Sometimes when you homebrew you might find out that your bottles are over carbonated. This can be troubling for those that are opening there bottles in front of friends and family only to get a beer exploding on them. There are some ways to fix this though. But before finding the solution you kinda have to know what the problem is. There could be several different problems going on.
Beer Wasn’t Done Fermenting
This is a problem that people new to the hobby usually run into. Your bottles will be over carbonated every time or sometimes bottles will break if you bottle your beer too early. I say that this is a beginner problem because normally it is symptomatic of a brewer that didn’t have a good supply chain going on and had to bottle beer too early rushing fermentation. Generally if you have a good supply chain of beer, you have less of a knee jerk reaction to bottle as fast as possible.
Room Is Too Warm For Bottles
Sometimes in the summer the rooms get to hot for the bottles. On the flip side in the winter if the bottles are near a vent that is blowing heat on them, the bottles might get to warm. If the bottles get to warm then they will most likely be overly carbonated.
Too Much Corn Sugar
“Was it 5 oz of sugar or 8 oz of sugar, I forget?” . If you add to much sugar to the bottling process, you will have an over carbonated beer as well. For those that are wondering, it’s 3/4 cup is a standard amount unless other wise specified. This is one of those simple mistakes that can easily be avoided in the future.
This one is the worst. You open up the bottle and it smells horrible or has a sour flavor as you lick the beer off your face. Just flat-out sucks. In the future better sanitary practices need to be put into place to prevent this one from happening.
Some of these are hard to fix. I normally recommend though when your bottles are overly carbonated to make sure that they are in the fridge for a while. If you already put them in the fridge, keep them in there longer. Slowing down everything over time will help out. “Help”, is the key word, most of the time it doesn’t solve the problem 100% but it will make it so they don’t explode most of the time.
If you open them up after they have been in the fridge and they still are exploding all over the place; there is another technique. This only works with crown cap bottles though, so you are out of luck if you were using swing top bottles. Take your bottle opener, and just pry the cap just a tip until you hear it go, “pssss”, then stop. Once it stops, let it sit there for about 2-3 minutes. Do it just a bit more until you hear it go, “psss”, again, and then stop. Let it sit. What you should see is that the beer head inside the glass will rise up slowly and after 2-3 minutes should settle back down to the starting point. After you do that about 2 or 3 times, take your capper and recap the cap that is already on it. You are just crimping it back down again is all.
What you have done is you have allowed some of the C02 to escape, so in essence you have regulated the CO2 pressure a bit. Of course make sure that you recap it and put it in the fridge. This will help with the carbonation.
If you think that your beer was not fully fermented when you put it in the bottles, it’s going to be harder to work with. You can try the technique that is listed above but don’t expect a miracle, that’s all I can say. Normally I count it as a success if your beer bottles don’t explode. And lastly if you bottles are overly carbonated because an infection the best that you can do is, try to learn from it and use better sanitizing technique for the next time. I use a shortcut when I bottle that really seems to help out a quite a bite. There is a post about it on our blog as well, very easy and saves a bunch of time.
When your bottles are overly carbonated there are ways to save it, don’t lose hope. The same goes for if your beer is under carbonated, we have a post on how to solve that with a quick and easy trick.
Let us know if you have any tricks that you use for helping out with beer carbonation levels!