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Old 06-21-2012, 09:05 PM   #1
tripkings
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Default Panic in the fermentation box.

I just brewed my first batch using my heatstick and new mash tun in order to get full 5gal stovetop batches.

Everything went well and two hours ago I kegged an IPA and pitched this batch on the yeast cake and stuck it in my fermentation box.

I'm sitting here messing around and I'm becoming more and more aware that I'm smelling hops. Like super clean/fresh hop aroma so I go look and sure enough the airlock is rocking and foam is climbing into the airlock. I had been brewing 4 gal batches and was not used to working with less headspace or repitching on a yeast cake..man that yeast is ROCKING!

Anyhow, I decide that all the co2 blanket should protect the beer so I pull the airlock and set a bit of saran wrap on top figuring I'll just do an open ferment for a few hours or a day to let things settle then I'll air lock it.

About 5 min into my very first (forced) open ferment I realized things were going very wrong. I use better bottles so you know how big that opening is? well I was growing a giant foam snake the same size at that opening and fear was setting in that a massive foam snake was going to start trying to overtake the room.

I rememberd that I had some Fermcap from when I was using a smaller brew kettle and boiling with an inch or so of space so I did a quick search....Yep, I thought it can also be used to control foam in the ferment so a mad dash back into the room to discover the next problem...

Ever try to take an eyedropper and place a drop down into a carboy that happens to be shooting out a foam snake as large as the opening? Guess what? It aint easy. The first few drops simply blew over the edge and did absolutly no good. Eventually I figured out how to time it for when the foam snake would burp and I'd jam a drop into the void quickly before it closed up.

Well, after some effort I think I managed to get a few drops down into the carboy itself because the foam seems to be at bay now just below the neck of the better bottle.

Oh man... that was a bit frantic for a while I'm glad I didn't leave the house or else it would have been ugly.

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Old 06-21-2012, 09:30 PM   #2
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wouldn't a BB "big blow off adapter" and some 3/4" pipe been a lot easier?

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Old 06-21-2012, 09:51 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amandabab View Post
wouldn't a BB "big blow off adapter" and some 3/4" pipe been a lot easier?
Sure but for some reason I just wasn't expecting the foam bomb.

I'll be better prepared next time...I got lazy with the 4 gal batches I guess.
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Old 06-21-2012, 10:41 PM   #4
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Nice writing style. Kept it suspenseful. I'm sure Samuel L. Jackson could have helped with the foam-snake, in a pinch.

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Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 06-22-2012, 02:04 AM   #5
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The only problem I've ever had with yeast cakes is controlling the temperature. My method is to chill the wort under 60F before I rack to the yeast cake, and set the temp control for 60F. It won't stay at 60, even with my AC going full blast in the fermentation chamber, but it will keep it in the low -mid 60s(internal temp, not ambient). Otherwise a beer can hit 85F in hours, and that's not a good thing.

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Old 06-22-2012, 02:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corkybstewart View Post
Otherwise a beer can hit 85F in hours, and that's not a good thing.
Yeah, I just checked it and my temp strip was going towards 78... I'm sticking it in an ice water bath right now to cool/slow things down.
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