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Old 12-16-2010, 08:56 PM   #1
pfooti
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Sep 2010
San Francisco, CA
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I don't know if this has come up in the past, but I posted a thread about it in the beginner forum and received minimal responses. I thought I'd try it here and see if this is one of those "yeah, we all do that", or "no, that's a terrible idea" ideas.

Anyway- my understanding of boilover is that the biggest threat comes right at the start of the boil because that's when hot break proteins are starting to coagulate and they cause the foam to be very stable. Result: the foam does not break down quickly enough and therefore runs over the pot. It is not (in my experience) problems with boil nucleation sites. If it were, the only way to solve the problem would be adding sites (boiling chips, pennies), and there wouldn't be the die-back of boilover after five to ten minutes.

Based on that, I have started a new regimen where I turn the gas off right as my wort gets at the edge of boiling. There's some foam formation, and things are starting to look threatening. I leave the heat off for five to ten minutes (long enough to grab a new beer, read a few pages of my book, or whatever), and then fire the gas back up. During that entire time, hot break proteins are still coagulating, and they've now gotten heavy enough that they don't contribute to the foam anymore, they just sink to the bottom.

The result is: I don't get boilover, and I don't have to worry about "riding" the flame by constantly adjusting the temperature, or picking up the pot, or any of that. I just turn the heat off, wait, turn it back on. The only nervous-making moments are when I throw in the hops, and even then it's just a big rumble rather than a foam geyser.

 
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:55 PM   #2
BrewMoreBeers
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Aug 2010
Ohio
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I do something similar... I brew electric with a flat-top stove and a heat stick. When the boil starts I kill the heat stick until I am past the danger zone. By killing the heat stick I go from full rolling aggressive boil potential to barely boil potential. This reduction in heat input prevents my boil overs.

 
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Old 12-16-2010, 10:03 PM   #3
IffyG
 
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Oct 2009
Nashville
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Get some Fermcap-S and never worry about a boil over again. Best 7 bucks I've spent on this hobby yet.

 
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Old 12-17-2010, 05:43 PM   #4
ThatGuyRyan
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Jan 2009
Elmhurst, IL, IL
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Yep defoamer all the way. Even at 1/2 the recommended dose I never had another issue with a boil over.
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Old 12-17-2010, 06:00 PM   #5
samc
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Aug 2008
Portland OR
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When it gets near boil time, I hang out and stir/skim. Prefer that to adding plastic bits to my beer. OP's idea seems like a good idea, just prefer to stir.

 
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Old 12-17-2010, 07:29 PM   #6
stinkynathan
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Jan 2010
Eau Claire, WI
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Another vote for Fermcap S. I mis-measured on one of my batches last weekend and ended up with 7.6 gallons in an 8-gallon pot. A few drops of Fermcap S and I walked away to put up insulation in my garage until the first hop addition.

 
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Old 12-17-2010, 10:22 PM   #7
apratsunrthd
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Sep 2010
Soddy Daisy, TN, Tennessee
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Noob question: Do you see any head retention issues when you use Fermcap-S?

 
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Old 12-18-2010, 04:35 AM   #8
Calder
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Mar 2010
Ohio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samc View Post
When it gets near boil time, I hang out and stir/skim. Prefer that to adding plastic bits to my beer. OP's idea seems like a good idea, just prefer to stir.
Been there, done that, tried FermCap, and will not brew without it. Fermcap drops out after turbulence stops, either in the kettle or fermenter. Most peoples' beer spends most of it's life in plastic, why is this different. I'm not sure what it is, but I thought it was silicon based (sand - pretty inert).

Quote:
Originally Posted by apratsunrthd View Post
Noob question: Do you see any head retention issues when you use Fermcap-S?
It is supposed to be improved. I've no data either way. Also supposed to increase IBUs by up to 10%.

 
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Old 12-18-2010, 01:26 PM   #9
darkstar79
 
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Dec 2007
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I have used the Fermcap before and it worked GREAT. Then I stopped because I started to get worried about putting the silicone is something I was drinking. Now just as it starts to get close to the top of the kettle I just turn the heat to low, wait for it to break and then just adjust the heat to a good rolling boil.
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Old 12-18-2010, 07:37 PM   #10
pfooti
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Sep 2010
San Francisco, CA
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Yeah, if fermcap works for you- fine by me. I was trying to point out a free alternative to putting things in the boil, fermcap or pennies.

 
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