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Old 08-31-2009, 03:29 AM   #1
Lucretius
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Default 6.5 Gallon Fermenter Wasn't Big Enough...

So, I brewed my third batch with the help of a friend on Friday. I found a recipe and then tweaked it a ton to fit my ingredients. It is a stout containing:

-5/3 c roasted barley
-10 oz brown sugar
-1.5 oz Mt. Hood (bittering)
-1.25 oz Northern Brewer (flavor)
-.5 oz Mt. Hood (aroma)
-8 lbs of Dark DME

2 pkgs of Coopers Yeast (7g)

I put it in my 6.5 gallon fermenter, put the airlock in and put it in the closet for the night. Saturday morning I go to check on it before I leave for work... so glad I did. The airlock was filled and krausen was making it's way out the top, the sides of the fermenter were soaked, but fortunately the floor was still pretty safe. I pulled the fermenter out and worked desperately to get a blowoff hose in the airlock hole. So much krausen was coming out, I even have some marks on my ceiling I had to clean up it was so pressurized! Fortunately all is well and I got the hose in there. The fermentation has greatly subsided now but for a while there it was going to town.

I thought my 6.5 gallon fermenter could hold anything except a barley wine without a blowoff hose. Was it the fact that I had 14g of dry yeast in there, or was it the 8 lbs of DME that did me in?

(The OG on this beer is 1.080, my highest yet - the hydrometer tells me it corresponds to a possible alcohol of around 12%. I hope this turns out well!)



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Old 08-31-2009, 03:30 AM   #2
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Big beer + good yeast = major fun!



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Old 08-31-2009, 06:26 AM   #3
davesrose
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucretius View Post
(The OG on this beer is 1.080, my highest yet - the hydrometer tells me it corresponds to a possible alcohol of around 12%. I hope this turns out well!)
The hydrometer isn't calibrated for beer: 1.080 doesn't yeild 12% abv for beer. Here's a quick calculator for abv:

Rooftop Brew » ABV Calculator Results

A strong ale does tend to bring on more krausen, but amount of it depends on several factors: OG is one aspect: so is fermentation temp, as well as types of grain used. I've gotten to the point of only using airlocks for my secondary: I just default to blow off tubes now.
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Old 08-31-2009, 12:28 PM   #4
COLObrewer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucretius View Post
I thought my 6.5 gallon fermenter could hold anything except a barley wine without a blowoff hose. Was it the fact that I had 14g of dry yeast in there, or was it the 8 lbs of DME that did me in?

(The OG on this beer is 1.080, my highest yet - the hydrometer tells me it corresponds to a possible alcohol of around 12%. I hope this turns out well!)
Sir, You'll find that a blowoff tube is your friend, I now use it on all primary fermentations until krausen has fallen. I've stopped trying to predict which brew will blow off, too many variables to predict. Yeast have a mind of their own.

As a side note, when you do use an airlock, in my opinion it is better to use cheap vodka to fill it in case you pull a vacuum when pulling it out or removing the lid so that if some gets sucked in the fermentor all it does is add alcohol instead of adding possible unwanted organisms. brew on
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Old 08-31-2009, 02:00 PM   #5
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Some beers just ferment stronger than others. As the man before me said you just never know. My first was a Hefeweizen that blew the crap out of my 6 1/2 gallon glass carboy; my last one I did was a cream ale with Kolsch yeast that has had a long drawn out sluggish fermentation that my 6 gallon Better Bottle hasn't come close to being overran with and still has plenty of head space.

Believe it or not you can use a blow off tube from start to finish. I actually prefer that peace of mind. The only time I generally put on an air lock is if it is obvious I am not going to need a tube on the second or third day of fermentation, or when I do secondary, but I put mine on every time I pitch until it's proven unnecessary.



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