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Exploding bottles - can I make them safe?

My chipotle ale started exploding on me this morning. They’ve been bottle conditioning for ~3 weeks, and now they’re starting to burst. I keep them in a fairly temperature stable environment, but our temps have really been fluctuating lately.

Is there anything I can do to make them safe?
I would hate to lose the batch, but that’s nothing compared to hurting someone.

At this point the bottles are in closed fermenters to contain any more explosions. I am very nervous about trying to open one.

This is the first time this has happened to me. Anyone suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
-Brian

At best, you can get them VERY cold… as close to freezing as you can get without risking freezing. Also keep in mind, if they’re about to explode, they’re going to erupt like a guiser when you open each bottle.

You may be best opening each bottle, pouring them into pitchers, and throwing a party with a few friends. Or having a party of one.

Thanks for the quick reply.
I put the closed fermenters in my lagering freezer where they’ll sit at ~40.

Looks like we’re drinking chipotle black ale for Easter tomorrow!

I will let you know how things turn out.

-Brian

how well did you mix the priming sugar in? if it’s not mixed well you can have some bottle bombs, some bottles may be carbed just right and others low carbed. if you did mix well and the beer wasn’t ready, meaning the beer did not complete fermantation,you might have a mess on your hands. A+1 to getting the beer cold, this will put the yeast to rest. i would try a couple samples to see if is a bad mix, if not i would try to recap them and cold crash. hope this helps. cheers

I think I know what my issue is.

My OG was 1.090 when I was expecting a 1.065. After 2 weeks in the primary, gravity was down to 1.060. I incorrectly thought that the gravity was too high for the yeast, so I pitched a 2nd pack of Safale-5 2 weeks in to try and “fix” my fermentation. At bottling, gravity was down to ~1.045. At that point I realized I must have just had a lot of unfermentables in there. But adding the priming sugar to a double-yeast’d batch turned them into bombs.

I think I’ll avoid trying to “fix” batches from now on and just let them run their course.

BTW - The first tasting today was awesome. The heat from the chipotle really melow’d out. It has a great spice balance to it. I am definitely going to keep these in the lager freezer for a bit and not let them go to waste. Getting the bottles cold to rest the yeast was definitely the way to save the remaining bottles.

Thanks for the advice guys!
-Brian

Congrats on saving your batch, and figuring out what caused the issue. It sux when even one homebrew is lost.

Paul

[quote=“D0ubleStakked”]I think I know what my issue is.

My OG was 1.090 when I was expecting a 1.065. After 2 weeks in the primary, gravity was down to 1.060. I incorrectly thought that the gravity was too high for the yeast, so I pitched a 2nd pack of Safale-5 2 weeks in to try and “fix” my fermentation. [/quote]

Dang that’s quite a difference between expected and actual og? Did you drastically alter the volume to the fermenter?

[quote=“D0ubleStakked”]I think I know what my issue is.

My OG was 1.090 when I was expecting a 1.065. After 2 weeks in the primary, gravity was down to 1.060. I incorrectly thought that the gravity was too high for the yeast, so I pitched a 2nd pack of Safale-5 2 weeks in to try and “fix” my fermentation. At bottling, gravity was down to ~1.045. Brian[/quote]

I just want to clarify, if your OG was 1.090 and your specific gravity was 1.045 you were only at 50% apparent attenuation (AA) when you bottled your beer. Assuming you used an “average” attenuating yeast (70 - 75% AA) then your beer should have finished at around 1.022ish. In my experience, it takes longer than 2 weeks for such high gravity beers to finish. A month would not be unreasonable if you didn’t use a really big yeast starter. The real problem is that you just bottled too soon but I’m glad you were able to save the batch.

Thanks for the clarification. I agree that I bottled too soon.

My first mistake was my batch volume. I’m not sure how it happened, but a ~6 gallon boil only yielded ~3.5 gallons, which I think is what gave me a very concentrated small batch with such a high OG. Another friend recommended that if this happens to me agao, that I boil more water and add it to the primary before pitching the yeast to bring the OG down to target and to get the volume back to 5 gallons (that is - if I wasn’t intentionally shooting for a low volume + high gravity beer). Another recommendation I’ve heard on this topic is to calibrate the evaporation rate of my gear just to give me an idea of what my starting boil volume should be.

My second mistake was just noted earlier that I bottled too soon. When the OG came back so high, I should have adjusted the whole brew schedule, but I didn’t. I gave it 2 weeks in the primary, 2 weeks in the secondary, and then bottled. As noted, since I didn’t use a big yeast starter, I should have just been more patient and let it sit in the primary for a much longer time.

So a question - should beers typically be down around 1.02 or lower before bottling? My mash and sparge all went fine, and the low boil volume is the only thing I think I botched on brew day. Would I ever get a high SG caused by “unfermentables” ? Would there be a type or style of beer where you would expect to bottle around 1.045?

I’ve done a lot of avg gravity extract batches, and the SG has always been around 1.02. This chipotle black ale was maybe the 4th all-grain batch I’ve done, and definitely the first with such a high OG. All the other all-grain batches I’ve done were much lower and all turned out just fine. Exploding bottles was definitely a first for me today, and I’m glad I could learn from it. Thanks again for all the comments.

-Brian

There is a good pod cast from from John Palmer and Jamil Z all about attenuation on the BN’s BrewStrong show. I know it helped me understand it much better. Here’s the link.

http://thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/Brew ... ttenuation

Put the pins back in.

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