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Old 04-06-2009, 11:38 AM   #1
7Enigma
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Default Lost 1/2 gallon of AHBS Stone Ruination IPA due to foam. :(

Well this was my first really heavy beer I've made (done about 6-7 batches before, none over ~6-7% alcohol content. The Ruination by Stone (clone kit from Austin Home Brew) is 8%, and has a tremendous amount of hops (4.5oz in boil, 2 oz in secondary) which may or may not contribute to the massive loss.

It was recommended due to the high level of fermentables to double pitch, and so I used 2 packets of the dry yeast recommended. I've always had a nice krausen layer, but since I use a 6.5gallon primary, only one time for a short bit did I enter the airlock with the foam. Well this batch was a different beast. In about 12 hours the krausen layer had risen to the neck (3-4 inches above the liquid level), and by morning it had gone into the airlock (thank god there was no blockage or I would have been reporting a 6.5gallon glass beer bomb in my basement). As it was I took off the airlock and proceeded to watch all of yesterday gallons upon gallons of foam streaming out of the mouth of the carboy. There was so much CO2 production you could actually put your cheek up to the hole and feel a constant cool breeze that if you took a quick snort was pure CO2.

So I'm thinking that the double pitching of dry yeast is an obvious cause as there was twice the yeast amount fermenting, but I'd really like to avoid this in the future. That 1/2 gallon of waste is expensive! Not to mention tasty. I would like to avoid this, and I've heard there are some drops or something to prevent the krausen layer from getting extremely high correct? (or was that just during boiling of the wort?) Is it something that will affect the taste/headiness of the beer?

I would hate to imagine what would have happened if I didn't see check on it and remove the airlock, and in this situation a simple blow off tube in a bucket of bleach water would have still caused me to lose a large amount of beer.

The layer has now fallen back overnight and I reconnected the airlock (had put a plastic baggie loosely over the mouth to prevent contamination. From my starting volume of about 5 1/4 gallons, I'm down to 4 1/2 - 4 3/4. I don't think I should add water when I transfer to secondary because the foam that was coming out probably contained fermentables (tasted like beer, but obviously very acidic from the CO2), and so I don't want to water it down to get back to my 5 gallon level.

Any thoughts for this non-beginner who in this instance feels like one?



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Old 04-06-2009, 12:15 PM   #2
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Since i started using these I have yet to have another boilover or need for a blowoff tube. I recently fermented a hefe using a pretty large starter, and the krausen never rose above about 2 inches. Its pretty awesome stuff.


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Old 04-06-2009, 12:28 PM   #3
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Thanks jjp36, I had looked at that but thought it would only work during the boil and not in the fermenter. Any affect on the head retention after pouring from a primed bottle?

And did you use it during the boil or put it in after? I'm wondering if for it to get mixed in well it has to be hot instead of just a drop or two into the primary...

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Old 04-06-2009, 12:53 PM   #4
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You might try switching to a liquid yeast. I'm not sure what the reason is, but every dry yeast I've pitched has resulted in a violent fermentation requiring a blow off tube. This has not been the case with the liquids yeasts. Try a liquid yeast next time. You'll have a much larger selection and it won't blow your beer out the top of the fermentor.

I use liquid yeast exclusively now and make my own cultures to keep the cost down.

Tom
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Old 04-06-2009, 01:13 PM   #5
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Figbash,

Typically dry yeasts have significantly more yeast than the smack-packs, and so that is why you won't get the same fermentation rate. Unless you have a large starter culture, and incubate the culture well (to keep them healthy and active), a dry pack of yeast is hard to beat for pure alcohol conversion. I use dry due to cost, extremely small chance of contamination, and ease of use (30min hydration with a bit of wort prior to pitching to give them a nice rest period, makes them very happy).

I think I'll probably order a bottle of the anti-foaming formula (once I hear back that it doesn't negatively affect the head of the beer), and probably go back to a single package of yeast, even when doing higher grav beers.

Probably would have been better off just dumping the dry packets into the fermenter (since it would have resulted in a lower viability of the yeast), but that kind of defeats the purpose of using 2 packs in the first place!
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Old 04-06-2009, 01:21 PM   #6
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Depending on your system you may need to add it(foam control drops) during the boil and again into the fermenter. Since my boil kettle drain is on the bottom and I use a CFC I don't usually need to put any in the fermenter. For a big RIS or Hefe I'd still put a drop or two in the fermenter just in case.
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Old 04-06-2009, 01:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7Enigma View Post
Thanks jjp36, I had looked at that but thought it would only work during the boil and not in the fermenter. Any affect on the head retention after pouring from a primed bottle?

And did you use it during the boil or put it in after? I'm wondering if for it to get mixed in well it has to be hot instead of just a drop or two into the primary...
I haven't added it to the fermenter yet, only during the boil. The effects seem to carry over. But on the bottle it says that you can add it during either the boil or during fermentation.

So far I've used it on a hefe, IPA, a Scottish 80/- and a 1.070 chocolate oatmeal stout and none of them have blown off. Head retention is unaffected as far as i can tell. The Scottish should be done bottle conditioning tonight, i'll crack one when i get home and post a pic.
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Old 04-06-2009, 03:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Figbash,

Typically dry yeasts have significantly more yeast than the smack-packs, and so that is why you won't get the same fermentation rate. Unless you have a large starter culture, and incubate the culture well (to keep them healthy and active), a dry pack of yeast is hard to beat for pure alcohol conversion. I use dry due to cost, extremely small chance of contamination, and ease of use (30min hydration with a bit of wort prior to pitching to give them a nice rest period, makes them very happy).
I think you have it backwards.Dry yeast packets will typically provide 50 to 70 billion cells where a White Labs tube or Wyeast smack pack will contain around 100 billion. If it's strictly a numbers thing, the liquid yeast should be the one with a violent fermentation, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

Tom
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Old 04-06-2009, 03:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Figbash View Post
I think you have it backwards.Dry yeast packets will typically provide 50 to 70 billion cells where a White Labs tube or Wyeast smack pack will contain around 100 billion. If it's strictly a numbers thing, the liquid yeast should be the one with a violent fermentation, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

Tom
dry yeast comes in several commonly available size packets; the 11.5 g size has about 200 billion cells
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Old 04-06-2009, 03:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Figbash View Post
I think you have it backwards.Dry yeast packets will typically provide 50 to 70 billion cells where a White Labs tube or Wyeast smack pack will contain around 100 billion. If it's strictly a numbers thing, the liquid yeast should be the one with a violent fermentation, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

Tom
From everything i have read, I think dry yeast always has a higher cell count then liquid.


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