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Old 07-25-2012, 05:00 PM   #1
Aug 2011
Aurora, CO
Posts: 13

Hello All,

I'm an extract brewer and I recently began to follow Mr. Malty's pitching rates for my brews. I've got a few questions that I hope you might shed some light on:

1) I'm pitching 2 - 3 vials of liquid yeast for the various brews, following Jamil's instructions. Not ready to make starters yet. Within two - three days I'm getting krausen moving out of the carboy, through the blow-off tube and into my "sanitation pail".
It is happening with each brew (IPA @ 68°F, Stout @ 67°F and 2 Hefeweizens @ 62°F). My fermentation is monitored with a love controller, the thermometer taped to the carboy wall, so I'm fairly confident about the temps.
Is it alright to have such a vigorous fermentation or am I producing too many esters and losing hop flavor (at least in the IPA) with it being this active?

2) How often should I be cleaning out the "sanitation pail" at the end of the blow-off tubes? It is now filled with a yeasty, foamy slurry (that doesn't smell half bad).

3) Am I doing something wrong to have this strong a fermentation each time? Should I examine my temps a little closer? Aerate less (I can't believe that that is the problem)? Everything is tasting pretty good (the IPA is a little underwhelming) so perhaps I need to just RAHAHB.


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Old 07-25-2012, 05:11 PM   #2
Double_D's Avatar
Feb 2011
Las Vegas, Nevada
Posts: 1,850
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I'd rdwhahb. And dry hop your ipa after cold crashing.

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Old 07-25-2012, 05:19 PM   #3
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Jun 2010
Carnegie, PA
Posts: 2,156
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You've already got temp control covered, and you're not ready to make a starter? I have to admit, I've done the 'pitch 2 vials' thing b/c I was too lazy (or didn't have enough time), but between extract and buying 3 vials of yeast, that's an expensive batch of homebrew!

If you're concerned about fermentation being too active, I'd RDWHAHB... and you could try using a drop or two of Fermcap-S
Don't worry about cleaning out the blow off container unless it's overflowing (happened on my own recent Hefe!) You could consider using some
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:38 PM   #4
Aug 2010
North Olmsted, Ohio
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Eventually that blow off jug is going to stink something awful. I change mine out every brew.

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Old 07-25-2012, 06:10 PM   #5
Aug 2011
Aurora, CO
Posts: 13

Thanks all, I figured I should probably just relax but I can be pretty A-type on occasion

@ biochemedic - I've been really lucky was gifted a stand-up freezer upon moving into our current house. Couldn't pass up that kind of control so starters got pushed back. Then I was gifted a keggerator (helping a friend move) and so spent on the kegging setup instead of moving towards a starter plate - but yes, yeast is a little too expensive @ $7 a vial.

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Old 07-25-2012, 07:01 PM   #6
Aug 2007
Southern Maine
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The whole blow-off issue could be caused by having a small, or a larger batch size. In other words, its not process related but size-related.

If I'm too lazy to do a starter, I go with dry yeast. If I'm ambitious enough to do a style-specific brew then I get my s#it together for a starter.

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Old 07-25-2012, 09:41 PM   #7
Aug 2011
Aurora, CO
Posts: 13

I was wondering that too. I use 6-gal BetterBottles but I've never marked the sides for volume - one more thing I need to do.

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Old 07-25-2012, 10:48 PM   #8
Nov 2007
Posts: 1,408
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You should definitely start doing starters -- it's a much more cost effective way to propagate yeast. For example, you can easily find the calcs telling you to use 4 packets of yeast. $5 for a pound of DME sure beats $18 for 3 more packets of yeast. You can use a $5 growler to propagate (or even a plastic 2-liter bottle); no need for expensive flasks. And quite often, the LHBS won't even have that much yeast on hand anyway.

With the $13 you just saved, pick up a nice 6-pack.

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Old 07-25-2012, 11:00 PM   #9
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May 2007
Jersey Shore, Jersey
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3 vias of yeast...ouch. I would suggest in this order, trying dry yeast, reclaiming active yeast from a batch, propogating starters from vials.

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Old 07-25-2012, 11:13 PM   #10
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Apr 2011
Arlington (DC), VA
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I find myself waffling in between. I make starters in growlers, usually with 1 pack/vial. Given that all the pitching rate calculators say I need a bigger starter than that for higher gravity beers (or lagers, which I haven't really done), I just end up making the same size starter with two packs/vials for high gravity beers. It's not just the cost of the yeast vs. extract for me, but the time and effort I'd have to spend to step up the starter. Fortunately, most of my beers don't need more than one pack/vial in a starter a day or two ahead of time.

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