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Old 01-22-2012, 03:31 PM   #1
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Default REALLY vigorous fermentation! Help!

Yesterday evening, I finished up an imperial nut brown ale. I was a little worried about how well my yeast would do; I had made a 1L starter (Wyest 1728 Scottish Ale) and added a second smack pack to the batch itself, but dummy me didn't properly puncture both of the internal nutrient chambersof the smack pack, and the pack only inflated about halfway. After discovering ths when I opened the smack pack, I went ahead and pitched the yeast, then cut the nutrient chamber open and dumped it in, as well.

My OG was high - 1.100, when the target was 1.081. Both of my batches have been high... don't know if that's due to me getting concentrated samples in my thief, or due to me getting too many sugars in my beer. Higher gravity (if correct) meant that I had underpitched the yeast, even with the extra pack... I had probably only pitched 270-300 billion cells, and it would need more at the SG. Right?

It looks like my worries were unfounded (at least, at this point) - this morning, I was already getting a good three bubbles per second from the airlock. Note that my total volume for the batch was 5.25 gallons, and I have it in a 6.5 gallon glass carboy.

I have all of one batch under my belt, and had assumed from reading that the head space would give me plenty of room.

I just checked on the carboy (newbie wants to see, you know), and the fermentation has picked up noticeably - to the rate of several bubbles per second, and my airlock itself is starting to blow bubbles. I uncovered the carboy, and you guessed it - the krausen has already filled up all of the available space. I'm getting a very small bit of foam out of the top of my airlock now.

I am getting concerned... should I be? I don't have the setup for a blowoff tube. What are my options at this point?

Thanks for helping out a newbie.

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Old 01-22-2012, 03:36 PM   #2
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Lay some plastic sheeting under the carboy or put it in a pan. Then put a piece of plastic wrap over the top and wrap a rubber band (or string) loosely around the wrap. This should stop the krausen from hitting the ceiling. Once it has stopped foaming over, put the airlock back on.

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Old 01-22-2012, 03:38 PM   #3
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Lay some plastic sheeting under the carboy or put it in a pan. Then put a piece of plastic wrap over the top and wrap a rubber band (or string) loosely around the wrap. This should stop the krausen from hitting the ceiling. Once it has stopped foaming over, put the airlock back on.
Holy crap... you are implying a forceful explosion of foam. Wow.

Since this is in my master medroom closet, that would not be cool.

Thanks!
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Check out the priming sugar calculator and the beer calorie calculator.

Fermenting: nothing
Lagering: Swarthy Satyr (traditional bock)
Bottled: Royal Goblin (Hoppy Hobgoblin rendition), Treasure Type "T" (oatmeal toffee stout), Enchantress (big Irish red ale), Frostfire (Oktoberfest), Thundersmoke brown ale
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Old 01-22-2012, 03:39 PM   #4
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Yes, listen to David! Plus, if you have a stick on thermometer, keep an eye on the temperature- an active fermentation can get very hot, very fast.

If you don't have a stick on thermometer, still do your best to keep the beer at 65 degrees or so even if means sticking it in a bin with cool water to keep it down.

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Old 01-22-2012, 03:44 PM   #5
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Yes, listen to David! Plus, if you have a stick on thermometer, keep an eye on the temperature- an active fermentation can get very hot, very fast.

If you don't have a stick on thermometer, still do your best to keep the beer at 65 degrees or so even if means sticking it in a bin with cool water to keep it down.
Okay, thanks. Ambient in the room is 65-68. I don't have a stick on thermometer. May be time to move it to the basement.
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Check out the priming sugar calculator and the beer calorie calculator.

Fermenting: nothing
Lagering: Swarthy Satyr (traditional bock)
Bottled: Royal Goblin (Hoppy Hobgoblin rendition), Treasure Type "T" (oatmeal toffee stout), Enchantress (big Irish red ale), Frostfire (Oktoberfest), Thundersmoke brown ale
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Old 01-22-2012, 03:46 PM   #6
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Okay, thanks. Ambient in the room is 65-68. I don't have a stick on thermometer. May be time to move it to the basement.
If the ambient is 68, and fermentation is that active, the beer temperature is most likely 75+. You'll want to keep it in the mid 60s if you can. (Those stick on thermometers are great- get one! You can even use an aquarium thermometer from Wal-mart).
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Old 01-22-2012, 03:51 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
If the ambient is 68, and fermentation is that active, the beer temperature is most likely 75+. You'll want to keep it in the mid 60s if you can. (Those stick on thermometers are great- get one! You can even use an aquarium thermometer from Wal-mart).
My cooking thermometer, located in the basement with my brewing equipment, says 62 degrees. Time to get the beer down there.
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Check out the priming sugar calculator and the beer calorie calculator.

Fermenting: nothing
Lagering: Swarthy Satyr (traditional bock)
Bottled: Royal Goblin (Hoppy Hobgoblin rendition), Treasure Type "T" (oatmeal toffee stout), Enchantress (big Irish red ale), Frostfire (Oktoberfest), Thundersmoke brown ale
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Old 01-22-2012, 04:06 PM   #8
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I am getting concerned... should I be? I don't have the setup for a blowoff tube. What are my options at this point?
Thanks for helping out a newbie.
You really don't need much to do this. I suppose you could get complicated with a blowoff, but really you could run to Home Depot and grab a few feet of the tubing to make a blowoff for like $2 or something. Then all you need is a simple bucket of water to divert the tube to. Are you in the sticks or something?
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Old 01-22-2012, 04:11 PM   #9
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Also, what type of airlock are you using? Is it the S-type or three peice? YOu may be able to take the lid off of the three-piece if it is one, pull out the plastic peice on the inside and attach one of your racking hoses to the tube in the airlock. This will make a blow-off, but you'll want to keep an eye out for clogs..no more so than you need to now I suppose

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Old 01-22-2012, 04:18 PM   #10
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A video of the three-piece and a racking hose:

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