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Old 12-15-2012, 03:49 AM   #1
johnsonbrew
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Default Serious Fermentaion

I have a question about the initial fermentation. I have brewed several beers this year, this year being my first. I have about 20 beers under my belt and have yet to experience this. I brewed an IPA a few weeks ago and the vicious fermentation stage blew off nearly a gallon of wort. I always expect to lose a quart or maybe two, but this was twice that of any beer I have brewed before. I hate losing that much beer, I like my beer and dont want it wasted. Is there a way to control it a bit.

Also, I am having a difficult time getting it to ferment all the way out. I am finishing up to 8 points higher than it should e.g. a final gravity that should it 1.012 will be 1.020 or 1.022. What can I do to get it to ferment out all the way?

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Old 12-15-2012, 04:04 AM   #2
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If you are using a fermentation lock, try a blow off tube the first few days. That's what I do on my IPAs.

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Old 12-15-2012, 04:07 AM   #3
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I do, I had to remove overflow fluid twice to keep from overflowing in my bucket

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Old 12-15-2012, 04:14 AM   #4
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What size is your fermentor and batch? What is the gravity and style of your brews, desired FG and how long do they ferment?

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Old 12-15-2012, 04:17 AM   #5
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Sounds like your ferm temps are too high. When using S-04, for example, I like the ambient temp anywhere from 55-60, so Ill always have a nice slow start without excessive activity. I use to ferment at way too high of temps and I would blow off quite a bit wort the first few days.

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Old 12-15-2012, 04:46 PM   #6
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I try to pitch the yeast below 78 degrees, the ambient temp of the room I ferment in is usually between 68-70 during normal temps, winter time is gets a little cooler but not much. The fermentation temp of the beer in the carboy is usually between 66-70 degrees not a lot of varience. I keep it off the floor as it is concrete and I dont want the temp to fall to quickly, I insulate the bottome of the carboy during the winter to keep that from happening also.

This batch that I was refering to was an IPA 3 gallon boil in a 5 gallon carboy, water brought close to the 5 gallon mark in the carboy. I always get blow off but nothing like this, I lost a lot of beer which I dont want to happen because I would rather drink it. The OG was 1.064 I wanted it to ferment out about 1.014 or 1.016 but it ended up at 1.20, not too far off but I have never hit the FG mark. I know I need to build a fermentor chest to keep the temp more regulated but space is an issue, I was wondering about a carboy warmer or something like that, do they work. I see on ebay you can get them for about $30 with free shipping. I thought it would help to keep a more constant temperature.

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Old 12-15-2012, 05:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnsonbrew View Post
I try to pitch the yeast below 78 degrees, the ambient temp of the room I ferment in is usually between 68-70 during normal temps, winter time is gets a little cooler but not much. The fermentation temp of the beer in the carboy is usually between 66-70 degrees not a lot of varience. I keep it off the floor as it is concrete and I dont want the temp to fall to quickly, I insulate the bottome of the carboy during the winter to keep that from happening also.

This batch that I was refering to was an IPA 3 gallon boil in a 5 gallon carboy, water brought close to the 5 gallon mark in the carboy. I always get blow off but nothing like this, I lost a lot of beer which I dont want to happen because I would rather drink it. The OG was 1.064 I wanted it to ferment out about 1.014 or 1.016 but it ended up at 1.20, not too far off but I have never hit the FG mark. I know I need to build a fermentor chest to keep the temp more regulated but space is an issue, I was wondering about a carboy warmer or something like that, do they work. I see on ebay you can get them for about $30 with free shipping. I thought it would help to keep a more constant temperature.
You are pitching WAY too hot. That is a sure way to get diacetyl. You want to pitch cooler and allow it to ramp up to the temp you want to hold it at. Keep in mind that if you have it at 70, it's probably 75-80 in the carboy during the initial slam of fermentation.


So you have two issues. One, you are fermenting too high, causing it to go wild early on, and excessive blow off. That is coupled by the fact you are trying to ferment 5 gallons in a 5 gallon carboy. Not going to work no matter HOW well you do it. Also, are you making starters, or pitching the right amount of yeast? If you underpitch you could be stalling out in some cases because of it.

Another thing.. are you all grain, or extract? In most cases, I think your 1.020 will be pretty close to the end. Extract, plus some specialty grains will leave alot of residual sugars, hence the higher FG. If you are all grain, then you need to check your thermometer and make sure you are mashing where you think you are, and in that case, mash lower to help it finish lower.
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Old 12-15-2012, 09:00 PM   #8
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Ok all of that makes sense. There is probably about 4 3/4 gallons in my carboy, this is the basica carboy that is sold in all the LHBS and comes with their kits and is used with their instructions for a 5 gallon batch. I know you arent supposed to have too much head space for your beer and oxygen can be an issue so what size carboy is best for a 5 gallon batch of beer.

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Old 12-15-2012, 09:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnsonbrew View Post
I have a question about the initial fermentation. I have brewed several beers this year, this year being my first. I have about 20 beers under my belt and have yet to experience this. I brewed an IPA a few weeks ago and the vicious fermentation stage blew off nearly a gallon of wort. I always expect to lose a quart or maybe two, but this was twice that of any beer I have brewed before. I hate losing that much beer, I like my beer and dont want it wasted. Is there a way to control it a bit.

Also, I am having a difficult time getting it to ferment all the way out. I am finishing up to 8 points higher than it should e.g. a final gravity that should it 1.012 will be 1.020 or 1.022. What can I do to get it to ferment out all the way?
What yeast did you use? Also, as others have mentioned, cooling the fermentation temp down should help, as would 5-10 drops of Fermcap-S

Rick
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Old 12-15-2012, 10:07 PM   #10
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Ok all of that makes sense. There is probably about 4 3/4 gallons in my carboy, this is the basica carboy that is sold in all the LHBS and comes with their kits and is used with their instructions for a 5 gallon batch. I know you arent supposed to have too much head space for your beer and oxygen can be an issue so what size carboy is best for a 5 gallon batch of beer.
Headspace is an issue when you are DONE fermenting, as in, prolonged aging of a beer.

When you ferment, your headspace will be filled with Co2, which will leave a blanket on the beer, which is what you want.

However, the krausen will take up some space, hence why you need atleast a 6gal better bottle, or a 6.5 gal glass carboy to do it safely.

I had a 5 gal russian imperial stout that blew out the top of my 6.5 gal carboy and I had to use a blow off tube. Big beer over 1.100 though.

Look for a bucket, or a carboy over 6G to do it safely.
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