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Old 05-02-2011, 01:50 PM   #1
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Default Top-cropping and headspace

Okay, did some searching in past posts so I think I have answered my question, but I just want to test my understanding:

Wyeast 3944 is "a true top cropping yeast requiring full fermenter headspace of 33%." But that's just if you aren't using a blowoff hose, right? i.e. there's not some biochemical "thing" that happens in the big krausen that makes it so you really want the headspace instead?

Not that it matters right now, it's already pushing its way out the end of the blowoff tube, so trying to do something stupid like racking it to a bigger fermenter is out of the question. It's RDWHAHB on this batch either way; I'm just wondering for future reference.

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Old 05-02-2011, 02:26 PM   #2
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You just lose all your yeast through the blow off tube. Ideally, I think you want the head space to allow room for the yeast. I wouldn't sweat it if you there was only 25% room and had to use a blow off to catch some of it.

You should post a pic of the krausen if possible. It would be cool to see one with a true top cropper.

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Old 05-02-2011, 02:30 PM   #3
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as PTray mentioned you want the headspace to keep your yeast in the fermentation chamber, if you go with too little headspace your going to lose enough yeast that your yeast is going to strain itself reproducing. not ideal.

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Old 05-02-2011, 02:35 PM   #4
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Hrm, this is not good... I have like 3 or 4 INCHES headspace, and I was already concerned about the pitch rate because this is a high gravity beer. Crap, any suggestions? Pitch more in a few days? RDWHAHB?

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Old 05-02-2011, 02:37 PM   #5
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I'm a little annoyed because I would have thought JHB would mention this nonstandard requirement in the recipe (basing it off the Grand Cru recipe)

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Old 05-02-2011, 02:40 PM   #6
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Go to the source, shoot Wyeast an e-mail.

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Old 05-02-2011, 02:44 PM   #7
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As long as you allow 33% headspace you should be fine.

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Old 05-02-2011, 03:29 PM   #8
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Here is the 5-gallon carboy it is fermenting in. I'm guessing that's maybe 5% headspace. D'oh...



And here is the business end of the blowout hose. I pitched this less than 8 hours ago. I'm thinking I'm in some trouble here... :/



I guess I'll e-mail Wyeast. Dammit, why didn't I download the spec sheet before I pitched?

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Old 05-02-2011, 04:19 PM   #9
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Well, it's a really quite active fermentation for only a little more than T+08 hours since pitching. Maybe I'll get away with it because of that, i.e. maybe it's reproducing so fast in the early stages I'll get away with losing a lot of yeast out the hose. I'm still hoping somebody will come along and say, "I've had this happen, and here's what I did..." or whatever... but I suppose if not, and if Wyeast doesn't have any suggestions, I'll just wait a few days until fermentation slows down, take a gravity reading, and go from there.

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Old 05-02-2011, 04:25 PM   #10
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I noticed your carboy is on a counter. At what temperature are you fermenting? Lowering the temp might help. It would lessen esters but may also decrease the rate of fermentation...

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