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Old 01-06-2009, 12:18 PM   #1
snailsongs
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Default BOOM! I'm hit, sarge, I'm hit! ....wait, that was my FERMENTOR!

I kid you not, as I was sitting down to my pc to write a post about my 6th brew day, and how successful it was, how I felt like I was in control and had a good understanding of what I was doing and why I was doing it, how everything ran smoothly, and I didn't need to consult any last minute or emergency directions of fixes, I was feeling really good about things. I made a double starter out of two smack packs two days ago because I wanted to ensure that the strong extra stout would ferment as cleanly and fully as possible. I even hit my target gravity on the head for the first time! Nevermind the fact that I almost eliminated any lag-time, as the airlock started bubbling slowly within 3-hours.

Oh, and because that gravity was relatively high (1.073), I was aware that I might need a blowoff tube for the first time. But I was feeling really good bout this batch of beer......first full success......

....So I fastened together a blowoff by cramming my siphoning tube (all I had available yesterday) inside of the inner airlock shaft, as that was the only way I could join the two. This morning, early, I woke up and came downstairs and sat at my computer drinking coffee and reading some of the posts on this excellent forum site. MY fermentor sat 8 feet behind me on a makeshift shelf, squealing and spitting from a small spot at the lids edge, and farting and burping non-stop into the jug of sanitizer the tube was resting in. About 45 minutes ago, as I was laughing heartily about cops and neighbors and misunderstandings over brewing equipment, BOOM!!! gunfire!

the lid of my fermentor clattered to the ground, along with several itemsthat were resting on the makesift shelf near the fermentor, and my walls, ceiling, floor, are covered in beer vomit.

So, I quickly mixed up soem fresh sanitizer and washed the lid and tubing, and this time I placed the tube directly into the opening in the lid, thinking that the tiny spigot tip of the airlock is the most likely spot for a clog to occur. Now it sits, pushing foam and air through the tube furiously, as before. What I'm worried about is whether or not the tube can handle the blowoff.

I can't believe how powerful and violent the fermentation is. I'm forced to ask you all, what now? How many days should I continue to worry that my fermentor is going to blow up again, and is there something better I could rig to ensure it doesn't. right now it's taking turns getting slightly backed up with foam and then bursting out with a flurry of bubbles all at once,which in turn seems to suck the next bit of clogging foam into the tube. wtf, guys and gals?

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Old 01-06-2009, 12:21 PM   #2
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um...what??? SOrry but some of us can't read large blocks of dense texts. As we get older our exyes aren't so good.

It's really helpful if you leave a blank line/white space between each paragraph...

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Old 01-06-2009, 12:34 PM   #3
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Quote:
So, I quickly mixed up soem fresh sanitizer and washed the lid and tubing, and this time I placed the tube directly into the opening in the lid, thinking that the tiny spigot tip of the airlock is the most likely spot for a clog to occur. Now it sits, pushing foam and air through the tube furiously, as before. What I'm worried about is whether or not the tube can handle the blowoff.
Take a hacksaw to the end of the airlock (the little cross-piece); this is likely the point of clog.

What is your fermentation temperature? The violent fermentation could mean you are fermenting slightly too warm, so that may be something to consider.

As far as what to do, set the fermenter into a plastic bin and don't snap the lid down tight. Just set it on top. This will allow the krausen to spill out if necessary and the mess is contained. After fermentation slows, snap it down.
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:35 PM   #4
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:35 PM   #5
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There is a blow off tube that works rather well. It is made from 3/4" PVC tubing and then a small piece of Tygon that fits in the bottle, kinda looks like a hangmans pole. The other suggestion is to get a bigger bottle or bucket.

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Old 01-06-2009, 12:41 PM   #6
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You're right; the small opening of the airlock is usually the culprit. Options:

Take the airlock out and stick the hose into the grommet. I usually do this for the first 2 days and replace with a sanitized airlock.

-or-

Take the airlock out and replace with a freshly laundered towel formed around the grommet. When the vigorous ferment subsides, replace with a sanitized airlock.

With positive airflow during this time, you're pretty safe from critters.

^^^^^^Spaced apropriately for Revvy's consideration.
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:42 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
um...what??? SOrry but some of us can't read large blocks of dense texts. As we get older our exyes aren't so good.

It's really helpful if you leave a blank line/white space between each paragraph...
Actually, it does appear that way on my screen. I put spaces between the paragraphs. I apologize for the verbose text. I have a bad habit of overdoing it.....
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:45 PM   #8
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Congrats!

I think a 5/8"s tube fits over that post. Not a huge size difference, but along with flyangler18 suggested modification, you might survive the next onslaught.

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Old 01-06-2009, 12:45 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by flyangler18 View Post
Take a hacksaw to the end of the airlock (the little cross-piece); this is likely the point of clog.

What is your fermentation temperature? The violent fermentation could mean you are fermenting slightly too warm, so that may be something to consider.

As far as what to do, set the fermenter into a plastic bin and don't snap the lid down tight. Just set it on top. This will allow the krausen to spill out if necessary and the mess is contained. After fermentation slows, snap it down.
this sounds like a good I dea. I considered just setting the lid on there. the problem is, I have little children, and I have to work a 16 hour shift tonight, so chances are good they'd get into it (my 2 year old, especially).
my temp has been between 66-68,but I am going to turn it down and see if that helps. thanks.
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:45 PM   #10
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Actually, it does appear that way on my screen. I put spaces between the paragraphs. I apologize for the verbose text. I have a bad habit of overdoing it.....
No problem...it looked to have the potential to being quite an amusing an well written story, but looked just like a big gray rectangle...now I can go back and enjoy it.
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I gotta tell ya, just between us girls, that Revvy is HOT. Very tall, gorgeous grey hair and a terrific smile. He's very good looking in person, with a charismatic personality... he drives like a ****ing maniac! - YooperBrew

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