If you are someone who is interested in getting involved in brewing, one thing that might be making you hesitate is the infamous bottle bomb. A bottle bomb occurs when the pressure from inside the bottle becomes too great and the bottle breaks or even shatters, sending glass and alcohol everywhere. While this is a common mistake for new brewers, the truth of the matter is that it is an avoidable occurence.
By taking care before the bottle procedure, you can prevent bottle bombs and enjoy your brew safely.
The first thing that you need to do is to inspect your bottles. Bottles with chips and cracks are much more prone to give way under pressure. Even normal carbonation can bring the amount of pressure pushed against the glass to a whooping 30 pounds psi, and this can make weaker glass break very easily. If you are invested in lots of home brewing, invest in reusable bottles made specifically for this purpose. This glass is much harder to shatter.
Check to see if your beer is done fermenting. This requires the use of a hydrometer and an understanding about the kind of alcohol that you are making. Take a hydrometer reading the first day that you think that the beer is done, and then take one two days after that. If the reading is the same, the beer is done; if it is not, leave it alone for a few more days. If the beer continues to ferment inside a sealed bottle, you’ll find that it releases carbon dioxide, which in turn can cause the pressure to build up and crack the glass.
When purchasing bottles for your home brewing, avoid twist top bottles. Twist off bottles encourage more pressure to be put on the glass. Instead, find alternatives that do not. The seal of a twist off bottle is imperfect and can lead to further accidents. Similarly, no matter what kind of bottle you use, make sure that the walls of the glass are very thick.
Always inspect your glass bottles before pouring your alcohol into them. This will reveal any cracks or imperfections, and it will also allow you to gauge whether or not it seems thick enough. Even commercial glass bottles may occasionally contain a dud, so be careful when you are looking at something like beer bottles.
Calculate how much sugar you need for your brewing proceeds precisely. Sugar is one of the most essential ingredients when you are making beer, and unless you are very careful, it can be hard to use too much. For more precise measurements, use a scale to measure your sugar out rather than simply doing it by an amount measured out in cups and measuring spoons. Using the weight measurement is something that professional brewers use, and it prevents bad mistakes from being made.
Always sterilize your space and your tools before you go to work on your brewing. One problem that often leads to shattering glass beer bottles is bacteria. Even if the bacteria is not harmful, it can get into the alcohol and create sugars that the yeast inside the beer cannot consume. Over time, this leads to an excess of carbonation, which increases the chance that the bottle will explode at the least opportune moment.
Take a moment to think about the procedures that you would like to work on when you are considering brewing. Through careful preparation and detailed examination, you can keep yourself and your friends safe from exploding bottles. Bottle bombs are definitely a serious threat to home brewers, and you’ll find that even a small amount of preparation can be very effective.