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PSA......NO good! Growler went haywire

I have never tried to carbonate in a growler jug. I have drafted and kept drafted growlers in the fridge for up to 30 days. I even asked the folks down at northern brewer what the feedback was about doing this growler botting operation. They were not quite sure but agreed that wasting beer was plain not a cool idea.

Well I had almost 3/4 gallon of bitter left after kegging and thought I would put that amount in a gallon growler and add the right amount of table sugar to hit 2.2 volumes and this beer was fully attenuated. Well it blew up like a damn bomb. I was thinking somewhat ahead and put it in a old 5 gallon kettle to “contain” it if something did happen but the lid only fit partly on as the neck stuck out a little. Well I had my back to it and was less than 5 feet away jamming to headphones and I thought the damn house exploded or somebody just shot off a shotgun behind me. Lucky I wasn’t seriously maimed all the glass shards etc… managed to miss me completely and the beer all stayed inside the kettle holding the growler, just a little bit of beer sprayed on other equipment. But holy hanna, their is glass shards of all sizes all over the room and glass dust on everything around the “epicenter”

Brewing can forkin kill you if your not careful!

Listen to good advice when you ask for it. Use Google, if your not sure. There are plenty of posts out here about how growlers are not designed to withstand the pressures of carbonating. It is fortunate no one was injured.

Thats the problem Flars, I got no good feedback at northern brewer or looking at many forums on the topic. So I was literally flying blind on this experiment and thought well they hold the 2.5 volumes or better from the tapped beer for periods of time I thought it should still in effect hold under 3 volumes when naturally carbing then right. Wrong. That was the message I hoped to spread plain as day for any others not finding the needed info also.

Well shoot, I regularly carb up that last 1/2 gallon in a growler and put it away in a warm spot for 30 days. From there, it sits in a fridge for another 30 days until the time is right. I’ll have to say, your story makes me a bit nervous now.

Yeah looking at my calendar I kegged/ “growlered” this beer on 10.24.13 so just over two weeks time. I was worried if it was even carbing as I had cold crashed the beer for over two weeks and just added a slight amount of dregs from secondary. I was going to chill and open soon when brewing next so I could add a dash of yeast from the brewday to get it up to speed if the yeast failed.

Heck, I could have been trying to open it, had it not exploded today and just the act of trying to open it might have caused an explosion!!! I did dodge a literal bullet today. safety first, again I made a half arsed effort to contain it when my first thought was to put it in a sturdy box maybe two! Should have gone with instinct. :mrgreen:

Also I should note that I always growler from the tap to a half gallon jug which seem much thicker/ more sturdy than one gallon clear glass jugs like I used. But in no way advocate naturally carbing in either. :blah:

One big difference is that I would never carb in a growler or any other glass vessel which was not full of liquid. In my experience, even bottle conditioning a half a beer causes extreme pressure. I’m not sure why.

Yes, The empty volume is exactly what I was thinking after it happened. That may be quite a factor in it also along with the thinner lightweight glass used in one gallons.

How much sugar did you add? Are you sure the beer was done fermenting?

Tom, yes the beer was steady at 1.009 The sugar added was 12 grams of sugar to 0.75 gallons wort.

Edit**now that I think about it I did check the SG on the “sugared” wort and it read 1.012 which seemed about right. That the 1.003 points would add a good amount of carbing, not too much in any way you would think.

After your reply I searched a few hours for information. Found a lot of opinion, but nothing conclusive. Ended up at a manufacturers site for a growler Freund sells. Ended without being able to find out what ‘<Grade 4’ meant in government speak for the strength of the glass. It was 3:00 AM. I gave up.

Just curious about that growler: plastic cap, metal cap, or swing-top?

On a growler I could see the swing-top and the metal caps holding beyond the glass’s failure point, but I’ve seen those plastic caps crack from over tightening. I’m wondering if a plastic cap would go before the glass. It would still ruin the beer, so no point attempting it.

I’ve always found it odd that 12oz bottle bombs always break the glass rather than pop the cap, so I find this pretty interesting.

Well, it comes down to F=PxA or Force = Pressure times Area. That being said, the cap has the best chance of surviving since it has the smallest area.

That is my thought also and that the neck is the thickest next to the bottom. The sides of a one gallon are the “thinnest” and in reponse to the question anyway, I used one of the white metal ones that have the good plastic “molding” inside. BTW the cap was still firmly attached to the blown off neck piece.

I have read warnings that say actual growlers are not safe for carbing.
Additionally, experience taught me that partially filled bottles may develop a lot of pressure in the empty area. I carbed a partially filled swing top once. When I opened it, the pressure sent the top and wire bracket to the ceiling - hard!

Makes me kinda wary about carbing partially filled 12oz bottles as well. I’m always afraid that a bottle will be really close to it’s threshold of bursting and that the pressure of opening the bottle will be enough to send it shattering :shock:

I don’t understand why a partially filled bottle would have more pressure in it? If you are concerned, have a couple of empty soda bottles on hand for the last bottle.

Possibly less liquid for the C02 to be absorbed into? Of course that should also mean less C02 produced as well. I’m no physicist so just throwing thoughts out there

Possibly less liquid for the C02 to be absorbed into? Of course that should also mean less C02 produced as well. I’m no physicist so just throwing thoughts out there[/quote]

Maybe a dumb experiment I will try sometime. Make up a water/sugar solution for filling 2 bottles. Someone has posted the amount of sugar/bottle before. Fill one bottle up, another only 1/2 full. Add a some yeast and see how it goes.

[size=85]correct sugar to yeat[/size]

Some gun shops sell protective vests and Lowes sells helmets with visors and ear protection. :shock:

It would almost be safer to just make a glass dry ice bomb. At least you know they’ll go off in the next 5-15 minutes, instead of 5-15 days.

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