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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Let's talk about Foam Control drops (aka Fermcap)
View Poll Results: What do you think of Foam Control/Fermcap Drops?
I've tried it -- love the stuff! 403 31.66%
I've tried it -- meh. 48 3.77%
I haven't tried it, but mean to. 536 42.11%
I haven't even heard of this before. 152 11.94%
Don't put that in my beer -- Reinheitsgebot baby! 134 10.53%
Voters: 1273. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-18-2008, 02:15 AM   #11
PseudoChef
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I really want to know what's in it as well as what's in a product we have around the lab that's simply labeled, "Foam Control." But there's no real MSDS available on it (it's a Sigma Aldrich product), so I'm not about to put it in my beer.

Wish they were the same so I could have free foam control

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Old 03-18-2008, 02:16 AM   #12
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I forgot to add Carfa II to that list!

I rarely would have a blow-over fermenting in my pots like I do, but on the occasion that I did, it was a BIG mess... One time my SS lid was floating 3" above the pot! Now without fail, I use foam control in every fermentation. I have just recently used it in the boil. Gawd's miracle elixir this stuff is!
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Old 03-18-2008, 03:00 AM   #13
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But does it make the beer taste like formula 409? Need that MSDS, PseudeChef.

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Old 03-18-2008, 03:21 AM   #14
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Haven't had a problem yet!



Ghey pic I know... But really, I have noticed no effects to my finished product... I would rather like to see the MSDS sheets of the 400+ products in Budweiser!



A great start would be here:

http://www.brewerssupplygroup.com/br...am_control.php

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Old 03-18-2008, 04:28 AM   #15
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how much does everyone use of this stuff in the boil?

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Old 03-18-2008, 06:45 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PseudoChef
I really want to know what's in it as well as what's in a product we have around the lab that's simply labeled, "Foam Control." But there's no real MSDS available on it (it's a Sigma Aldrich product), so I'm not about to put it in my beer.

Wish they were the same so I could have free foam control
All of the anti foaming agents are Dimethylpolysiloxane (aka BENO)

MSDS

Interesting testing
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Old 03-18-2008, 07:15 AM   #17
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In case people weren't aware, the main ingredient in Fermcap or other Foam Control drops is dimethylpolysiloxane, which actually goes by many names. It is the same stuff that they use in anti-gas tablets (not the enzyme-active ones like Beano). It is an antisurfactant, which simply means it helps to prevent the formation of bubbles and foam.

It is actually designed to NOT make it into your beer. This is clever stuff. On its own, it is relatively heavy and does not carry a charge, meaning that it won't dissolve in water. However, with a bit of agitation (e.g., a rolling boil or active fermentation), it gets stirred up and suspends in the wort/beer. That's when it does its magic. When activity calms down, it drops out. When you siphon or rack off your beer or wort, it stays behind in the trub.

Some are often hesitant to use foam control because they are worried that it will ruin head retention in the final beer. From what I have explained above, you can see that this won't happen. In fact, it can be argued that foam control will actually IMPROVE head retention in a side-by-side comparison to beers where a blow-off tube was used to manage a large blow-off. Many of the proteins responsible for head retention get 'stuck' in the krausen during active fermentation. If much of these proteins is blown-off into a blow-off jug outside the fermenter, they are no longer able to aid in head retention in the finished beer.

I haven't done enough batches yet to confirm this benefit, but I expect to see it. Curiously to me, my only beers that had poor head retention were AG batches with lots of wheat and rye in them. However, these are well known 'head builders' because those grains contain a lot of protein (particularly the flaked varieties that I am fond of using). So why were these beers the worst for head retention? Well, these were also the ones that had monster krausens (likely because of all those proteins) and massive blow-offs. My theory is that when I do these recipes again with foam control drops, the massive blow-off will be abated, and I will see fabulous, persistent head again in these beers.

BTW, it has been asked above how much I use in the boil -- I use two drops per gallon as per the manufacturers directions. I have actually used less in some recent batches, and it seemed to have worked just fine.

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Old 03-18-2008, 07:28 AM   #18
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I should have been more clear. I know what is in Fermcap-S, but I want to know what the stuff in my lab is.

According to Sigma, it hasn't been thoroughly tested yet.

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Old 03-18-2008, 01:22 PM   #19
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I used it for the first time this weekend on a 13 gal boil (in a keggle). It worked as I expected it to to prevent a boilover, but a great side-effect was that i didn't have to keep scraping the hops off the side of the kettle back into the wort! I'm convinced. I'll be using it on all of my batches.

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Old 03-18-2008, 01:52 PM   #20
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I also used it for the first time last weekend and am thrilled. I boil about 12-13g in my keggle and have always had to stand and watch it like a hawk for boil overs. Now I just let the thing rip. I ot a harder boil because I could put more heat in without boil over and could do other things for my hour boil instead of watch a pot boil with a spray bottle in hand. I can't talk enough about this stuff, I think it is awesome!!!

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