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SCBrewster 01-20-2013 11:01 PM

Avoiding Boil overs
This is going to sound like a total amateur question but every time I have brewed I have had an outrageous amount of foam constantly and having to constantly blow on the wort and spray it with it water. How do I avoid this? Is it a temperature thing?

histo320 01-20-2013 11:08 PM

How big are you boils? What size kettle are you using?

I have just started brewing with at Turkey Fryer outside and I have had 0 boil overs. My method is during the Hot Break once a boil starts I lower the dial on the temp control.

I suggest an Oscillating Fan if you are brewing inside to blow over the top of the kettle.

SCBrewster 01-20-2013 11:34 PM

I was using a 16qt kettle for roughly 1.5 gallon wort boils. I got a new 30 qt pot so I started I using that but it just seems like it foams so much. Idk how you are supposed to control it for that long that's why I feel like I am doing something wrong. Ive had one boil over in the kitchen and it was awful

GilSwillBasementBrews 01-20-2013 11:39 PM

I just use a spray bottle with water in it to knock the foam back. Haven't used it but you could try fermcap s as that is supposed to control foam usually in starters but should still apply to boils. I also have read of people laying a spoon across the top of the pot and that supposedly stops the bubbles once they hit the spoon but I'm not brave enough to try that scenario. Much easier for me to give it a quick squirt or two with a bottle of water.

SCBrewster 01-21-2013 12:04 AM

So you have a constant battle with foam for the full boil time?

Varmintman 01-21-2013 12:14 AM


Originally Posted by SCBrewster (Post 4807372)
So you have a constant battle with foam for the full boil time?

No with a pot that is big enough once you get past the hot break you can dial the heat back and let it gently boil for the whole hour. It does not have to be a full on huge boil just a nice easy rolling boil

SCBrewster 01-21-2013 12:33 AM

Ok I thought that the hot break was towards the end of the boil when the foam finally stops? Am I wrong?

Stovetop535 01-21-2013 12:40 AM

Fermcap s I did one all grain batch in my 8 gallon kettle and I fought it the entire time. Tried fermcap s and it is great. A drop or two per gallon and I was good to go. I still keep a spray bottle around, but turning the temp down and using fermcap s has worked wonders for me.

Definitely try some. You wont regret it.


It took me like an hour to find the fercap-s at the lhbs. It has to be refrigerated--Didnt know that when I was looking over the shelves.

Varmintman 01-21-2013 12:41 AM


Originally Posted by SCBrewster (Post 4807446)
Ok I thought that the hot break was towards the end of the boil when the foam finally stops? Am I wrong?

The hot break starts to form just before it boils and any time you add hops. Generally it does not last more than a few minutes but oh boy those few minutes can be stressful.

I cannot think that temperature is all that important to utilizing the hops as long as you are at a nice easy boil. I am higher up in altitude and never have had a 212 degree boil yet all my beer works out just fine.

Secret is a pot much bigger than you think you need and a good hot break then dial it back to a rolling boil. For a year I boiled 6 gallons in a 7 1/2 gallon pot and was able to keep it boiling with out tending it after the hot break. I got tired of the hassle though and got a bigger pot:p

govner1 01-21-2013 12:41 AM

Yes, you are wrong. The hot break is at the beginning of the boil. You need to watch for the foam starting to form and then growing. Monitor your temp for what boiling is in hot area. Be prepared for a rapid rise in foam & adjust your flame! You can stick a wooden spoon in the foam to help prevent a boil over.
After the hot break lower your heat to a steady rolling boil. It doesn't need to be overly vigorous.

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