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Old 05-17-2011, 04:55 AM   #1
amartinez
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Default Explosive Fermentation

So I got home from work today and excitedly opened my closet to see if the Hef I brewed yesterday had started fermenting yet and saw this:

Now, once or twice I've noticed that some foam came up through the air lock, but this time the air lock was blown completely off! Now, I've already got some FermCapS in a cart ready to be ordered, but what else could I have done to avoid this? The OG was at 1.042 and I used Nottingham dry yeast rehydrated about 20 minutes before pitching into 75 degree wort. Fermentation temp was around 68 to 70 today, which made me afraid I might have a bit of a sluggish start. Has this happened to anybody else?

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Old 05-17-2011, 05:00 AM   #2
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we've all had blowouts happen. i have a robust coffee porter (og 1.073) fermenting now i put on a nottingham cake. came home next day after work and cleaned up the mess. fortunately, i put newbrews in a tote to save the carpet just in case they blow out, so i just had to clean the ceiling a little

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Old 05-17-2011, 05:02 AM   #3
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I was going to say a hefe yeast usually has that effect, but then saw you used Nottingham. Either way, the best way to avoid that is use a blowoff tube. Be glad that's all it did, I had a hefe in a closet last year that spewed yeast and trub all over the ceiling and our coats and jackets...not pretty. Search blow off, its the best way to go.

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Old 05-17-2011, 07:14 AM   #4
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Kudos for actually posting a pic of said explosion.





Silliness over, it looks like you're using a 5 1/2 gallon carboy, so ignore what I'm about to say if it's larger. Blowoff tubes & cold water baths are your best friend with carboys of that size. I've only bought the 7 1/2 (or whatever) gallon size carboys for just that reason & I've never had a blowout. (Even with a 1.095 OG Belgian Strong ale that I doubled up with on yeast...)

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Old 05-17-2011, 05:22 PM   #5
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Haha, after the initial moment of panic the first thing I did was take a picture.

After it popped the airlock again I setup a blowoff tube and it made the night just fine, so I'll use one of these for primary from now on, at least until the yeasties settle down a bit.

Lesson learned!

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Old 05-17-2011, 05:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amartinez View Post
Haha, after the initial moment of panic the first thing I did was take a picture.

After it popped the airlock again I setup a blowoff tube and it made the night just fine, so I'll use one of these for primary from now on, at least until the yeasties settle down a bit.

Lesson learned!
Make sure you set the other end of the blowoff tube into some sanitized solution. Don't just let it sit in a bucket. Although some people argue that at this stage of the fermentation process there is enough CO2 leaving the tube to prevent anything from entering the beer, I do it just in case. Plus, doing this also lets you see any air bubbles leaving the tube. I just put a little bucket with some starsan so the tube is submerged.

Also, I only have one airlock and my LHBS was closed at the time but I was told to take the cap and the bobble part off the airlock and use 1/2" tubing attached to the inner piece of the airlock. I have an ail pale so this was a good alternative to a stopper and blow-off tube. Problem is, I can't remove the tubing from the airlock center piece now so it looks like I'll need to get some more airlocks.
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:34 PM   #7
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I usually just start out with a blow-off setup on heavier beers (just in case). Then switch to regular airlock when the main action subsides. I have a crazy work schedule and this method let's me worry less about big messes.
Side note: the container that has the hose and sanitizer in it gets set into it's own bucket. I've actually had the blow-off setup overflow on me.

.....that's until I build a couple of those giant fermentation locks from Gary Martin's Hombrewer TV episode #21 (It feeds the blow-off back into the fermenter).

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Old 05-17-2011, 09:32 PM   #8
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I always start with a blow-off tube to be safe. Just wish the blow-off assembly for the better bottle was...better.

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Old 05-20-2011, 11:06 PM   #9
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Default Setup?

In a blowoff tube setup, how far does one insert the end of the tube into the fermenter? Better to leave near the top, or can you jam it down a little ways?

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Old 05-21-2011, 01:11 AM   #10
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I had a batch blow the entire airlock off and had to clean the ceiling. I don't think it was clogged either, I'm pretty staunch about keeping the tubing well scrubbed out.

My wife called it "money shot".

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