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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > carboy vs. bucket... blow off tube... oh look all my yeast is in a bucket.

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Old 03-10-2010, 03:30 PM   #1
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Default carboy vs. bucket... blow off tube... oh look all my yeast is in a bucket.

I've been trying to start some higher gravity beers so I'm either using a good yeast starter or pitching yeast from a previous brew.

my question is I'm getting a strong initial reaction so I getting a good population of yeast only if I'm using a carboy it either blows the top or if I use a blow off tube I find a huge yeast population in the bucket of water next to the carboy. this is the yeast that I feel I need since the first batch of higher gravity beer I did ended up with a 1.03 finish gravity and is way too sweet.

the batch i brewed this past friday is barely bubbling now and I just want to toss the whole batch and say screw it. why spend another month messing with it only to have lots of residual sugars.

should I just not use a 6 gallon carboy or find something with more head room? I kind of like using carboys cause I can siphon the beer to a 5 gallon carboy without really introducing as much air.

please help.

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Old 03-10-2010, 03:39 PM   #2
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Soooo. Why not just use a bucket?

There is growing support that a fair amount of blow off is actuially benificial to the beer stability and flavor.

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Old 03-10-2010, 03:39 PM   #3
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use some fermcap to keep the fermentation under control. Also if you end up with a beer that has too many residual sugars you can rack onto a fresh yeast cake to try to bring it down more.

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Old 03-10-2010, 03:40 PM   #4
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Exactly how much beer are you putting in your six gallon carboy?

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Old 03-10-2010, 04:17 PM   #5
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I doubt you're losing much yeast through the blowoff tube, compared to the billions that are staying in the wort.

Do you know what the attenuation (percentage) is? Is it close to what the yeast is supposed to attenuate at? Are you doing all grain batches? If so, what temp are you doing your saccharification rest (which determines the ratio of fermentable and unfermentable sugars)?

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Old 03-10-2010, 04:20 PM   #6
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five gallons. this never seemed to be a problem before I started doing yeast starters for higher gravity beers, but my understanding is I need more yeast to convert the larger quantity of sugars so I don't see how having a bunch of yeast blow off would be helpful.

so fermcap. I just checked the thread about it and it sounds like my new best friend.

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Old 03-10-2010, 04:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frodo View Post
...what temp are you doing your saccharification rest (which determines the ratio of fermentable and unfermentable sugars)?
I have a side question here. Is there a formula to determine the ratio of fermentables to unfermentables at various saccharification rest temperatures?
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Old 03-10-2010, 04:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frodo View Post
I doubt you're losing much yeast through the blowoff tube, compared to the billions that are staying in the wort.

Do you know what the attenuation (percentage) is? Is it close to what the yeast is supposed to attenuate at? Are you doing all grain batches? If so, what temp are you doing your saccharification rest (which determines the ratio of fermentable and unfermentable sugars)?

I'm doing extract.

WLP023 Burton Ale Yeast
From the famous brewing town of Burton upon Trent, England, this yeast is packed with character. It provides delicious subtle fruity flavors like apple, clover honey and pear. Great for all English styles, IPA's, bitters, and pales. Excellent in porters and stouts.
Attenuation: 69-75%
Flocculation: Medium
Optimum Fermentation Temperature: 68-73°F
Alcohol Tolerance: Medium
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Old 03-10-2010, 06:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mightynintendo View Post
I have a side question here. Is there a formula to determine the ratio of fermentables to unfermentables at various saccharification rest temperatures?
I don't think it's as easy as a simple formula. Sorry if I made it seem like you could calculate a "ratio". There's a full discussion and charts about enzymes, starch, pH, and what types of sugars you're going to get out of the mash at various temperatures and various pH in Palmer's "How to Brew". Just for example, if you mash at 150 F compared to 154 F with an equivalent pH, theoretically you'll get more fermentable sugars.
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Old 03-10-2010, 06:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chepi View Post
I'm doing extract.

WLP023 Burton Ale Yeast
From the famous brewing town of Burton upon Trent, England, this yeast is packed with character. It provides delicious subtle fruity flavors like apple, clover honey and pear. Great for all English styles, IPA's, bitters, and pales. Excellent in porters and stouts.
Attenuation: 69-75%
Flocculation: Medium
Optimum Fermentation Temperature: 68-73°F
Alcohol Tolerance: Medium
Check out: http://www.whitelabs.com/beer/strains_wlp023.html

There is a FAQ section at the bottom where they address a case of low attenuation with a high gravity beer (1.078) with the WLP023 yeast - and they do mention loss of yeast from the blow-off tube. To quote the FAQ: "Burton Ale yeast is so top cropping that a good portion of the yeast could have been lost that way." They then state: "Even so, the best way to speed it up now would be to transfer it into another container. That helps mix it around and break out CO2 that could be repressing the yeast. But make sure you transfer over the yeast cake as well, it is easy to leave behind and this transfer is to spurn the yeast forward, not to separate it out. If you can’t transfer, at least shake the carboy for 2 minutes to rouse the yeast and break out gas."

But I don't know if I'd be shaking the carboy for 2 minutes... I think you'd be oxidizing the beer if you did that.
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