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Old 12-02-2010, 02:53 PM   #1
BigTexun
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Feb 2010
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Hi Guys,

Since I've gone all grain, I have really struggled getting through the hot break without a boilover. On my last batch, I tried Femcap S for the first time. While I was able to get through boil without a disaster, it still took a LOT of stirring and fighting the foam.

What am I doing wrong?

Relevant notes:

1. I have a 10 gallon pot...

2. My initial boil volume was 6.5 gallons (which, boils down to 5 gal. in 60 minutes).

3. At the start of the boil, I had 5.25" of free head space in my pot.

4. I probably added 16 drops of FemCap at various times during the boil. To be honest, it almost seemed like it had very little effect.

5. The beer under consideration has an OG of 1.060

6. I used hop pellets, steeped in a nylon bag. (Shift that bag around and watch out.)


Any and all suggestions will be much appreciated!

 
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Old 12-02-2010, 02:58 PM   #2
Lodovico
 
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Hmm. You shouldn't be that close to boil over with the factors you posted. I too use a 10 gallon pot and I usually start with close to 7 gallons and I don't come too close to boil overs. For me it's about adjusting the flame near the hot break. I will rage the burner until I start to get a boil and then adjust it down a little to control the foam. I also stir the foam with my paddle and break it up and this helps a lot. This has always worked well for me.

I'm surprised the foam control hasn't worked for you either, especially that many drops!
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Old 12-02-2010, 03:00 PM   #3
kanzimonson
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Dude I boil 7+ gallons in an 8gallon pot without fermcap and I never boil over... obviously your burner is on too high.

Just take your time to get through the hot break. I leave my thermometer in the wort as I'm bringing it to boil so I know when I'm getting close (even though the slowly increasing foam is an indication). My burner is practically on full blast until it gets to about 205*. Then when I start to get a few bubbles breaking the surface, I'll back down to about half power. Then when the foam suddenly takes off, I'll cut the flame. Stir for just 30 seconds to let the proteins come together. Then turn the flame back on VERY LOW. I keep slowly stirring, pushing the foam around, and after about 5 minutes things have calmed down enough to achieve a normal boil.

THEN add your hops. I can't stand the sight of crusty hops burned to the side of my kettle and NOT in the boil. Add hops after the hot break.

 
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Old 12-02-2010, 03:00 PM   #4
Yooper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lodovico View Post
I'm surprised the foam control hasn't worked for you either, especially that many drops!
Me too!

I used to have near boilovers all the time- even 6 gallons in a keggle! But I started using Ferm-capS and it hasn't even come close.

What you can try is standing at the pot while it's getting that huge foamy head and adding drops of Ferm-cap while stirring until it stops. Usually, it's about 2 drops per gallon for me.

Also, as was already mentioned, add the hops AFTER the hot break and start your timer then.
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:07 PM   #5
BigTexun
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Thanks guys... I'm wondering if the bottle of Ferm-capS that I got is too old or something. Does yours look like a white liquid with a high viscosity?

 
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Old 12-03-2010, 01:56 AM   #6
El_Exorcisto
 
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Pay close attention as you come to the boil, and when you start seeing your hops rumbling turn the heat down. I boil 3.5 gallons in a 4.25 gallon pot and have only had one boil over out of the last dozen batches. That was because I left the lid on and got caught up in a TV show.

 
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Old 12-03-2010, 02:05 AM   #7
Espi
 
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I would say you are not tending your heat.. once you see the boil starting to happen. You will notice a bit of foam on top of the wort. Cut the heat a touch.. After you start boiling it takes a considerably small amount heat to keep it going from there.

Just how I go about it. I too have a 10 gallon kettle and shoot for about 7 gallons after the mash and sparge.
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Old 12-03-2010, 02:05 AM   #8
chefmike
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Exorcisto View Post
because I left the lid on.
ummm.... should not have a lid on.


I had my burner cranked on Monday and boiled over 7.5 gallons out of a keggle. I am usually less agressive at the actual break point.

At least I am not inside any more. I still owe my wife a new stove.
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Old 12-03-2010, 03:02 AM   #9
Peacedale
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It is definitely a heat control issue. You shouldn't need Fermcap at all with your setup. I also boil 6.75 gallons in an 8 gallon pot, and I never boil over. Save yourself some money on Fermcap and propane by simply cutting back the heat.
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Old 12-03-2010, 01:25 PM   #10
joeunc
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+1 to all, has to be heat control issue, Fermcap and 7.5 gallons in a 8gallon pot and never close to a boilover.

 
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