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.