowl and put a glass upside down over the top when I opened them.  That way the volcano dumped back into a bowl that I would pour into a glass...  I still have several in the cooler.  What I found is the capped ones errupt but the stopper "Grolsch-like" bottles seem to bleed themselves like an overpressure valve and they open and are carbonated just fine.
"Let's see if this here beer will help me to stop procrastinating." - my cousin

Offline bronzdragon

  • BeerSmith New Brewer
  • *
  • Posts: 2
  • Guiness for health!
Re: Bottle Bomb Advice
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2012, 11:25:10 AM »
One pound extra of honey shouldn't make a big difference.  Usually when I bottle something, I'll put the boxes in the garage or somewhere where an explosion wouldn't really hurt, and I also put a big towel over the tops to catch the geyser.  I haven't had one in years though.  I wouldn't transfer or open the bottles (unless you're getting ready to drink) though, because that would invite bacteria.  Cooling them down would make the yeast drop out and not ferment further though.  So if you have room, stick them in a cooler and drink em, make a mental note not to make this slight error in the future and don't worry, have a homebrew!  All due credit for phrase to Charlie.

Russ

Offline tom_hampton

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 929
  • BeerSmith 2 Rocks!
    • Tom's Miata Racing Blog
Re: Bottle Bomb Advice
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2012, 12:26:48 PM »
You should know that cooling them down will NOT HALT the fermentation.  It will slow it considerably...but, even at fridge temps (35-40F) the fermentation will continue slowly, still eventually rupturing the bottles. 

0.007 SG is a BIG difference.  NOTE that priming sugar for a 5 gallon batch is going to ONLY add about 0.003-0.004 points of SG for normal carbonation vols of CO2 (~2.5).  So, you had twice as much remaining sugar meaning twice as many vols of CO2.  If you added priming sugar too...then you are looking at a potential volumes of CO2 above 6 or 7!  That will blow every bottle, if it gets that high.  Most bottles will begin to rupture at around 4 vols of CO2.

Simply bleeding the headspace isn't going to remove that much CO2.  CO2 doesn't immediately come out of solution down to atmospheric equilibrium.  Your best bet is to remove the caps and pour back into a bottling bucket...as was suggested above.  The hard part here is that you will mix a fair amount of oxygen into the beer when you do this.  Plus sanitation is going to be tricky.  I might try it like this:

1.  Bleed the headspace to relieve the immediate excess pressure.
2.  prepare a bucket of sanitizer---with cool water.
3.  Sanitize a fermenter...a carboy or narrow neck vessel would be best.
4.  Fill the fermenter with CO2.  Get a CO2 bicycle pump and empty it into the carboy. 
5.  Obtain and sanitize a funnel with a platic tube long enough to reach the botton of your fermenter.
5.  Sanitize each bottle by dunking it for the appropriate time length for your sanitizer (30 seconds for star-san).
6.  Place funnel into fermenter with tube touching bottom of fermenter.
7.  Carefully open each bottle and pour into funnel.  As you pour the bottle and it foams, the foam should fill the funnel with CO2 and help blanket the beer from oxygen.  So, be vigorous with your pour.
8.  Place airlock on fermenter and wait 24 hours. 

The airlock will bubble as the CO2 comes out of solution.

After 24 hours the beer CO2 should have stabilized (or almost) to atmospheric pressure (about 1 volume of CO2).  I would then take a gravity reading (be sure to spin the hydrometer to knock off any bubbles).  Then I would wait another 24 hours and see where the gravity reading is.  leave it this way until the SG has stabilized (probably around your predicted 1.003 reading...give or take).

Now that it has fermented dry, you can rebottle with 2/3-3/4 cup of priming sugar (table sugar is fine...corn sugar isn't any better). 


Not to sound like a preacher....but, to be clear about the process:   NEVER bottle a beer based on a predicted gravity reading.  Eg...the recipe says that it should finish at 1.007, I'm there....time to bottle).   ALWAYS bottle a beer after it has fermented out completely, and add a calculated amount of sugar back to use for carbonation. 

When I say ferment out completely, that is what I'm describing above.  You wait for your "expected" fermentation time to expire.  Then you take an SG reading.  Then you wait 24-48 hours and take ANOTHER gravity reading.  If the gravity reading has gone lower....you wait again, maybe 2 more days.  Repeat until the gravity reading doesn't change.   Then wait, at least, 1 more day.  take a final reading, and if it is STILL stable...you can bottle with 2/3-3/4 cup of priming sugar (per 5 gallons) as described above. 

This process has a couple of benefits:

1.  It makes it almost impossible to have bottle bombs (baring a weak or damaged bottle).

2.  It makes better tasting beer!  Yeast produce some intermediate flavors while they are chewing on the sugars.  Mostly butterscotch and apple-y.  The yeast will clean these up AFTER they run out of sugar to consume.  That's the reason for the extra day after SG has stopped decreasing.  it gives them time to clean up their mess.

I hope this doesn't come off as condescending or preachy.  You sound pretty new to the hobby.  So, I was overly detailed above to be clear.  No one likes to clean the mess that bottle bombs leave behind.  Stale, dried, or moldy beer just isn't the way its supposed to be. 

I'm not going to say that the above is the ONLY way, but its a safe way.  I would strongly recommend following it, until you understand it fully and know why you might want to do something different.

Hope this helps!

-tch
R.I.P.:Belgian Blonde
On Tap: Apfelwein, Kolsch(v2), Pumpkin Ale, Belgian Specialty 
Aging/Storing: Coffee Porter, Chocolate Porter, Flanders Red, English Barlywine
Fermenting: Maggie's Altbier
Next Up: PtE(1.1), Belgian Dubbel?

Working thru all BCS recipes

Offline dirigo

  • BeerSmith Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 32
  • Better to beg forgiveness, than ask permission!
Re: Bottle Bomb Advice
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2012, 01:48:50 PM »
Don't want to hijack the topic. Just want to say to "tom_hampton",
   First. You don't sound "preachy" to me. You sound knowledgeable. Your descriptions sound excellent to me! Unambiguous, direct, in a coherent order, with no room for misunderstanding. Love it. Learned alot from your post. I think I prefer the weighing method for priming sugar. It seems like you can calculate the CO2 volumes more accurately and consistently that way. But as I am so new to brewing(bottled my first, 2 days ago), I could be wrong.
   Second and more on the topic. My brew is a Weizenbock. Research indicates a range average of 4.23 volumes of CO2 for this type of beer. Your revelation that; "Most bottles will begin to rupture at around 4 vols of CO2."; has alarmed me greatly! LOL! I have (12) pint bottles(Belgian style) and (18) 12 oz. long necks(salvaged). Am I safe? Thanks.
~ Dirigo ~

Offline tom_hampton

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 929
  • BeerSmith 2 Rocks!
    • Tom's Miata Racing Blog
Re: Bottle Bomb Advice
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2012, 05:57:01 PM »
Dirigo-

I can only say that I wouldn't bottle in salvaged bottles above 3ish volumes.  If the Belgian style bottles are champagne type bottles with the thicker glass and punt in the bottom, those can handle more pressure to 6ish vols.

And, yes normally I would quote weight of all ingredients.  I was keeping it simple for the new guy.  Nevertheless, I probably should just quote both:  3oz - 5.5oz depending on desired C02 level.

R.I.P.:Belgian Blonde
On Tap: Apfelwein, Kolsch(v2), Pumpkin Ale, Belgian Specialty 
Aging/Storing: Coffee Porter, Chocolate Porter, Flanders Red, English Barlywine
Fermenting: Maggie's Altbier
Next Up: PtE(1.1), Belgian Dubbel?

Working thru all BCS recipes

Offline dirigo

  • BeerSmith Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 32
  • Better to beg forgiveness, than ask permission!
Re: Bottle Bomb Advice
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2012, 10:59:26 PM »
Bummer! 18 salvaged bottles! LOL! Thanks for the info Tom.
~ Dirigo ~

 

modification