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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Will this technique work to prevent boilovers?
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Old 11-23-2009, 05:08 PM   #1
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Default Will this technique work to prevent boilovers?

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?

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Old 11-23-2009, 05:12 PM   #2
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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.

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Old 11-23-2009, 05:14 PM   #3
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I would be suprised. In the wort the steam isn't building up below a layer on the top of the liquid.
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Old 11-24-2009, 03:16 AM   #4
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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...
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Old 11-24-2009, 09:11 PM   #5
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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.
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Old 11-24-2009, 09:14 PM   #6
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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.
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Old 11-24-2009, 09:20 PM   #7
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+1 on fermcap.

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

Makes for a much more relaxing brewing experience.
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Old 11-26-2009, 04:51 AM   #8
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+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.

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