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Old 02-01-2010, 08:51 PM   #1
Dec 2009
Posts: 14

Hi all, Just read the idea of not using a secondary, and only using a primary. Sounds like its worth a shot, so I gave it a try. I got everything going and bubbling nicely along in my "primary" which I am using a glass carboy with a blow off tube. However I did not think to leave any head space in my carboy. So far I'm two days into it and the magic is happening nice and steady, but I've lost about half a gallon of liquid out of the blow off tube so far, which leaves the space in the carboy which is currently full of krausen, and a good bucket full off to the side.

Next time I will use less water, is there anything that can/should be done at this point? Or just let'er go?


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Old 02-01-2010, 09:20 PM   #2
android's Avatar
Jan 2009
Ames, Iowa
Posts: 3,062
Liked 44 Times on 35 Posts

just ride the wave this time... i assume you're using a 5 gallon carboy for your primary? i'd consider a 6 or 6.5 gallon carboy/better bottle or a good old 'ale pail' for future brews instead of using less water in your 5 gallon carboy, which is really intended for use as a secondary vessel. not saying you can't use it like you are, but the headspace is a factor there.
primary: APA

ebay temp controller | thermostat temp controller

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Old 02-01-2010, 10:14 PM   #3
Apr 2008
Chicago, Illinois
Posts: 376
Liked 5 Times on 4 Posts

Adding less water will increase the OG of the beer. You would need to scale down the recipe accordingly, or end up with a bigger beer. It sounds like you're using a 5 gal glass carboy for a 5 gal batch. Get a 6.5 gal glass carboy or 6 gal better bottle. 6 gals (better bottle) is still a bit small for a 5 gal batch, but the better bottles are easier to handle. The 6.5 gal ale pail is fine too. I have a pail and 6.5 gal glass carboy; I use whatever's empty.

You'll have less beer in the end, but let it go, lesson learned.

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Old 02-01-2010, 10:19 PM   #4
Feb 2009
Dearborn Heights, MI
Posts: 203
Liked 9 Times on 8 Posts

There will be nothing wrong with your beer, short of having a little less of it.

I used a 5 gallon primary for a long time. Lost some to blow off, but still came out close enough to 5 gallons. If keeping that extra half gallon or so is important then make the switch. If you're a penny pincher and want to go with what you've got, keep the 5 gallon - you'll still make beer.

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Old 02-02-2010, 12:08 AM   #5
Dec 2009
Corvallis (Heart of the [Willamette] Valley), Oregon
Posts: 191
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

Sounds like you've done primary plus secondary before. I'll also assume you used a bucket for the primary.

For those switching to primary only, generally people just keep using the bucket and save the carboy for one secondary is needed (adding fruit, etc.).

One issue that could come up is if you also use the primary bucket as the bottling bucket. My solution was to buy a second bucket and add spigots to both. I don't brew often enough to have to worry about having both buckets tied up at once. I can still use a carboy as secondary if needed.
Aging for 1 Year: #1 LHBS Standard (Dry) Stout
In bottles: #2 Honing Wit (Belgian Wit Bier w/honey); #3 Be Hoppy, Not Bitter ("Oregon" Pale Ale: APA using Oregon-inspired ingredients and lots of late-addition/dry-hops); #4 American Red-Head (Irish Red made from American ingredients); #5 Student Power Orange Ale (Orange-hued amber ale for a wedding)
Primary: [n/a]
On deck: [Thinking about it]

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