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Excessive head

I’ve been having some problems with my bottled beer developing extreme head volume over time. Is this caused by bacteria or some kind of contamination? As soon as it touches a glass, it instantly turns into nearly all foam. Eventually it settles down and then tastes normal. Thanks for any help you can give.

Usually 1 out of about 24 bottles of my brew usually do this to me as well or when I pour one into a frozen glass. Are you preparing the priming sugar according to instructions ?

When I bottled I always followed the instructions on priming from the NB extract kits. I had a hard time getting one of my beers to pour with a good head. So on the next batch I added more sugar and I ended up with what you are describing. I think the standard amount is 2/3 cup for 5 gallons. I added 3/4 cup and ended up in foam city.

Now I use kegs and everything is wonderful.

This thread title is very misleading :wink:

Sounds like your bottles are over primed… too much priming sugar solution or possibly an infection. Use this http://www.northernbrewer.com/priming-sugar-calculator/ to figure out how much sugar to prime with and weigh stuff out. Weight it more accurate.

If you still have a problem, consider buying a new bottling bucket. There may be some sort of infection that’s getting into your bottled beer, which could/would cause gushers.

One problem I’ve had in the past was that I would make up a priming solution for 5 gallons, then when I racked my beer to the bottling bucket I’d only have 4.5 or 4.75 gallons of beer with a solution made up for 5 gallons. This will contribute to over primed bottles. So make sure your making up a solution for the correct volume of beer that you are bottling.

You definitely want to use a priming sugar calculator because the amount of residual CO2 in beer can vary quite a bit depending on temp and how long after fermentation its been.

Excess foaming can also be due to infection, usually when I’ve seen this the foam won’t last in the glass though. It settles down to nothing. I think its because the bacteria have really eaten up all the residual carbs so there is no body left.

I use 1/2 cup brown sugar for a five gallon batch. It’s usually right up near 5 gal. I figured it was maybe an infection, so I switched to a glass carboy primary and secondary. Didn’t seem to help. The strange thing is that when I open the bottles, they don’t foam over. It’s only when the beer gets agitated, as in when it’s poured. My latest batch was really good for the first case, now it’s showing these same signs.

[quote=“tom sawyer”]You definitely want to use a priming sugar calculator because the amount of residual CO2 in beer can vary quite a bit depending on temp and how long after fermentation its been.

Excess foaming can also be due to infection, usually when I’ve seen this the foam won’t last in the glass though. It settles down to nothing. I think its because the bacteria have really eaten up all the residual carbs so there is no body left.[/quote]

Yes, and the beer has a cider/vinegar flavor. I have had a few of those. I called them sour ales. :slight_smile:

I have started using less sugar, like 3 oz. and I have found this produces a nice mouthfeel. Granted different amounts of bubbles per style, but I am not too keen on heavily carbed beer. I just bottled a session beer (og= 1.049, fg=1.016) using 3 oz. of sugar on tuesday, and I had one thursday and it had a nice head, held for a while.* These were sitting at 70 degrees. But I think carbing has a lot to do with many different factors that are beyond me.

*Like a minute, not the entire drinking period, and no where near a fully carbed beer should be.

[quote=“colombo117”]
Yes, and the beer has a cider/vinegar flavor. I have had a few of those. I called them sour ales. :slight_smile: [/quote]

One of the keys to competition brewing, decide what it is based on taste.

You got me wondering, I had about the same problem with a batch of sweet stout that I added molasses (and extra DME) to. On mine it was the best tasting wort that I have had, at bottling it was outstanding but… after a couple of weeks the bottles got overcarbed (I use the carb tabs) and it picked up a alcohol or medicine taste if it was allowed to warm up at all, drinking it cold the taste was not there. Being that you used brown sugar (which contains molasses) to carb with…I’m wondering if maybe it takes the yeast longer to chew through the non-refined sugar in the molasses and fermentation was not completed??? Maybe a denser sugar being that the molasses is still a liquid with little water??? I am new to brewing and no expert by any means so this is just a thought in the dark but humm.

Anyone???

Let a bottle dry and hold it up to a light. If you see a ring in the neck of the bottle at the fill level you have an infection. If not probably just overcarbed.

Thanks for all your help! since the carbonation problem gets worse over time, I’m pretty convinced I just need to work on my sugaring process. There’s a chance I’m not getting full fermentation, but that seems slim. Happy brewing to all of you.

[quote=“Natedemaster”]since the carbonation problem gets worse over time, I’m pretty convinced I just need to work on my sugaring process.[/quote]If your beer is properly carbed for several weeks and then begins to get over-carbed it’s a sign of infection, not a priming problem, which shows up as soon as the bottles are carbed.

In response to the subject line…no such thing. Can’t get enough, never enough… :wink:

[quote=“Madd Maxx”]You got me wondering, I had about the same problem with a batch of sweet stout that I added molasses (and extra DME) to. On mine it was the best tasting wort that I have had, at bottling it was outstanding but… after a couple of weeks the bottles got overcarbed (I use the carb tabs) and it picked up a alcohol or medicine taste if it was allowed to warm up at all, drinking it cold the taste was not there. Being that you used brown sugar (which contains molasses) to carb with…I’m wondering if maybe it takes the yeast longer to chew through the non-refined sugar in the molasses and fermentation was not completed??? Maybe a denser sugar being that the molasses is still a liquid with little water??? I am new to brewing and no expert by any means so this is just a thought in the dark but humm.

Anyone???[/quote]

Molasses contains different amount of fermentable sugars, depending on the grade. Usually what you find in the store is Fancy grade or Barbados grade, which can contain up to 80% fermentable sugars. Blackstrap grade, which is the lowest grade, contains ~55% fermentable sugars. Light brown sugar contains 3% molasses, and dark brown sugar contains 6% molasses. Therefore, by using brown sugar, the amount of fermentable sugars that you’re adding versus if you used normal sugar is negligible. Be sure to weigh all of your priming sugars using a gram scale, though. Measuring priming sugar by volume can lead to vastly different amounts of sugar actually making it into your bottling bucket.

Enjoy.

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