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Bender Bombs

I brewed the Surly Bender kit from NB back in May. Not my first partial mash so I though I was ok, followed instructions well, but when I returned from vacation a week ago I found many of my bottles I left conditioning in a 70 degree room had blown up! When I tried to salvage some others in a storeroom sink, I went to clean up the mess and these ones started popping. One in the sink sounded like a gunshot. I uncapped the rest and beer sprayed out of each…

So it was mid May, I brewed and after 48 hours had no bubbles in the carb so I went and bought the same yeast from a homebrew shop and re-pitched. This time it bubbled good and strong. Left that in the bucket for probably 3 weeks and then siphoned to secondary carboy leaving lots of trub. Beer lives on in the carboy at least 2 more weeks before I bottle with 2 cups water and 5oz priming sugar solution. Bottling goes fine. So off they go to condition and nothing happens until this week when I find them blown apart. I had to toss the whole batch.

Was the problem too much priming sugar? Was it I never should have re-pitched since I might have had fermentation and didn’t know it? Could my bucket lid be compromised and thus no bubbles? Help. I’d like to make this kit again but cant do it wrong, again.

Thanks.

Pitching more yeast won’t cause bottle bombs if you’ve reached FG. Did you take a FG reading?

I haven’t bottled in awhile, don’t remember the amount of priming sugar. :oops: If your final volume was lower, it could be too much.

What did the unexploded beer smell/taste like? An infection could cause over carbing.

I’m glad you didn’t come home to shards of glass all over your house.

It is always a good idea to track your fermentation process with a hydrometer or refractometer since it can be difficult to judge when your beer has completed fermentation just by looking at it. Knowing your final gravity reading can be helpful for a variety of other reason as well.

Did the priming sugar get mixed in properly, or could have some bottles gotten more sugar then others?

Thankfully nobody got hurt from one of the bottles.

You may also want to check this priming sugar calculator out:

My first thought is that you did not mix the priming sugar very well into the bottling bucket…but I have done that before and never had bottle bombs. Just some extra spritzy ones.

Were all of the bottles blowing up and over carbed?

Did you taste any before dumping? How was the taste and smell?

Was it a 5 gallon batch?

[quote=“stompwampa”]

Was it a 5 gallon batch?[/quote]

This caught me off guard when I started brewing. I noticed that almost all of my bottles were overcarbonated. Then after exhausting all diagnostic problems I started noticing that I wasn’t filling as many bottles per the ounces that should be in a five gallon batch. I was losing half a gallon (sometimes more) to racking, hydrometer readings, etc. After that I started making 5.5 gallons batches and whammo! problem solved.

All good questions and thoughts, thank you.

I would say it tasted like a rich brown ale, even maybe leaning a bit toward a strong porter. It was nearly black, more black than brown, had a rich texture and strong malt flavors. It smelled perhaps sweet or even maple-ish.
OG was 1.060 just as the recipe says. 5/14
When I racked to carboy it was 1.020
When I went to bottle I had 1.022 6/23
I sent a sample out to Whitelabs for their alcohol test and it came back 6.69 abv.

Thank you.

The temperature that the beer is sitting at plays a role in how much sugar to use. As noted in the link westcoastbrewer posted.

IMO you used to much sugar and possibly didn’t get the sugar solution mixed thoroughly.

With that final gravity I am wondering if the beer had not finished. Do you happen to know which yeast option you used? You may want to compare the attenuation percentage of your yeast to your OG to get an idea at approximately where you should have finished at. I am guessing at around 1.017. The residual sugar combined with a bit too much priming sugar may very well pushed your bottles to the point of shattering.

I hope this helps.

Smart move keeping the bottles in that box!

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