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Old 10-16-2012, 05:35 PM   #1
swannyson7
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Default Lid blew off my Primary!

I have an Imperial Stout in primary and the lid just blew off my fermenting bucket. I had a blow off tube run into a bottle of sanitizer, but apparently it still wasn't enough. Pretty much all of the krausen blew out of the bucket onto the cieling and I was wondering how this is going to affect the finished product? It's only been fermenting for about 24 hours and I cleaned up ASAP, but will this make it more prone to an infection? With the krausen blow off, will there be an impact on the flavor? Also, do I need to do anything differently now that it's happened? Sorry for all of the questions, but I just want to make sure that I did everything I can if I'm going to be tieing up one of my fermenters for 4 months...

Thanks!

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Old 10-16-2012, 05:41 PM   #2
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I'd say you're more likely than not OK. At this point, the yeast is producing enough positive pressure through CO2 (see, for example, your yeast-covered ceiling) that nothing probably go down into your beer. Either way there's not a ton you can do about it, other than get the lid and blow off tube back on as quickly as possible, and wait and see. But a breach like that would be much more dangerous (but also much less likely) when you're past the most active part of fermentation, as you would have a greater probability of getting uglies in your beer. I'd guess you're probably OK though, other than the mess.

Cheers.

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Old 10-16-2012, 05:43 PM   #3
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Beer should be fine, not much you can do about at this point anyway. Perhaps a larger bucket or a carboy next time. Post pics if you have 'em

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Old 10-16-2012, 05:48 PM   #4
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Sorry, no pics. I already cleaned up before typing this... SWMBO will be home soon and I'd be in deep ____ if she saw the mess! Should I use a couple bar clamps to hold the lid on this time or place some weight on the lid to prevent another mess?

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Old 10-16-2012, 05:50 PM   #5
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Oh, and as far as what to do differently next time, it depends on what your exact setup looked like. With very big beers, I find that the following help:

- using as large a primary as possible--I have a 6.5 gal carboy that I use for this purpose, although on imperial stouts I will still end up with krausen in my blowoff tube sometimes.
- using as large a blow-off tube as possible--you can get 1/2" tubing that will be more difficult to clog, which is what creates your krausen bomb.
- fermenting at slightly lower temps to start--this is not a bad idea for long-fermenting beers in general IMO, since it lets the yeast consume the sugars at a more moderate pace, so your yeast don't go wild for a few days and then drop out from exhaustion and stress. With high gravity beers I think it's better to start a little low on the temp, allow your yeast to get going, then raise the temp slowly into the yeast's sweet spot over the course of maybe 3-6 days. For ex, if I'm doing an imperial stout with WLP007, I'll start at 62F or even 60F, and bring it slowly up to about 66F by about 4-5 days in, at which point it's still very active. It will still ferment like crazy for those first two days, but I haven't had any blowoffs with this method. I know White Labs says the optimal range for WLP007 is 65 to 70, but I still find that starting off a little cool and warming slowly gives a better, more controlled ferment, and I've never had problems with stuck fermentations.

Just my .02

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Old 10-16-2012, 05:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swannyson7 View Post
Sorry, no pics. I already cleaned up before typing this... SWMBO will be home soon and I'd be in deep ____ if she saw the mess! Should I use a couple bar clamps to hold the lid on this time or place some weight on the lid to prevent another mess?
Possibly put something on top of the lid, but I don't know that I would clamp it...if you get another clog, it could just build up pressure until the side of the bucket splits, which would be an awful shame. But you can put a brick on top of the lid so that, if it vents, hopefully it won't fly off again.
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Old 10-16-2012, 06:28 PM   #7
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Welcome to the "Oh Sh*t" club. Your beer should still be viable depending on how long the lid was off and that the lid is still good. I think the worst is over now seeing how all the back pressure has been released. Make sure that your blow off tube isn't clogged and reset. I don't envy you when SWMBO comes home and finds the random bits you didn't see on the walls/ceiling. I know your pain.

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Old 10-16-2012, 07:14 PM   #8
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I had this happen to me with my IPA a couple of weeks ago, with the airlock not the lid- beer is hard to clean up! my 8 month pregnant wife called me at work and asked if I had taken my airlock out and why is there beer dripping off the ceiling of the soon to be nursery... luckily she's pretty awesome and thought it was funny as I came home and cleaned. From then on I decided no more 5 gallon primary, just my 6.5 gal buckets, and the heavy fermenting beers will get the tube treatment, not the bubble airlocks.

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Old 10-16-2012, 08:15 PM   #9
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My wife would not be amused in the least. I had these problems with a 6.5g bucket with 1/2" I.D.tubing for the blow off. I'm afraid to use a larger fermenter because I picture too much headspace giving me other problems. Hopefully it turns out alright in the end!

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Old 10-16-2012, 09:04 PM   #10
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Headspace is, as far as I know, usually an issue only if the beer is going to be sitting for quite a long time. With a big beer, I usually put it in the biggest carboy I have, let it go nuts, then rack to a smaller carboy once primary fermentation is complete, to minimize the headspace issue. Even if it sits on primary for a month, I don't think you have much to worry about...the robust fermentation produces a nice comfy C02 blanket which should protect the beer. But I absolutely agree that when you rack to secondary you want to put it in the right sized carboy, to minimize the beer's contact with 02 and prevent oxidization.

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