The case of the mysterious leaking beer.

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by VegasHopHead, Aug 17, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. VegasHopHead

    VegasHopHead Aspirant (236) Jun 21, 2012 Nevada
    Beer Trader

    Received an awesome package today. opened it up and could smell beer right away. Figured it was a broken bottle or something. Took out all of the contents and could not figure out where the beer was leaking from. Box consisted of mostly surly cans, 1 bottle of SYX, and 1 bottle of expedition stout. So I started washing the cans and noticed the 3 of the cans of Surly Overated felt lighter and i suppose more sloshy??? if that's a word? Anyways I opened one up and it was only about 3/4's full but still sounded and tasted carbonated. I have no idea where the leak came from... but it was for sure from those 3 cans!!!

    Has anyone else had issues with cans leaking?
  2. texasdrugaddict

    texasdrugaddict Initiate (0) Oct 11, 2012 New Mexico

    I have bought 12 packs of cokes before and found can half empty and no sign of leakage.
  3. VegasHopHead

    VegasHopHead Aspirant (236) Jun 21, 2012 Nevada
    Beer Trader

    ^^ so weird to me. There was obvious beer in the box though, The Trashbag had beer in the bottom of it, so i know it leaked while it was in the box.
  4. JMagee

    JMagee Initiate (152) Jan 2, 2013 New York
    Beer Trader

    The closest thing I could say I've had happen to me and provide a possible explanation is...I was bringing a couple cans of DC Brau to a party and suddenly along the way one of the cans sprung a leak. Spontaneous hole forming. But it was such that the stream of beer shooting out of it was almost a mist. I didn't notice it was leaking until I shoved it up against my chest to carry it inside.

    It could be that the can(s) had a bit of a weak spot/defect that finally sprung loose and beer leaked out until it was below the hole level.

    I realize that was more of an anecdote than explantion, but I thought it was vaguely similar. I'd say fill up the empty can with water and put it on a newspaper and see if you can see water streaming out anywhere.
    NoLeafClover44 likes this.
  5. VegasHopHead

    VegasHopHead Aspirant (236) Jun 21, 2012 Nevada
    Beer Trader

    ^^ I thought so to, I tipped the cans upside down and squeezed them fairly hard and nothing came out....
  6. texasdrugaddict

    texasdrugaddict Initiate (0) Oct 11, 2012 New Mexico

    Place the cans in water and squeze to see if air come out.
    joaopmgoncalves and dianimal like this.
  7. VegasHopHead

    VegasHopHead Aspirant (236) Jun 21, 2012 Nevada
    Beer Trader

  8. Gunch43

    Gunch43 Aspirant (268) Jan 15, 2010 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I had this happen to me with 2 cans of heady once. It was a complete mystery.
    joaopmgoncalves and VegasHopHead like this.
  9. commis

    commis Initiate (0) Jul 21, 2009 Massachusetts

    Someone on the FB beer page mentioned this with a bunch of Surly this morning. Looks like their canning line needs some calabration.
  10. TheBrewo

    TheBrewo Initiate (0) Nov 11, 2010 New York

    Did whatever you open at least taste delicious?!
  11. LAD

    LAD Initiate (0) Apr 16, 2008 Texas

    Cans can leak for many reasons. The most common reason is poor quality seaming of the lid onto the can. Another common cause is pinhole leakage on the side of the can. Pinholes can be can manufacturing defects and may also occur anywhere from seaming through to the store. The can's side wall thickness is almost as thin as paper so handling damage and subsequent leakage is not uncommon.
    Depending on the size and location of a leak, a can can leak only gas, only product or a combination of the two. The best way to determine the leakage site of a can that still has some carbonation is to put it in hot water (100-120 degrees F) and look for bubbles coming out of the can.
    PaulQuinn and DelMontiac like this.
  12. Deadmau5656

    Deadmau5656 Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2011 Pennsylvania

    This happened to a package I got this week. The cans were in a ziploc bag and it looked like one had leaked. When I took them out and checked both were ok. I drank one of them today and it was fine. It was definitely weird though.
  13. Immortale25

    Immortale25 Poo-Bah (3,019) May 13, 2011 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Ironically enough, the only time I received a trade where I smelled beer but everything was full and intact there happened to be a can of Surly Coffee Bender that I though was the culprit. However, like I said, zero ounces of beer was missing and no holes or leak points were found. Strange.
  14. pjs234

    pjs234 Zealot (544) Jun 29, 2008 Connecticut

    I had a leaky can of Surly Furious. Had 2 four packs in the fridge, and noticed the leak when I went to get one and it stuck to the shelf and there was a small amount of beer on shelf. The can felt lighter, so i squeezed it and found a very tiny pin hole in it. When i opened it, it was missing about 1/8th of the contents. A friend brought some back in his luggage on a plan ride from MN, so I figured it must have gotten poked by somehting in his bag. Then i read this thread and am wondering if this is an issue with Surly. Also, it appeared to just be one of the 8 cans.
  15. MetalMountainMastiff

    MetalMountainMastiff Initiate (0) Oct 1, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    My business I started is building Food packaging machines and can machines. So it is possible for the seal on a can to not be perfect(similar to the seal on a potato chip bag). Generally people can't figure out how to run the machines properly, so it's actually more shocking it happens less. If the seal isn't done right liquid can easily seep from it, more in a bubbling matter then actually seepage. And often the bubbles will just burn off into gas.

    So it could also make it possible it leaked without having any beer in the box. The seems are at the top, down the back and bottom, So thats probably where the leak is. And often the Carbonation actually pushes the liquid out, while staying mostly in. Giving the appearance of being just as carbonated as a new one.
  16. Iamstryker

    Iamstryker Initiate (0) Aug 11, 2012 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I just brought back some Sulry yesterday and one of my cans of Cynic seemed to have leaked (very small amount, know it's from Cynic because of the smell) in my luggage. Did the test on each can to get more out, not the water bubble test, just when I got home I squeezed and rotated each can, nothing came out.
  17. MetalMountainMastiff

    MetalMountainMastiff Initiate (0) Oct 1, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    When the cans go through any small amount of altitude change the pressure inside with added carbonation can push the liquid out(of a bad seal). So the seal could be almost near perfect with only a slight defect.

    Holding the can underwater would probably reveal nothing. If it did then the leak was so bad it would have been noticed in packaging. The can should have the appearance as if the brewery just didn't fill it all the way. Or you could run your finger down the back of the seal and possibly feel something off. A slight bump, or maybe even see a part where the can looks unaligned.
  18. LAD

    LAD Initiate (0) Apr 16, 2008 Texas

    If a can has apparently leaked but still has some carbonation there is a good chance that the hot water test will reveal the source of the leak.
    blazegeneral likes this.
  19. RPH2327

    RPH2327 Disciple (319) Dec 5, 2010 Pennsylvania

    This happened to me with cans of DFH 120. I immediately took it as a sign that the NSA was watching me closely.
  20. MetalMountainMastiff

    MetalMountainMastiff Initiate (0) Oct 1, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    It could, I wouldn't say a good chance as I test bad seals often. But if you could kinda recreate what happened it would help in getting results. So shaking the can mildly for 5 minutes to get a kind of effect from driving and shipping causing the pressure to build up and push the liquid out.
    blazegeneral likes this.
  21. Thads324

    Thads324 Initiate (0) Jan 21, 2010 Connecticut

    I had a leaking Brooklyn can that got all over the back of my wife's Saab. She wasn't thrilled when it smelled of rank sun soaked beer
  22. Giantspace

    Giantspace Zealot (514) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I used to collect soda cans. Full cans. I have had two different brands leak from the bottom. I had an OK soda on a shelf with some vintage boxes and I took the can down to show someone and it was stuck to the shelf and had leaked on some boxes ruining them. Could not see a hole but it was leaking. I now keep the cans i still have in a small dish or empty them.

  23. LAD

    LAD Initiate (0) Apr 16, 2008 Texas

    I agree. And from my experience, If you look hard enough you can often find the source of the leakage just by looking at it.
    And let's not let the can company off the hook. Rivet leakers and score leakers can result in completely flat product with no observable trace of a location. Once upon a time we had a shit pot full of flat product due to score leakers on the lids. Much to the chagrin of the can company we removed the lids and tested them with a penetrating dye. Gotcha, Mr. Can Company!
    With all these craft brewers getting into canning leakers in the trade are probably due to loose can seams. The seamers most of them are using are little more than toys and the seam analysis capabilitiy of employees leaves much to be desired.
    MetalMountainMastiff likes this.
  24. Hanzo

    Hanzo Initiate (0) Feb 27, 2012 Virginia

  25. LAD

    LAD Initiate (0) Apr 16, 2008 Texas

    You bring up yet another source of can leakage. Its called secondary corrosion and it usually manifests itself on full pallets of beer that are stored at the brewery or distributor. Simply put, the can corrodes from the outside and eventually leaks. It starts with one can on a pallet that is leaking for whatever reason. The leaked beer reacts with packaging material such as cardboard trays and then contacts other cans. More and more cans leak until every can on the pallet is leaking and the pallet is a soggy mess. But wait! There's more! The fun and games spreads to adjacent pallets and before long many pallets are a soggy mess. The moral of the story: If you see a wet case on a pallet of canned product you better remove it.
  26. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Devotee (493) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    I work on a canning line and I can tell you there are a few spots a leak can come up. One's that are hard to pick out are up top on the seal. If the filler bowl is pulling the can in too much, or it's out of alignment, the can is deformed and no longer round, and when the seamer seals it. It might round it out, but it might also not. When it doesn't. There's a really tiny leak on the seal, and it's a really hard leak to pick up on unless you really squeeze the can. Also, there's the occasional pin leak that can happen either on the line due the canning line itself, with the pushing and pulling in the line or during packaging or qc The cans can be dropped into the case quick enough sometimes to prick or puncture them as well. At qc time, when you are one person and there are three and four pallets to hand check. That's its own sort of challenge.
    Also, Chinese made equipment sucks. Don't EVER use it, or buy it.
  27. lakestclairgoose

    lakestclairgoose Initiate (0) Feb 10, 2008 Michigan

    no way it happened, i've been told cans are 100% superior to bottles and no way that the flatness I may experience with cans is the fault of the can... i suspect this thread was only made to troll.....
  28. texasdrugaddict

    texasdrugaddict Initiate (0) Oct 11, 2012 New Mexico

    I was packing up a box to ship this morn and when i went into the cellar this can looked like it exploded on me. I know it wasn't like this when I got it a few weeks ago.




    Nothing is leaking out thankfully.
  29. utopiajane

    utopiajane Poo-Bah (2,378) Jun 11, 2013 New York

    Great pics that absolutely tell people what to look for. When you are looking over your cans you might miss this if it's not as pronounced as what you are seeing here.
  30. VictorWisc

    VictorWisc Devotee (463) Jan 2, 2013 Massachusetts

    I'd open it over a large bowl... just in case
  31. DelMontiac

    DelMontiac Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2010 Oklahoma

    Keep it as a pet. Maybe it'll grow to like 3 feet tall. Alien perhaps?
    Uniobrew31 likes this.
  32. frankthetank86

    frankthetank86 Initiate (0) Dec 24, 2012 New York

    sounds strange but believable. only surly can that leaked on me was when i tore open a box with a knife and was cutting the tape off the bubble wrap around the can and poked it by accident. the can exploded all over the place lol. guess i got a little bit anxious when i saw the box:grinning:
  33. BottleCaps80

    BottleCaps80 Zealot (595) Jan 12, 2013 Iowa
    Beer Trader

  34. KansasBeerLover

    KansasBeerLover Disciple (338) Feb 16, 2009 Kansas

    Cans leak. Period. Go to a pop distributor, as a non-profit, and ask for free pop for a special event. We got a "if you don't mind" response of a few pallets of out-of-date cans. Sorted them by weight in the hand and sold them. If someone said this can's flat, we gave them another.
  35. LAD

    LAD Initiate (0) Apr 16, 2008 Texas

    Bulged cans of beer do not contain botulism. This can could have been dropped, frozen or excessively pressurized via too much heat or too much CO2. A bulged lid can also be caused by a poorly seamed lid at the brewery or a substandard lid from the can company.
    Or the reason may be none of the above. Can lids have differing metal thicknesses (I.E. strength) depending on the internal pressure inside the can. For example, an unpasteurized lid such as Coors Light may have a much thinner thickness than a pasteurized beer lid. If a brewery, by choice or mistake, runs lids with inadequate plate thickness (strength) bulged lids will also result.
  36. texasdrugaddict

    texasdrugaddict Initiate (0) Oct 11, 2012 New Mexico

    Was sitting here on the pc and and the can just made a loud POP and scared the hell out of me cause it less than 2 ft away, So i looked over and the top has pop up some more.




    I moved the can to different table away from the PC, cause I don't know whats gonna happen with it. but I got a feeling its gonna blow. I haven't moved the can since sunday and its a cool 72 in the house but strange things are going on with it for sure. I kinda wanted to try this beer too but not out of this can.
  37. EyePeeAyBryan

    EyePeeAyBryan Champion (800) Dec 20, 2011 Arizona
    Beer Trader

    Also had this happen with Heady...definitely lost come carbonation, was super oxidized and about 85% full. It sucked having to drain pour HT but I made myself drink them until I just couldn't take it any longer.

    I blame it on the fucking AZ heat (I think it was 115 that day) :angry: but I don't really know what caused it.
  38. LAD

    LAD Initiate (0) Apr 16, 2008 Texas

    If you pour it out and the head spins you're in deep shit! "Theerre Heerre"
  39. utopiajane

    utopiajane Poo-Bah (2,378) Jun 11, 2013 New York

    I would put that outside so that it doesn't blow at the seams all over your house. Plus maybe if it survives outside over night it will come to a drinking temperature and then you can just poke a hole in the can.
  40. texasdrugaddict

    texasdrugaddict Initiate (0) Oct 11, 2012 New Mexico

    Gonna put the can in a cookie jar so it won't make a big mess if it blows. Will post pics if it does.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.