Gushers....(again)

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DustyRusty

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Hi,

Seem to be having a recurrent infection that I need some help knowing where the likely culprits are. I bottle my beer, is great for a couple of months then the bottles over carbonate. No explodey ones but they gush. I've been burping the bottles to save them but it's a bloody hassle. Doesn't seem to be every batch, maybe every second one. Beer tastes fine, no sourness, just over carbed.

I use a keggle, transfer via pump to mash tun eski. Then use a bag to lift it, then back to the keggle for the boil. Then a counterflow chiller to cool. Then into fermenting bucket to ferment. Then siphon off to a bottling bucket and use the tap and bottling wand to fill.

I've replaced the bucket tap, but still have a gush batch. What else are likely places wild yeast might hide in my set up?
 

Hangover68

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It can really only be over carbed by too much priming sugar or incomplete fermentation.
I have just had my first batch of gushers in over 25 years over brewing and yes its a major pain in the A.
 
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Hi DR. That is a problem, first thought is to drink them in a few weeks! What are you doing for re-fermentation in the bottle? What type of sugar and how much, please tell us about that process?
 

Half-baked

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It sounds like a bacterial infection, which isn’t going too sour due to lack of O2.

In addition to cleaning and sanitising the hell out of everything, you can try collecting samples at each point to identify where the problem is happening.

Take samples in VERY sanitary jars, then keep somewhere warm (25+) and dark with the lids loose. Keep an eye of them every day, you should hopefully be able to tell which is going bad soonest. If it takes longer than about 5+ days, it probably isn’t that stage…
 

DustyRusty

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It can really only be over carbed by too much priming sugar or incomplete fermentation.
I have just had my first batch of gushers in over 25 years over brewing and yes its a major pain in the A.

Thanks, not sure if that's correct. If a high attenuating yeast (like Belle Saison that i use quite a bit) takes up residence in one of my parts, is not dominant during the primary ferment due to cell numbers, but then slowly builds itself up eating 'unfermentable' sugars in the bottle - that would cause too much carbing. I can't see how too much sugar is the cause if it also takes a couple of months to happen - excess sugar would be noticeable after a week or two. Happy to be corrected on this one though.
 
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DustyRusty

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Hi DR. That is a problem, first thought is to drink them in a few weeks! What are you doing for re-fermentation in the bottle? What type of sugar and how much, please tell us about that process?

Hey mate, table sugar. My normal rate is 3/4 tsp for 750ml bottles, half that for 375ml bottles etc. Only exception is when i use Belle Saison i use 1 tsp per 750ml bottles - but never had a problem with overcarbing that yeast - i guess it's so dry there is no residual sugar left to ferment.
 

DustyRusty

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It sounds like a bacterial infection, which isn’t going too sour due to lack of O2.

In addition to cleaning and sanitising the hell out of everything, you can try collecting samples at each point to identify where the problem is happening.

Take samples in VERY sanitary jars, then keep somewhere warm (25+) and dark with the lids loose. Keep an eye of them every day, you should hopefully be able to tell which is going bad soonest. If it takes longer than about 5+ days, it probably isn’t that stage…

Thanks. That sounds like a real drag..... but also pretty clever in identifying where it's happening. Hadn't thought of it and it's a really good idea.
 

philrob

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Used to happen to me, but I found it wasn't an infection issue for me, but a yeast issue, particularly with some UK ale yeast such as WY1968. The theory was that the UK yeasts primarily bred for cask ales were meant to keep fermenting in the keg for natural carbonation, ie once the initial fermentation was over, they stalled but kept on working very slowly over an extended time. They, of course, did the same after bottling.

Would be nice if we knew what recipes you used, mash temps etc, how you oxygenated your wort, which yeast, OG and FG, fermentation time, priming sugar or dextrose and at what level. Hopefully that may get you a solution.

However, if it is an infection, I'm not your man to help you, as I've been lucky enough to never have had an infected batch.
 

DustyRusty

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Used to happen to me, but I found it wasn't an infection issue for me, but a yeast issue, particularly with some UK ale yeast such as WY1968. The theory was that the UK yeasts primarily bred for cask ales were meant to keep fermenting in the keg for natural carbonation, ie once the initial fermentation was over, they stalled but kept on working very slowly over an extended time. They, of course, did the same after bottling.

Would be nice if we knew what recipes you used, mash temps etc, how you oxygenated your wort, which yeast, OG and FG, fermentation time, priming sugar or dextrose and at what level. Hopefully that may get you a solution.

However, if it is an infection, I'm not your man to help you, as I've been lucky enough to never have had an infected batch.

Hmmm.. interesting. I do like the UK styles. But of the three i had problems with, two were common dry yeasts (Notto and S-04). The other was a recultured Coopers yeast. Here's the three i had problems with:


HOME BREW RECIPE:
Title: English Style Ale
Author: BrewMate

Brew Method: All Grain
Style Name: British Strong Ale
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 21 liters (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 27 liters


STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.059
Final Gravity: 1.014
ABV (standard): 5.9%
IBU (tinseth): 41.35
SRM (morey): 37.8
Predicted Mash pH: 5.33

FERMENTABLES:
3.5 kg - Pale 2-Row (66.1%)
1.5 kg - Weyermann - Munich Type II Dark (25.9%%)
200g - Light Crystal Malt (3.5%)
320g - Flaked Barley (5.5%)
200 g - Aromatic Malt (3.5%)
75 g - Roasted Barley (1.3%)

HOPS:
30 g - Magnum, Type: Pellet, AA: 12.9, Use: Boil for 45 min, IBU: 41.35

MASH GUIDELINES:
1) Infusion, Temp: 67 C, Time: 45 min, Amount: 16 L
2) Sparge, Temp: 65 C, Time: 5 min, Amount: 16 L

OTHER INGREDIENTS:
0.25 tsp - Lactic acid, Time: 60 min, Type: Water Agt, Use: Mash
0.25tsp - Gypsum

YEAST:
Safale S-04 1 packet
Fermented 21C

OXYGEN
run off from keggle once cool into fermenter - splashed around then shook a few times once sealed.

FERMENTATION TIME:
In Primary for eleven days from runoff to bottling.

--

HOME BREW RECIPE:
Title: Russell's RIS (ended up more an Old Ale really)

Brew Method: All Grain
Style Name: Russian Imperial Stout
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 22 liters (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 32 liters

STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.070
Final Gravity: 1.010
ABV (standard): 8.91%
IBU (tinseth): 81.01
SRM (morey): 33.31
Predicted Mash pH: 5.47

FERMENTABLES:
6 kg - Pale 2-Row (76.9%)
150 g - Roasted Barley (1.9%)
400 g - CaraAroma (5.1%)
250 g - Chocolate (3.2%)
200 g - Flaked Barley (2.6%)
300 g - Brown Sugar (3.8%)

NOTE - added 500 g - Dry Malt Extract - After two days primary ferment due to not hitting target gravity.

HOPS:
65 g - Magnum, Type: Pellet, AA: 10.2, Use: Boil for 60 min,
50 g - East Kent Goldings, Type: Pellet, AA: 6.2, Use: Boil for 5 min,

MASH GUIDELINES:
1) Infusion, Temp: 65.7 C, Time: 90 min, Amount: 18 L
2) Sparge - infusion- Amount: 15 L

OTHER INGREDIENTS:
0.75 tsp - Calcium Chloride (dihydrate), Time: 60 min, Type: Water Agt, Use: Mash
1.25 tsp - Gypsum, Time: 60 min, Type: Water Agt, Use: Mash
0.25 tsp - Baking Soda, Time: 60 min, Type: Water Agt, Use: Mash

YEAST:
Danstar - Nottingham Ale Yeast 2 packets

OXYGEN:
run off from keggle once cool into fermenter - splashed around then shook a few times once sealed.

OTHER:
Added one French Oak Spiral for three weeks once completed.

FERMENTATION TIME:
In Primary for four weeks total from run off to bottling

---

Here's another:
HOME BREW RECIPE:
Title: Foreign Stout
Author: BrewMate

Brew Method: All Grain
Style Name: Foreign Extra Stout
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 21 liters (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 27 liters
Boil Gravity: 1.054
Efficiency: 74% (brew house)

Hop Utilization Multiplier: 1

STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.063
Final Gravity: 1.014
ABV (standard): 6.43%
IBU (tinseth): 41.35
SRM (morey): 37.8
Mash pH: 5.33

FERMENTABLES:
3.7 kg - Pale 2-Row (66.1%)
400 g - Rolled Oats (7.1%)
0.3 kg - CaraMunich III (5.4%)
600 g - Roasted Barley (10.7%)
400 g - Brown Sugar (7.1%)
200 g - Chocolate Malt (3.6%)

HOPS:
30 g - Magnum, Type: Pellet, AA: 12.9, Use: Boil for 45 min, IBU: 41.35

MASH GUIDELINES:
1) Infusion, Temp: 66.9 C, Time: 45 min, Amount: 16 L
2) Sparge, Temp: 65 C, Time: 5 min, Amount: 16 L

OTHER INGREDIENTS:
0.25 tsp - Lactic acid, Time: 60 min, Type: Water Agt, Use: Mash

YEAST:
Recultured Coopers Yeast active starter
Fermented 22C

OXYGEN
run off from keggle once cool into fermenter - splashed around then shook a few times once sealed.

OTHER:
Added one medium french oak spiral soaked in bourbon for three weeks

FERMENTATION TIME:
In Primary for four weeks total from run off to bottling
 

Nitidulid

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Hi,

Seem to be having a recurrent infection that I need some help knowing where the likely culprits are. I bottle my beer, is great for a couple of months then the bottles over carbonate. No explodey ones but they gush. I've been burping the bottles to save them but it's a bloody hassle. Doesn't seem to be every batch, maybe every second one. Beer tastes fine, no sourness, just over carbed.

I use a keggle, transfer via pump to mash tun eski. Then use a bag to lift it, then back to the keggle for the boil. Then a counterflow chiller to cool. Then into fermenting bucket to ferment. Then siphon off to a bottling bucket and use the tap and bottling wand to fill.

I've replaced the bucket tap, but still have a gush batch. What else are likely places wild yeast might hide in my set up?
Hi,

Seem to be having a recurrent infection that I need some help knowing where the likely culprits are. I bottle my beer, is great for a couple of months then the bottles over carbonate. No explodey ones but they gush. I've been burping the bottles to save them but it's a bloody hassle. Doesn't seem to be every batch, maybe every second one. Beer tastes fine, no sourness, just over carbed.

I use a keggle, transfer via pump to mash tun eski. Then use a bag to lift it, then back to the keggle for the boil. Then a counterflow chiller to cool. Then into fermenting bucket to ferment. Then siphon off to a bottling bucket and use the tap and bottling wand to fill.

I've replaced the bucket tap, but still have a gush batch. What else are likely places wild yeast might hide in my set up?

Here's some info from the EdX online brew chemistry course.
Possible that your problem is with your grain malt.

“Fusarium graminearum and Fusarium culmorum are the two most important molds that can infect barley plants.

Hydrophobins, a specific type of proteins, produced by these fungi cause gushing of beers: the excessive foaming of a beer upon opening a bottle or can. This gushing can sometimes be quite explosive.”
 
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Rule out overpriming, which would almost certainly act sooner. That the problem recurs in successive batches suggests infection.

Wild yeast is plausible. Which sanitiser are you using? StarSan and other phosphate sanitisers are not ideal against wild yeasts and fungi.
 

Simon N

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Any correlation between your saison batches and the subsequent batches becoming gushers? I’ve only ever had one batch gush and the previous batch had used a diastaticus saison yeast.
 

dkilleen

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Hi,

Seem to be having a recurrent infection that I need some help knowing where the likely culprits are. I bottle my beer, is great for a couple of months then the bottles over carbonate. No explodey ones but they gush. I've been burping the bottles to save them but it's a bloody hassle. Doesn't seem to be every batch, maybe every second one. Beer tastes fine, no sourness, just over carbed.

I use a keggle, transfer via pump to mash tun eski. Then use a bag to lift it, then back to the keggle for the boil. Then a counterflow chiller to cool. Then into fermenting bucket to ferment. Then siphon off to a bottling bucket and use the tap and bottling wand to fill.

I've replaced the bucket tap, but still have a gush batch. What else are likely places wild yeast might hide in my set up?
I had the same problem and a commercial craft brewer put me right! I use napisan to soak the bottles before bottling. Just about a ¼ teaspoon per bottle in about a third of a bottle of water. I then bought a spigot which screws onto the tap and sends a high pressure jet into he base of each bottle. I actually use this after each bottle has been opened and drunk but I also use it after soaking with napisan. Here's a link Faucet Jet Carboy and Beer Bottle Washer Hope this helps. I actually applied this technique to all buy bottles over a couple of months to make sure they were all treated before use and it worked!
 
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I had the same problem and a commercial craft brewer put me right! I use napisan to soak the bottles before bottling. Just about a ¼ teaspoon per bottle in about a third of a bottle of water. I then bought a spigot which screws onto the tap and sends a high pressure jet into he base of each bottle. I actually use this after each bottle has been opened and drunk but I also use it after soaking with napisan. Here's a link Faucet Jet Carboy and Beer Bottle Washer Hope this helps. I actually applied this technique to all buy bottles over a couple of months to make sure they were all treated before use and it worked!
Napisan is percarbonate + detergent. Brew shops sell straight percarb, which I leave in the equipment for some time before draining. On other boards I've seen people who used it and still had infection. Much depends on the specific microorganism at fault and equipment material.
 

MHB

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The old "Gusher Bug"
Truth is these infections are vanishingly rare, especially in Australia (wrong climate), they are also somethin professional maltsters test for and dont ship to customers. So unless your malt is really badly stored I would be looking elsewhere.

Most common cause is bad brewing practice, anyone reculturing yeast is well advised to look there first.
Next most common is Beer Stone in the bottles. Unless you have at least 3.5 times more Calcium than Oxalate you will quite quickly build up Ca-Oxalate crystals in your bottles, they make great nucleating points and will cause gushing. Beer stone is also a great place for infections to lurk.
Good idea to use an acid cleaner on all fermentation and packaging equipment (inc bottles) and no StarSan isn’t acid enough. Vinegar from Woollies/Coles/Aldi... should do the job.

Odds on, if your yeast is recultured you don’t have as big or as healthy a population as you think.
Mark
 

An Ankoù

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Just been reading about an almost identical issue on the UK forum. While this only applies to dry hopping or hop teas and the like, it's certainly a possibility. This was my post:

I just opened Scott Janish' book at random and came across Ch. 9 on hop creep. It would seem that the enzymatic action resulting from dry hopping can carry over into the bottles so that the enzymes in the hops degrade residual dextrins into fermentatble sugars and result in overcarbonation. He reports no fewer than 4 such enzymes in Cascade hops, including amyloglocosidase, alpha and beta amylases and one other. An interesting chapter and well worth a read if you've got the book.

Of course there is a difference between overcarbonation and gushing. Something to do with the size and quality of the bubbles.
 

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