My fiancee and I have taken the massive undertaking of brewing as much beer for our wedding as we can, and it's been a really fun project- thus far. We've brewed numerous batches successfully, yet our most recent batches have caused us a lot of frustration.
We made some delicious pumpkin ales, and stored them in a rubber container, and after a few weeks they started exploding. We were actually moving from one apartment to another, and I guess the commotion built up some pressure in the bottles. In any case, our bottles that had been quiet for 6 weeks started exploding- 1 by 1- 5 of them over the course of as many hours.
We cleaned off the surviving bottles, refrigerated them until they calmed down, and waited a day or two before attempting to degas them. I assume that with all the sediment that we lost in the secondary (aprx. 1 gallon), the standard 5 ounces of priming sugar from our kit was too much for our reduced volume beer. Anyways, I degassed the bottles, (easing out excess gas, then tightening again), and thought the problem was solved.
I then put the old pumpkin beers in a 3 month old bin of octoberfests that had never had a problem. Another pumpkin beer had exploded, covering my Octoberfests. I stupidly waited 48 hours since I was so exhausted from all the other chores of moving, before cleaning up the mess in the rubber container. After rinsing off the surviving pumpkin ales, and the octoberfests, I realized that the caps (custom made- grog tag.com) were beginning to show a bit of rust. Right after finishing cleaning the old bottles, an Octoberfest exploded into oblivion 6 feet away from me. Fortunately, I was fine.... But now I'm trying to figure out how this pumpkin ale chaos has affected my perfectly fine Octoberfests... I assume that my caps had corroded, and in the 48 hours I left them untouched, an infection ocurred that built up the pressure in the Octoberfests.
It's like a zombie appocolypse- my bad beers are now affecting my good ones!
So two questions:
1.) What are your thoughts on my theory about the original cause of the exploding? Using 5 ounces of sugar on 4 gallons of beer before bottling (again, this is due to the reduced volume from the high sediment). Should I use less sugar for the reduced volume? Should I add water to the beer to bring it up to 5 gallons again? For the record, we used the hydrometer and confirmed fermentation was done before bottling.
2.) Are the octoberfests exploding from the pressure increasing in the storage container as they explode one by one? Or are the octoberfests exploding from infection due to rusted caps?
In any case, I created an account here moments after this debacle occured with the octoberfests, and before finishing this post- another exploded in the container. I think I'm tossing this whole batch, for safety. But I don't want this to happen again. Beware of zombies.