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Old 01-15-2014, 08:53 PM   #1
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Default Super Active Fermentation

Fellas,

So I finally started my Schofferhofer Clone brew. Because the recipe called for only a 2.5 gallon batch of hefeweizen, I inquired about the tube of Whitelabs WLP-300 hefeweizen from the brew shop owner who was nice enough to give me the recipe. According to him, I was supposed to pitch the entire tube with no starter, so I did what he said.

I pitched the yeast at about 8:00pm and set the carboy in the dark closet. Because my last batch was a little slower to start, I decided to start with a 3 piece airlock and when I started seeing a decent amount of activity, I would switch over to the blow off valve. Bad idea. When I got up in the morning, the airlock was bubbling about every 10-20 seconds and the water was still very clear. So I figured I would check the next day and then change it over before I had a mess on my hands.

Well long story short, my brewing closet is conveniently located in my manroom where I keep all of my firearms and reloading gear...I was working on a rifle and I heard a strange sound from the closed closet...open the door and what do I find? That within 6 hours of last checking it, the yeast became supe active and caused the krausen to rise out of the carboy and into the airlock. It even spilled over onto the carboy and down onto the floor. I immediately changed to a blow off hose and 86'd the airlock. But once I placed the tube in the bucket, I could not freakin believe how much activity there was. It was constantly bubbling and even seem to have an overload of bubbles for a few seconds at a time...kind of like blowing bubbles in your milk when we were kids.

At the time the water was nice and clean, but as or this morning it was nasty colored and foaming. How often should I change the water and should I attempt to clean out the tube? Or should I wait until it calms down and then maintain it? I know some yeast strains are different, but is it so active because of the 2.5 gallon batch and the fact that I pitched the entire tube? Crazy, but a learning lesson non the less! Keep chacking my clone thread as I will update as I go.

-Sapp

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Old 01-15-2014, 09:03 PM   #2
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I haven't used or needed to use a blow off tube, but my understanding is the standard relax method. First I have heard that wheat beers do tend to be quite active. The part about changing water in the blow off bucket? My guess would be that there is enough pressure and krausen coming out of that primary that you don't have to worry about anything going against the flow for a good long while. Exactly how much headroom did you have in the primary?

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Old 01-15-2014, 09:10 PM   #3
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It was a 3 gallon better bottle and I had a total of 2.5 gallons....so .5 gallons or so. I was instructed to do this by the homebrew store owner. I followed his instructions to the T.

-Sapp

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Old 01-15-2014, 09:15 PM   #4
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As long as the tube was sanitized (it was, right?), I'd let it ride until things calm way down-- Then I'd switch back to a clean and sanitized airlock. The tube will be filled with wort in 30 seconds if it's still at high fermentation so cleaning it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

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Old 01-15-2014, 09:16 PM   #5
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hefeweizen yeasts are very active. this is typical behavior for them. they need a lot of headroom.

there is no hard and fast rule about changing out the water, do it before it becomes too nasty. do you use star san? i use old, discarded star san in my blow-off buckets. that way i don't have to worry about anything in the way crawling up the tube (not that it's a big risk since there is positive pressure from the carboy which is pushing stuff out of the carboy, not into it).

once activity dies down to a dull roar, replace the blow-off with a clean air-lock.

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What hops should I grow? Hop grower's comparison table

Drinking: a belgian pale ale, a belgian imperial stout, an Epic 09.09.09 clone, a brett'ed saison
Carbing: a hop-bursted APA, a citra farmhouse
Fermenting: an abbey ale (to be soured)
Aging: an oud bruin, a BDSA/Dubbel thingy, a soured fruit saison, my "wild oats" brett/sour, a saison with a brett mix added at bottling.
Up next: TBD, probably not brewing again until july.
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Old 01-15-2014, 09:21 PM   #6
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I had the same thing happen to me on my first brew. These were some feedback pointers I got on here:

1. Percentage of fermentable sugars too high(cane, corn, ect...)

2. Wheat beers tend to produce a large Krausen that takes forever to subside.

3. Fermentation Temp was too high. I was unaware that fermentation was exothermic and the temp of the wort is often 8-10 degrees higher than the ambient temperature of the room.

Sounds like you've got some serious fermentation going on! As long as nothing gets sucked back into the beer you should be fine to just wait it out. Anytime I get a really violent fermentation it usually only lasts a few days and then calms back down.

As far as a blow off tube...never used one so I can't help you there. In any case, try lowering the temperature if you can. Fermenting too warm produces esters which ads a whole different level of unintended wierdness.

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Old 01-15-2014, 09:28 PM   #7
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OK dont freak out but this is what I did. Because it was such a mess and was still coming out when I took of the airlock, I felt like I didnt have time to remove the blow off tube from my other batch, clean and sanitize...SO, I removed the blow off tube from my 5 gallon batch (which slowed down and was ready for airlock) and simply placed it into the hefeweizen batch. I then placed a cleaned and sanitized airlock back on the 5 gallon batch. Did I make a big booboo? I figured because the tube was cleaned and sanitized before and the bucket was full of water with sanitizer. At the time, I only ha onestep, but now I finally got some Star San and when I cleaned the bucket and tube/airlock, I will use it.

-Sapp

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Old 01-15-2014, 09:29 PM   #8
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Oh and initial gravity reading was 1.061 and inside temp has been stable at 67F.

-Sapp

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Old 01-15-2014, 09:44 PM   #9
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Oh and lastly, I am not worried about suck back because I place my carboys a good foot above the water level in the buckets with sanitized water.

-Sapp

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Old 01-16-2014, 04:55 AM   #10
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using a few drops of Fermcap can help keep krausen under control.

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What hops should I grow? Hop grower's comparison table

Drinking: a belgian pale ale, a belgian imperial stout, an Epic 09.09.09 clone, a brett'ed saison
Carbing: a hop-bursted APA, a citra farmhouse
Fermenting: an abbey ale (to be soured)
Aging: an oud bruin, a BDSA/Dubbel thingy, a soured fruit saison, my "wild oats" brett/sour, a saison with a brett mix added at bottling.
Up next: TBD, probably not brewing again until july.
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