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Old 09-19-2006, 03:59 AM   #1
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Default Doh - Forgot to Sanitize Blow-Off

So, I was in such a rush to get the blow-off on the fermentor, I forgot to sanitize the tubing first. Didn't occur to me for a few hours when I promptly went down, removed the tubing, sanitized, and replaced. Am I screwed???

And now we go AG!

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Old 09-19-2006, 04:38 AM   #2
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Probably not. Don't slosh the brew up to the neck of the carboy.

You could just leave it that way if you don't slosh, but falling kraeusen could pull bad little buggers back down to your beer.

This is what I'd do. Pull out the tube and replace it for a few minutes with a sanitized stopper. It won't be in for long, so even a solid one will do. Sanitize the tube, shake off the excess sanitizer but don't let it dry, then pull the stopper and put the tube back in.


((( EDIT ))) - Oh, I see you already did what I suggested. Great minds, and all.... I say forget it and RDWHAHB.

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Old 09-19-2006, 05:30 AM   #3
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I think that with a ferment that requires a blow-off; in that fight the yeasties will blow away the competition. Don't worry about it.
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Old 09-19-2006, 11:00 AM   #4
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The carbon dioxide produced by the fermentation will kill anything in it's path. I ferment in a 20 gallon food grade trash can, with no tubes or anything. Open fermentation is how I do it!
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Old 09-19-2006, 01:30 PM   #5
I use secondaries. :p
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Originally Posted by Thirstyone
The carbon dioxide produced by the fermentation will kill anything in it's path.
How will the CO2 kill it?
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Old 09-19-2006, 06:44 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Walker-san
How will the CO2 kill it?
The C02 is not breathable, and most strains of bacteria require oxygen for growth. As the yeast converts sugars into alchohol it puts off extreme amounts of C02 which will protect the beer. As you will read closed fermentation can induse stress in yeast! Read this great info

Open Fermentation
by Jim Busch

This article is going to cover the concepts of using open fermenters in
brewing. The debates over open versus closed fermentation will no doubt
continue as long as there are interested brewers to debate. I intend to
present some of my feelings, opinions, and experiences with using open
fermenters, and point out some of the inherent pros/cons of using this
technique. I want to emphasize one thing about this issue: the choice of
fermenters is not going to be *the* deciding factor in your finished product,
many other factors will play a more important part in the character of
your beer. Namely, malt choices, mashing programs, and above all, yeast
strain/viability/cleanliness will be the dominant influences on the finished
beer. Having said this, there are instances where breweries who changed
from open fermenters to closed unitanks have noted distinct changes in the
perceived quality of the beers, when judged by experienced taste panels. [1]

Open fermentation is a concept that most homebrewers think is a sure route
to infected beer, or as something to be employed in some dark cellar in an old
European brewery. I say nonsense! Think for a minute about some of the
best world class beers and then think of how many are made using open
fermenters: Sierra Nevada, Anchor, numerous English, Belgian and yes, even
German brewers use them. It is a common sight in Bavaria to see a brewer
mucking around in the thick krausen on top of the open fermenter, collecting
samples, skimming yeast, generally doing things that homebrewers are told
to avoid. Eric Warner has noted in his excellent book on Wheat beers that
open fermenters are the preferred method of German weizen production [2],
and that when open fermenters are used the yeast can be repitched for many
more generations than when a closed fermenter is used.

So whats an open fermenter? At the simplest, it is a vessel with an
open top. Depending on the size of the fermenter, they are often covered
by some form of lid. The bigger versions are truly open, large shallow
vessels, some are lined with stainless steel or an enamel like coating that
is usually used over a concrete/block foundation. Often the fermenters are
just large stainless steel cylinders. Most, but not all, have some form
of attemperater device, to combat the temperature rise during ferments. This
can be in the form of exterior jacketing, or metal piping that is immersed
in the wort, cold water or glycol is pumped inside the pipes, cooling the
ferment. Probably the most classic open fermenters are the Yorkshire Squares
used at the Samual Smiths brewery in Tadcaster, England. These are made of
flat slate walls, sealed together, with a collecting lid where the excess
krausen is contained.

OK, so your thinking open fermentation only works in big breweries since
they are filtering the air, and keeping the whole room under positive
pressure, and nobody is allowed in. Yes, and no. Sure, lots of breweries
go to the extreme of maintaining a separate room with filtered air. Lots
more don't do anything. Certainly, the breweries in England that I visited
never went to the extreme of filtered air, nor did the breweries in Bavaria
and Belgium. Belgian methods of brewing may seem strange , but the
dominant flavor profiles found in Belgium beers are a result of the choice
of a yeast strain(s) that throws high levels of esters and phenolics, and
rarely a result of some infection in the fermenter (even though this is
the way to produce lambics, the word infection is a misnomer in
this context). Certainly, the Bavarian brewmasters would recoil in horror
if any foreign bacteria or wild yeast were to be found in the open
fermenter, and in practice, they are not a problem.

I did not always use open fermenters, the first hundred or so of
my beers were made with a "closed carboy" system. I put closed in quotes
since the carboy can be fitted with a blowoff tube, resulting in a kind
of hybrid closed/open fermenter. Since fall '92, I have been using a
open fermenter exclusively, and I am a devoted fan of the concept. My
fermenter is a stainless steel cylinder, of roughly equal height to width,
with a heavy lid. If you brew with a 10 or 15 gallon stainless steel kettle,
this can double as your fermenter, once you remove the hot break. Some
brewers employ modified 1/2 BBl Sankey kegs, and these too make excellent
open fermenters. I have also read of brewers modifying Golden Gate kegs and
using these as fermenters. The least desirable, but easiest to start with,
is the plain plastic bucket. The reason I say least desirable is that
cleaning plastic is more difficult than stainless, and the inevitable
scratches in the plastic walls can be harder to sanitize. Even so, I know
of an award winning homebrewer who ferments in food grade plastic trash
cans, and another 2 BBl brewpub who ferments in large High Density Poly-
Ethelyne (HDPE) containers. I have found that as you increase the brew
length (volume of beer produced), it is easier to fabricate some sort of
fermenter that can hold the entire batch. In this way, you will be limiting
the number of vessels to sanitize and clean up. It is far cheaper and easier
to fabricate or modify a container to be an open ferementer than to make a
closed one, particularly as the volume increases. An important consideration
when sizing the fermenter is to account for a large amount of krausen that
can develop during the ferment. Head space of 30% is optimum, but less can
be used, with the result being some possible loss of product (which also
occurs when using the blowoff carboy method).

Of course, there are some limitations to using open fermenters. I believe
they are no more prone to infections than using carboys, but there is an
increased chance for infection if one has numerous fruit flies or other
animals around the fermenter, provided the lid is off. Probably the
biggest limitation is that of time, I do not advise leaving the beer in
the fermenter for more than 2 weeks. Of course, any ferment should be
racked by the second week, so maybe this isn't such a limitation after all.
The reason time is more important in open fermenters is not so much the
proximity of the still beer to dead yeast, but of the danger of oxidation
reactions occurring as the beer sits. In a closed system, this will not
be a problem, but as long as the beer is moved in a timely manner, the
CO2 produced during open fermentation will protect the beer. Another
important factor to consider is the overall cleanliness of the fermentation
area. It need not be sterile, but a reasonable degree of cleanliness is
in order, in particular for fermentation inside of a refrigerator. Many
brewers use a temperature control device to moderate the ferment temperature
inside of a refrigerator. If you use an open fermenter inside of a
refrigerator, be sure to clean all obvious sources of contamination and
general dirt. Some may even want to sponge down the interior of the
refrigerator with a mild sanitizer such as chlorine/water. At the very
least, all spilled trub, yeast and wort should be thoroughly cleaned up.
Household pets should also be prevented from crawling into the fermenting
beer, they may like the results too much! My fermenter is located in the
basement, a few feet off the ground, away from large drafts and any foreign
debris sources.

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