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Old 06-17-2007, 04:57 PM   #1
PitsPale
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Default Belgian Wit and Blow-Over questions

So a buddy of mine brewed up a Belgian Wit using a recipe I cobbled together from several sources and recipes.

Here's what we used - How does this sound?

1# Flaked Wheat (Steeped while water came to boil)
.5# Flaked Oates (steeped while water came to boil)
3# Extra Pale DME
3# Wheat DME
1 oz. East Kent Goldings (boil for 60)
.5 oz. Saaz (boil for 15 minues)
.75 oz. Crushed Corriander (boil for 15 minutes)
.5 oz. Saaz (boil for 5 minutes)
1 oz Bitter Orange (boil for 5 minutes)
Wyeast 3944 (Belgian Wit)

We racked it to a plastic bucket primary with a 2 piece airlock. Somehow in the mix up (my wife was having a bunch of people over right as we were finishing) I forgot to take a starting gravity reading.

Which leads me to part to. Blow-Overs. I checked this morning and I have an airlock full of Belgian Wit. I'm hesitant to remove the airlock and mess with it while it's actively fermenting as it is. What should I do? Hold off, wait until things calm down and replace the airlock when major activity ceases? Obviously next time, check the gravity and use a blow-off tube (which I don't have access to right now). For the interim, I'm thinking of putting a pint glass upside down on over the airlock to contain any major explosions. Will I have any problems handling it this way?

Thanks for the help.

Andy

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Old 06-17-2007, 05:28 PM   #2
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Pitspale I had my airlock in a rubber bushing in the 5 gal glass carboy blow off on the first night. I boiled some water, threw it in and then cleaned the upper part of the mouth of the carboy with a moist paper towel with a little clorox spray for sanitation. The wort had plenty action so I figured the CO2 will push out any room air that might be near the opening. The fermentation nearly went to sleep the next day, and I tried to convince myself it was ready to bottle but the tiny bubbles seemed like maybe a little more going on. Finally it jumpstarted fermentation again as if it was "stuck" and got a 1/4" of foam on top all over. Now 23 days in it again appears ready to bottle. Good luck.

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Old 06-17-2007, 07:22 PM   #3
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Okay, so quick update...

The top blew off the fermenter. I was able to quickly replace it with a spare lid with a clean airlock. Turns out that some hop or bitter orange particles that made it into the fermentor (note to self, use steeping bags in the future) had managed to clog the vent pretty good so the CO2 had no place else to vent. It's bubbling away happily now. I think I need to invest in a blow-off tube.

Is this normal with this style of beer? Is it the wheat malts or the yeast strain that causes them to ferment so vigorously?

Andy

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Old 06-17-2007, 07:27 PM   #4
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It's common with wheats, I think it's the wheat more than the yeast but I could be wrong about that.

If you have a 3pc airlock you can use just the bottom piece and put a tube on the center post. Also, if it's the kind that has a little X of plastic on the very bottom, snap off the X pieces.

I hope that makes sense.

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Old 06-17-2007, 09:04 PM   #5
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it's the yeast. belgian and wheat strains have very vigorous fermentations...i always use a blow-off with these guys.

and you can always replace the airlock immediately (with blowoff if possible). don't be concerned about your beer...there's plenty of co2 rising up to keep out any undesirables while you make the switch.

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Old 06-18-2007, 03:25 AM   #6
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Yeah - so lesson learned. I've done plenty of wheats - but this was my first belgian wit... I'll be investing in a good blow-off system for the future.

That being said - This thing blew the lid on my fermentor 3 times today due to clogging the airlock so I quickly fashioned a blowoff tube using some old 3/8" transfer tubing. I'll be using a glass carboy with a blow-off tube from now on.

I'm out of vodka so I'm using sanitized water - I'm assuming that's cool.

Andy

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Old 06-18-2007, 04:13 PM   #7
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I just replace the airlock with some 3/8" tubing for a blow-off. Should be much less likely to get clogged than an airlock. Still possible I suppose but I have had 4 beers now take advantage of my blowoff without a problem. Once things settle down I just pull out the tube and stick the airlock in.

Craig

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Old 06-18-2007, 04:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBBaron
I just replace the airlock with some 3/8" tubing for a blow-off. Should be much less likely to get clogged than an airlock. Still possible I suppose but I have had 4 beers now take advantage of my blowoff without a problem. Once things settle down I just pull out the tube and stick the airlock in.

Craig
That's exactly what I did. This morning, the line was filled with beer and the pitcher was no longer just sanitized water. Crazy stuff!

How long does Wit yeast (Wyeast 3944) continue to be explosive before I can replace it with a standard airlock?

Andy
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Old 06-22-2007, 03:19 PM   #9
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I'm brewing a belgium wit this weekend. Should I just use a blow off tub right away? I have seen the pics of some exposions and my wife will really kill me (no for real you don't know her!) if I coat the basment in wort. I have a 3 piece airlock now and it could be turned into a blow off tube

g

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Old 06-22-2007, 04:23 PM   #10
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Yes, just make sure it is sanitized! A blowoff into a bucket of sanitizer IS an airlock. It is just a really big one.

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