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Old 06-07-2009, 12:53 PM   #1
markhagan
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Default Tips for violent fermentation

Crew,

I brewed my fifth all-grain beer Thursday. Pitched the yeast at 9pm and had bubbling by morning.

Yesterday (Saturday) I heard a whistling sound: it was the air-lock. Some bubbles formed around the black plastic ring and there was a lot of beer in the air lock. I have a 7 gal bucket and this brew filled to the 5.5 gal mark. It was bubbling like a machine gun at this point and the top of the bucket was swollen. I called a friend for advice because beer was escaping. He recommended removing the air lock for a few minutes.

I removed the airlock (relieving lots of pressure) and cleaned it. As soon as I re-attached, it started bubbling like mad again. I moved my primary to the kitchen sink "just in case".

Last night (Saturday night) the lid exploded off and shot beer all over my kitchen. I do not know how long it sat in the sink without a lid. I cleaned the lid and airlock (which was, again, full of beer) and re-attached. It is machine-gun bubbling again already.

Will the open-air have harmed my witches brew? Any tips for reducing bucket explosions?

This is the second time I have made this beer, but I perfected a new mash technique which apparently worked. I have never had this problem before.

Edit: The fermenting temp has been 68F so far.



Reason: added temp.
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Old 06-07-2009, 01:02 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markhagan View Post
Will the open-air have harmed my witches brew? Any tips for reducing bucket explosions?
Your beer will be fine. There is a nice blanket of CO2 on top of your beer that will protect it during fermentation. Heck, there are a lot of people here that don't use airlocks, and their beer turns out great.


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Old 06-07-2009, 01:09 PM   #3
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I love these forums. No matter how bad I think I screwed up, RDWHAHB seems to be the response.

I have replaced my airlock with a tube leading to a bucket of water after reading some of the similar threads below.
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Old 06-07-2009, 01:11 PM   #4
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If it's that violent, then their is probably enough outward pressure to prevent anything bad from getting into the beer.

In the future you should use a blow off tube. At least until the fermentation settles down a bit. I don't even use an air lock. I run a tube from the top of the bucket into a jug of water/sanitizer. It works the same as an air lock but has the capacity to expand with big a fermentation.
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Old 06-07-2009, 01:14 PM   #5
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Sometimes, the fermentation gets more violent when it gets too warm. If yours is at 68 degrees, though, that's perfect. I've noticed that I get "bigger" fermentations in the summer time, and I have to more closely watch the temperature on the stick-on thermometer on the side of the fermenter. It can get pretty hot very quickly!

It sounds like the blow off tube is working for you, so there shouldn't be any more beer fountains or explosions!
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Old 06-07-2009, 01:28 PM   #6
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Fermcap-S (defoamer) advocate here. Fantastic product.
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Old 06-07-2009, 01:57 PM   #7
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I had a similar problem with a higher gravity stout. Luckily I caught it before it blew! After a couple attempts at cleaning the airlock and getting it clogged, I removed the lid and just placed it on top of the bucket until fermentation slowed before snapping it on tightly. I read on a post here somewhere that someone had a friend that routinely did this with no ill affects. I have done it twice and am doing right now. I know that a blow off tube would be best, but I have been to busy / lazy to get one set up. I do believe that the vigorous fermentation and resultant off gassing will keep your beer safe until you can snap the lid back down once fermentation slows down.
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Old 07-28-2010, 03:54 PM   #8
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I've been having issues with this of late - my last two beers didn't ferment, they basically had nuclear reactions. And I used a blowoff tube on each occasion. I had the tubes running from the better bottles into a quart mason jar of Star San, and 48 hours after pitching, came down to find about a beer's worth of liquid all over the floor, and covering the inside of my fermentation chamber. What's even more surprising is that after a week of this violence, my current brew (Racer 5 clone) is still stuck at 1.017, even though I mashed at 152 on the nose, and it's been a month!


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