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Old 06-21-2012, 11:02 PM   #1
CrossBones
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Default Explosion!

Aaaaaugh!

I just checked on the fermentation of my latest batch, a clone of Iron Rat Stout, and when I opened the door to my cooler I was shocked to find that the lid to my fermenter (plastic bucket) had partially blown off. It looked as though the krausen had expanded into the vapor lock and gummed it up, causing pressure to build until the lid popped.

A couple of questions:

1. Is the beer still good? It's been sitting inside the cooler exposed to air for up to two days.

2. What would cause this to happen? I've never experienced this before, and don't know what I did wrong - or how to prevent it again.

Incidentally, my cooler is a converted upright freezer with a temperature controller installed. I was fermenting the beer at 63+/- degrees. I brewed on Saturday, and checked the cooler a couple of times during the week to make sure the vapor lock was bubbling - it looked like everything was going as it should. Help!

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Old 06-21-2012, 11:16 PM   #2
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First, relax. You're still good.

1. Yes, your beer is likely still good.
2. Very active fermentation. To prevent it, rig a blow-off tube. The crud will not be able to blow the lid off.

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Old 06-22-2012, 12:01 AM   #3
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Is this a stout or RIS? And rig up a blow off tube that goes into a gallon jug filled with sanitized water. I'm surprised my RIS didn't have any blow off. Kinda made me sad after hearing all these blow off stories!

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Old 06-22-2012, 12:05 AM   #4
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Also make sure to really strain your brews. Especially if you have really fine hop particles in it. This is what usually gums up the airlocks. Blow-off tubes are better.

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Old 06-24-2012, 10:44 PM   #5
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Ghall, you mentioned straining my brew. I've read about this in the past, and honestly never got the sense that a majority of people thought it was a good idea. What would I strain it with, and when? How do you do it?

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Old 06-24-2012, 11:22 PM   #6
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I have absolutely stopped using airlocks during the first week of fermentation. I've had big beers with 3 gallons of headspace end up needing blowoff tubes. Every beer, regardless of how much headspace it has gets a blowoff tube for the first 7 days, then swapped out with an airlock. I've come home from work to too many explosions - twice was enough. The only drag is the loss in beer.

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Old 06-24-2012, 11:26 PM   #7
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I strain after I cool the wort as I am putting it into my primary. I don't see why you wouldn't do this, most do. Don't strain later after fermentation has started. This will oxidize your beer. Prior to fermentation and after cooling you want to shake it up as much as possible to get oxygen in the beer which yeast need to get a healthy start.

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Old 06-24-2012, 11:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghall View Post
I strain after I cool the wort as I am putting it into my primary. I don't see why you wouldn't do this, most do. Don't strain later after fermentation has started. This will oxidize your beer. Prior to fermentation and after cooling you want to shake it up as much as possible to get oxygen in the beer which yeast need to get a healthy start.
I don't strain my beer at all and I don't cold crash. My beer still turns out perfectly clear because I leave it in the fermenter for a month before bottling or aging.
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Old 06-25-2012, 12:07 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrossBones
Ghall, you mentioned straining my brew. I've read about this in the past, and honestly never got the sense that a majority of people thought it was a good idea. What would I strain it with, and when? How do you do it?
If you use a carboy as a primary straining is the easiest thing in the world, just get a big funnel and drop a strainer in the funnel. If you use a plastic bucket, go to a kitchen gadget store or the hardware store and buy a big strainer/close nit mesh and put it over the bucket.
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:16 AM   #10
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I just leave my lid loose for the first few days.

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