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Bottling experience (lengthy, but need input!)

I have been brewing 5 gallon batches for about 1 year, and have batch primed since a few months before that.
I had a different experience last time around.
Background: I usually make a priming solution of 3/4 cup corn sugar to 1 cup water, boiled for a while.
Usually the solution cools in covered pot while I sanitize bottles.
As I rack to bottling bucket, I have let the whirlpool action mix the priming solution into the beer. I start adding the solution after about 1/2 gallon has racked, slowly dribbling it in over the next 1/2 gallon or so.
Results have been good, and even, bottle per bottle.

Last week, I brewed a new beer to ferment on the yeast cake from a brown ale (all grain; 3rd time).
I made the priming solution as above, just prior to the brew session for the new beer. The solution cooled in the covered pot as I conducted the new brew session; about 3 hours.

When the new wort was cooled, I racked the brown ale to bottling bucket, dribbling in the priming solution as above.
(I put the new wort into the fermenter, sealed, and set it aside.)

I bottled 48 12 oz bottles, and had one half filled. As I have done before, I put some of the remaining beer from the bottling bucket into a sanitized vessel, then hand filled the odd last half filled bottle.

The bottom of the bottling bucket had a little bit of a cloudy look. I tasted it, and found that it was VERY sweet.
My conclusion was that some of the priming solution had dropped to the bottom of the bucket, not being mixed in properly.

Worried about uneven priming, I marked the last 5 bottles filled, and set them aside to be contained, in case they became bombs from being over-carbed.

Today, 1 week later, instinct told me to check on them. I have brewed enough to be patient and not sample the bottled beer for 3 weeks, but I was worried about the tail end of the bottling session.

So I opened them, in reverse order of bottling order. Temp of the bottles was about 67 degrees F.

Result:
Bottle 49: TOTAL FOAM OUT!
Bottle 48: Two golf ball sized blobs of foam from bottle. Poured about 6 oz. before the rest looked cloudy.
Bottle 47: One golf ball clump of foam over. Same yield from bottle before cloudiness.
Bottle 46: foam to the top of the bottle. About a 9 oz pour before cloudiness.
Bottle 45: 1/2 inch of foam up the bottle neck. 10 or 11 oz pour.

Well, there IS good news. The beer is beautifully clear (before the dregs), and the taste is awesome!

I’ll assume I’ll have some mixed results with the carb level in the remaining 45 bottles.

Lessons learned:
I need to assure thorough mixing of the priming solution with the beer.
It’s good to keep track of what I’m doing, such as the order of the bottling.
This is a nice recipe, maybe a little light on color (but the ABV is a good 5.24%)

Questions needing answers (help me here!) :

Did the extra cooling of the priming solution cause this problem?
Do I need a better method for blending priming solution in?
Is there a “Dutch Uncle” out there just bubbling over to give me a thorough lesson?

Thanks in advance for any words of wisdom/experience!

Chris

I don’t see where leaving the priming solution sitting for an extended period would have caused any issues. Did you notice the sugar precipitating out of solution when you poured it into the bucket?

I’ve never worried about cooling my priming solution. I microwave it for a couple minutes to sanitize it. Then pour it in the bucket. Usually before transferring the beer in. Giving it a gentle stir at the end. The 1st 1/2 gallon will cool the solution. The other 4.5 gallons will have enough yeast in it to take care of the carbonating duties.

Many have stated that they stir the beer after each 6 pack or so. For a little added insurance the the sugar stay mixed in.

did you take a gravity check when you bottled?

I, too, never worry about cooling the priming solution. I figure a few ounces of hot priming solution will be cooled off in a split second when it is added to 5 gallons of 64 degree beer.

I have had this happen though, too. I opened a bottle of one of my recent batches - first bottle - total foamer. Next 6-8 were totally normal. Not sure if the sugar was poorly mixed, or if the bottle was contaminated.

[quote=“Nighthawk”]

Many have stated that they stir the beer after each 6 pack or so. For a little added insurance the the sugar stay mixed in.[/quote]

I stir after each 12.

Stir, fill 12, cap 12, stir, fill 12, cap 12, stir, fill 12, cap 12…

Also, did you open the bottles warm or did you give the 1-2 days to cool down.

The solution cools only because of when I make it, not because I thought it needed to. It has been my practice to make the priming solution first, in my upstairs kitchen, before I go to the basement to start the rest of the bottling preparation. It seemed like an easier “flow” to the day. I can change that.

The bottles were warm, and I’m aware a warm bottle is more likely to foam. I have opened warm bottle before, but these were over the top (literally!)

Yes, I took a reading for FG, before racking to the bucket.

I’ll take the advice of giving a gentle stir every so often. Thanks!

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