Making home beer is an incredibly interesting hobby, but every starting homebrewer may face some difficulties, especially common thing is bottle bombs or bottle explosion. Bottle Bombs are created when the pressure from bottle carbonating homebrew builds past the tolerance of the bottle.
So what can be done to prevent bottle explosion in the future? Also is it possible to save bottles that haven’t exploded yet? Thes guidelines and tips will help you prevent your delicious homemade beer from bottle bombs, bottle explosions.
1. Use High-Quality Ingredients
Be careful when purchasing ingredients – particularly those that look like they have been on the shelf for a while. First, always use fresh malts and malt extract. Older liquid and dried malt extract, in particular, will ferment much more slowly than comparable all-grain wort. Yeast also has a limited shelf life. Liquid yeast is generally of higher quality than dried packets, but it must be stored under refrigeration and must be used in the recommended shelf life. Liquid yeasts are typically dated – so pay attention to the date when you purchase and use the yeast. Old, expired yeast will ferment slowly or possibly incompletely contributing to exploding bottles.
2. Allow the Beer to Ferment Completely
One of the chief causes of exploding homebrew bottles is a beer that has not been fully fermented before bottling. Many homebrewers are anxious to drink their newest brew and rush it into the bottle too early. The beer then completes its fermentation in the bottle, producing extra CO2 pressure that can cause bottles to fail. Malt extract based beer will ferment more slowly than a comparable all grain beer, so malt extract brewers are at higher risk.
3. Use Good Bottles, and Inspect Them
A poor quality bottle is a recipe for disaster. Even under normal carbonation, a beer bottle at room temperature can reach 30+ psi. Never use a twist off bottle – they are too thin and your caps will not properly seal. Select the thickest bottles you can find, clean them thoroughly and inspect each of them by holding them up to a light source each time you use them. Immediately toss any cracked, chipped or thin bottles. Consider purchasing high quality reusable bottles from your homebrew store – these are generally better than disposable commercial bottles. If you use them several times, the cost is quite reasonable.
4. Calculate and Weigh the Right Amount of Priming Sugar
Sugar density varies tremendously depending on who made the sugar – one cup of corn sugar from one manufacturer weigh dramatically more than another. Weigh your priming sugar – don’t just measure it by volume. You can calculate the exact weight of priming sugar needed using a spreadsheet, online calculator.
5. Didn’t mix the priming sugar correctly
Another area where one can make bottle bombs is by not properly mixing the priming sugar after adding to the beer. If the sugar doesn’t mix well, it won’t be distributed evenly between the bottles. That can leave you with some beers that explode and some that stay pretty flat. Be sure to mix your priming sugar well without oxygenating it.
6. Store your Beer in a Cool Dark Place
Light and heat are natural enemies of finished beer. Light and heat break down critical flavor compounds, promote additional fermentation and increase the CO2 pressure in the bottle. As you heat a bottle of beer, it also dramatically increases the pressure in the bottle itself. Store your beer in a cool dark place to avoid bottle bombs and preserve its natural flavor.
7. Your homebrew got infected
The brewers arch nemesis, bacterial infection, is known to create bottle bombs as well. If you ended up with infected beer, take a good look at every link in the chain and make sure you are practicing the best sanitation methods at each step. Everything that comes in contact with the beer after the boil must be sanitized properly to avert this risk. Sorry but if infected, your beer is lost. Try to keep things positive and take this as an opportunity to learn from the mistake.