Jester King Craft Brewery

Carbonation Issues with Commercial Suicide Bottles

We’ve received several emails over the course of the last week or so, regarding overcarbonated and excessively foamy bottles of Commercial Suicide Dark Mild. First,we’d like to apologize for any inconvenience. From what we’ve been hearing, and from our own experience, the beer is still servable if sufficiently chilled. The initial pour is likely to be quite foamy, and we don’t recommend drinking to the foam before it has had time to settle, but it will settle out after a few minutes, and once it does, it should not result in any unintended off-flavors in the beer itself.

We choose to bottle-condition all of our beers because we feel that natural carbonation lends a lot more flavor and complexity than force carbonation, but bottle-conditioning can be somewhat of a tricky process, with a variety of factors that can cause individual beers, and in some cases, even individual batches of the same beer to develop greater or lesser levels of carbonation than we had expected. In the case of Commercial Suicide, the CO2 levels were already on the higher end of the target range when it was first released, but then, as they made their way to market, the yeast continued to ferment beyond the anticipated terminal gravity, resulting in higher than normal levels of carbonation.

The overly aggressive bottle fermentation could have been caused by a mutation in the bottling yeast that we used, or by exposure to a secondary strain. This is part of the reason that we will now be using our farmhouse yeast exclusively for all of our non-wild fermentation, including bottle-conditioning. Working with multiple strains in a relatively open environment, such as ours, simply creates two much risk of cross-contamination, which can then lead to issues such as this.

If you’ve purchased the beer and still have yet to consume it, we would suggest chilling it down right away, to slow down any fermentation that might still be taking place, and then storing it cold and upright for at least 2-3 days prior to drinking. Again, we apologize for the inconvenience. Please keep in mind, though, that this will, in all likelihood, be your only opportunity to try the bottle-conditioned, English ale yeast version of Commercial Suicide. Meanwhile, our first batch of Farmhouse Commercial Suicide is fermenting away in tank #1.