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I just opened a new bottle of beer after letting it bottle ferment and I ended up with more beer on the counter than in my glass. It seems to be over carbonated and exploded everywhere. After reading this question I saw that too many fermentables can be the cause of over carbonation.

In this beer I used a kit, so I just mixed in the provided priming sugar, but I had augmented the kit with cacao powder during the boil and almost 8 tsp of vanilla extract right before bottling. Would either of those been a source of extra fermentables?

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I'd check the ingredients of the cocoa powder. I imagine it should be pure cocoa, but you never know, it may be cut with sugar. Similarly for the vanilla extract. –  mdma Mar 17 '12 at 18:30
    
how long has the beer been in the bottle and at what temp, and how did you add the priming sugar –  mdma Mar 17 '12 at 18:33
    
@mdma I know that the cocoa powder was sugar free, I'm not sure about the vanilla extract. –  DorkRawk Mar 18 '12 at 1:57
    
@mdma again, it's been in the bottle 13 days with the temp somewhere in the 60s. I boiled water, dissolved the priming sugar, then mixed it into the bottling bucket. –  DorkRawk Mar 18 '12 at 1:58
    
13 days of bottle priming is still on the early side. Most sources recommend 3 weeks. If giving the bottle a good chill doesn't help, give it another week or so before testing another. I've found in brewing, patience cures many ills. –  JoeFish Mar 18 '12 at 12:55

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Did you put the beer in the fridge overnight before opening it? The problem you describe sounds a lot like bottled-carbonated beer that never had a chance to get the CO2 dissolved into the beer: lots of foaming when you pop the cap, then flat beer in the glass.

Gases dissolve more readily into cold liquid than warm liquid. When your residual yeast consumes your priming sugar, only a small portion of the CO2 it creates dissolves into your room-temperature beer. The rest accumulates in the headspace, building pressure. This is why most people will warn against natural carbonation in a growler - they're not designed to hold pressure, and the pressure generated can be much higher than pre-carbonated beer (yes, many people get away wtih it, but that debate is for another thread).

When you put your beer in the fridge overnight, the liquid cools down, the CO2 dissolves back into solution, and it doesn't spray all over the counter when you open it the next day.

You can check Denny's hypotheses by tasting the beer. Does it have off flavors, especially a sour tang? Too sweet? Taste like sausages?

Apologies if you knew this already - the question didn't specify.

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No, I hadn't put it in the fridge yet. I just put it in now, so we'll see if that helps. –  DorkRawk Mar 18 '12 at 2:19
    
I just checked the beer after putting it in the fridge. It didn't blow up now! –  DorkRawk Mar 21 '12 at 4:17
    
SCIENCE! :) I'm glad to hear it. Now tell us, how was the beer? –  JoeFish Mar 21 '12 at 11:12
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Not bad, I've learned a lot from this brew! –  DorkRawk Mar 21 '12 at 20:59

No, neither of those would have contributed. The 3 primary causes of overcarbed bottles are..

1) incomplete fermentation...bottling too soon, before fermentation is finished 2) too much priming sugar 3) infection

Do any of those possibly describe your situation?

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I don't think there was any contaminations. There is no strong off flavor. It might not have completed the first fermentation, I was having trouble with some stuck fermentation when it was in the carboy. I don't think there was too much sugar, just because I was going from a kit and using the amount of sugar provided. –  DorkRawk Mar 18 '12 at 2:20
    
@DoraRawk What was you final gravity reading? Does it correspond to what you expected? –  Chris Plaisier Mar 18 '12 at 16:16
    
IF fermentation stalled prematurely then you still have too much sugar prior to bottling. –  brewchez Mar 18 '12 at 18:16

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