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Exploding Bottles

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saturn

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Does anyone have a definitive view on why bottles explode?

There seems to be a number of possible causes depending on the discussion thread. Theories seem to range across:
- Incomplete fermentation,
- Too many fermentables,
- High storage temperatures
- Poor sanitiation

Is there a view? I have looked back over my brewing log against the three different brews that have had bombs in the last 12 months and there doesn't seem to be a pattern
 

pint of lager

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Bottles explode due to excessive carbonation caused by either an infection that can consume the long chain malt sugars that are left after your pitched yeast has finsihed or by excess short chain sugars by bottling too early or too much priming.

To cure the problem.

Make sure your beer has well and truely finished fermentation. Use your hydrometer over a few days for a consistant reading. Many brewers leave the brew in primary for two weeks before thinking of bottling.

Sanitation. Every surface that comes in contact with your brew must be cleaned and sanitised. There are many threads discussing this.

Priming. Use one of the sugar scoops, or consider bulk priming. Look up the correct priming rate to achieve the rate you want for your beer. Do not double prime.

Was it the whole batch or just one or two bottles? One or two bottles means you had an unclean bottle or double primed. The whole batch would indicate an infection.
 

Steve

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Saturn if youve have three batches with bombs in the past 12 months I would be getting a tad nervous. Unfortunately theres loads of reasons which cause bombs like youve listed. Definately incomplete fermentation and sanitation (infections) - not sure about the other two though. Another one is if youve overprimed. Do you bulk prime or individually prime each bottle? How soon do you bottle?
Cheers
Steve
 

johnno

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If in doubt, you can also use less priming sugar.

May take a while longer to carbonate, but at least you know they will not blow.


johnno
 

Rod

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most common reason

bottled too early

make sure fermentation is finished - check with hydrometer and make sure you get a least two days with the same reading and to be sure wait another 2 .

If you bottle too early you will also notice a high head in the bottle when bottling , ie difficulty in bottling

patience
 

saturn

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Thanks
Lot of quick responses

Individually prime each bottle - use coopers/brewcraft carbonation drops

Number of explosions

Belgian ale - 4 bottles
IPA x 2
Stout x 2
 

Stuster

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I find that some of the stronger beers tend to keep carbonating over time, with some fermentation slowly continuing. It's best to leave these longer in the fermenter and/or prime lower to avoid bombs. You can carbonate at a lower level easily and accurately by bulk priming. I often use sugar scoops for beers I'm going to drink straight away, but bulk prime those beers I want to keep for longer. I've heard mostly bad reports about the carbonation drops, but if it works for you.

As others have asked, how soon did you bottle?
 

saturn

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Our practice has been to bottle about 2-3 days minimum after last fermentation and stable hydrometer reading

If it has been a quick fermentation eg hot weather then we obviously are bottling at around or just under a week at its most extreme
 

Jazman

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to be safe until u can get carbination right maybe use palstic pet bottles as they wont last as long but be a lot safer than exploding botlles
 

mika

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Saturn, lots of thoughts here but no definitive answer.
If you're storing your bottles in an oven, they do this... I've had them definitely finish on the hydrometer within range, stable over at least two days, primed, put them in the shed, couple of hot days and the place looks like a war zone.
You can get around it by cracking the caps and de-gassing them a little, or under-prime or do what I'm doing, keg it or wash lots of bottles now and get ready for the cooler weather and brew like mad :)

If you've only had a couple out of each batch go pop, it's more likely an overprime, somehow someway. I've had the odd one or two do that (not to the point of popping the bottle though).

Could also be bad glass, I sunk a carton of Stella then decided to use the bottles, when washing them up noticed that better than half had BIG cracks around them. Not enough to leak, but enough to pop with an excited brew in it.... didn't chance it... bye,bye bottles.

Seems that not many people on this site like the carbo drops, but I've had lots of brews not go pop with them. After all they are just sugar and a bit of glucose to hold them together, and I think the production tolerance on them is as good as someone tipping sugar into the bottles.
Put it this way, I once tried for a bottle bomb and dropped two into a 375mL bottle... no dramas.. couldn't tell the difference to the rest of the batch.
 

peas_and_corn

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I agree with Mika, the glass of the bottles have a great impact- my only explosion has been with a west end draught bottle (it wasn't mine, truly- I think it was left at my place by a party-goer)

Also, I recommend against the carb drops. The typical story of them has been yours- exploding bottles. If not that, many people have complained that their beers have been 'boys' (when the beer spills out the top of the bottle. However, the term also applies if it's just head that spills over. where was I?), been too fizzy, and had the wrong 'type' of bubbles.

My advice- bulk prime; it makes it all much easier.
 

Rod

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Mika lika makes a point about temperature ,

the few explosions I have had was when I used to brew in hot weahter

I live in Sydney and do not brew in Dec , Jan and Feb

start brewing when the average max temperature drops below 26'
 

DrewCarey82

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Excellent advise Rod, ideally try to get your brewing down for the year in april, may, june traditionally the colder months.

With 4 fermentators like I do you'll have more than enough for the rest of the year and entertaining mates.
 

KoNG

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Obviously you need to deal with all the above suggestions first...
BUT
once you have sorted that out... make the move to champagne bottles, even when you do stuff up a brew and run the risk of bombs... their is little chance of getting these beasts to blow..
they are made to handle much larger pressures.

of course as i said.. sort out the issues first, then use them as a safety.
 

PeterS

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mika_lika said:
Seems that not many people on this site like the carbo drops, but I've had lots of brews not go pop with them. After all they are just sugar and a bit of glucose to hold them together, and I think the production tolerance on them is as good as someone tipping sugar into the bottles.
Put it this way, I once tried for a bottle bomb and dropped two into a 375mL bottle... no dramas.. couldn't tell the difference to the rest of the batch.
[post="110482"][/post]​
I am not so convinced. Last year I had bottles that exploded with two different batches(months apart). Both of those times I used carbonation drops. On the last occasion I only carbonated three bottles and kegged the rest. Two of the bottles exploded. I carefully released the pressure on the third bottle and found the contents drinkable but somewhat tastless (over carbonated). If it was infected, I did not notice any unusual taste, although the aroma was not quite right tending towards a sulphury smell.

The contents of the keg was perfect. I find it hard to beleive that it was the result of unclean bottles as I had no problem with the rest of that batch of bottles in another brew where I bulk primed (cleaned and sterilized before use of course). It might have been infection, I do not know, but it is strange that both of those times I used carbonation drops (2 tablets in a 75-ml bottle) yet I had no problems before or since.Than of course, it might not be due to unclean bottles but to some other phase of the bottling process. If it happens again using the carbonation drops I will throw them out as it is I do not trust them and if I only want to bottle a couple of bottles I will use a measured amount of dextrose next time until I am game enought to try carbonation caps again.

Cheers,
PeterS.... :rolleyes:
 

wiggins

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I always bottle a couple of extra brews in the batch and use them as sacrificial beers to test the carbonation of the brew.Usually after 5 days,i'll crack the top on the first one and see what happens,no real explosion of gas means okay usually.The second one i test at around 2 weeks to get a better idea of the carbonation.If any explode i will crack the caps to release pressure and reseal them to test again ata later date.
 

Rod

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Kong could be right

I have never had an explosion with champagne bottles

mine have been with grolsh bottles
 

Boozy the clown

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The champers bottles take some punishment, I forgot one in the freezer overnight, looked at it in the morning and it wa oozing beer like an icee machine! (Was worried it was going to explode, i looked like a right clown dressed up in my moto gear when moving it)
 

DrewCarey82

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I've left screw top longnecks in the fridge plenty of times and never had an explosion just left them in the sink to unfreeze and been sweet.

One of them turned out lush actually when I recooled it, perfect actually a morgans blue mountain lager.
 

mje1980

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Some very different opinions on the coopers carbonation drops. I use these on and off, and have never had a problem. I used them exclusively for years and also never had a problem. I always make sure the beer is done fermenting before bottling too. Waiting an extra2 or 3 days isnt going to hurt at all.
 

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