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Old 11-15-2008, 04:35 AM   #1
bagpipebrewer
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Wow...what a week. On Wednesday and Thursday nights, I finally freed a bit of time to work some more brewing. Having only a bit of time on Wed and knowing that I had a free night on Thurs, I figured that I would get myself set up to finally brew the AHS Imperial Stout that I've had on deck for the past month or so. Went to AHS and got the stuff to do my first yeast starter and made another stop at the grocery store to get 5 gals of apple juice (no doubt where that one is going). Wed night, assembled a 5 gal batch of EdWort's Apfelwein and got my starter put together for the stout. All good so far.

Got home from work on Thurs and immediately got started on the stout. Set up outside and started on the mini-mash process. Hit my temps and all is good. Started the boil and had my first struggle to keep it from boiling over. Just made it with the judicious use of a spray bottle of water. Got a good rolling boil going and had a nice hot break (from all appearances). Added the hops (2 oz Chinook for bittering only-if it matters) and set the timer for 60 min. All still good. Dropped in the IC w/15 min to go and got all set up to start the cooling process. Time! Started the water and got it down to 68 deg in 20 min. Yeehah! Great!

As usual, I poured my wort through a sanitized strainer to get into the primary. Usually, in this case, I get tons of break material and will sometimes have problems keeping the pour going because of clogging. This time? Nada. No break. A wee bit of hop/Irish moss sludge and that's it. What's up with that? Anyone have any ideas? Here's my grain bill:
1 lb Crystal 60L, 1/2 lb. black barley, 1/2 lb. black patent, 2.5 lb Maris Otter Pale Malt, 8 lb. dark extract.
What gives? I had good boil and good cooling. Hmm...

Ok...shake it off...everything will be groovy. Pitch and let'er rip last night at about 9:45. Get up this morning and all is good. Bubbles from the stout and the apfelwein is whistling through the airlock like a train. Cool!

Got home tonight to a nice yeasty smell in the house. Took one look at the stout primary...HOLY S$$T!!! The top of the primary is bulged by a full 2" and the airlock is full of black stout! I'm expecting her to blow at any second! Fire in the hole!!! Run to my supply box and grab my siphon tube (still attached to the auto-siphon) to rig a quick blow off. Hurry!...Crap!...tube is freakin' stuck on the auto-siphon. Try to ease it off...gently...FAST...before my kitchen walls and ceiling are painted a lovely black. SNAP! The autosiphon snaps, leaving a thin stub sticking out the end of the tube. (Yes, I learned a few new words of the four letter variety). Ok...what next?? Hmmm...well...that stubby end of the auto siphon looks small enough to just fit into the hole of my stopper on my fermenter. Might as well give it a shot... Now comes the fun part...pulling the airlock from the top of my own wee Mt. Vesuvius. Sanitize the end of my fancy "new" modified blowoff/siphon, put one hand on the airlock, turn my head and....poof!!!...I get a nice little spray of yeasty black goodness before I slam the tube in the hole.

As of this moment, it is now offgassing like a drowning man. Luckily my makeshift blow off has not yet plugged and blown, but it is close. It slows up on occasion, then suddenly clears and blows massive CO2 belches into my cup of StarSan. Meanwhile, the top of my fermenter is rising and falling like an asthmatics chest...

I'm half afraid to go to sleep tonight... But rest assured, I'm listening for that occasional stout belch...

<Sigh> And to think, I was expecting a nice, calm, lazy hobby...

Sorry for the long saga, but I had to vent...

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Old 11-15-2008, 04:41 AM   #2
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Since you lost your siphon, you could just sacrifice an inch or two of hose and snip that end off with the tube stuck in it so it doesn't clog.

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Old 11-15-2008, 04:52 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by ChshreCat View Post
Since you lost your siphon, you could just sacrifice an inch or two of hose and snip that end off with the tube stuck in it so it doesn't clog.
Good call. Thanks. I didn't think that clearly during my panicked efforts to prevent beer-soaked doom. I'll do just that after I RDWHAHB, and repeat a few times, to settle down...

Just noticed that some beer came through the bloody seal on the top and leaked down the sides... Whew...

Good thing I learned to control fermentation temps a couple of batches ago... I shudder to think what would have happed at 75 deg rather than 62 deg... Yikes!
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Old 11-15-2008, 06:28 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by bagpipebrewer View Post
Good thing I learned to control fermentation temps a couple of batches ago... I shudder to think what would have happed at 75 deg rather than 62 deg... Yikes!
You would have been posting pictures of your ceiling to this thread.
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