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Bottle bomb questions

My black IPA is perplexing me. After bottling, two months later, I’ve had two bottles fail. I’ve never had bottle bombs before, so I have questions.

1: With a bottle bomb, where does the bottle usually fail? I was expecting the cap, but with both of these, the bottles themselves burst. One a long crack down the neck, and one around the base. Did I just have two weak bottles?

2: Other bottles from the same batch seem fine. No gushing, no off taste, etc. How likely is it to have two bomb without the whole batch being infected?

I have noticed the ones I’ve had have made me especially tipsy, but it is a strong beer to start with. The rest are now in a sealed cooler, just in case. I did just submit this beer to the state fair competition… I hope it doesn’t blow up in a judge’s face.

Did you thoroughly mix the priming sugar at bottling time? Or could the priming sugar have sunk to the bottom so that some of the bottles got a lot more priming sugar than others?

If that’s not it, how do you sanitize your bottles? It’s possible you had some wild yeast infested residue in a few of your bottles that you did not clean adequately and it survived the sanitization process.

If your other bottles all seem to be fine, then I’m pretty sure it’s one of those two things. Be careful opening the rest of them.

Good questions… I’m not the most dedicated at mixing priming sugar, so that’s a possibility. I’ve not had a problem before with this procedure, so maybe I got a bit lax. As for sanitation, I wash with PBW, rinse, then soak in Star San for two minutes, then store in the dishwasher for maybe 30 minutes until I fill bottles. It is possible the bottles picked up a bug. I’ll open the rest over the sink and hope for the best. Still, I thought the cap would be the weakest point in a bottle. Strange that both failures left the caps completely intact.

I think most of my bottles have broken around the base.

It may not be the beer/carbonation. But instead the bottles have become weak over time. Bumped just wrong and weakened them.

More costly than a cardboard box, plastic totes are a safe way to store the bottles.

Go figure… I’m going to be optimistic and hope this is just bottle fatigue. Or are caps really that strong? I watched a YouTube video of bottle bombs being opened, and mine have looked nothing like those geysers (today’s burst happened right in front of me when I put the bottle on the counter). I almost want to set up experiments to find the weakest points of bottles… Water, sugar and yeast in six bottles, and see where they fail.

I believe due to the thickness of the glass the neck is actually the strongest part of the bottle. I don’t understand why bottles don’t blow the caps off like uncaged champagne corks, but they never do. It’s always the body glass that fails, leaving the entire neck intact, and still capped.

In the one failure I’ve had personally, the bottom came off the bottle. It was a perfect disk with no jagged edges at all. Imagine if a pipe cutter worked on glass; it was almost that clean. Across the internet, I’ve heard about glass embedded in drywall, but I’m not sure why anyone would bottle condition by leaving the nekked bottles out on their counter.

I put my bottles in cases, and I put the cases in garbage bags. When that bottle went on me, the spillage was contained; the bag protected the floor, and let me move the wet case and salvageable bottles with no mess. A big plastic storage box would work too, but the garbage bags are essentially free because once the beer is done, I can still use them as garbage bags.

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