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Old 03-10-2010, 04:02 AM   #1
WollenBrew
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Default Imperial Stout Blowout Question

Brewed Northernbrewer's Imperial Stout on Monday night. Woke up this morning and went to take a look and unbelievably, the blow-off tube had... blown off. Fortunately, not a huge mess, just kind of a slow foamy volcano kind of thing coming out of the top and running down the sides. However, this first 24 hours of fermentation has been unbelievably active. I've lost roughly one gallon of liquid. Not just the foam/krausen... but actual wort.

So, my question is this: Should I add water to this brew at some point to get my volume back up to about 5 gallons?

A couple of things... I know this will lower my ABV, but I'm not terribly worried about that. I mean, this thing started off with an OG of 1.092. Secondly, if I were to add a gallon of boiled and cooled water, when would I add it? During my transfer to secondary? Right before bottling?

I'd really like to know because as it stands, this thing is still fermenting like a mad dog and I have a feeling I'm going to be lucky if I get over 1 1/2 cases of bottled beer out of it.

Thanks!

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Old 03-10-2010, 01:14 PM   #2
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I would just leave it alone. If you add water it's going to drop not only the OG but the color and the body. If you try anything I would say do a small batch of wort to the same OG that you started with and even scale down the grains so your beer comes out how you wanted it. Mostly though I would just let it be and see how it comes out. The most I've ever lost is 2 or 3 bottles and that was a huge blowoff.

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Old 03-10-2010, 01:41 PM   #3
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Congrats on your strong fermentation. OG 1.092 is very high and it is not easy to achieve strong fermentation with that sort of gravity.

As for your problem I would say, leave it alone as watering down beer is always not cool. If you are worried about the strong fermentation, I would cool the wort to the lower range of the yeast's functional temperature. That would help a bit.

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Old 03-10-2010, 09:35 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies, gentlemen. The vote is don't water it down and so it shall be.

The fermentation has slowed down finally and it looks like I have 4 gallons of fermenting wort. Room temp is just under 60 degrees, so fermentation temp is probably about 65 degrees, I'd guess. We'll see how things progress.

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Old 03-10-2010, 09:38 PM   #5
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Your ABV may actually be higher.

More fermentables may be near the bottom, so you may have dumped some slightly weaker wort.

Either way, no noticeable difference........except less of it!

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Old 03-10-2010, 10:06 PM   #6
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Interesting... however, I did aerate the wort for about 40 minutes before pitching. I've noticed that if I get good aeration, I tend to get more vigorous fermentation at the beginning. And, believe it or not, all from US-04 dry yeast, soaked in water (boiled and cooled prior to introducing the yeast) for 20 minutes prior to pitching. I was actually concerned that I would need a starter on this one.

Well, I'll hope for the best and hopefully enjoy the results in 4 months or so.

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Old 03-10-2010, 10:34 PM   #7
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When I do a batch with blowout potential, I try to run the fermentation a little cooler than usual. I put the fermenter in a cooler and surround it with some frozen plastic water bottles (I don't have a refrigerator dedicated for fermentation, so I use igloo coolers). I find that refreshing the frozen bottles every 12 hours or so is usually adequate, and the fermentation can be restrained by the cooler temperature. This can greatly reduce the chance of a blowout.

For an ale, I might aim for 60 F, plus or minus a few degrees.

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