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Old 05-31-2012, 01:04 AM   #1
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Default Does fermcap retard fermentation?

I hate dealing with the mess and hassle of blowoff tubes so I used fermcap drops last time to keep my kraeusen contained but my ferment looks more sluggish than it should so I wonder if the fermcap retarded my fermentation? What has your experience with fermcap and fermentation?

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Old 05-31-2012, 01:07 AM   #2
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I've had issues with fermentation either starting in the normal amount of time (for me) with or without fermcap being added. Granted most of my batches have it added at least to the boil if not also to the fermenter. Using a starter, and pure O2 to infuse the luscious wort, I get active fermentation [typically] within 12 hours of pitching yeast.

What dosage did you use? I typically go with the recommended 2-3 drops per gallon in the boil (starting boil volume) and 1-2 drops per gallon in fermenter.

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Old 05-31-2012, 01:46 AM   #3
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Ooops, I added SIX drops to my fermenter. Maybe that's why my ferm seems sluggish. It started early and vigoriously but now (48 hours in) seems rather lifeless.

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Old 05-31-2012, 01:47 AM   #4
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Six total or six per gallon?? Either way, I highly doubt it's the cause of how your batch is acting.

BTW, post pics...

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Old 05-31-2012, 01:53 AM   #5
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How are you judging the speed of your fermentation for comparison purposes? Fermcap should have no appreciable effect on fermentation process, though it will reduce krausen and make things "look" slower.

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Old 05-31-2012, 01:53 AM   #6
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I haven't ever used it because it kind of weirds me out putting silicone in my beer. I know it's supposed to drop out but it just doesn't seem right.

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Old 05-31-2012, 01:56 AM   #7
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In my researching the use of anti foam agents and Ferm-cap specifically I have spoken to several bio-chemists in the industry and there is no incidence of there being an effect on the actual fermentation process, only the expansion of the krausen produced is reduced due to less surface tension. Two of the chemists also happened to be professional brewers as well.

In addition, if the product is used in the boil it does not need to be used again in the fermentor

The FDA also recommends that the product, being silicon based should only be used in beer that can be filtered. There are numerous threads here discussing Ferm-cap you can search as well as a list of alternative products that serve the same purpose.

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Old 05-31-2012, 02:27 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duboman View Post
The FDA also recommends that the product, being silicon based should only be used in beer that can be filtered.
I find that hard to believe, OR the FDA doesn't know what the foam their talking about... I would tend to believe the government/FDA doesn't have a clue when it comes to these things.

From the Crosby-Baker web site on Fermcap-s...

"FermCap S is a unique emulsion of dimethylpolysiloxane. It is an extremely effective, surface active agent that prevents foam formation during fermentation by reducing surface tension. Reduced foaming increases fermentation capacity and prevents mess, improves alpha-acid utilization and CO2 recovery, and prevents hazes due to collapsed foam. Because of FermCap's novel behavior, it completely adsorbs onto the yeast, vessel walls, and filter media. No FermCap remains in the finished beer."

While it does mention 'filter media' it, in no way, recommends filtering. I've also read, from other sources, that it settles out with the yeast/trub and doesn't remain in the finished beer. Unless you're grabbing trub on purpose and putting it into your bottles/kegs that is. Even then, I would expect it to settle into the bottom, and not go into the glass. Unless, of course, you've brewed something that you actually want to have the trub/yeast/etc. in the glass (a wheat perhaps?)...

Personally, I'm not brewing anything where I want trub/sediment in my glass. I'm also kegging (2+ weeks in the brew fridge normally before pouring a pint from a keg) so it essentially gets cold crashed before it goes to glass.
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Old 05-31-2012, 02:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
I find that hard to believe, OR the FDA doesn't know what the foam their talking about... I would tend to believe the government/FDA doesn't have a clue when it comes to these things.

From the Crosby-Baker web site on Fermcap-s...

"FermCap S is a unique emulsion of dimethylpolysiloxane. It is an extremely effective, surface active agent that prevents foam formation during fermentation by reducing surface tension. Reduced foaming increases fermentation capacity and prevents mess, improves alpha-acid utilization and CO2 recovery, and prevents hazes due to collapsed foam. Because of FermCap's novel behavior, it completely adsorbs onto the yeast, vessel walls, and filter media. No FermCap remains in the finished beer."

While it does mention 'filter media' it, in no way, recommends filtering. I've also read, from other sources, that it settles out with the yeast/trub and doesn't remain in the finished beer. Unless you're grabbing trub on purpose and putting it into your bottles/kegs that is. Even then, I would expect it to settle into the bottom, and not go into the glass. Unless, of course, you've brewed something that you actually want to have the trub/yeast/etc. in the glass (a wheat perhaps?)...

Personally, I'm not brewing anything where I want trub/sediment in my glass. I'm also kegging (2+ weeks in the brew fridge normally before pouring a pint from a keg) so it essentially gets cold crashed before it goes to glass.
Not to mention the FDA approves consumption of this product. And the FDA wouldn't make recommendations about what products to use/not use in homebrewing. I'm calling shenanigans.
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Old 05-31-2012, 02:37 AM   #10
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I use it, but haven't noticed any issues. Last beer finished at 1.008.

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