Will this technique work to prevent boilovers? - Home Brew Forums
Register Now For Free!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Will this technique work to prevent boilovers?

Thread Tools
Old 11-23-2009, 05:08 PM   #1
Jul 2007
Posts: 67


The relevant section is:

The quick and dirty fix for the problem is to put a long-handled spoon into the pot as it is heating. The spoon breaks the surface tension and the skim of milk fat and protein forming and allows the steam to escape without violently erupting. It's a trick your grandmother might have known, but not something she necessarily felt the need to pass on in the age of microwaves.

Does the logic behind this technique apply to homebrewing as well?

Reply With Quote
Old 11-23-2009, 05:12 PM   #2
Edcculus's Avatar
Jun 2007
Greenville, SC
Posts: 4,546
Liked 50 Times on 46 Posts

I think it could help, but it won't completely prevent them. You will probably need something a lot bigger than a spoon for 5 gallons too.

I swear by Fermcap. This is basically a silicone emulsion that breaks the surface tension. I boil a few inches below the lip of my kettle and have yet to boil over.

Reply With Quote
Old 11-23-2009, 05:14 PM   #3
Oct 2009
Posts: 836
Liked 14 Times on 12 Posts

I would be suprised. In the wort the steam isn't building up below a layer on the top of the liquid.

Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2009, 03:16 AM   #4
TheFlatline's Avatar
Jun 2008
Ventura, CA
Posts: 428
Liked 6 Times on 6 Posts

Actually it does work. I have a long "brew spoon" that I use, and I used to leave it in the kettle. Rarely got boilovers when that happened, and when I did it was because the head foamed up and over.

Sometimes boilovers are caused by superheating, which I notice happens more often in my stainless steel kettles than my aluminum kettles, probably due to the smoother surface of the steel kettle.

Throwing a spoon in can help break the surface tension of the beer, and in really smooth kettles give a rough enough surface to encourage nucleation (formation of steam bubbles).

My ultimate solution was to get a bigger kettle (10 gallon for a 7 gallon boil), but I have noticed that boilovers happen frequently right around hot break, and generally randomly during extract brewing.
I never did like to do anything simple when I could do it ass-backwards...

Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2009, 09:11 PM   #5
malkore's Avatar
Jun 2007
Posts: 6,922
Liked 37 Times on 35 Posts

Not for me. spoon or no spoon, the KAB5 banjo burner will boilover 5 gallons of wort in a 9 gallon pot.

I've had some success with foam control drops. I just need a keggle, or a smaller burner.
Primary: English Mild
On tap: Pale Ale, Lancelot's Wheat, English Brown Ale, Steam Beer, HoovNuts IPA
Bottled: MOAM, Braggot, Raspberry Melomel, Merlot, Apfelwein, Pyment, Sweet mead, Cabernet
Gal in 2009: 27, Gal in 2010: 34, Gal in 2011: 13, Gal in 2012: 10

Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2009, 09:14 PM   #6
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
Revvy's Avatar
Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
Posts: 40,945
Liked 3223 Times on 1903 Posts

I swear by fermcap...I can have a rolling boil going with it an inch from the top of the kettle, and go take a nap or post on HBT during the gap between a 60 and 30 minute hop addition.

Fermcap-S Foam Inhibitor: Prevent boil overs on the hot side, add a few drops per gallon for a nice rolling boil. On the cold side, Fermcap keeps the krausen in your fermenter to 1/2 an inch. Allows you to brew slightly larger quantities in your existing fermentation vessels. Use only two drops per gallon at the start of fermentation. Used in the fermenter, it increases the bitterness of your beer (retained IBUs) by about 10%! Comes with dropper lid. Enough for about 20 batches.
Like my snazzy new avatar? Get Sons of Zymurgy swag, here, and brew with the best.

Revvy's one of the cool reverends. He has a Harley and a t-shirt that says on the back "If you can read this, the bitch was Raptured. - Madman

I gotta tell ya, just between us girls, that Revvy is HOT. Very tall, gorgeous grey hair and a terrific smile. He's very good looking in person, with a charismatic personality... he drives like a ****ing maniac! - YooperBrew

Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2009, 09:20 PM   #7
GoldMiner's Avatar
Aug 2009
Fredericksburg, Virginia
Posts: 584
Liked 21 Times on 19 Posts

+1 on fermcap.

It's great not to have to worry about boil overs.

Makes for a much more relaxing brewing experience.

Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2009, 04:51 AM   #8
Jan 2009
Cookeville, TN
Posts: 555
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

+2 on the CAPS, been brewing in my kitchen for almost 10 AG batches and no worry of boil over, heck I mow my yard sometimes in between hop additions.

Reply With Quote
Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Boilovers, how bad are they for your OG? RedIrocZ-28 Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 6 10-22-2009 11:19 PM
Good way to avoid boilovers Marko73 General Techniques 15 02-22-2009 05:47 AM
Preventing Boilovers Killinger General Techniques 6 01-19-2009 02:31 PM
Taming Boilovers digdan General Techniques 10 05-01-2006 11:24 PM

Forum Jump