I just tried my first batch of Pliny the Elder after not brewing for some time,and it was a disaster. I decided to try brewing in a bag. I was a little short of beer after the fermentation. I did not check the gravity before bottling. I used the entire 5 oz of priming sugar and got 32 16 oz bottles. I let them sit for 2 weeks before trying one. When I opened the bottle, it expanded and spilled everywhere, and wouldn't stop.

Where did I go wrong?

2 Answers 2


Gushers (the kind where you have to mop your beer off the ceiling after opening the bottle) can only have a few possible causes.

  1. Bottling too early. You did not check the gravity before bottling in order to make sure fermentation was complete, so this is definitely a possibility.
  2. Too much priming sugar. The amount you say you used (5 oz sugar for 32 * 16 oz of beer, i.e. 4 gallons) will give you about 3.2 volumes of CO2, which is at the very high end of the scale and typically only used for the highly carbonated wheat beers. So the overly generous amount of priming is definitely part of your problem. Add to this that Pliny has a high hop content, which is foam-positive, and you're almost guaranteed to have foam eruptions.
  3. Contamination. Bacteria or wild (diastaticus) yeasts ending up in the beer as a result of incorrect sanitation (not impossible when you dust off your brewing equipment after a long brewing hiatus!) may cause otherwise unfermentable sugars to break down and ferment in the bottle. However, this is characterized by off-flavors that are usually very pronounced and if you don't have any funny flavors this can generally be ruled out as cause.

So take your pick... :-)

  • Frank, Thanks for the feedback. Failing to check the gravity and too much priming sugar was probably the culprit. I like to pour my beers right down the center of the glass. Do you think maybe 4 oz of priming sugar to 5 gallons of Pliny would work for me?
    – MacMondo
    Jun 1, 2023 at 21:27

Sorry to hear that, man. That really sucks. Truth is, we all have a bad batch and/or brewday now and then. It's just part of the hobby ;)

It's hard to tell from your post what specifically went wrong but some things I always ask myself when things go badly are:

  • was I in a rush?
  • where did I cut corners and why?
  • what parts were frustrating?
  • did I guess or estimate things?

Once I find some things to think about there, I usually find what I can improve on. Whether it's giving myself an extra hour for "just in case" things, or maybe improving my gear somewhere along the way, or even asking about a way to do things.

For example, I used to use pH strips because I didn't want to spend $50 on a good meter. Eventually though, the strips became too frustrating and I purchased the meter. That part of the process is much quicker, easier and less frustrating now.

It's helpful to go back over any notes from the brewday too. I've gotten things mixed up on recipes before and only noticed it from my notes.

Hope you give it another go and better luck in the future!

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