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Re-capping

I have about a case and half of Biere de Mars cellaring in my basement (made a year ago). The beer was bottle conditioned. I think one of my problems with it though, is it is a bit overcarbed.

I was thinking of simply quickly removing the existing crowns to degas and quickly recapping them to lower the overall volumes of CO2 in the bottle, then letting the disturbed yeast settle out again. The beer is a borderlined gusher though. Anyone have any experience in doing this? Is it ok to ‘cap on foam’ in a bottle conditioned foaming beer?

Edit: also, is it possible to use the same cap? The research i’ve found suggests ‘lightly venting them’ (whatever the hell that means) then recapping. Does this mean I should bend the crown slightly to let air out then use the capper to press the same crown down? Releasing the air in the headspace should be enough to get me in the ballpark.

Yes, you can vent and recap with the same cap. A bench capper is the best for this, especially if they may be gushers. With a bench capper you can vent under the bell.
Set a nickel or a quarter on top of the cap to avoid creasing the cap when you open to vent.

Which coin depends upon the size of your opener.

The foam will be beer and CO2. No worries about recapping that.

Sanitize the bottle tops with a hand sprayer prior to venting.

nice, thanks brutha. I do have a bench capper. So I will place the bottle on the bench capper, place a coin on top, barely peel the rivet of the crown back, then immediately re-engage the bell/lever to reseal the bottle. I may try a few with the same crowns and a few with replacements to see if there’s any difference in the seal. The last thing I want is flat beer.

Here’s the other consideration: It will probably degas/drop the volumes of CO2 more if the beer is warm. Going to try it with a few warm ones first, then chill and repeat if this doesnt work out or if I lose too much CO2. This particular beer has a pretty substantial “psst” though.

Now I’m psyched that I may potentially be able to drink and really enjoy this beer!

It will de-gas more if the beer is warm. Warm liquid has less ability to hold gases. It will also gush more beer as the CO2 escapes.

Right thats what I’m looking for (I think)…at least the degassing part Going to try it warm for a few of them and taste after a few days in the fridge. If need be I will chill prior to completing this endeavor.

Tried this last night with some mixed results with different techniques. I think what may work best for this is one of the openers that has a small claw that grabs an individual rivet of the crown to open it. That being said, I only have a wall opener and a few openers that are on wine keys. Anyway, here were my results, all with bench capper in sink, overcarbed bottle on capper platform; coin on crown. Safety glasses seem like a good idea, which is of course why I didn’t wear them:

1.) Tried venting it VERRY slowly. Barely pulled the rivet away, heard a slight ‘psst’, started working at some of the other rivets to not bend the crown with more hisses each time. The thing foamed and sprayed out of the small openings. OPened it more and let it gush a bit. Recapped it with the same crown, fill level is well below the neck now.

2.) Vented a little bit quicker by quickly, but carefully (so as to not bend the crown) pried the crown away from the neck of the bottle. Quick (and heavy) ‘psst’, but then quickly brought the bell down and recapped with the same crown. Agitated the beer and yeast cake, which diffused throughout the beer, but stuck it in the fridge and it was almost settled out an hour later.

The second method worked a lot better and I have a normal amount of headspace. Tonight is the taste test. If the bottle from the second method is UNDERcarbed, I will try again with chilled overcarbed bottles. The lengths we go to for good beer…

Thanks for the tip on the type of opener. Next time I do this, I wll use the same style.

I still have some over carbed Belgian Tripels. These don’t gush though until the pour is started.

yeah the samples still gushed a bit. Going to try this as a two-stage process. Degas once, cap, let settle. Degas again, recap. Ugh.

I’ve used a paint can opener with great success when doing this. The kind that looks like this

I’ve been able to recap with a wing capper using that.

After a recent experiment with using DME to prime I had several batches that semi-gushed. I found that cracking with the bottle opener on a nice wine bottle opener works very well even without the coin on the crown. I cracked the caps a little bit then a little more until they were loose but still on and let the bottles sit for a while. Ten minutes was not enough time and five hours was a little too much time (I’m sure you can get it just right). I sprayed the tops with star-san then capped with my wing caper. PITA, but it sure is worth the effort. Very nice to pour your beer without the worry of foam overflowing your glasses. It’s no wonder people keg their beer!

So is my thinking wrong here that I am just trying to get out the EXCESS CO2 in the headspace out? It seems like people that have had success with this actually let the beer sit uncapped for a few minutes (more than 10 but less than 300) and allow the CO2 to come OUT OF THE BEER ITSELF. When I tried this, the beer spurted/gushed out of the small opening.

@ beerglass was your beer chilled when you did this?

Some of my beer was cooled and some wasn’t. Some of the bottles bled quite a bit of beer out with the CO2 and some lost none at all. I wasn’t thrilled that I had less beer in the bottle but at least I could pour it without losing it out the top of my glass. I feel like some of the CO2 has to come out of the beer not just the head space if it is too carbed up. Maybe if you are more patient than me you could vent repeatedly and lose less beer. I did not take the caps off, just loose enough to make sure they were venting. I had four five gallon batches to deal with and of course I read afterwords that LME is inconsistent in it’s sugar content. I am drinking the vented batches first just to make sure that they are not going to oxidize because of the extra head space. That said, I cannot imagine there is much of anything in there but CO2 after how much came out. It sounds like you have quite a bit of extra carbonation and it is lucky they didn’t blow up. Maybe you caught them just in time. Good luck, saving your beer couldn’t be more important now that you are this close to enjoying it!

I think I’m right below the point where they would blow. This beer was bottled about a year ago, and one did break, but I had moved my cellar around quite a bit.

Take two tonight…

Pietro, have you thought of chilling first, then letting it degas while slowly warming up towards room temp? If you starsan the tops and keep the caps partially on, I would think there would be no sanitation problems. This way, you might avoid gushers and the co2 would come out a little at a time.

The reason I suggest this is that I had a batch of BB Porter that was overcarbed to the point where I also had one bottle bomb. Put them quickly into fridge–no more bombs. Also no gushers, until poured. I could uncap one, let it sit at room temp for about 20-30 minutes, put back in fridge till cool and it worked fine. Might be worth a try with a couple?

Cheers,
Ron

[quote=“Frenchie”]Pietro, have you thought of chilling first, then letting it degas while slowly warming up towards room temp? If you starsan the tops and keep the caps partially on, I would think there would be no sanitation problems. This way, you might avoid gushers and the co2 would come out a little at a time.

The reason I suggest this is that I had a batch of BB Porter that was overcarbed to the point where I also had one bottle bomb. Put them quickly into fridge–no more bombs. Also no gushers, until poured. I could uncap one, let it sit at room temp for about 20-30 minutes, put back in fridge till cool and it worked fine. Might be worth a try with a couple?

Cheers,
Ron[/quote]

I haven’t tried chilling it yet, but with an unchilled/cellar temp bottle, even if I barely peeled the rivet back, beer would spatter out of the small opening. You are saying if they are chilled, this might not happen? I suppose its worth a shot.

Yeah, I’m just thinking that if they’re cold, they’re less likely to gush because more of the co2 will stay in the beer. Then, as they warm up slowly, more co2 will come out of solution but in small increments, so as not to disturb the beer. I’m sure it might take a few to determine just the right amount of time to let them “breathe”, if it does in fact work. Here’s hoping it does! :cheers:

Ron

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