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Bottle bombs! Any hope to save the batch?

I was checking my stock this evening and was dismayed to discover 2 exploded bottles from a rye stout I bottled two weeks ago. I mashed at 156 and it finished high (1.020), but I’d done a fast ferment test that had finished right around there. I opened a couple of other bottles and they were gushers, but I caught enough from one to get a gravity sample. It was about 1.015.

Should I dump the rest or does someone have a brilliant idea to help me save it? The gravity sample was mighty tasty, but if it’s a batch of gushers, it’s not worth the hassle.

If you’re sure you had good mixing of the priming sugar and you’re not just opening the ones that got too much sugar, get one really cold, then see if you can pop the top and not gusher for ~10 seconds. If so, you can open a bottle then re-cap, releasing some of the pressure in the process. Might take more than one time through the process to fix them, though.

Thanks. I’ll give that a try. I’ve got some chilling now.

I did something similar to that and it worked pretty well. Hard to get the carbonation 100% right though

You can also put just a slight force towards opening the cap and the pressure will hiss out without deforming the cap. It will then re-seal and hopefully carbonate properly. Might it also be possible that you had a few slightly contaminated bottles? That should become obvious if only some are gushers. Examine the empty gusher bottles and see if there was any nasty crud stuck in there (or haze on the bottle interior).

The lowered SG after bottling worries me. Are you certain the SG stabilized before bottling? If not, then venting the excess off the bottles might work or something similar might salvage the batch

But, if the SG was stable for more than a few days before bottling, I would be concerned that your batch is contaminated with wild yeast or something that is digesting the normally unfermentable sugars (unfermentable by the beer yeast you pitched) in the beer. If the batch is contaminated, the SG will continue to drop and you will end up with a thin, bitter, very gassy something that is no longer beer. If that is the case, abandon all hope.

Have a party and pour all the beers in pitchers and drink up before she goes South.

Well, the chilled bottles were gushers too. Just a little venting let off a huge amount of foam. I had given the bottles a good scrub with PBW before sanitizing, so I’m pretty sure it wasn’t gunk, but it could have been wild yeast. I’d had steady readings for over a week, so combined with the fast ferment I was sure I was done.

Yesterday I decided what the hell, and poured the bottles into a bottling bucket and rebottled. If they start gushing again, I’ll give up. I’ve already started soaking all my bottling equipment in PBW to make sure I get rid of whatever nasties might be hanging around, and discarded my hoses.

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