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Old 03-12-2012, 02:20 AM   #1
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Default 1 1/4 Blow off hose sucked sanitized water back into carboy

I've used a 1 1/4 OD blow off tube before and it worked great with no issue. My next batch (nut brown ale) pumped out a decent amount of foam into my elevated sanitized jug of water (star san). I went to rack it into the secondary, and as I pulled the blow off hose out of the sanitized water I heard some splashing in the carboy. The light was off in the room and the carboy was covered so I didn't actually see the water going into the carboy. I don't think that it was very much (maybe a cup) but still somewhat concerned. The temperature in the closet is a steady 66 degrees F. I don't believe there was any temp fluctuation. Could the action of losing krausen into the jug create negative pressure in the carboy? No water sucked into the carboy (to my knowledge) until I attempted to remove it. Was there water in the blow off hose already and I didn't notice it, and once I removed it from the water bucket it poured in? This seems to make more sense than anything. I've looked around the forums and am still confused on what went wrong. Northern Brewer suggested elevating the sanitized solution jug (which I did), and I've also read elevating it is not a good idea. From now on I am going to take blow off hose and replace with bubble lock after the first few days of fermentation. What went wrong? How do I prevent this from happening again? Should I not raise the blow off jug?

Here is my Set-up:

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Old 03-12-2012, 04:38 AM   #2
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Weird, you said there were no temperature fluctuations and that would have been my first guess. I'm not sure why they say elevate the sanitized jug, I never do and have zero problems, in fact I've had it substantially lower than the carboy before with no problems, be interested to see what others say about that. If it's starsan you are using though it's going to be fine. In my opinion of course! : )

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Old 03-12-2012, 04:41 AM   #3
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Aaah! I just left my brew with my first blowoff tube back at my place for the week with no supervision!

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Old 03-12-2012, 05:54 AM   #4
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I always place my blowoff jug on the floor of my chest freezer next to my carboy - never had any problem with anything sucking back. If the jug is elevated so that the liquid level in the jug is higher than the level in the carboy, then anything that causes some suckback, like a temperature change could get a siphon started and potentially suck back all the liquid from the blowoff jug. I would definitely not recommend elevating the jug.
The only thing that I can think of in the OP's case is maybe there was some liquid sucked part way up into the hose, maybe because the temp. of the beer changed and when the OP lifted the hose some of that liquid was lifted over the hump and fell back into the carboy. Especially likely if he lifted the jug and hose together.

Since the beer was already fermented and had a lot of alcohol in it and StarSan was in the jug you're probably OK from infection, and a cup of StarSan solution in 5 gallons of beer is probably not even noticeable taste-wise.

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Old 03-12-2012, 03:24 PM   #5
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@Deafsmith, I'm thinking your right about there being water in the hose and I didn't notice it. When I was writing my first post it dawned on me that there must have been water in the hose already and I didn't notice. It's the only thing that makes sense. But, when I went to remove the hose I didn't lift the jug and the hose. I just lifted the hose out, but the hose does go all the way down to the bottom of the jug. That's at least another 7 inches or so that I lifted it, allowing whatever liquid in the hose to pour into the beer. If this was the case, than I don't think I poured too much solution into the beer, AKA not too worried. Next time, I wont elevate it and may replace with an airlock after a few days.

@Jgerard, don't worry about it too much. Just make sure to turn the light on to see if there is any sanitized solution in the line before you remove. Oh, and mark with a sharpie the level of sanitized solution in your jug to make sure none sucked back in.

Cheers!

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Old 03-13-2012, 02:14 AM   #6
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It will be fine.

Next time use less sanitizer in the jug. All you need to do is cover the end of the hose. Actually, you can get away with no liquid in it at all. Nothing is going to get back into the fermenter with it filled with CO2.

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Old 03-13-2012, 04:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calder View Post
Actually, you can get away with no liquid in it at all. Nothing is going to get back into the fermenter with it filled with CO2.
True, but without that calming bubbling sound some of us can't get to sleep
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Old 03-16-2012, 02:07 AM   #8
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I just came home and saw that a full 22oz bottle of star San solution was sucked into my fermenter... Yesterday I put it into my keezer to lager. Didn't even think about temp change issues. I'm pretty bummed. Hopefully it will still be drinkable.

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Old 03-16-2012, 02:21 AM   #9
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I've read not to elevate your water. Put your blowoff water below your fermentor.

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Old 03-18-2012, 08:18 PM   #10
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I just came home and saw that a full 22oz bottle of star San solution was sucked into my fermenter... Yesterday I put it into my keezer to lager. Didn't even think about temp change issues. I'm pretty bummed. Hopefully it will still be drinkable.

I kegged the beer last night. The Star San Solution was clearly floating on the top as the liquid was a lot lighter than the the rest of the beer. I racked from the bottom of the carboy and stopped before I got into the clearer liquid. I lost probably close to a gallon.
I tried the beer today and couldn't taste any off flavors. Seems the beer turned out pretty good. I learned my lesson and the beer is good.
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