Need advice re gushers

What went wrong? Was this supposed to happen? Should I throw it out? What do I do now?

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Need advice re gushers

Postby billvelek » Fri Jan 19, 2007 10:20 am

I'm drinking one of my Cherry Wheat beers right now; tastes pretty good, but I have a problem. As best I can recall, I think I brewed this about 6 weeks ago or thereabouts -- but certainly before I got a good handle on using BTP, so my attempt did not go well insofar as the program is concerned, and I guess I decided to not even bother saving my session since it was all messed up ... so I don't have a record other than my feeble memory.

I do recall that I mixed three pounds of ordinary bread flour in with nine pounds of 2-row malt for a 5-gallon batch, which BTP indicated, at 75% efficiency, would produce an original gravity nearly centered on the style-graph for 6D American Wheat; it mashed and sparged with no problem at all. I also allowed for the syrup in the canned cherries I would add during secondary, but don't think I accounted for sugar inside the cherries. I didn't have a value for flour, so I used the "white wheat", which in retrospect I think caused BTP to predict a lower OG than I actually achieved. To make a long story short, my OG was much higher than I expected; I assumed it was due to flour having more starch, pound for pound, than whole grain, and also because, due to the fineness of the flour, a much higher percentage of efficiency. Anyway, as best I can recall, the OG was something like 1.075 -- about 25 points too high, but I wasn't about to throw it out. I primaried for almost two weeks, racked to secondary on top of my cherries, and let it sit for one week, as I recall. I bottled a week later when I was getting about one bubble in my air lock every 3 minutes or longer, and my gravity reading was under 10 points. I added the same primer I always add -- 6 ounces of sucrose per 5 gallons.

It's been bottled for about three weeks now, and I've been drinking a bottle every couple of days for the past two weeks without any problems. The beer tastes good, although more alcoholic than it should, and carbonation did not seem excessive; had one or two last night with no problem. Bottles were always chilled in the refrigerator. Tonight, I opened two bottles at room temperature, and both were gushers. Sad As a precaution, I have moved all of the bottles outside until I can figure out if I can do anything at this point.

Any suggestions ... besides drinking a case and a half of high octane brew as fast as possible?

By the way, I just put a bottle in the freezer for awhile, and when I opened it -- NO gushing.

Thanks.

Bill Velek
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Postby brewer13210 » Fri Jan 19, 2007 12:10 pm

Just out of curiosity, why did your recipe include bread flour? Was it to substitute for malted wheat?

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Experimenting, as much as anything

Postby billvelek » Fri Jan 19, 2007 12:46 pm

I had read in a number of forums that people sometimes use flour, and this was a combination of experimentation and wanting to try something different but not having wheat (my 'local' homebrew shop is about 40 miles from my home). In fact, in one of the BeerToolsPro threads, a few books and recipes are mentioned which make use of flour, and those users have also requested that flour be added to the BTP ingredient database.

I didn't know what to expect because of the gluten in the bread, and was a little concerned that I might experience a stuck sparge, but I didn't have any problems at all. I batch sparge, and I use a ten foot long coil of stainless steel braided hose for a bazooka (zapap) and it never even flinched. I thoroughly mixed the flour with my milled malt before adding my strike water, and I had no problems whatsoever with any doughballs. I gave it plenty of time to mash (a full hour, IIRC) and sparging went like a charm. The ratio was 25% flour and 75% grain; I think I'll try it again with a higher percentage of flour, but will probably throw some rice hulls in for safety.

Cheers.

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Re: Need advice re gushers

Postby akueck » Sat Jan 20, 2007 1:35 am

billvelek wrote: Bottles were always chilled in the refrigerator. Tonight, I opened two bottles at room temperature, and both were gushers. Sad As a precaution, I have moved all of the bottles outside until I can figure out if I can do anything at this point.
.......
By the way, I just put a bottle in the freezer for awhile, and when I opened it -- NO gushing.


Well, I'm going to guess it's just a temperature thing. The solubility of CO2 increases as temperature decreases, so the carbonation will obviously change with temperature too. Ever hear the advice never to open sparkling wine at room temperature? This is exactly why. The extra pressure created when the CO2 comes out of solution (or never goes in) makes the cork fly off with larger-than-normal force. Ouch! So you're fine, just make sure to chill your beer first and you'll likely avoid gushers.
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You are correct, sir.

Postby billvelek » Sun Jan 28, 2007 11:39 am

It is just a temperature thing, although it is definitely overcarbonated. Since putting all of that batch in the refrigerator, they have continued to be just fine; no more gushers. However, they do produce a large head even when very carefully poured, and the head keeps on growing until some of it is drank. Pretty decent taste, though. Thanks for the comments.

Cheers.

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