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-   -   Topping or no topping (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/topping-no-topping-126993/)

mithion 07-07-2009 01:13 AM

Topping or no topping
Hello everyone. I need some advice about what to do about my beer. A few weeks ago, I brewed a really strong Old Ale. I ran into some issues with fermentation. It was violent as hell. You wanna talk krausen (still can't spell that), hear this. The second evening this beer was in the fermentor, I came back home to a beer splattered wall because the lid had blown off. It was fermenting so strongly, I couldn't put the air lock back. I had to leave it fermenting open to let it burp beer all night long. After things got relaxed again, I added some dried fruit in the fermentor (it some kind of christmas ale). Well, to make a short story long, I transfered to secondary yesterday, and I'm missing a good solid gallon of beer. I've been debatting with myself all day as to whether I should top it off. I really wanted to this beer to be boozy and strong so I'm reluctant to dilute it, but I'm also concerned about oxydation since I'm gonna let it sit in secondary for 2 months. What you guys do? Top it off or leave it?

Roman Brewer 07-07-2009 02:11 AM

Eh, I'd leave it. So you're short a gallon. If you add water you'll just have to adjust the gravity measurements you took in the beginning, and in the end wind up with a different beer than you planned for. Seems like a lot to lose on an over active fermentation though. I've had some pretty active fermentations that went nuts like that, but never lost a gallon!! Jeez.

Upgrade to a 6.5 gal carboy for your primary (if you don't already have one) and set up a blow off tube for higher gravity beers next time. This will save you a ton of cleaning in the end.



Sawdustguy 07-07-2009 03:42 AM

The good thing is that the Krausen will protect the beer from bacteria. It is not unusual to get massive Krausen from wheat beers. I drilled a larger hole with a hole saw into the top of my fermenter and jammed a 1" ID flexible rubber tube in the hole. I sealed the tubing with food grade silcone caulk and ran the other end of the hose into another 5 gallon bucked 1/4 filled with water.Make sure the end of the tubing is under the water. Those little blow-off tubes get clogged with Krausen very quickly.

Ketchepillar 07-07-2009 07:29 AM

I agree with the others. Don't top off. You'll have the same total amount of alcohol either way if that's why you are wanting more beer. Just drink less of this, then drink water after to make up for lost volume. Less hangovers that way too.

mithion 07-07-2009 02:24 PM

Thanks for the replies and the advice. This beer is a kicked up version of an old ale. Alcohol content estimates are around 9.5 to 10.5%. I've had beer explode before due to high pressure, but this beer was literally foaming overboard like crazy. I think one of the problems also is that I live in Nevada where it's quite hot, but I don't have A/C so I'm assuming the fermentation was too active due to high temperatures. I think next time I brew something like this, it will be during winter when the house isn't so warm.

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