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I brewed a high gravity american double (stout), fermentation went well and I gave it enough time to presumably take care of most of the fermentable sugar. Then I added 2 lbs of pureed strawberries and blueberries for every gallon, gave it another week or so and bottled.

When I bottle conditioned, (I believe) the added fruit messed up my carb calculation and the beer was super over-carbonated (side questions: has this ever happened to you? can added fruit do this?)

I waited for about 6 weeks, confirmed that the carb level was unpleasant and then did the recapping trick to lower the carb level.

My question is this - would you ever recap twice? In other words, if I am still unhappy with how carbonated this beer turns out, do you think I could just recap the bottles again?

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    Can you describe more on how the overcarb is unpleasant? Do they gush and volcano out when opened, or do they retain the carbonation for the pour? – Evil Zymurgist Sep 16 '16 at 23:55
  • Not ridiculously so, just enough to gush a bit. The problem is just that a high grav stout shouldn't be super carbed in my opinion, I was looking for that silky, thick body – ghonke Sep 18 '16 at 15:45
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Yes, you may open the bottles release pressure, and cap them again. You won't be introducing (any significant amount of) oxygen by doing this, but do it in a clean environment.

As to why this happened, it seems that the sugars present in the fruit were not fully fermented by the time you bottled. Next time you can either wait longer, or make sure the S.G. is constant by using a hydrometer.

Edit based on John's answer: It is true that solids can provide nucleation sites for the CO2 bubbles to form, thus facilitating their escape from the liquid phase. Or in other words, the suspended solids could increase the perceived carbonation. However I have not experienced this myself. I think that the first hypothesis (uncompleted fermentation) is more likely to occur. Also, large solids precipitate to the bottom of the fermenter and the bottles.

  • Just to clarify, I have already recapped once and had good results but it is still overcarbed relative to where I would like it to be. The question is what do you think about recapping twice. – ghonke Sep 18 '16 at 15:47
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    Like I said, it is perfectly fine. The warmer the bottles are at the time you do it, the more CO2 will be lost (I am not suggesting that you heat them up, that could be a mess, room temperature or a little warmer should be fine). – Septimus G Sep 18 '16 at 16:56
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    @ghonke it does no harm, just a slight contamination risk each time a bottle is opened and resealed. Often you can burb a cap and recrimp without removing and replacing the cap. Check out YouTube on a how to. – Evil Zymurgist Sep 18 '16 at 16:58
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I second the point from Septimus G about waiting longer. After adding fruit or puree I would almost always wait 2-3 weeks, sometimes even a month.

You didn't state how long you had left the primary fermentation?

For a high gravity stout or barley wine I would usually give 3-4 weeks in the primary. And 1-2 weeks in the secondary; before bottling. Then if adding fruits I would then extend this time further. As I find it always takes the yeast that bit longer to ferment out the last bit of gravity from the initial brew when pushing 1090-1100.

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It could also be suspended solids from the puréed fruit. The CO2 will form bubbles on those suspended solids at a lower concentration of CO2 in the beer. I released the pressure of a foamy batch and recapped and they were ok but lower carbonation ~1.5.

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Yes this has happened to me. In my case it was the addition of apples after initial fermentation. I suspect that the first fermentation was complete but I did not consider the possibility of the yeast being fully spent. I should have filtered, re-pitched and then bottled after the yeast from the second pitch was spent....

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