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Old 12-13-2011, 02:46 PM   #1
gurrback
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Mar 2011
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I've made somewhere around a dozen batches now, give or take a few, and I've yet to get anywhere close to clogging up my airlock. I've never really had more than a few inches of krausen. I read so much about blow off tubes being essential but the one time I decided to use one (a high abv beer with a big starter) it turned out to be completely unnecessary.

I'm using a combination of glass carboys and buckets with at least 6-8 inches from the wort to the top of the carboy lip. I think my glass carboys are 6.5 gallons each and I brew 5 gallons. Is this more head space than most people have?

I'm not really complaining here - I've probably saved myself a lot of hassle - but I'm wondering if I'm doing something wrong. What are some factors that contribute to particularly volatile fermentation?

 
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Old 12-13-2011, 03:12 PM   #2
MalFet
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You're wondering if something is wrong because you haven't had an explosive fermentation?

There are many factors involved in fermentation vigor, not least of which include pitching rates, temperature, wort composition and yeast strain. If you stick with it for a while, you'll certainly get a messy fermentation at some point or another, but there's nothing to be worried about that you haven't so far.
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Old 12-13-2011, 03:13 PM   #3
airving
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So a few questions for you (the factors):
How much krausen is 'a few inches'?
What temperatures do you ferment at?
Do you make starters?
Do you add yeast nutrient / energizer?
Do you aerate or use oxygen?
Do you sacrifice small animals to the beer gods?

On a recent batch (still in 6gal fermenter), I have about 3 inches from the wort to the shoulder of the BB, or something close to 6 from top of wort to lip of the vessel. Of course, it narrows very rapidly from the shoulder to the top, so there's not much useful volume there. With starter and yeast energizer, the airlock launched. Blowoff tubes for me from now on.

 
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Old 12-13-2011, 03:14 PM   #4
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Fermentations that are too hot can lead to very active fermentations that may blow off. Some yeast strains are more active than others, so if you use one or two yeast primarily they just may be low foamers that don't create a very large kreausen.

However, each fermentation is unique, and while one may be extremely active and blow off, another might be quite the opposite.

If you haven't had a blow-ff yet, don't fret,all is well., Having said that, it is a good idea to hook up your blow off rig every time for the first few days, so when it does happen you have saved yourself a lot of trouble.
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Old 12-13-2011, 03:30 PM   #5
Cranny04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schnitzengiggle
If you haven't had a blow-ff yet, don't fret,all is well., Having said that, it is a good idea to hook up your blow off rig every time for the first few days, so when it does happen you have saved yourself a lot of trouble.
+1 to this..

I've brewed for a year or so.. OG's ranging from 1.095 to 1.040.. I had never had a blow off until my most recent porter (OG 1.056) it clogged my airlock and ended up exploding.. Air lock hit the ceiling..

Just consider yourself lucky... And always use a blow off tube
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Old 12-13-2011, 03:30 PM   #6
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Each and every fermentation is different. You never really know what is going to happen. I have bigger brews (1.087) just chug along slowly and had one of the most violent ferments I have ever seen from a relatively low gravity (1.052) brew. It went crazy and blew off for a couple of days. All at proper ferment temps.

As a precaution I routinely hook up a blow off tube.

 
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Old 12-13-2011, 03:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MalFet View Post
You're wondering if something is wrong because you haven't had an explosive fermentation?

There are many factors involved in fermentation vigor, not least of which include pitching rates, temperature, wort composition and yeast strain. If you stick with it for a while, you'll certainly get a messy fermentation at some point or another, but there's nothing to be worried about that you haven't so far.
What is it about new brewers needing something to worry about? They're like my mother, they're not happy unless they're stressing out about something. Next thing you know is that they're going to be worried if they're not worried about something.
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Old 12-13-2011, 06:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
What is it about new brewers needing something to worry about? They're like my mother, they're not happy unless they're stressing out about something. Next thing you know is that they're going to be worried if they're not worried about something.
When you read about all the brewing disasters on HBT, i.e. beer painted ceilings, dumped batches, ruined equip, stuck fermentations, yadda yadda... I guess you just figure if you haven't had one of these, you're living on borrowed time.

 
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Old 12-13-2011, 09:23 PM   #9
beerman0001
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S04 was only yeast so far i needed a blowoff for.
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Old 12-13-2011, 09:28 PM   #10
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Try a high gravity Belgian with 3787 and pitch onto a yeast cake from a Patersbier. Even plenty of Fermcap S couldn't hold that beast back. It's something I won't forget. Lesson learned on blow off tube for certain fermentations.
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