Over Priming Home Brew Bottle BombMonday, June 1st, 2009
If you happen to over prime your bottled home brew beer, this is what you will get:
“Huston We Have A Problem”
This beer was very excited to see me! It had a texture more like soda at least until it settled down.
Over priming creates a veritable fountain of fizz, and if left unattended can shoot off on its own.
A tell tale sign of over priming when the cap begins to buckle. The bubble in the middle should be a dimple. If you see a cap in this state, make sure to open it over the sink! Some folks call this a bottle bomb, but I have never had one explode. More than likely the cap will shoot off and you will have a sticky mess wherever the beer was stored. One way to contain the situation is to use a bottle opener to gently relieve the pressure without prying off the cap.
The solution to this problem is to add the correct amount of sugar at bottling time. Make sure to measure out how much dextrose (corn sugar) you are using. I use about 3oz by weight for a five gallon batch. Don’t get aggressive with this ingredient, less is more. You can also prime with dry malt extract (DME), however it is more expensive, requires more, and I have not been able to tell the difference.
The hard core home brewers will tell you to solve this problem, keg the beer instead of bottle it. I consider myself a hardcore brewer, and I do keg a lot of my beer. That said, I still enjoy bottling as the flexibility and portability are big advantages, though it does take more time. The photos above were from an experimental one gallon batch of mint porter, which didn’t turn out that great. I manually primed each bottle and a few bottles got too much dextrose.