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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > New batch might have sanitation problem...
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Old 08-22-2008, 06:17 PM   #1
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Default New batch might have sanitation problem...

Hi, first visit here.

I'm currently fermenting my third batch of homebrew, a "Dithyrambic Roasted Brown Ale" recipe I got from Papazian's Complete Joy of Homebrewing. Anyway, it's in the bucket and sealed with the airlock on top. It actually took a long time (almost 20 hours) for any activity to be visible in the airlock. This was the first time I've pitched live yeast instead of dry, I dunno. Well, now it's almost too much activity. Foam is bubbling up out of the tube, getting into the water used in the airlock to seal it. Now, gas is still being expelled and agitating what's in the lock. I just want to make sure everything will be okay with the batch. Should I open the bucket, clean and sanitize the airlock, and re-apply? If foam is coming through the airlock I'm sure it's completely filled the bucket. Maybe I should just wait until activity dies down and then take my hydrometer reading to see if it's ready to bottle?

I want to take the least-risky course. I spent more money on this batch than any before (this time I bought ingredients seperately, previous two were boxed kits), I want it to turn out okay

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Old 08-22-2008, 06:23 PM   #2
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Everything is fine, though you should rig a blowoff tube...the easiest way is to do this...





Quickest way is to use your bottling bucket hose, making a small slit in one end, if you don't have any xtra tubing..

Also when you pull the airlock out to clean and re sanitize it, cut or break off the little criss cross bit of plastic on the bottlom of the airlock.

It's inevitable that we all get a big fermentation every now and then....all will be well, just remove the airlock, clean and sanitize it, and do what I showed...You'll be fine..

A spray bottle of sanitizer in distilled or pre boiled water is always a handy tool to have around for these situations.

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Old 08-22-2008, 07:30 PM   #3
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Thanks so much for the quick response. I've considered using a blowoff tube, but never needed it before for my boxed kit/dry yeast batches. I'll do it every time from now on to be safe.

Since I've made this topic, the wort/water mixture is only getting higher in the airlock. It's most likely going to bubble over the edge. Should I still just keep it as is, wiping the foam off if it goes over the edge? I'm not losing any essential part in what is eventually going to be lost when it bubbles out?

Here is what it looks like now, via crappy camera phone

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Old 08-22-2008, 07:32 PM   #4
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wait, you either edited your post or I didn't catch the last part. I'll try to rig that setup tonight.

edit: er, actually now

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Old 08-24-2008, 02:00 AM   #5
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Well, I rigged the blowoff tube just like you showed in the pics. I even went to the store and bought some larger tubing to fit over the airlock like shown. Unfortunately, it never fit quite snug enough and kept on breaking the seal on the airlock between it and the tubing, letting air in.

Well, earlier today and I just removed the whole deal, re-sanitized, and re applied the airlock like normal. The big frantic fermentation is over now I think, so it won't bubble up again. Should be ready to bottle here in a few days actually, since I pitched the yeast Wednesday night.

I'm wondering, the time the blow off tube was affixed and slipping letting air in, is that a big deal? I don't think it would, but was wondering how it might affect my beer. It was exposed to air for much longer than just the time to remove the air lock, clean, and affix blow off.

EDIT: Oh, and another question I thought of. Now that I've got the beer all sealed up again, there's still more fermentation going on past the vigorous initial stage, right? I scooped out some beer into a vial while I was doing all of this, and the hydrometer reading said it still had a ways to go.

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Old 08-24-2008, 02:31 AM   #6
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Yes, it'll be fine. Even though the airlock wasn't really airtight, the co2 was escaping, and pushing out any nasties or oxygen that could have got in there.

Your beer is still fermenting- even after the big explosive phase is done, it's still working. I'm guessing that you had a "hot" fermentation- that the temperature is above 65-68 degrees. That can cause some off-flavors, so it's best to try to keep it on the yeast cake now to "clean up" a bit. It's really hard in the summer to keep the temperatures under control, but the beer will taste better if you can manage to keep the temperature under 70 degrees. I have some stick-on thermometers on my fermenters, so I can see the temperature inside the fermenter. They sell them at brewstores, or you can use an aquarium stick on thermometer.

Don't be in a hurry to bottle- maybe check the SG in a week or 10 days from now, and see if it's about finished. You said it should be ready to bottle in a few days, but I would change that to "a few weeks". The beer will be much clearer and better tasting in two weeks, and you'll have less sediment in the bottles if you wait until then to bottle.

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Old 08-24-2008, 05:02 AM   #7
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Thanks for the info, yooper.

Let's say I want to have the brew drinkable by September 12th (going to a get together and would love to show off some new homebrew), would it be better to let it sit longer fermenting or bottling? I understand that in general two weeks is the bare minimum needed to carbonate, so would you advise to not bottle until, say, the 29th?

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