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Old 03-04-2012, 05:02 AM   #1
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Default Need advice after blow-off tube FAIL

I'm brewing my first high gravity beer (OG=1.080). My friend and I went to get large diameter tubing at the brew shop, and we were told that a size that would fit onto the top of our airlock would be sufficient (~1/2" ID).

After about 24 hours of vigorous fermentation, the stopper blew (hose still attached to airlock), I got krausen all over the closet walls and ceiling, and lost about 1 gallon out of 5. That was 5 days ago. Ever since the eruption, fermentation has been sluggish (~1 bubble per 5-10 seconds in an airlock), and now the gravity is 1.030. Obviously it has a way to go, and I'm worried that somehow a bunch of yeast was lost, or perhaps the introduction of oxygen screwed up the fermentation. This is a clone of Trois Pistoles, so I'm using a Belgian abbey ale yeast. Any advice for me? It's been around 70 the whole time, but I don't have many ways to adjust temperature. Should I repitch with more yeast? Or just let it sit and see how low it gets?

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Old 03-04-2012, 05:11 AM   #2
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let it sit, your not even a week in to fermentation. Its hard to be patient but give it at least two more weeks.

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Old 03-04-2012, 05:15 AM   #3
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Yeah, it's one week today, and it's the first time I checked the gravity since the mishap. I usually don't check within the first 1-2 weeks, so I just don't have a good feel for how quickly it should be going down.... but I can hold off another week to see what happens

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Old 03-04-2012, 05:20 AM   #4
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It will vary with each batch, since it did blow off a bunch of yeast you could look at a slightly longer fermentation time.

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Old 03-04-2012, 04:59 PM   #5
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If you didn't cut the tapered end off the airlock, try that next time. It's still a relatively small opening, but it helps.

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Old 03-06-2012, 08:27 AM   #6
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I hadn't given that a look... I have a similar airlock that's not being used right now, and yeah, it's a smaller opening than I would've thought. I just never thought it would be possible for a hole -- even one that small -- to clog and allow enough pressure to build to blast the cork out the way it did.

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Old 03-06-2012, 08:41 AM   #7
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Some of the plastic airlocks have a little plastic crosshair installed in the bottom as well. This type is much more likely to clog. You can just cut the crosshairs out.

Another option is to go with the rubber carboy cap with the two nipples on it. I use these almost exclusively and run a 1/2 blowoff from the center nipple. I've never had one clog yet. I have had the hose come off once or twice if you run it at an angle that puts too much stress on the connection.

Also make sure you get the correct size as glass carboys and the better bottle types have different size openings.

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Old 03-23-2012, 08:45 PM   #8
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Ooh, I like that setup - thanks for the picture. To update the situation, I transferred the beer 2 weeks after brewing (so 12 days post explosion). Since the SG was 1.030 at the time of explosion and is now 1.023, my fears are alleviated. There is obviously still a lot of fermentation going on, and bubbling actually increased after transferring the beer into a new carboy. It's supposed to sit for 2 months before bottling, so now I just wait.
And wait.

And wait.

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