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I realize this question has been asked a few times, however, I'm curious as to where I specifically went wrong with my batch. I can't seem to pin point it.

I brewed a batch of IPA that tasted amazing 2 weeks after bottling. Three weeks after bottling I started to taste something slightly off. However, I had another bottle (~4 weeks after initial bottling) and it was way to over carbonated and tasted like soda water. I've found one bottle bomb in the closet and have since put all remaining bottles in the fridge. I'll wait from them to chill ~24 hours crimp and recap them.

Possible reasons I've found:

  • To much priming sugar
  • Didn't hit terminal gravity
  • Contamination

The homebrew notes:

  • 5 Gallon Batch of IPA
  • OG 1.046
  • FG 1.014
  • Bottled 10 days after brew date
    • I didn't properly determine terminal gravity. Though original recipe shows FG of 1.017 so I'm not that far off.
  • Used 3/4 cup corn sugar (~3oz weight)
  • Yeast: California Ale Yeast WLP001
  • Rough High/Low Temp during fermentation: 75F-83F

Edit: This might actually be considered more of a extract than partial mash.
Recipe - Partial Mash:

  • Munich Grains 1lbs
  • Crystal Grains 2lbs
  • Pale LME 6lbs
  • Warrior Hops 2oz (60 min)
  • Liberty Hops 1oz (10 min)
  • Simcoe Hops 1oz (5 min)
  • Amarillo Hops 1oz (1 min)
  • California Ale Yeast WLP001
  • Cascade Hops 1oz Dry Hop (6 days)

The only other thing I could think of is after I drink a beer I wash out the bottle with water and then put it in the dishwasher. On bottling day I then rinse out the bottles again with water and sanitize.

Where did I go wrong that would turn a beer from an amazing homebrew 2 weeks after bottling to an over carbonated soda water 4 weeks after bottling?

EDIT
Picture when it tasted delicious ~2 weeks after bottling. Biggest head I've had on a homebrew. http://i.imgur.com/RHvpzXA.jpg

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What kind of brew? Extract or all grain? –  mdma Oct 23 '13 at 14:26
    
Partial Mash: Munich Grains 1lbs, Crystal Grains 2lbs, Pale LME 6lbs, Warrior Hops 2oz, Simcoe Hops 1oz, Liberty Hops 1oz, Amarillo Hops 1oz, Cascade Hops 1oz Dry Hop, California Ale Yeast WLP001 –  Grant Oct 23 '13 at 17:08
    
That final gravity seems low for the recipe. If I put your ingredients into Brew Toad, it shows an original gravity of 1.060. –  Tobias Patton Oct 24 '13 at 15:00
    
@TobiasPatton What would cause me to have a lower gravity then? Poor mash extraction? –  Grant Oct 24 '13 at 16:51
    
Possibly, but given that the bulk of your fermentables come from LME, it seems unlikely. Did you do a partial boil and add top up water? If the LME was not completely mixed in, it could be that the sample you measured was lower gravity than the overall wort. –  Tobias Patton Oct 24 '13 at 18:41

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

If all your bottles are overcarbonated my guess would be that you didn't hit your terminal gravity and bottled too soon. I don't know yoour recipe but an FG of 1.014 seems a bit high to me with an 1.048 OG using wlp001.

If some bottles are undercarbonated you probably didn't mix your priming sugar properly into the beer.

Infected bottles usually have a white ring in the neck of the bottle.

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Unfortunately all bottles seem to have the same over carbonation. So I think the priming sugar mixed fine. I add priming sugar to bottom of bottling bucket then rack on top of that. I'm thinking/hoping I just bottled to soon. –  Grant Oct 23 '13 at 17:16
1  
I agree with this answer -- I think you bottled before fermentation had completed. The attenuation for WLP001 is listed as 73% to 80%. With a starting gravity of 1.048, the final gravity should be between 1.013 and 1.010. –  Tobias Patton Oct 24 '13 at 14:55

Given the time factor, and that it has lost it's body, I would bet on contamination here. While a white ring in the bottle is a typical indicator for contamination, it isn't a necessary factor.

One other thing to try is to degass some of the beer by stirring/sloshing in a large container and then take a gravity reading. My guess is that it's below 1.007, indicating a secondary fermentation from contaminants introduced during bottling. Most extract brews won't normally ferment anywhere near that low with brewer's yeast - so the low FG would be due to other organisms in the beer.

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I haven't seen any white rings on any bottle. I'll check the gravity how you mentioned and report back. I did dry hop from a sealed package so that shouldn't have contaminated it. I'm also very strict on my sanitation. –  Grant Oct 23 '13 at 17:14
    
Update with knowledge of recipe - even though this is a partial mash, I don't think this is a problem from highly fermentable wort from low mash temp. If it were the mash temp, it would certainly have fermented out to the FG in the first 2 weeks, rather than waiting until 4 weeks. –  mdma Oct 23 '13 at 17:15
    
I did as you said and degassed it in my pyrex. It came out to 1.01 This makes me assume I bottled to early if my FG was 1.014 Would that be correct? I'm thinking there is something wrong with my process because I opened a bottle from another batch and same exact thing happened with being over carbonated. –  Grant Oct 24 '13 at 1:51
1  
Yes, then perhaps you bottled too early before fermentation was complete so. (Although a gravity of 1.010 shouldn't taste like soda.) –  mdma Oct 24 '13 at 10:16

Hehe, yeah, 10 days very unlikely to be enough time for fermentation to complete and is less than the "old school" method of 7 days primary, 7 days secondary, 2 weeks bottling. I once (notice the "once") bottled after 9 days because I was leaving on a trip and wanted the beer to be done when I returned. Although the gravity was close to where I thought it should be, evidently I got better attenuation than expected and several bottles had exploded by the time I returned. It was a grand mess and I was only able to drink about 1/3 of each bottle that didn't break because of the beer-splosion that happened when opened. I think you really need at least 20 days or so with most beers to be sure fermentation is complete before bottling. In the end, you must at least have 3 days of consecutive readings that don't change near where you anticipate it to finish. If it is much higher than where you anticipate it finishing, you may need to pitch more yeast. Better luck next time and for the sake of good beer, give it a bit more time!

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